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FAQs for Living and Working Overseas:

Written by a former Peace Corps Volunteer living overseas since 1989

The Expat Guy: FAQs for Working and Living Overseas

Can I set up my first overseas job before I go?
Or should I go there to job hunt?

Which way works best?

The author likes to set up his jobs before moving to a country.  Only once in my career have I gone to a country, done interviews, and selected the job I wanted - before actually moving there.

While moving first and lining up a job once there, has its appeal - I, personally, am not that confident in new countries or new situations.

If you know the country you'd like to move to well - and have the financial ability - it probably would work best for you to go there first.  If you don't know the country and language well, it probably is better to line up your job from your home country.

Why do some people advocate going there first?

On the scene you can meet people that work at the company or school you are considering, see if the housing is decent, meet your employer, and see if things are as stated.  Accepting a job from overseas makes these things difficult. 

Also, some employers prefer to hire people on the scene.  They don't really know for sure if an overseas hire is going to show up or not.  If you are already there, obviously the odds are much better that you will be there for work on Monday morning.

Visa Problems

BUT - many countries require that you apply for your work visa from outside that country.  Tourist visas (what you usually get when you arrive) are often - maybe usually - not convertible to work visas.  So, even if you do line up a job, you may still need to leave the country and go to a neighboring country to get the correct visa.  This is an additional expense that you will need to consider.  Travel, hotel, and visa expenses can add up.

Local Hiring

Some employers prefer to hire locally, but this varies greatly by country. Be aware though that some companies may actually penalize you for applying locally.  Some "Local Hire" contracts will not include airfare, housing, education expenses for children and other benefits that will be built into the overseas contract. These issues are important to sort out before you go.  The preferences will often vary by country, profession and employer.



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