5 Things to Consider When Deciding to Work Abroad

Considering moving overseas to gain some international work experience? In today’s global economy companies provide plenty of opportunities to work abroad, and international work experience is seen as a valuable asset to have on your CV or résumé, especially if you have strong business English skills.

However, before accepting that offer and putting your signature down on the contact, there’re couple of things worth thinking through before you accept a new job abroad.

 

1. Legal stuff – Visa, work permit, and any other paperwork  

If you need a working visa, make sure you get it sorted out as soon as possible. Usually your employer will support you throughout the process, however there’re plenty of documents to be prepared from your side too, such as degree certificate, résumé, criminal record check, and so on.

It’s good to also make sure you fully understand the rights and limitations associated with the type of visa you’ll be issued. For example, some visas do not allow you to change jobs for a certain period of time. Find out what happens in case the employer terminates your contract: are you obliged to leave immediately or do have the right to stay in the country to look for another job, and if yes, then for how long.

Working regulations vary from country to country and can be rather complex, so in case you’re not sure, it might be worth getting a professional advice from an immigration lawyer. The investment will pay off and save you time, money, and nerves. Government websites such as www.gov.uk, www.usa.gov and www.australia.gov.au can also offer advice and guidance on the legal side of things.

 

visa work abroad
Be sure to have all of your paperwork figured out with enough time to get your visa processed before you leave

 

2. Do the math – Expected salary, taxes, and cost of living

Even though the salary abroad might be higher than what you were/could be getting at home, it is important to take into consideration tax deductions and living costs. First of all, find out exactly how much you are going to receive after tax. Then research accommodation, transportation, and food prices. This will give you an idea of what lifestyle you will be able to afford after the relocation.

Don’t forget about the relocation costs. Will you need to move any of your stuff abroad or get something for the new home? If you already have a job offer, check with your future employer to see if they offer a relocation allowance to help you cover the costs.

 

cost of living work abroad
It may be more expensive to live abroad – or less expensive! It helps to do the research

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3. Working conditions – Hours, holidays, and health insurance

Working hours and holiday allowance might also differ from what you were used to in your home country. For example, in the USA standard working week is 40 hours long, and workers take on average only 10 days of paid leave per year, while in the UK employees work 35-37 hours per week, and a minimum 28 days holiday allowance is enforced by law.

Health insurance is a significant factor as well, since medical bills tend to be quite costly almost universally. Check whether your employer contributes towards a health insurance, or consider getting an international insurance if you are planning to move first and then look for a job.

 

job contract work abroad
Every country has different laws and regulations it has to follow when it comes to employee benefits

 

4. Can you handle it? – Culture shock

Immersing yourself into a new culture is exciting, however trying to fit in with unfamiliar cultural expectations, traditions, and way of life can be quite challenging. Be open-minded and curious, and make sure you’re not spending all of your time in the office. Get the best out of what the new country has to offer – go to concerts and exhibitions, explore local galleries and museums, discover new foods, and travel around on the weekends. Keep the bigger picture and main reasons why you moved abroad in mind, and it will help you to get through the adaptation period.

 

culture shock work abroad
You never know what sort of things you might come across in your new country – it's different from home, after all!

 

5. Keeping in touch with your roots – Family and friends

Moving abroad is a big decision, which certainly affects everyone in your family. Both travel distance and associated costs will affect how often you will be able to visit your parents, or if they will be able to come visit you. Think about emergency situations – in an event of poor health, is there somebody to take care of your parents or other close relatives? If you are in a relationship, consider the effects long distance might have on it in case your partner is not planning to relocate with you.  

 

video message work abroad
The occasional video chat or phone call helps flight off the homesickness blues

 

Remember, the more research you do in advance, the smoother your transition will go. Don’t let the challenges put you off – after all, living and working abroad is an amazing experience and an adventure worth embracing!

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