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United States of America (USA) - West Virginia

West Virginia is located in the mid-Atlantic area of the US and shares borders with Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Maryland. Charleston is the state capital and the largest city. The state lies in the Appalachian Mountains and the state has the nickname of ‘The Mountain State’. There are a number of national parks and the state attracts high numbers of visitors each year. The climate of the country is humid subtropical at lower levels. The region has hot summers but milder winters.

The state has a population of just under 2 million people. There is a small community of expats in the state but only just over 1% of residents are foreign nationals. There are a number of thriving towns that might be attractive to expats as well as Charleston. These include Huntington and Parkersburg as well as some of the smaller towns, which are ideal for those looking to retire to the area.

The state has many natural resources which have helped to develop the state’s industries. Agriculture is a major part of the state’s economy with the main crops including hay, corn, tobacco and potatoes. Mining is also a large part of the economy, with the state producing around 15% of the coal used by the country.

West Virginia – Employment

The rate of unemployment in West Virginia is around 9%. Employment opportunities in the state are across a wide variety of industries. The state government is one of the main employers, although there are opportunities in the medical, retail, teaching and mining industries. Medical professionals who are moving to West Virginia from abroad will find that they are not able to practice immediately but will need to undergo assessment before they can obtain a licence.

If you are unsure about how to find a suitable job the main towns and cities all have employment agencies that can help to match you to relevant vacancies if you have the correct visas and work permits. These positions can range from administrative positions to senior management in a range of companies.

The recent economic downturn has left some businesses in the region suffering and many went out of business altogether. Recovery is now beginning although expats may find that some small towns offer very few employment opportunities as a result. Newcomers to the area are advised to try the larger towns if looking for employment.

Huntingdon is an industrialised area, with steel and other metal works in the region as well as some major utility companies. There are work opportunities for both skilled and unskilled workers in the area. The city offers tax incentives for those who want to start their own business and expats who move to the area with this intention will find that the local Chamber of Commerce will be able to give them a great deal of help.

West Virginia – Property

There are a number of schemes in place in the state to provide affordable housing to the residents. These include fixed rate loans over a longer period of time, but priority will be given to existing residents of the state.

Charleston has a variety of properties both for sale and rent, ranging from apartments to detached houses and newcomers with families will find that the communities are family friendly with some of the best schools in the state. Properties in some areas can be bought very cheaply if you are prepared to live in an area that is not so exclusive and in a house that may need a little work. As with all areas, it is possible to buy foreclosure homes very cheaply.

Huntington is a cheaper place to live mainly because it is a smaller area and is less of a tourist attraction than Charleston although there are many recreational facilities available. The city has a large number of apartments and is popular with young professionals, although as you move further towards the outskirts of the town you will find larger detached homes in more tranquil communities.

Rental properties are available both furnished and unfurnished and tenancy agreements are for a minimum of six months. There are many agencies that can help you to find a rental property but this can prove to be expensive in some areas, so it is important to look at several different districts for a rental property before choosing one.

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