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Welcome to Guides for Living, Working, Retiring, & Buying Property Abroad

Viewing category "Working Abroad"

Working Abroad

Posted on: 16th Jan 2015

Before planning to work abroad, you must ensure that it will be possible before making any commitments. If you don't qualify to live and work in a country by birthright or as a national of a country that's a member of a treaty (such as the European Union), obtaining a work permit may be impossible. Americans and others without the automatic right to work in the EU must have their employment approved by a country's Ministry of Labour and obtain an employment visa before arriving in an EU country. Most Europeans find it equally difficult to obtain a permit to work in the USA or Canada (unless they buy a business).

            Even when you don't require a permit, you shouldn't plan on obtaining employment in a particular country unless you have a firm job offer, special qualifications and/or experience for which there's a strong demand. If you want a good...


Posted on: 16th Jan 2015

Before moving abroad to find employment, you should dispassionately examine your motives and credentials. What kind of work can you realistically expect to do? What are your qualifications and experience? Are they recognised abroad? How good is your local language ability? Unless you're fluent, you won't be competing on equal terms with the locals (you won't anyway, but that's a different matter!). Most employers aren't interested in hiring anyone without, at the very least, an adequate working knowledge of the local language. Are there any jobs in your profession or trade in the country and area where you plan to live? Could you work in a self?employed capacity or start your own business? The answers to these and many other questions can be quite disheartening, but it's better to ask them before moving abroad rather than afterwards.

            Further information is available in our Living and Working series of books.


Self employment

Posted on: 16th Jan 2015

One of the easiest routes to working abroad is to be self-employed, although you will still need a work permit and it can be difficult to become established and make a good living. If you're an EU national or a permanent resident with a residence permit, you can work as a self-employed person or as a sole trader in a European Union country. If you want to be self-employed in a profession or trade in many countries, e.g. most European Union countries, you must meet certain legal requirements and register with the appropriate organisation, e.g. a professional must become a member of the relevant professional association. In many countries, the self-employed must have an official status and it's illegal to simply hang out a sign and start business.

            Members of some professions and trades must possess recognised professional qualifications and certificates, and are usually required to take a written examination...


Posted on: 16th Jan 2015

The most important qualification for working abroad is often the ability to speak the local language. Once you have overcome this hurdle you should establish whether your trade or professional qualifications and experience are recognised in a particular country. If you aren't experienced, employers usually expect studies to be in a relevant discipline and to have included work experience, i.e. on-the-job training. Professional or trade qualifications are required to work in many fields, although these are much more stringent in some regions (e.g. Northern Europe) than in others.

            Most qualifications recognised by professional and trade bodies in North America or European Union countries are accepted throughout the world. However, recognition varies from country to country, and in some cases foreign qualifications aren't recognised by local employers or professional and trade associations. All academic qualifications should also be recognised, although they may be given less prominence than equivalent local qualifications, depending...


Posted on: 16th Jan 2015

Although English is the lingua franca of international commerce and may help you secure a job in some countries, the most important qualification for anyone seeking employment is the ability to speak the local language. If you don't already speak the local language well, don't expect to learn it quickly, even if you already have a basic knowledge and take intensive lessons. It's common for foreigners not to be fluent after a year or more of intensive lessons. If your expectations are unrealistic you will become frustrated, which can affect your confidence. It takes a long time to reach the level of fluency needed to be able to work in most languages and to understand the various accents. If you don't speak the language fluently, you should begin lessons on arrival and consider taking a menial or even an unpaid voluntary job, as this is one of the quickest ways of...

Job Hunting

Posted on: 16th Jan 2015

When looking for a job abroad, it's best not to put all your eggs in one basket, as the more job applications you make, the better your chances of finding a good job. Contact as many prospective employers as possible, either by writing, telephoning or calling on them in person, depending on the type of vacancy. Whatever job you're looking for, it's important to market yourself correctly and appropriately, which depends on the type of job you're after. For example, the recruitment of executives and senior managers is handled almost exclusively by consultants who advertise in local newspapers (and also abroad) and interview all applicants prior to presenting clients with a shortlist. At the other end of the scale, manual jobs requiring no previous experience may be advertised at government employment centres, in local newspapers and in shop windows, and the first suitable, able?bodied applicant may be offered the job on...


Posted on: 16th Jan 2015

It can be difficult to determine the salary you should command abroad and getting the right salary for the job is something of a lottery. Salaries can also vary considerably for the same job in different parts of a country. A decade or so ago, working abroad (particularly in the Middle East) was highly attractive mainly because of the very high salaries offered, particularly in countries with low or no personal taxation. Although this is still true to some extent, salaries and expatriate packages are now generally less generous.

            Those working in major cities are usually the highest paid, mainly due to the higher cost of living (particularly accommodation), although if you're employed in a remote area you may receive a 'hardship' allowance. Salaries are usually negotiable and it's up to you to ensure that you receive the level of salary and benefits commensurate with your qualifica?tions and experience (or...

Working Conditions

Posted on: 16th Jan 2015

Working conditions in most countries are largely dependent on an employee's individual contract of employment and an employer's general employment conditions. Many aspects of working conditions are set by governments, and although many employers' pay and conditions are more generous than the statutory minimum, employers in many countries offer pay and conditions that are actually illegal. In many countries there's a huge disparity between the working conditions of hourly paid workers and salaried employees (i.e. monthly paid), even those employed by the same company. As in most countries, managerial and executive staff generally enjoy a much higher level of benefits than lower paid employees. Employees hired to work abroad by a multinational company may receive a higher salary (including fringe benefits and allow?ances) than those offered by local employers.

            Nationals of EU member states working in other EU countries have the same rights as local citizens, for example with regard...

Employment Conditions

Posted on: 16th Jan 2015

The term 'employment conditions' (as used here) refers to an employer's general employment terms and conditions (including benefits, rules and regulations) that apply to all employees, unless otherwise stated in individual contracts of employment. General employment conditions are usually referred to in employment contracts and employees usually receive a copy on starting employment (or in some cases beforehand). Certain subjects, such as health insurance and company pension plans, may be detailed in separate documents.

            Employment conditions may include the validity and applicability; place of work; salary and benefits; extra months' salary and bonuses; working hours and flexi?time rules; overtime and compensation; travel and relocation expenses; social security; company pension plan; accident insurance; unemployment insurance; salary insurance; health insurance; miscellaneous insurance; use of company cars; notification of sickness or accident; sick pay and disability benefits; annual and public holidays; compassionate and special leave of absence; allowances and paid expenses; probationary and...

Contract of Employment

Posted on: 16th Jan 2015

In many countries, a 'contract of employment' exists as soon as an employee proves his acceptance of an employer's terms and conditions of employment, e.g. by starting work, after which both employer and employee are bound by the terms offered and agreed. A contract isn't always in writing, although employers must usually provide employees with a written statement containing certain important terms of employment and additional notes, e.g. regarding discipline and grievance procedures. A written contract of employment should usually contain all the terms and conditions agreed between the employer and employee.

            You usually receive two copies of your contract of employment (which may be called a 'statement of terms and conditions' or an 'offer letter'), both of which you should sign and date. One copy must be returned to your employer or prospective employer, assuming you agree with the terms and want the job, and the other (usually the...