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Conducting Voluntary Work After Emigrating

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 7 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Volunteering Abroad Volunteering When

If you participate in voluntary work whilst in the UK it may be of interest to you to continue this good work when you move abroad. There are many international companies looking for volunteers on a regular basis and when you move to a new country, it can be a selfless way of helping others, but can also help you settle. You can make new friends and find new interests through your voluntary work.

Temporary Residents and Voluntary Work

If you’re on a temporary resident visa, most countries will allow you to work. This includes voluntary work and so long as you state your intentions, you should have no trouble as a temporary resident volunteering. If you’re on a temporary work visa then you are often not allowed to work, even voluntary, however if you’ve emigrated this shouldn’t be a problem.

Voluntary Organisations Worldwide

When you move abroad, there are usually the normal international organisations that you may know from the UK. The main ones are Oxfam, the Red Cross, Save the Children, the Salvation Army and UNICEF. These organisations are actively trying to recruit more volunteers and as a new emigrant you can apply to see if they have any vacancies in your area. Many have shops that are looking for people to work there and some have positions available further a field. Always remember that should you decide to work in one of the positions in another country, this may affect your visa.

You will often be required to stay in your new country for a certain period of time throughout the initial stages. If you’re thinking of heading to somewhere else to volunteer, make sure that you speak to you local consulate or immigration department to see what clauses your visa has on it.

Country Specific Volunteering

As a new immigrant you may be interested in learning more about your new country whilst helping through volunteering. If this is the case, you can specifically volunteer for organisations that work with the local community. In Australia, there are numerous organisations that work with the local farmers during the drought season, as well as voluntary agencies that specialise in bridging the gap between the Aboriginal community and the white Australian community. These provide great learning experiences and can help you develop a greater understanding of new issues that may affect you.

In countries such as the USA, you may be able to carry out voluntary work with the Native Americans, helping with education or on their reservations. In Canada there are opportunities to become involved in working with restoration or in the forests. Each of these voluntary experiences can be tailored for new immigrants and the government are often happy to help migrants develop new skills through their voluntary projects.

Helping Others and Helping Yourself

As a new migrant to any country, you can benefit from helping others and make huge leaps in helping yourself. If you enjoy volunteering, seek out local organisations either online or through local libraries. Get in touch and find out whether they are looking for people with your own personal skills and from there begin developing your social networks and integrating into your new culture and community.

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