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Employment in New Zealand also requires a stream of paperwork which includes very specific information. If you're at all interested in moving there, get multiple copies of all your transcripts and certificates or diplomas, and tabulate your work hours for every job you've had. They want to know exactly what you mean by part-time. They look at all these numbers so as to figure out your pay. And you have to deal with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. They're the ones who aren't aware when their own policies have changed. When I asked them about a large discrepancy, they were less than helpful. It led me to wonder just how good an idea it was to go further when trust was seeping through a trap door. That, along with their prime minister's praise of Bush as a leader, was that.

Finland's number came up. And it got attention. I went there for interviews twice. The second time, I knew that they didn't have an opening, but I was on a mission. Altogether I got three job offers that, when combined, could not provide enough hours to support a family of five. And we were flexible. My programmer husband applied for a job hauling ice in a gay bar. A job opening wasn't actually there, but he tried. Accumulating part-time jobs and/or working freelance are the most common ways to get started in Finland.

One of my interviewers in Finland was so happy that someone actually got on a plane. They'd received resumes from all over the world, but nobody ever got on a plane to go see them. Their reaction was worth the airfare. And I got a referral. Unfortunately, the referral was to someone who did need someone with my qualifications but was a less-than-reliable guarantor. The more we studied the situation, the more nervous we got. She wasn't the one to bring us over.

It's particularly helpful if you're single or a couple and can stay in Finland to hear about a job opening up while learning some Finnish. Columbia University in New York offers it but only starting in September. Berlitz offers it if you take out a second mortgage on your home. Then again, you may need to fly someone in to tutor you. Experience in mobile technology can also increase your chances of getting a job. In order to get pretty much any job in Finland, you need at least a Bachelor's and, in many cases, a Master's degree. Many Finns have PhD's, because it's easier to stay in school than to find a job and pay taxes.

Throughout this process, I scoured the internet for employment not only for myself, but for my husband. He's been a troubleshooter for many years, but Microsoft is an unpopular avenue outside the U.S. We looked into his attending graduate school in New Zealand because they like schooling their own workforce. He studied Java and C#, and reviewed JavaScript, HTML, CSS and SQL . Even Visual Basic, one of his strongest areas, didn't land him a job. Here we were, two educated people with lots of work experience, and we couldn't get enough work to support a family outside of our own country.

But the tide changed after I returned from my second trip to Finland. There was some movement in the Canadian company he works for and we got our break. We had come full circle.
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Rachel emigrated to Canada in the summer of 2006.- She has an M.A. in Teaching ESOL, and her poetry, short stories and articles have appeared in print and online. Rachel is a member of Fair Vote Canada.

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