Working Abroad - Dream or Nightmare?
Working abroad is eloquently described as 'living the dream' by the numerous TV 'lifestyle' shows which thrive on the enduring desire of many of the UK populace to escape from the suburban rat-race and world-renowned inclement weather. But is it really a dream?
With us at www.jobvacancies.org constantly scouring the feeds to bring the latest jobs news, we know all too well how difficult working in Britain is nowadays. It's not surprising that so many want to try something new.
Of course, there can be no question that there are many benefits in adopting a healthier and less stressful lifestyle, and spending more time with one's family is also a definite plus. From a psychological point of view, it is vitally important to 'carpe diem' and not be scared of failing to make your dreams come true. However, 'seizing the day' is not a euphemism for throwing all caution to the wind in some madcap romantic overseas adventure. So, what is the right approach?
Like any venture, go into it with your eyes open. Don't expect your new country to be perfect and, at the risk of being perceived as being negative, look for the minuses since the plusses will be obvious. For example, as an employee in your new homeland, what protection will you get?
In the UK, you can't just tell a worker that you don't need them and refuse to pay notice. However, it's not the same elsewhere. Outside of the EU, and even in some parts of the EU, employees are a commodity that can be used and discarded. If you aren't going to be working for a British employer, try to find out what rules your new employers work to or, more importantly, actually adhere to.
If you are looking to set yourself up as self-employed, check to see that your qualifications are accepted. Even in the EU, bureaucrats can insist on formal translations being supplied, or having a professional body pore over all your credentials, or even demand that you take new courses or exams (in a foreign language, too). This will all be at your expense, of course. Not only that, while you are trying to hard-sell yourself, you aren't going to be earning money for your family.
These people have endless ways of getting between you and your job, such as not recognising your home postcode, your place of birth, National Insurance number and so on. Do your best to verify that you will be accepted before you leave the UK or have sufficient funds in the bank to support 'you and yours' while you get your status.
While paying taxes is an almost universal reality, you may find yourself with the paradox of it being both compulsory and impossible. You must pay tax but you can't pay tax because your status or employment background is not recognised by a computerised system that wasn't designed with British Expats in mind.
Even if you do get started and don't have a problem with the language, it will be a long time before you are truly accepted. Note also that the British 'Last In, First Out' principle may not operate in times of corporate crisis. It could well be, 'Get rid of the foreigner first'.
And have you thought about the hours you will be expected to work? Many Mediterranean countries (for example) have a siesta type midday break. This only works if you can get home for lunch and don't mind working much later into the evening (typically about 8pm) than you are probably used to in the UK. You may only be able to do your romantic stroll along the beach on weekends and public holidays.
These are just a few of the snags but there are more which you'll find described at www.jobvacancies.org. However, don't let any of this prevent you from making the move - the chances are that you will never regret it. Just do your homework, keep a cool head and put the rose-tinted glasses in the spectacle case where they belong.
Article Date: 27th May 2011