Working abroad: Checklist
As well as finding a job overseas, there are some issues you need to consider in advance. Work through this checklist to make sure you're prepared to move abroad...
Visas and work permits
- UK or EU citizens do not need a work permit or visa to work legally in any other country in the European Union (EU)
- For many other countries - most notably the USA - it is much more difficult to obtain a work permit. In most cases, you will need a job offer before getting the relevant visa. This needs to be applied for, on your behalf, by your prospective employer.
- Some countries have skilled migration programmes designed to attract suitably qualified foreign workers to plug skills shortages in the local economy. The immigration section of government websites will inform you of any specialist programmes.
- Some countries, such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand, operate a points system to determine visa eligibility. This is for those wishing to emigrate rather than work short term.
- Check the relevant foreign embassy in the UK for specific information about visas and other legal requirements. Contact details for all foreign embassies in the UK are available at Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)
- Certain countries require a passport to remain valid for a minimum period after the date you enter the country, so check if you need to renew yours before you go.
Health and insurance
- The UK has reciprocal healthcare arrangements with most European countries, which means that UK citizens are entitled to free or reduced-cost medical treatment. If you're working in a European Economic Area (EEA) country, you will need to obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
- Outside the EEA, you will generally have to pay for medical treatment. It is advisable to investigate healthcare costs and options for getting health insurance. A country-by-country guide to entitlements is available from NHS Country Guidance
- If you require vaccinations, check with your GP when you need to receive them.
- Getting adequate travel insurance before you go is very important. It can help you get practical, as well as financial, assistance abroad should something go wrong. Prices and levels of cover vary widely, so it is worth shopping around.
- The FCO has helpful advice on staying safe and healthy abroad, finding the right insurance and what to do if things go wrong.
- Tax - if you're moving overseas inform HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
. Even if you are not living in the UK there may be a requirement for you to pay tax, depending on your situation. Also, find out about the tax system in your destination country and how it will affect you.
- National insurance - you may be required to pay UK National Insurance contributions while you are working abroad; contact HMRC.
- Pensions - if you're already in a UK-based pension scheme, you should seek advice on the implications of working overseas for your pension status; contact HMRC. You may also wish to seek professional pension advice.
- In all these matters you need to consider the implications when you are abroad and what needs to be done if/when you return.
Transferability of qualifications
- Your qualifications might not be clearly understood by potential employers, unfamiliar with the UK education system. In a bid to help with this, Europass
, a European-wide initiative, provides a portfolio of five documents which serve to increase the transparency of people's competencies, skills and qualifications through a standardised format.
- Overseas employers may place value on different factors compared with UK employers, so you'll need to tailor applications appropriately.
- Unless your employer is organising accommodation overseas on your behalf, you should look into housing opportunities and any property regulations that may affect you.
- Be extremely careful of handing over money in advance. If in doubt, take someone with you who speaks the language when viewing properties, so they can help with questions and contract terms. Don't sign anything you don't understand and get it translated if necessary.
- The Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP)
has a searchable database of members, which will help you identify estate agents to contact.
- GOV.UK - Moving or Retiring Abroad
has a useful checklist to work through before you go.
- Family members travelling with you may not necessarily have the same residency status as you.
- Partners may not be entitled to work in your chosen country just because you can.
- If you're travelling overseas with children, you should consider what educational facilities are available for them.
Sourced by Suzanne Agnew, University of Edinburgh