What to Consider When Moving Abroad for Work


Changing countries in search of a satisfying job and increased earnings is a common experience, with many people opting to move abroad to further their career or simply to experience a different culture. It’s not a decision that should be taken lightly though – moving abroad is a very big step.

Moving Abroad for Work

Here are five of the most important things that you need to think about before you decide to move abroad:

1. Adapting to Culture and Language

If your new job is in a large city, you could probably get away with speaking English on a day-to-day basis, but think about the implications of not speaking the local language. In some countries, this may be more of an issue than in others. Cultural differences can also make it tricky to adapt to a new location, but often where cultural differences are big, you will find strong expat communities that can offer excellent support.

2. Do you Qualify for a Visa?

The visa requirements in some countries can be very strict. A degree and solid earnings may not be enough – some countries expect advanced degrees and evidence of career achievements. Visa conditions should be one of the first things that you check before you decide to make a move abroad for work. However, employers can be very willing to help out with any potential visa issues in order to retain a candidate.

3. The Local Cost of Living

One of the top reasons for moving abroad is simply this: more money. However, in addition to tax considerations, you should also look at the total cost of living in your new location. High-income countries in particular can prove a tripping point: though salaries are high, the cost of living in terms of housing, transport, and day-to-day expenses can quickly erase the initial uplift in salary that you experience.

4. Consider the Cost of Childcare and Education

Moving abroad with children can be particularly challenging and very expensive if you have a number of children to support. If you’re in a country with a foreign language, you can face very high schooling costs. However, your employer may be willing to help you. Singapore is one location that is popular with people who wish to move abroad to work, and it is not uncommon for employers to pay international school fees in Singapore on behalf of their employees to help them with their move.

5. Tax Implications

Most countries have double tax treaties signed, but you should always look at the exact taxation laws that you are subject to as you may find that you must pay tax to two governments. This can be the case if you are working abroad for a short period only, though for shorter assignments it may be possible to reclaim any tax paid to the government in your temporary country of residence.

There are clearly important points to consider before you move abroad, but any negative factors should be weighed against the additional life experience that you will gain and the advancement that working abroad will bring to your career. The right choice is not always crystal clear, but having a complete picture of the positive and negative factors will help you to make a decision.

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