Planning for a trouble-free start to your job abroad
Working abroad can be a culturally enriching and satisfying experience which can give your career a boost and provide you with a new outlook on life. While many people adapt well to living in another culture, they can find that the hardest part of the move is sorting out the practical issues.
Working abroad can be a culturally enriching and satisfying experience which can give your career a boost and provide you with a new outlook on life.
While many people adapt well to living in another culture, they can find that the hardest part of the move is sorting out the practical issues – where to live, how to manage your money and the effects the move will have on your family.
The more planning you do before you leave, the more confident you will feel about handling the red tape when you arrive – leaving you able to concentrate on your job.
Abbey International have developed a simple checklist that should help all those who may soon be moving abroad to work. Their guide is designed to get you thinking about some of the important issues you will face – and the earlier you start to plan, the easier your transition should be.
- Do you have a contract of employment overseas? This is important to protect you if the job doesn’t work out and you decide to come home early.
- Are you taking your family? Remember to consider that your family may need to embrace cultural differences which would not necessarily affect you directly. Your partner may not be granted a work permit, although your employer may help you with forms and appropriate paperwork. If you are taking your children, there are many education options available to you including; international schools, boarding schools, local schools or home schooling. Make sure you research these options carefully and apply for school places well in advance. Check whether your employer will help with the cost of school fees.
- Have you made arrangements for your health? Arrange vaccinations before you leave the UK. If you haven’t already got it, take out private health insurance and investigate whether you are eligible for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which is valid in European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland. If your work takes you to some of the more problematic parts of the world, you may need to make sure your health insurance covers risks in war zones or those threatened by terrorist activity.
- Where will you live? Do you need to go out in advance to find a property for your family, or will it be supplied by your employer? If you need to arrange your own rental property, will your employer pay for your hotel stay while you research your options? If you are planning a long-term stay overseas, will you sell your UK home and buy abroad?
- What will happen when your contract ends? Will your employer find you a new post or will you have to look for a new job before you come back?
- How will you fund your pension? Pension planning is different for expatriates and the tax treatment will affect the method you use to save for your retirement. Some UK savings products are not available to overseas residents, so check with your professional adviser or local tax office to see whether you will be able to continue contributing to a UK pension.
- How will you organise your day to day finances? Many people neglect to sort out bank accounts until they arrive at their new posting, but you can save yourself a lot of time and effort if you organise an offshore bank account before you leave the UK. This way, you will have all the necessary documentation to hand – for example copies of passports and recent utility bills, and you can ask your bank for a reference to speed up the application process for opening an offshore bank account. Look for a bank which offers a secure internet banking service, specialist skilled staff and competitive rates of interest on savings accounts. Local banks in your destination country may not understand the needs of expatriates and local financial advice and products may be inappropriate to your situation.
- What about UK tax? You will need to fully understand your UK and local tax position in your new country of residence. If you are in any doubt about your tax liabilities at home or abroad you should seek professional independent advice.
- Will your mortgage be affected? Tell your mortgage lender that you will be out of the country. If you are planning to sublet your home while you are away, you will need the permission of your mortgage bank in advance and this may affect your interest rate.