Things to consider when taking a job abroad

Considering moving overseas for work? Here’s a quick rundown of things you need to consider before taking a job abroad.

Moving overseas for work can be exciting – but it can also be daunting. It’s not a two week holiday where you’re a temporary tourist – this will be a place where you will make your home and build a life for several months, if not years.

To help you weigh up the decision whether to go or not, here are some things to consider when taking a job abroad.

Trethowans
Trethowans

Know what you’re getting yourself into

A job overseas is certainly going to have its challenges, and those challenges will vary from country to country.

You want to ensure that if it’s something that you’ve agreed to and it’s not necessarily on behalf of a company, then you want to know exactly what you are getting yourself into, and what’s expected of you.

If you’re taking a job with a company, then they should be able to give you all the relevant information, as well as helping you make a move over there – whether it’s a brief stay or a more permanent move.

But don’t simply say yes without first doing your own research and getting all the relevant information you need to make an informed decision – especially if you’re moving with your family.

There will be things you need to know in order to make an informed decision. And not just related to your work – what about your home life over there?

Think about all the things that you and your family need for a fulfilling life – a home, shopping, community, education, social life, leisure… our lives are constructed from many pieces of a puzzle that all fit together. And it’s important to have some idea of what your new life in the new country will look like, and whether you can construct a ‘puzzl’e that will fulfil you and your family there.

The last thing you want is to agree to a relocation, and then find out that it wasn’t for you once you’ve moved your life and family across the world.

Consider the legal aspects

There are legal aspects to consider when working overseas and again, this is something that you need to look into properly before making a decision.

At the very least, you’ll need to secure a working visa for yourself, and visas for any family members accompanying you. If you’re being relocated by a company for a job then they would usually handle all the legal aspects for you.

But if you’re planning a move on your own, you’ll benefit from seeking the help of an immigration solicitor. They’ll be able to advise on the correct visas, and what kind of evidence you’ll need to provide to secure one. They can even make the application for you – saving you time, stress and increasing your chances of being granted a visa.

Think about the location

The location you choose to move to (or are moved to by your company) will also have a big influence on your decision to relocate.

What kind of lifestyle will you be able to have there? What are the local politics? What’s the climate like? Will you be in a city, or you be living in a remote location? What kind of amenities will be available? And can you find food you like?

This last one may seem a small point, but it’s one of the most important. Your new location will be your home for the next few months, and possibly even years. And while it’s exciting to try new cuisines occasionally, nothing tastes like home.

So if there are types of food that you enjoy eating, or comfort you, it’s important to find out if they’re available where you are moving to. If you are relocating to somewhere so remote that you won’t be able to get the basics, you need to carefully consider whether you’ll embrace the adventure, or will just end up homesick and miserable after a while.

Speak to fellow expats

Before you make the final decision to take a job abroad, it’s worth making the effort to seek out fellow ex-pats, especially if it’s going to be a country where you’re still trying to learn the language.

Ask them what life is like over there. What they find hard, and what are the benefits? How easy is it to pick up the local language? Or to get around without knowing much of it – as you’ll probably need to when you first arrive.

Is the local community welcoming to expats? Is there a strong community there? What’s the social life like? Where do they shop, eat and spend their leisure time? How easy is it to find home comforts?

These insights can give you an idea of whether you’ll be able to build a life that you and your family will enjoy while living overseas.

Photo by fran hogan