Nothing is more uncomfortable than leaving the familiar sight of your home country and venturing into uncharted lands. But part of getting by in this world is having a consistent source of income and sometimes that source may ask you to leave your comfort zone.
There are plenty of reasons why some folks move abroad for a job. A career switch, a fresh start, or a promotion; whatever the case, you’ve decided to pack your bags and leave everything behind to settle in another country miles and miles away.
Whether you are one of those that have spent their entire lives comfortably in their country or a wanderlust that loves to travel – there is a lot that you need to know before and after you move abroad for a job.
Here are some important things to know before moving abroad for a job.
Before you move
Moving abroad is not as easy as packing your bag with five of your favorite outfits. It requires a lot of planning and research. To help you get started on your journey, the following are a few ways you can plan out your move:
- Analyze the job opportunity
Before you even begin to stress about moving to another country, think long and hard about the job opportunity at hand. How bad do you want it? Are there similar opportunities in your city/country that you can take up?
Because make no mistake, moving to another country is no easy task. You are effectively moving to an alien land with possibly no familiar face to lend a hand. But that shouldn’t deter you from taking the opportunity of a lifetime. What it should do is give you the push you need to do your research.
- Learn about your employer
It should go hand-in-hand with step 1. You need to have a clear idea about your next employer.
The internet makes it easy to access reviews via professional sites like Glassdoor and Linkedin. Follow what employees are saying. Pay special attention to reviews by ex-employees, learn what made them leave the company.
It is a difficult reality but some employers pay salaries late. It is particularly more distressing for foreign employees. They don’t have many, or at times no, family and friends to fall back on in times of economic struggle.
- Study your finances, identify your cost of living
You’re in luck if you work for a multinational firm that is willing to help you with the costs of living abroad. For just about everyone else, it is essential that you research the costs associated with local properties on rent, commutes, and other household and living costs.
Once you have a clear picture of the amount you need to carry on comfortably with your life, we recommend renegotiating your salary or looking for an alternative source of income to bridge the gap.
It’s also important to consider the cost of an immigration visa. That expense might fall on you unless your company has a visa policy.
- The language barrier
There is a possibility that you could end up in a country that doesn’t speak the same language. For example, native English speakers who move to Japan find it a lot harder to fit in. In that case, your company may expect you to learn Japanese prior to the move.
There is a steep learning curve, but with language learning applications (like Duolingo or Memrise) so readily available you’ll be a native speaker in no time!
- Learn about tax treaties
Most of us are completely aware of this, but most countries have bilateral tax treaties governing the amount that a non-resident is to be taxed on their income; determined by their origin country. The United Kingdom currently has over one hundred different tax treaties, and the United States has tax treaties where foreign nationals are taxed at lower rates, etc.
By learning about the different tax treaties between your home country and the country that you are moving to, you can avoid double taxation and (in some cases) benefit from a period of exemption.
- Understand the local culture
Each country has its own set of customs, values, and manners. Be it in the workplace or in a casual setting, understanding the local culture can help you avoid looking…unrefined.
For example, some hand gestures that are commonplace in the United States could be seen as disrespectful or vulgar outside of its borders. Learn about what is (or isn’t) acceptable in your new homeland before you have an awkward encounter at the water cooler.
- Plan things out with your family
Things are somewhat more manageable if you are a single individual moving abroad. However, for those of us with family, it becomes essential to plan things out with them. If your family is staying back home while you move abroad for work, we recommend that you consider the cost of visiting home on important occasions or during emergencies.
Alternatively, if your family is moving with you, you should look into schooling options, activities, and additional household expenses tied with the move. When moving, you should look into possibly hiring a moving company, someone that specializes in moving and packing boxes to make the transition even smoother.
- Sell or rent out your existing property
A vacant property indicates loss of possible income. Depending upon whether your move is permanent or temporary, we recommend that you consider selling or renting out your existing property.
Renting out the property can allow you to reap the benefits of additional income, and can act as a safety net upon your return back home.
Selling the property, on the other hand, can relieve you of the stress of managing a property from overseas and give you immediate access to a sum that can really come in handy with your move abroad.
After you move
Settling into a new house, a new city, and an entirely new country is no easy endeavor. Thankfully there’s Google Maps to help guide you to the nearest grocery store or laundry service, but for everything Google doesn’t cover, we do!
After the move, you’ll need to build a lot more than just your takeout menu collection…
- Build Your Network
Perhaps the most significant benefit of relocating to a new country for work is being able to expand your network globally.
If you only had connections in the U.S, now by moving to, for example, Australia, you are able to learn, interact, and network with people that spend their December enjoying hearty barbecues by the beach.
In addition to building meaningful connections with foreign professionals, building your social network is also something that you should focus on. We recommend that you look into social events and meet up groups, and take part in leisure activities that can help you meet people with a similar mindset to yours.
Remember! More connections lead to more job opportunities! Hopefully, with all of this information in your mental arsenal, the transition into your new home abroad will be as smooth as possible.
About the Author: Jessica Hanson is the Head of Content for Hire A Box – a moving company based out of Sydney, Australia. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling around the world to different surf spots and sampling the local cuisine.
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