Working abroad can be an exciting, rewarding and horizon broadening experience; and if you take the time to plan ahead carefully before you go, you will make your transition into the overseas work place a smooth and successful one.
So, if you’re considering relocating overseas to take up a temporary assignment or you’d like to move abroad permanently and find work there are basically three main aspects of expatriation that you need to think about before you make your move and this article examines them for you.
Unless you’re being relocated by your employer to a fixed location you will quickly discover that it’s a big wide world and you therefore have a great deal of choice when considering which country best suits your lifestyle and employment requirements. In an effort to narrow down your search a little consider any country you’re interested in in view of the following considerations: -
i) The location’s distance from your home country and your family and friends – remember that there will be times you want or need to return home and/or to catch up with old faces. How easy and affordable will it be for you to go ‘back home’ should the need arise and how simple will it be for your friends and family to come and visit you?
ii) The weather – some countries are more or less hospitable in weather terms and someone who originally heralds from Tropical North Queensland may find it a struggle to cope with the wet, grey winters in England for instance and someone from Canada may find is a shock coping with the searing summer temperatures in Spain. Thinking about your ideal overseas location from a weather perspective may well cut down your choices!
iii) Your family – particularly if you’re expatriating with children you’ll need to think carefully about the healthcare and education facilities available overseas and also about getting your essential insurances in place before you go. Some countries are more expensive and restrictive than others…bear this in mind.
iv) Language barriers – if you’re considering moving to a country where the mother tongue is other than your own will this restrict your employment prospects? Can you overcome this by learning the language before you go or do you need to reconsider your destination?
Are you a professional in a given industry or do you have a flexible skill set that will allow you to seek work in many different sectors? Do your qualifications translate favourably and transfer directly overseas? What sectors would you like to work in, in which countries can you find work in a profession that suits you?
These are all questions you have to consider carefully. Next, if you’re moving overseas permanently you need to be practical and realistic and consider the long term employment prospects for you, your spouse and any other family members accompanying you…if you can find employment today how easy will it be to change employer or advance your career later in life?
You should then examine your desired location carefully and determine whether or not you need work permits, residency visas and permission to work and live abroad, if so you should get the ball rolling and apply as soon as possible in case of any paperwork and administrative delays.
Also consider the taxation and financial aspects of working abroad…remember that if you’re moving to a low cost country the economy will likely pay lower wages than you’re used to, will these be sufficient to sustain your ideal lifestyle?
Last but not least is the thought of finding somewhere to live abroad. By now you’ll have a clear favourite in the location stakes but now you need to examine the property market and whether it’s easy and affordable to rent accommodation when you first arrive and whether, long term, it’s possible for foreign residents to purchase freehold property abroad.
If you’re planning on moving abroad permanently you’ll also need to think about moving your household belongings and personal effects with you, and what about transporting your pets overseas too?
There are many relocation companies who specialise in relocating individuals and families abroad, these companies have a fantastic skills base to assist you with every single aspect of the process. If on the other hand you’re on a budget or looking to work abroad for a shorter period of time use the internet to find forums and information sites dedicated to expats, working abroad and the particular countries you’re interested in and you’ll quickly be amazed at the wealth of invaluable information out there.
About the author:
Rhiannon Williamson is a freelance writer based in Cyprus whose many articles about living and working abroad have appeared in expatriate publications around the world. Visit this link to read her latest articles about North Cyprus: -
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