The best laid schemes of mice and men always go awry. This is something that kept going through my head in 2016, two weeks before I was about to board a plane on a beautiful spring day in Johannesburg, to start my new life in London, straight into autumn, and my first real winter.
I never thought about all the moving parts that go into relocating to a different country, from getting the visa allowing me to be there, to things as simple as whether there would be a shop close to my house, how I would see a doctor if I suddenly found myself having fallen down stairs (as in my own experience, has happened more to me than is reasonable) and figuring out a public transport system after moving through life always in my own car.
My mind felt like it was constantly racing, in between packing up a life in South Africa while my partner had already started setting up ours in London, worrying about whether my visa would be approved, counting every South African cent to convert it into nebulous pence (how much could bread cost, £5.00?!), arranging flights, selling off furniture, and spending every spare second researching what our new life would look like.
Immigration and relocation are stressful, and you can only really understand the experience once you’ve been through it yourself. The psychological toll can be high, and once you land in the new country that you’re going to call home, you are absolutely exhausted.
My own experience went relatively smoothly, largely because I was able to engage with the great community at NGS on arrival. However, something that I found was that for the questions I did have, going online specifically was a double-edged sword. While there is an incredible amount of information that can guide you in your planning and decision making, so much of it can be conflicting that you can end up with a tangled mess of information and find yourself entirely unsure of which direction to go.
Knowing what I know now, I understand the need for solid and reliable information from trusted sources that can guide you into making good decisions and preparing yourself, whether that’s for immigration or before going on a trip. That is all the more important in today’s circumstances around travel restrictions being imposed all around the world and navigating through what feels like thousands of bits of government advice.
This is why I have found it interesting working with my team and other departments, being able to map across this information and assist others who may well be embarking on similar experiences as me few years ago.
NGS has made a point of simplifying the information and making it make sense, with the Risk, Security, Medical and Operations departments working together to guide our clients through the regulations, risks and restrictions that have become part and parcel of normal travel, not to mention deploying personnel on short to medium term operations. The advice that we give is obtained from official sources and double checked against the individual traveller’s needs, be that around specific clinical requirements or residency statuses, down to the business that is being undertaken.
If you have any future travel planned, feel free to contact the NGS team, and we will be happy to assist and guide with simple, accurate and easy to follow advice.