Expats love to give advice. The “been there, done that” crowd can be found doling it out on blogs, in forums and at meet-ups around the globe. And there’s a lot to consider, especially if you’re doing it on your own, and aren’t being transferred by a corporation that takes care of those pesky things such as visas, work permits, health insurance and housing. If you’re thinking of an overseas job, whether it’s a transfer or you need to find employment, read on. We’ve gathered checklists, advice and slice-of-life examples from experienced expatriates to help you organise your thoughts and plans. Happy travels!
A Big ListExpat Arrivals has a comprehensive checklist to work through when planning a relocation. It’s a little daunting when you take a look at how many things there are to consider, and as many steps take some time to accomplish, the earlier you’re able to start, the better. The list includes:
- Visas and work permits — What you need will depend on the reason for your relocation.
- Working abroad — If the move is not a job transfer, you’ll need to look at the job market, your qualifications, and language requirements. If you are being transferred, check cost of living and tax ramifications to ensure your salary is sufficient.
- Accommodation — Will you sell or lease your home? If you rent, have you got enough time to give notice? Are you buying a home abroad or trying out a neighbourhood with a short-term lease first?
- Family matters — Expatriates with families need to consider schools for children and job opportunities for spouses. If pets are involved, check quarantine requirements and whether you need veterinarian-issued certificates of health.
- Transport — Have you sold your car, or will you ship it? Will you buy a car overseas or use public transport? Look into the driving licence requirements in your new country.
- Finance — Do you need a local bank account? Should you close your accounts at home? Will your tax status be affected by your move?
- Healthcare — Ensure that you and your family are covered for healthcare, including dental and prescription medications, for the entire time you are residing outside your home country.
A Smaller ListThere’s another interesting list, which rather reinforces why all the aforementioned planning is so necessary. It’s an article from Expats Blog, called Top 10 Expat Mistakes – Common Problems to Avoid, and the very first mistake on it is not doing enough research. Healthcare makes it, as does restricting your social scene to other expats, but financial mistakes appear a few times in different guises. Money issues can arise when:
- You underestimate your budget (which can be blamed on lack of initial research).
- You go into holiday mode upon arrival, which blows even a well-researched budget.
- You don’t have a backup plan, which would include emergency funds in case of job loss.