Rick, a New Zealand national, first got in touch with Think Global Recruitment to make the move from Russia to Kazakhstan. Six years later, Rick got back in touch with us and we assisted him to move to Oman, where he still is today. Recently we caught up with Rick to find out about his experience of living and working internationally.
Why did you originally decide to move overseas?
“I left New Zealand in 2002 to do my typical OE (overseas experience) in London, thinking I would only be away for a couple of years! After London I still wanted to explore more of the world so from there I ended up moving to Sydney, working for a travel company. From there I moved to Russia and it was at that point where I was referred to Think Global Recruitment, where you assisted me in moving to Kazakhstan.
From Kazakhstan to Serbia, where I spent 4½ years, got married and had our first child. During that time, an ex-colleague (and fellow Kiwi) had moved to Oman and was recommending it as a great place to live for young families, so I got back in touch with Think Global Recruitment and Oman is where I’ve been ever since.
For over a decade now I have been working in (and travelling around) developing economies, which is where I feel my strengths lie.”
When you arrived in your location how long did it take you to settle in?
“During the first month, I was put up in a hotel near the office and organised a rental car to get around. Settling in was relatively smooth given I already had a friend living here, and Muscat is pretty easy to coordinate around (once you get used to landmarks not street names as directions!). Likewise, the company put me in touch with real estate agents to help with housing and after two months, I had set up our villa, bought a car, organised schooling and my family had moved over (after the summer heat) to join me, and that’s when I felt properly settled.”
Did your move meet your original expectations and how?
“Yes. Muscat truly is a fantastic place to live for young families as the quality of life here is excellent, there’s a lot of stuff to do outdoors and it’s not as crowded as places like Dubai (which is still just 4-5 hours away by car when you need). The downside is that it does get very hot during the summer months (and you move from air conditioning in the house to the car to the office) but it’s definitely manageable.
Work-wise, it’s a relaxed environment (sometimes too relaxed!) and very easy to meet clients.”
What was the biggest benefit of moving?
“A great place to bring up kids and the Expat community is extremely welcoming. Obviously, not paying income tax helps too as New Zealand has become very expensive in the years I’ve been away, particularly if you wanted to buy your first home. Another benefit is that my wife and kids can take advantage of flights to go back home to Serbia in the summer when schools are on holiday, which is important.”
Did you feel that your move improved your standard of living?
“You can live a very comfortable life in Oman. You get a housing allowance, car allowance and return flights to your home country each year which all adds up – together with the fact that you’re not paying any income tax. But you need to be careful, as Dubai’s model is built on people spending most of what they earn – at least in Oman, there’s less temptation!”
What are the highlights of your location?
“The reason people choose Oman over other Middle Eastern locations is the incredible scenery and relaxed nature of the place. You can go hiking, camping, beaches, turtle-watching, go down to the coast, etc plus combine that with short trips to places like Dubai and Abu Dhabi when you need (for sporting events, music concerts, Legoland, etc) a weekend or longer away.”
What cultural differences did you notice?
“In the professional sense, there’s certainly an ease of doing business here – you can easily meet and chat to C-level executives. Being relatively small, Muscat is a friendly business environment where you are constantly running into people.
In terms of the social surroundings, slightly more than half of the population are Omani, whilst there are large numbers from the Indian subcontinent and South Asia in addition to the base of Western Expats. This means you find a mix of traditional and western – Oman could be considered semi-conservative, but it is becoming more relaxed to encourage tourists and Expats.”
What, in your opinion, are the advantages of working overseas?
“Being a global citizen in a global world with many different cultures, which is something that is also being passed onto our children. Having the chance to work (and travel) in various locations around the globe has certainly had its benefits, and you can be part of exciting growth opportunities in emerging economies, perhaps more so than you would in your home country.”
What advice would you offer to Accountants thinking about working overseas?
“The Middle East is now a well-trodden path, with a number of very well established Expat groups (such as Australians and New Zealanders in Oman) which make integration much easier.
Also, as the region develops and opens up (e.g. introduction of VAT, FIFA World Cup, Expo2020) there will be more demand for high calibre candidates.”
What did you think of the Think Global Recruitment service?
“I was satisfied enough, I used you twice! First for the role in Kazakhstan and then again with Oman. You were able to reach into these places which are normally off the radar, and find the right job opportunity. It was also comforting knowing that you were looking out for me throughout the process and even after I had arrived.”
We would like to thank Rick for sharing his story and wish him all the best for the future.
Please get in touch with us here if you would like to discuss moving overseas with one of our advisors.