Author Topic: Is a Visa Worth It?  (Read 1425 times)

MoustachePadawan

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Is a Visa Worth It?
« on: April 11, 2017, 10:35:39 AM »
I moved from my hometown of Manila, Philippines, to Barcelona, Spain, in the hopes of gaining a better quality of life. I took all I had (around $14K) and have spent the last two and a half years paying for schooling (to keep my student visa which I've had to renew every year) and working side jobs, most for less than minimum wage (Spain has been in a financial crisis for the past 8 years). Now I'm working for a company that is willing to sponsor my application to get a work permit, which will allow me to get a proper work contract, and also a resident visa which lasts for 5 years. I work as a writer, graphic designer, and community manager for a tech recruitment firm, and try to sell my artwork and do freelance graphic design (most of my clients have come from my home country or outside of Spain). I don't plan to stay in Barcelona, but if I leave now, at 37, returning on anything other than a tourist visa would require starting over from zero.

My question is: Would you choose to tough it out in a place where you were far from the people you love and the quality of life has the potential to get better, or in a place that's chaotic but you can be around 'your people'?

I've used some retirement calculators, and the estimates I get for my current salary are between 13 and 22 years. I'm 37 and I would bite the bullet than keep working til I'm 50.

Any advice (other than, you should have chosen another country besides Spain) would be much appreciated!

HipGnosis

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Re: Is a Visa Worth It?
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2017, 12:50:52 PM »
That's hard for anyone else but you to answer.  It comes down (mostly) to what YOU value, and how much.
I wouldn't stay anywhere that I didn't expect my income to increase over the years.
And you don't say how long it would take to retire at 'home'.

BTW; I was in the US Air Force and have been to Manila and Spain.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Is a Visa Worth It?
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2017, 02:04:43 PM »
On your current path, how long to get citizenship? An EU passport can be a nice thing to have for the purpose of flexibility. At that point you could choose to live in either place, moving back and forth at will. But as HipGnosis said, it all comes down to your own preferences. Would you gain enough long-term happiness from the extra nationality to sacrifice a bit of happiness in the short term by remaining farther from your homeland?

Adventine

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Re: Is a Visa Worth It?
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2017, 08:06:37 AM »
I moved from my hometown of Manila, Philippines, to Barcelona, Spain, in the hopes of gaining a better quality of life. I took all I had (around $14K) and have spent the last two and a half years paying for schooling (to keep my student visa which I've had to renew every year) and working side jobs, most for less than minimum wage (Spain has been in a financial crisis for the past 8 years). Now I'm working for a company that is willing to sponsor my application to get a work permit, which will allow me to get a proper work contract, and also a resident visa which lasts for 5 years. I work as a writer, graphic designer, and community manager for a tech recruitment firm, and try to sell my artwork and do freelance graphic design (most of my clients have come from my home country or outside of Spain). I don't plan to stay in Barcelona, but if I leave now, at 37, returning on anything other than a tourist visa would require starting over from zero.

My question is: Would you choose to tough it out in a place where you were far from the people you love and the quality of life has the potential to get better, or in a place that's chaotic but you can be around 'your people'?

I've used some retirement calculators, and the estimates I get for my current salary are between 13 and 22 years. I'm 37 and I would bite the bullet than keep working til I'm 50.

Any advice (other than, you should have chosen another country besides Spain) would be much appreciated!

How about a compromise? Have you considered working in Spain until you get a resident visa, earn in euros, then, at a certain point in time, come back home to the Philippines with your savings in euros? The EUR-PHP exchange rate would mean that your savings would go much, much further.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Is a Visa Worth It?
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2017, 08:11:26 AM »
What's the cost of getting the visa?

MoustachePadawan

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Re: Is a Visa Worth It?
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2017, 03:50:30 PM »
On your current path, how long to get citizenship? An EU passport can be a nice thing to have for the purpose of flexibility. At that point you could choose to live in either place, moving back and forth at will. But as HipGnosis said, it all comes down to your own preferences. Would you gain enough long-term happiness from the extra nationality to sacrifice a bit of happiness in the short term by remaining farther from your homeland?

Without marrying an EU national, I'm eligible to apply for spanish citizenship in two years. That's the thing, I imagine it would be worth it in the long term (my sister did the same in Australia, and she hasn't been back since), but I have no idea if the pot of gold is really at the end of the rainbow. But I can't help thinking that thinking I've already invested this much to give up is the 'sunk cost fallacy' at work.

@adventine: yes, that's the OFW path, and I'm considering it. I really have to take my hat off to them, just from the few years I've experienced, it's tough!

@hipgnosis: I hadn't thought about that, but according to some online calculators, living in the Philippines would shorten my life expectancy by around 9 years. Not very reliable, I know. The thing is, at home I have my own place, so rent isn't an issue, and cost of living is significantly lower if you live outside the city. That's another thing I'm considering, moving out of a touristic city like Barcelona. Where were you stationed in Spain?

@Paul der Krake: Not a lot. The identity card costs around $200, I don't know exactly how much the resident card costs, but in both cases it's the time investment of getting the paperwork together, making the appointments, etc, that makes it costly. Also thought to mention that since I've started working legally five months ago I've been on the social security system and have access to the public health care system automatically.