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New Yorkers seeking greener pastures overseas

Now that the streets of New York -- and America -- are no longer paved with gold, it's time to find the next land of opportunity.

A number of New Yorkers are already packing it in, seeking fortune or adventure elsewhere. Bankers are looking for the new World Trade Centers of Shanghai and Sao Paolo. Writers are seeking fresh opportunities in Dubai and Mumbai. And entrepreneurs are finding second careers in Taipei and Moscow.

"Just like you'd move from Cleveland to New York, there's people now that move from Cleveland to Paris on a one-way ticket," said Scott Sullivan, senior vice president at GMAC, a global relocation firm that helps employers and workers transition to jobs overseas.

Whether it be for temporary assignments or permanent job changes, the shrinking American job market is making a move abroad more enticing. Even Mexico City's financial job prospects are rosier than New York City's, job placement experts said.

"Mexico is supposed to be gearing up for a great year right now," said Annie Levy Sandin, managing principal at Emerging Globe Group, a recruiting firm for banks in Latin America.

International companies will be looking to scoop up top-tier candidates recently laid off from firms like Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch, she said. And the interest goes both ways, according to Sandin, who has seen 10 to 15 percent more resumes coming across her desk since the banking crisis began.

Meanwhile, international assignments are increasingly used to train workers as managers, according to GMAC's 2008 Global Relocation Trends Survey.

Dave Prager, an ad copywriter at Wunderman in Manhattan, got a call from human resources on July 25 and was offered a position with the company in New Delhi. By Aug. 1, he was in India. Prager, 31, moved from Park Slope with his wife, Jenny Steeves, 30. Overnight, he went from toiling on an ad assembly line to a management position.

"In New York, ... I was one of a 100 copywriters," said Prager, who spoke by phone from his home in India. "But here it's a massive jump in career responsibility and experience that I never would have gotten in the U.S."

Documenting the increase in overseas assignments, the GMAC survey found that, at the beginning of the year, 68 percent of 154 corporations worldwide planned to place more workers abroad.

That optimism may fade as the worldwide economy sours, Sullivan said. However, people will still be able to find opportunities to make the big move. They may just have to accept compromises such as less pay, fewer perks and permanent rather than temporary assignments abroad.

The good news, though, is that Americans can take advantage of a cheaper cost of living in many foreign countries. In Prager's case, his rent in India is only about 60 percent of what he paid in Brooklyn and he now has two bedrooms, three terraces and modern appliances.

In the short time Prager has been in India, he's already kissed New York goodbye and adjusted to life in New Delhi.

"We take auto rickshaws to get everywhere," he said.

So you're looking for a job overseas but don't know where to begin or what to do even if you got one? Here's some advice:

- Let your company know you're interested in going. Also, reach out to contacts in your industry who are currently living overseas to help you find jobs or headhunters.

- If you decide to go, hire an international moving company, which can help you navigate customs. Make sure to take only what is absolutely necessary and store the rest.

- Open up an account with an international bank, which can help you set up credit and write deposit checks in your new country.

- Once you arrive in the country, reach out to members of the expat community. They will be a good resource to help you get settled in.

A survey of 154 companies around the world identified the destinations that are emerging as the most popular places to relocate employees:

1. China

2. India

3. Russia

4. Poland

5. Taiwan

6. Mexico

7. Vietnam

8. Dubai

9. United Arab Emirates

10. Brazil

Source: 2008 Global Relocation Trends Survey

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