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I'll be glad to never set foot in India or anywhere else corrupt police are know to kidnap Americans
and America doesn't do this to people from other countries? hmmm... I'll leave it at that.
BTW, I'm looking forward to travelling most of the places mentioned here. One cannot truly tell what it is like until they have been there and experienced it.
Never judge a book by its cover!
I didnt watched that documentary - that maybe true but what you saw is a remote incident ...Corruption is very common in india like to get a government certificate or for winning some government contract .But what you say is unheard of - "Police kidnapping someone and asking for ransom"! .
Its not easy to arrest a american citizen (that too with bogus reasons) ...No policemen in his right mind will do it knowing that its gonna attract attention from media and the top officials .
All they show is poor people, dumb policeman, crap houses and the negative side of India. Which, obviously, gives a viewer a bad impression which makes him not come to India.
The stuff in the video maybe true, but I think thats only the negative part of India.
New Zealand - nice scenery but too cold most of the time, and you pay through the nose (data charges) for broadband. Plus like the USA, the Gov has it's fingers everywhere. Plus the ever present danger of a big earthquake (like California). Australia's Gold Coast propably a better option- warmer and just as many Kiwi's.
Belize- has nice offshore islands, but the mainland is pretty dingy. And although they USED to have a good rep for privacy, it appears to be falling now. Downside - hurricanes and a possible swamping if that mountain crashes into the sea over in the Canary Islands.
Caymans - yes, high cost of living, but well connected in an Internet sense, and I think the last time anyone was murdered there was like 5 years ago? So on personal safety grounds - it's a winner. :^) Downside - same as Belize, but probably the pick of the Caribbean Islands, for an English speaker.
There are also many courses around related to computers on a "Zero Fee Scheme" bases, which also offer "Student Loan".
If you're an New Zealand citizen or permanent resident living here for more than two years. People coming in from outside do not have access to these and in fact generally pay full international fees for tertiary education which are expensive. The loan schemes are government run and all local tertiary fees are government subsidised (which is how Invercargill's zero fees scheme works), hence the rules.
Does this mean you can get broadband in rural areas as well? I was in NZ a few years ago and there was a problem with people getting fast access and having to use expense satellite services.
This is slowly getting better but broadband is by no means available everywhere yet. Not all the telephone exchanges in my city are upgraded to accept ADSL yet, and rural areas certainly do not have full coverage.
Plus, by international standards our broadband is very expensive. No doubt due to the monopoly held by Telecom (the jetstream mentioned earlier, it's 'popular' because it's the only choice most of us have). Actually, it's pretty expensive by local standards too. The vast majority of NZers are still on dialup.
Just about everything is cheaper, including buying a house, particularly in the South Island. The prices of a 'nice' house in the South Island are about a 1/4 of Auckland, NZ and Brisbane, Australia.
*grin* Have you seen what is happening to our house prices? I have several friends in different parts of NZ trying to buy houses right now and simply unable to find anything, let alone afford the recent price increases. I am a North Islander to be fair, but not an Aucklander. And the price increases are country wide.
The cost of living here is fairly cheap but every time you pay for something elsewhere, webhosting for example, you have to deal with the exchange rate. Sometimes it works in our favour, sometimes not, and there are always extra transaction fees to pay. Posting things overseas is expensive although international toll calls aren't. By international standards computers and hardware are not cheap (not overly expensive either, but certainly not cheap). Cars, however, are cheap :D
I have looked extensively and never found a good deal on local webhosting, all mine is handled overseas (Australia and Canada). I don't know why local companies charge so much and have often wondered. Local domain names cost a lot too, although this probably won't matter if you're doing business internationally.
The time zone difference and isolation make interacting with many other countries difficult. This can be a problem or not, depending on the level of support you need to provide.
There are visa issues of course, you can't just appear and start a business. But I'm sure this is the same everywhere.
There are no tax breaks although setting up a business is relatively easy. And there are lots of free support organisations and advice available to help with this task.
Don't get me wrong, I love living in New Zealand. And our IT industry is still somewhat bouyant and even still has trouble hiring experienced staff occasionally (although this is follwing world trends and going downhill). But it's far from a webmasters mecca. The rosy picture painted in some of the previous posts in this thread are unrecognisable as the country *I* live in.
Come here for the scenery, the lifestyle and the cheap Japanese cars, yes. But for the easily available broadband and low cost of being a webmaster, no. Because you simply won't find them.
Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard on Star Trek) was interviewed on The Kumars at No. 42 (UK TV talk show where an Indian family is the interview "panel"). He was asked by Grandma Kumar "Why are there no Indians on the Starship Enterprise? Don't you need any IT support?" :)
I'm Indian born and raised but have lived longer in NZ and Australia. Different things motivate people at different ages when it comes to migration. NZ is a fine place and almost identical to Australia in many ways, but they are closer to the UK in other ways whereas we are closer to the US (just signed a free trade agreement). Aussies and Kiwis can move and work freely in either country - when I came here as a Kiwi, we didn't even need a passport, but people were migrating to Australia via NZ which had easier entry in the late 80s.
My uni education in NZ was free (I was even paid a bursary that barely paid for my accommodation) and uni in Oz was also free until 1990. We now have a neat scheme where you can either pay for the education or elect to pay it off in your tax return once you begin to pay tax.
Our taxes are very high and locally hosted web services are both expensive and restrictive (rare to get cgi access). Broadband is getting cheaper (about US$50/mth for ADSL at 512/128). Australia is large enough to give us a choice of climates, but I am happy with the California/Arizona type of climate in Melbourne. Auckland (NZ)/Sydney and points north get humid and hotter as you go north.
Basic medical and hospital care are free and medicines are subsidised, but most people opt for some level of insurance. Unemployment benefits can be indefinite if you show that you are looking for work. Houses in Auckland or Sydney are ridiculously high close to the city centre. Melbourne is cheaper but in most places you get bargains 30-40 km out of town.
Our pricing for hardware/PCs is pretty good compared to the US, but we don't have the variety one sees in Fry's (West coast electronics mecca).
The real answer to the question 'Which country is best for webmasters?' should almost always be the same - Your Country. And that's the best thing about being a web master - you don't have to travel overseas to seek fortune and fame - you can seek it from that dingy unused bedroom at the back of the house. And once you have fame and fortune - that's when you can travel around the world and check out all the hot spots.
Do the math - can you offset the cost/emotional ties of re-locating? Probably not.
other NZ backers must have their heads in the long white clouds!or perhaps we like to look at the positive aspects of everything! Life tends to flow more easily that way....
I have several friends in different parts of NZ trying to buy houses right now and simply unable to find anything, let alone afford the recent price increases
By international standards computers and hardware are not cheapI think Dell has made a huge difference to the NZ market. Apples are pretty much the same price (at least in comparison to OZ). I would agree overall prices may not be cheap but like everywhere - find the right shop!
Reason being is price hikes in other countries. NZ houses particularly in the South Island become investment stepping stones because in comparison they are so much cheaper. Even Invercargill is having a housing price boom...
and points north get humid and hotter as you go north.
I wonder why Norway was not mentioned so far. I have heard that it ranks on top of the living standards index .. should be very secure as well.
As far as India is concerned I am really amused to read the extreme view points. I would say that its definitely a great place to tour and know but living here would be difficult for westerners, more because of cultural reasons than any thing else.
I have just come back from New Delhi from Linux Asia conference and had an opportunity to meet a number of americans .. and from what I could tell they were thoroughly enjoying every bit of their stay. But I feel they will not feel so much at home if staying for longer durations due to cultural differences.
I don't think very many westreners have made India their home as of now, except for a few highflying executives of MNCs .. but with things improving across the board, I do expect some adventurous westerners coming here *just to live* pretty soon.
You have to bear in mind the complexity of the immigration process, though - it took me nearly 2 years, and I'm married to a Canadian citizen. If you want to come as an entrepreneur, you have to pay more, there are financial requirements, and the wait is even longer. You also need to choose your place of residence carefully - I live in Quebec, where taxes are generally the highest in Canada, but rents etc. are competitive. Outside of Montreal, however, you need to speak French. What's more, Quebec has a separate immigration process to the rest of Canada. To improve your chances of being accepted, avoid large cities such as Toronto - select a region like the Maritimes, or smaller cities (there are quotas involved).
Important note: this is not legal advice. If you need that, get a lawyer!
Good luck with your search!
Uhm... well, i guess this country can be seen as quite "foreigner hostile" without being unfair. It's even in the news today that the current govt. is suggesting laws making it easier to expel people. Still, we are EU members (sort of) so EU born residents might find it possible to move up here if so desired. Also, we do allow some kinds of highly skilled people to work and live here for a few years at reduced taxes, provided they have work here prior to arrival (a contract with a resident company will do). Also, it's a publicly known secret that MNC's can operate tax-free if they have skilled accountants, but small shops and individuals generally can't. As for getting married, we have very nice churches (tax funded), but don't expect to be allowed residency just because you marry a Dane, it all depends on so much.
Regarding security (personal as well as social) we tend to regard all the rest of the world as fairly insecure. Regarding social security this is mostly a myth nowadays, although hospitals, libraries and education still are "free" (tax funded). If you earn enough the tax rate can easily grow beyond 50% (must be paid in 10 rates in advance for self-employed people, even) and you have to add 25% in VAT to the prices you charge. There's an abundance of "web-related" educations and a lot of unemployed people that have taken these. There's a massive amount of bureaucracy as well (even more if you do imports/exports or travel - or have employees), the price level is fairly high and shops/cafes/bars/restaurants have strict rules on opening hours. The language is close to impossible to learn for foreigners, and don't even dream about buying a house or a car.
Climate is like England with somewhat less rain and a bit warmer during summer (so i've heard at least, haven't stayed in England a full year). There's free hosting providers as well as $1 hosts, features and quality are generally good, adult hosting is legal... and there's no upper price limit, afaik. You can get broadband/adsl (as well as cell phone coverage) literally everywhere and most if not all locals speak English - a good deal of them speak other languages as well. The general level of education is very high, the internet penetration rate ditto (around 70-75%) and the standard of living is generally high as well. There's a .dk domain registered for every 10 persons or so.
Due to the latter paragraph, it really ought to be a good country for webmasters, but due to the former two ...nah, it isn't.
Of course the weather usually sucks (tho' we tend to be spared hurricanes and earthquakes) but we've got tons of great pubs and indigenous ales and spirits to protect us from the elements when needbe. If you spend too much time in one of said hostelries and find yourself in hospital then you don't need to remortgage your house as the govt picks up the tab. We don't have guns or the death penalty either so you're less likely to die here than in some other places!
Winston Churchill said "Of all the small nations on earth, perhaps only the ancient Greeks surpass the Scots in their contribution to mankind." viz the TV (couldn't really be bothered to go to the movie theatre), the Telephone (couldn't really be bothered to go visit people), Capitalism (it was much easier), Neon (so we could make dazzling signs advertising deep fried Mars bars), Golf (a sport where running is not required), the hypodermic syringe (so we could make Trainspotting) and Logarithms (so ciml [webmasterworld.com] (a Scot by residence) and others could spend months debating toolbarPR).
The taxes are the lowest in Europe (apparently) and businesses are pretty easy to run in terms of bureaucracy. We speak English. We get like 3 days of ski/snowboard weather a year (but France, Andorra, Switzerland etc. are pretty close and UK domestic and European flights are cheap and plentiful). It's also pretty beautiful both in the countryside and in many towns and cities with some fantastic architecture from back in the day. My 512Kbps ADSL costs about 20 pounds a month (about the same as 7 pints of Tennents) and ADSL is widespread.
I've almost persuaded myself I don't want to move to Vancouver :-) If you move here then go to Glasgow or somewhere else, flats in Edinburgh are already too expensive without incomers trying to snatch them all up too!
Sorry, I couldn't resist. I got lost in Glasgow once and I couldn't find anyone who spoke English to help with directions....not with an accent I could understand anyway ;)
I prefer the East Coast, but only in August and September, when the sun occasionally shines. The home of whisky and golf....if only the women were more attactive it would make great summer living ;)
The taxes are the lowest in Europe (apparently)
Sorry, mate. From down here in Sunny Essex you had me going till you said that.
While some taxes are different in Scotland, and you get more than your fair share of revenue from the exchequer you are still subject to many of the ills of running a business anywhere in the UK. Small businesses in Scotland still pay through the nose for everything from petrol to (in due course) Blunkett's new ID card (called "entitlement" card for the naive). You jump through just as many hoops and fill in just as many useless forms - from the Data Protection Registrar's 160 page booklet to the Inland Revenue's mountain of PAYE, NI and other paperwork- as the rest of us in the UK. You are still subject to Gordon Brown's immense cunning normally used in devising and applying stealth taxes. And you will still suffer IR591 [theregister.co.uk].
Scotland?! Give me a break.
I've lived in 6 different countries in on 3 different continents and so perhaps my viewpoints are a bit different than most people here.
If you want to do the country/continent rotation, think about heat&hours of daylight during different times of the year and plan between them. e.g. go south of the equator on November 1 and come back in April.
Singapore - very safe, very good internet connection, sunny, high standar of living, and relatively high cost. The humidity and heat stay the same for the whole year. Westerners can find the rules/attitude oppressive.
Canada - great summers and fun falls, but 3 months of snow and 4 months of slush/or/rain really suck. After 4 months inside with low daylight, your partners' endearing little habits become maddening.
Belgium - rains a lot. International Crowd, awesome restos, welcoming bars and big apartments are cheap in downtown Brussels. Dealing with utilities/bureacracy can turn a pacifist into a mass murderer. (the stories, oh, the stories...)
UK - rains a lot as well. great pubs, and london has amazing shops, museums and it is nearly impossible to look around the city without seeing somethign "historic". That being said it is very expensive and unless you are earning London wages there is no point in living there as your relative standard of living would go down. It is also rainy a lot. There is a lot more to the UK than London, but if you did settle in the UK, you'd probably want to start there.
Mexico - varied place with generally good weather and great beaches along the coast. A lot of people speak english in shops etc. Nearly everything is cheap but can be slightly dangerous. I can't comment on internet connection 'cause I lived there before the web officially existed.
USA - well, I've visted it a lot but since I've just moved here I think its values are better illustrated by people who have lived in each region for their life. That being said, Atlanta, Georgia is pretty good city but the summers are hot/humid (I'm told -- I just moved here)
Some other places that I've considered living:
Spain - nearly perfect. Cheap (half the price of North America), with great history, tourist attractions, weather and parties. Not always safe and getting an internet connection can, literally, take months. Barcelona, in the northeast, IS the most amazing city in the world. Literally 95% of my European friends in their 20s wanted to move theire and would take massive paycuts to do so.
Thailand - Spain and Thailand are perfect each in their own ways. Thailand has the better beaches, and strangely perhaps more english spoken (outside of the super developed resorts) but getting more than a dialup at home is evidently pretty tough.
Cambodia/Laos/Vietnam - awesome places but hard, I imagine, to run a business out of.
If you want some more notes, then drop me a sticky.
Most countries you can get a 3 month visa that can easily be updated by crossing out into a neighbouring country for a day. Technically, in europe at least, if you change residency every 3 months you don't actually have to pay taxes. I haven't confirmed that but it was told to me by the owner of a tax minimization service in Europe. (a client/friend of mine.)
There are offshore arrangements where you can host your website, setup a company there and transfer the assets there. (Ideally you should build them from scratch). Then you access the money via non-identifiable credit card. These are ALL over Europe 'cause taxes are so high there. The governments in Europe know that people are avoiding taxes and have resigned themselves to it as long at there are some withholding taxes on interest income. The actual corp income tax can be as low as 0%. I wouldn't use such a program (of course) but I do know people who do.
If you don't really want to settle down, then you can move every 3 months or so. You can bring your laptop and work on code (or whatever) easily enough from wherever you want. Cybercafes are everywhere outside of North America -- even in Laos, a country with 2 paved roads in its second biggest city. 99% of cybercafes are run by entrepreurs who'd be happy to cut you a deal on cheap (and fastest possible) access if you use it a lot.
'nuff for now. If you want more info, sticky me.
It would be nice if someone came up with a chart who knows about all these places comparing
-whether the US gvmt can obtain banking info
-how easy it is to access citizenship or get temp. citizenship
-taxes: property, sales, government, etc.
-cost of living
-access to broadband
-living conditions, like how well Americans are treated, risks of terrorists, and english speaking factors