8 Questions To Ask Before Taking A Job Abroad
In the last few decades, the word globalisation has truly taken on a new meaning and the number of people emigrating from country to country has risen dramatically. It is now more common than ever to spend some of your working life in a foreign country, but you should never go into such a situation without thinking long and hard about what it means.
There are so many things to consider before you embark on such an adventure and we intend to cover as many as we can in this article. Let's jump straight in with the number one point...
Are There Any Working Restrictions Or Visa Requirements?
Every country will have their own rules and laws that dictate who can enter and live there, and whether they are permitted to take a job there too.
It is absolutely vital that you become intimately acquainted with the immigration laws for the country that you wish to work in. Details such as this can normally be found online at the official governmental website for that country, and most will also have an embassy in your current country to get things like visas sorted out and potentially to conduct interviews.
Once you are in a country, ensure that you follow any requirements set out for you and always make the relevant authorities aware of a change in your circumstances – the last thing you want is to break the law and face deportation.
Are You Prepared For Cultural Differences?
No matter how close the ties are between the country you live in now and the one that you want to emigrate to, be prepared for some cultural differences. In some cases these will be relatively small, but quite often it will take some real getting used to.
Depending on your personality type, you may find that you cope fairly well with the local customs and traditions or you may experience a bit of a shock, even an overload of emotions and anxieties.
There are mechanisms that you can employ to help you handle such situations and they include having some points of contact in the country beforehand – whether work related or people you plan to meet through online social channels (e.g. meetup.com). Having someone with local knowledge to show you around and explain things will really be of great benefit to you.
Can You Speak The Local Lingo?
You might think that English is fairly widely spoken these days and while this is true to some extent, it is not often going to be the first language and there will inevitably be people you meet whose English is either basic or non-existent.
So have you thought about how good your grasp of the local language is? While you may think that you'll learn it as you go, it is highly recommended that you learn at least a basic conversational level before you take off to another country.
Is The Money Enough To Live Comfortably On?
Depending on where you are moving from and to, the amount of money that you earn in a different region of the world might seem like a lot or a little. But this is inconsequential to some degree as it's not the absolute amounts that matter; the real question to ask is how far the wage you are going to get will go towards supporting the lifestyle you envisage.
Are you going to want to live in a more up market area to feel safer? Do you see yourself going out and socialising a lot? Do you want to live by yourself or with others?
Research things such as rents, food prices, utility bills, travel costs, and what you might pay for an evening out; make a budget of what you expect to pay in outgoings each month and compare it to the wage that you expect to receive. Can you afford to live how you want to live and have you got funds saved up that can be used to subsidise an insufficient pay packet?
What State Services Are You Entitled To?
As a national of your birth country, you are most probably entitled to all of the state run services such as healthcare, but there may be different rules for immigrants and you should be aware of these before you move. If you are living and working in the UK or other countries with universal healthcare, then you need to ensure you know the rules which will vary to some degree.
Some countries may not even have the state provision that you are used to which means that you might have to pay for it privately. This is especially important for health services such as emergency care, dental, and longer term illness.
Make sure that you are fully aware and covered before you make that journey because will all the best will in the world, you cannot predict when you might need assistance.
How Will You Keep In Touch With Loved Ones?
No matter how independent you consider yourself to be, you will inevitably feel a little homesick at some point which is why you should be sure to find ways, and the time, to contact your family and friends back home now and again.
Modern technology has made this much easier than it used to be and you can make phone calls and even speak to someone face-to-face over the internet. Ensure that you set things up before you leave and that everyone who needs to be able to contact you, knows how to. Not everyone will be as familiar with technology as you are so be prepared to demonstrate how things such as Skype and Facetime work and leave instructions if needs be.
Also ensure that you make everyone aware of any time differences so that you can arrange the most convenient calls for both parties.
What Are The Details Of Your Contract?
Acquaint yourself intimately with the contract you have with your new employer. It is possible for there to be stipulations within it such as probation and notice periods, health cover, travel expenses, repatriation packages and other things of this nature.
Read through the details a few times to ensure that you know exactly what is required of you and what the process is if either party wants to terminate the arrangement.
How Will A Spell Abroad Affect My Career Prospects?
Lastly, you might want to ask yourself how working in another country for a period of time will impact the long term progression of your career.
While it might be seen as a positive by some employers, spending time in another country might actually mean you miss out on certain things. Perhaps you will end up gaining qualifications in the new country that are not as sought after by employers back home.
There is also the possibility that markets change differently over time depending on where you live. Thus, the experience that you gain in your overseas job might become obsolete in your home country.
Don't Rush Into Things
The 8 questions above are some of the most important to ask yourself when you are considering a working move abroad. Whatever you do, our advice is to never rush into something before you have thought carefully about it because it will be an expensive mistake to make if it doesn't work out.