Most of us have thought what it must be like to live and work abroad at some time or another. It might be whilst you’re relaxing on a tropical beach on holiday or cursing the daily commute to and from work on a dark cold and wet winter’s morning. However, for most of us, these thoughts, often considered through ‘rose-tinted glasses’, are simply a pipe dream but how about if you really were given the opportunity to work overseas? Your first reaction might be similar to winning the lottery but there are many issues you’d need to consider.
VisasYou should establish your right to able to work in the country you plan to go to. If outside the European Economic Area (EEA), you’re probably going to need a visa or some other kind of work permit so you need to find out exactly what you do need and ensure that you get the correct papers.
Work ContractYou should ask for a Contract of Employment, which should clearly state the job offer, the start date, how long it’s for, salary details and how and when you’re going to be paid and any other relevant terms and conditions of your employment. Then, you should have the contract checked out by an employment lawyer based in the country you intend to work and it’s a good idea to have it checked out by a similar specialist in the UK also.
Health and InsuranceYou might require inoculations and vaccination certificates so you’ll need to check this out and also find out who is liable to pay for them, i.e. you or your prospective employer? You should also find out about healthcare facilities where you’ll be living, along with any associated costs, and start making plans to obtain both travel and health insurance cover and to ensure that the cover meets your needs.
If you have a medical condition already, you’ll want to establish what provisions there are to help you cope with that overseas and whether any medication you’re taking is readily available once you get there.
TravelHow you’re going to get there, who pays for it, whether or not you have any paid travel back for home visits and the costs of transporting your belongings, storage costs and any airport or dock fees for shipping are some of the travel issues you’ll need to sort out, as wells as who’s going to pay for these costs. You’ll also want to know how long it is likely to take before all of your belongings will arrive at your destination.
DrivingYou’ll need to obtain an International Driving Licence and find out if the company are providing you with a car and, if so, who’s paying for that and any associated insurance and running costs.
Language BarriersIf you can’t speak the language, you’ll need to find out if your employer is paying for language tuition and whether they’re prepared to pay for an interpreter to get you through the early days and the matters you’ll need to deal with upon your arrival.
Child Care and SchoolingIf you have children, you’ll need to know what childcare provisions have been made and that they any that have been are all above board and any credentials checked. You may also need to find out about schooling for children and what options and assistance your children may have.
SpouseIf your spouse is coming with you, find out their legal position regarding obtaining employment and what assistance the company is planning on giving them, if any, both on a practical level and financially.
Local Customs And LawsIt’s important you do your homework and find out as much as you can about any local customs and laws that you will be subject to. You’ll want to fit in and also avoid offending anybody and, perhaps more importantly, you won’t want to break the law.
These are all just some of the many considerations you’re likely to have to take into account before accepting a job overseas and there may be plenty of other issues of concern to you too. What is clear in all cases, however, is that it’s not simply a case of ‘upping sticks’, jumping on a plane and jetting off into the sun. There’s far more to it than that and it takes a lot of planning and fact finding first.
Nevertheless, thousands of others have done this before you so you should not be put off as it could be a fantastic, once in a lifetime opportunity for you and your family. Just ensure that everything is above board and that you’ve put all your safeguards in place.