I have been offered the opportunity to work overseas for a year, but I am not sure.


What should I consider?

 

The opportunity to live and work abroad is a great one, but it isn’t for everybody. Working abroad offers you the chance to broaden your horizons and immerse yourself in another culture, but there are many things to consider including work permits, visas, insurance and tax implications as well as whether you will actually be happy living in another country.


The first thing to ask yourself is: what will I get out of working abroad? Are you interested in improving your language skills? Or want to experience living in another culture? Or it could be that this is a job opportunity you cannot get in the UK. Moving overseas is a big commitment; you must be sure you will be benefiting from the experience before you consider the wider implications.


Working in another country will allow you to demonstrate to future employers your ability to work with diverse groups of people and your willingness to learn about different cultures and working styles. It will also show that you are motivated to develop your career. However, you must also balance this with whether you will enjoy working abroad.


Consider carefully the differences in culture, cuisine, weather and living conditions that will impact on your everyday life. Do not underestimate the possibility of culture shock. As an ex-pat, you will be a minority figure in a place different from the one you have lived for most of your life. This can be a stressful experience and you must think about what support you will have if you do find it difficult to cope.


On the more practical side, if you are looking to work outside the EU you have to ensure that you have the correct work permits and visas. Once you have a job offer your prospective employer has to apply for your visa on your behalf. It may be best to contact the country’s foreign embassy in the UK to ensure you have all the correct information and to find out whether you are eligible for a visa.


You must also be aware of any possible implications for your healthcare while you are overseas. There may be vaccinations that you need to take before you leave and you will need comprehensive health insurance for your time abroad.


Another consideration is the tax implications of your destination. You may have to pay UK tax and National Insurance contributions as well as local tax. Also, don’t forget that employment rights differ from country to country. Before you go, familiarise yourself with the local requirements for working hours, annual leave and public holidays to avoid nasty surprises.

 

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