You see pictures on Facebook all the time and there always seem to be news stories coming out too. You turn the corner and there’s an advertisement in the bus shelter. Your country is calling you. Sending you lots of subtle signs that it’s time you looked in to how can I work in ____.
First step: Read up on the Mutual Recognition Agreement to find out just how easy it is for you to live and work in another country. This was an agreement signed by the associations for Australia, America, Canada, Ireland, the UK and New Zealand. In basic terms, the agreement recognises that if you have full membership in your own country, then you might be able to work in another country listed in the agreement. You might have to provide or undertake extra requirements such as taking exams, obtaining specific certifications, meeting a dysphagia competency or having a certain amount of clinical hours under your belt.
You can also read my post ‘Working Overseas: Where to Begin’ to give you some ideas of the steps to take to get the ball rolling. If you want information about other countries, visit my SLP Associations From Around the World page and look through the countries and perhaps try contacting yourself to see the requirements. There are pros and cons from choosing an association part of or not part of the MRA, so do your research and see what suits you.
***** There is an AMAZING Facebook Group called SLPs Going Abroad – go join it! There are SLPs who are most likely working where you want to go and can answer the questions you need *****
Countries in the MRA:
I’ve listed links to all of the countries in the MRA so that you can figure out if you would likely meet the requirements to work in that country and what they might be. If you are not sure where to start and want a quick comparison guide, Speech Pathology Australia have a nice summary and list for all of the countries.
- If you want to work as an SLP in Australia (and why wouldn’t you?!) then click here to read about the Overseas Qualification Assessment.
- ASHA doe a great job at listing a variety of documents if you want to work in America. Just be aware that you most likely have to apply for state licensure as well.
- Are the mountains in Canada calling you? They called me, that’s for sure! I know of SLPs who found the process to work in America too difficult so they went to Canada instead.
- Can you imagine exploring Ireland? Green is my favourite colour, but here’s my little confession… I find it the hardest accent for me to understand!
- I’ve studied in the UK and loved my time there. I personally found it a little easier with the same spelling rules and loved the access to Europe to travel. Click on this link to read about an SLPs experience moving to the UK and the process that she had to take.
- Adventure lovers would definitely be thinking about New Zealand. It is so close to Australia, and yet I haven’t been.
When you make the decision to pack your bags and work overseas you will inevitably be playing the Visa Game. Applications. Fees. Processing time. Licenses. Photocopies… lots of photocopies. So before you set your heart on working in a specific country, do a little research first about how easy it is to get a visa. Please note that I have only included information for countries that are in the Mutual Recognition Agreement.
- Australia has a great resource called the Visa Wizard. It’s a self guiding questionnaire so that all you have to do is fill in information about yourself and it will give you an idea of what Visa options are available.
- To work in the USA you might want to read a site that provides information on all visas like About.com or H1 Base.
- The best site that I have found for New Zealand is the Immigration site. Once again you might have to click what option you are wanting and you will find information and requirements.
- To work in the UK can be a little different depending on whether you are a European national, or a member of the Commonwealth with UK ancestry. This site from the Home Office provides great information about all the different classes of visas.
- If you wanted to work in Canada you might find some great information from the Canada Visa site and the Citizen and Immigration site.
- The Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland lists information for various types of visas.