A recent report from PwC revealed that 71% of millennials want to work abroad at some point during their careers. I was somewhat surprised that the number was so high, and it made me wonder about the things not only millennials but anyone who is considering working abroad should consider before they make that move.
“Working abroad is as emotionally appealing as it is logistically challenging,” says Grant Aldrich, founder and CEO of OnlineDegree.com, who says tackling the visa application is the first hurdle to jump.
“The first thing you want to do is look into visas or your legal allowance to stay in the country. Every country has different visa stay lengths and requirements,” Aldrich says.
And that won’t be easy, he cautions.
“In most places, getting a work visa is extremely difficult. In the EU, for instance, you have to get a ‘blue card,’ meaning the company has to justify to the government why they need a foreigner to do the job,” Aldrich explains. “Most companies won’t want to sponsor you because of the trouble they’d have to go through. In a place like Vietnam, however, it can be easy to get a work visa. There are even websites that will sponsor your visa for a fee. It all comes down to a particular country and their visa laws.”
Having a remote job makes the process significantly simpler, he notes.
“In most places, you can get a tourist visa for one, three or six months, then do a ‘visa run’ to another country and come back to renew your visa,” Aldrich says. “However, keep in mind that visa runs can be expensive, and you need to budget for leaving the country every three months or so.”
In addition to understanding what getting a visa will entail, there are other, more personal issues to consider, according to Maya Frost, founder of Switch Strategies for Change, who has lived and worked in six countries over the course of her career and has three millennial daughters currently living and working abroad. She says those issues fall into the three categories:
1. Money. Frost says to ask yourself this question: “Do I have the funds, and access to them, to make the move, manage the settling-in period, and carry me through (or to buy a new plane ticket) if the job doesn’t work out?”
2. Community. Do you have a support system in place? Frost says having loved ones cheering you on back home, and/or the confidence to create a new community are important to succeeding happily abroad.
3. Health insurance. This is something not to overlook. Make sure to find out if your employer will provide health insurance, or if your existing policy if you carry your own insurance will cover out-of-country medical expenses and transportation back home in case of a health emergency. If not, says Frost, “Ask yourself, ‘Do I know what my affordable options are?’
“Obviously, money and visa are the minimal requirements, but don’t underestimate your need to make connections at work or socially in order to feel at home,” Frost concludes. “Likewise, getting low-cost health insurance — like a six-month policy with World Nomads — can really add to your peace of mind, whether you use it or not.”
(Article written by Kathleen Furore)