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United States of America (USA) - Texas
The state capital of Texas is Austin, although Houston is its largest city. Best known for cowboys and oil fields, Texas itself has plenty to offer the history buff. Colonized by many nations before finally becoming a part of the United States, the state then went on to become independent and joined the confederacy during the American Civil War.
The large size of the state means that there are a variety of climates on offer. The Gulf Coast has mild winters, while the Panhandle has colder winters. Some areas such as El Paso have very little rainfall each year, while the city of Houston has more than 54 inches of rain annually. Snow is very rare south of San Antonio although much of the area is prone to heavy storms at certain times of the year.
Texas is very attractive to expats and there is a growing community of foreign nationals who have been drawn in by the employment opportunities and the low cost of living in the state.
Texas – Employment
The state has an unemployment rate of around 8%, but there are many work opportunities for both skilled and unskilled workers. The state has a booming gas and oil industry and if you are a qualified professional, it can be relatively easy to find work. International companies will be able to transfer workers internally, making it easier to obtain work permits and visas.
Agriculture is another major part of the Texan economy, although there are fewer work opportunities. The cities of Houston, Dallas and Austin offer many employment opportunities in different sectors including banking, retail, teaching and medical. There is a nationwide shortage of medical professionals in the US but if you have obtained your qualifications in another country you may be asked to sit extra examinations when you arrive in the US in order to obtain the relevant licences to be able to practice. There is a shortage of qualified teaching staff, particularly in sciences and languages, so there may be opportunities for expats in these areas.
Houston, Dallas and Austin have been voted some of the country’s highest ranked employment hotspots with hundreds of thousands of new jobs created in recent years, and they have managed to keep their unemployment rates below the state average. There are some opportunities in the smaller towns but these are limited.
Agriculture is one of the main industries in the state but it has suffered a little during the economic downturn, so there are not many opportunities for workers. If you are thinking of starting your own farm or ranch then you need to carefully research the industry before you make the commitment to buy to minimise your risk.
Texas – Property
When it comes to choosing a location to move to, you will find that the major towns and cities in Texas all have their plus points. They all have good schools, good neighbourhoods to live in and good work opportunities. In both Dallas and Houston you are able to purchase a home for less than $20,000. These houses tend to be foreclosures or in neighbourhoods that are not as desirable, but if you are looking for a more luxurious area then you will find that it costs a great deal more. In all areas house sales are on the increase and prices are starting to rise again after the recent downturn, though in some areas, prices are only rising slowly so it is a good time to invest in property.
There is also a wide market for those who want to rent a property. Again, prices will vary depending upon the neighbourhood you choose. Properties are available furnished and unfurnished and tenancy agreements are for a minimum of 6 months.
Rural properties are also very popular in Texas and you will find that there are many farms and ranches for sale in the state.
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