By Daniel Hunter

With New Year just around the corner, lifestyle changes and resolutions to make a fresh start are traditionally high on the agenda. And with low economic growth continuing to plague many countries, 2013 looks set to be a bumper year for those looking to work abroad.

According to Edwina Shanahan, Managing Director of VisaFirst, the need for countries to boost economic growth coupled with some severe skill shortages means there has never been a better time to consider opportunities to work overseas.

“We have recently seen a range of initiatives from governments in countries such as New Zealand and Canada where they are looking to grow their populations. As economic growth is behind these initiatives, opportunities to work abroad will increase for those possessing the right skills. And when it comes to the skills these countries require, UK workers are highly valued due to their qualifications and skills.”

So once the champagne corks have popped to welcome in the New Year, Edwina suggests keeping an eye on the following for those considering a fresh start abroad:

1) Raising immigration targets - With countries such as Canada and New Zealand considering the introduction of plans to grow their populations as a way of boosting economic growth, opportunities to work in these countries will increase if plans get the go ahead.

2) Skilled migrants - Skilled migrant visas are an increasingly popular way for countries who wish to target specific skills. Australia, New Zealand and more recently Canada offer this option. It’s worth keeping track of the specific skills that qualify for this type of visa.

3) Growth regions - While the focus is often on countries where skill shortages exist. There are often ‘spill over’ opportunities near already popular destinations, particularly in Asia. For example, Malaysia has recently set up a new expat division to attract global talent to help improve economic growth in a bid to mirror the success of its neighbour Singapore.

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