Relocating cities or even countries for a new job can be an exciting but also daunting prospect. There are lots of things to consider before packing up, so we’ve put together the most important things to think about before accepting that new job abroad.
1. Find your why
Before relocating, take some time to write down the pros and cons of the move. Why is it that you want to change your current situation? Is it a step up for your career or are you looking for more job satisfaction? Is the pay package better and will your quality of life improve in the new location? Also take into consideration the negatives such as being further away from family and friends, cost of living and possible language barriers. If you have real doubts about moving, then discuss them with family or friends and remember it’s an option and your choice to make.
2. Get to know your new home
Before making the final decision about your move, visit your new home and try to experience it as if you already live and work there. This will help you see if you can picture yourself living and laying down roots there in the long-term. You’d be surprised how much places can vary from online photos and information and your gut feel will give you a good indication if the move is right for you.
Research the place you’re moving to as much as possible. It’s a good idea to see some different areas while you’re there so you can find the one that suits your lifestyle best. If you can’t visit before you move, speak to people already living there to get a better picture. Local social media groups can be helpful to join, and your new employer will be able to offer some advice.
3. Ask for help
Many companies offer a variety of relocation services including practical and financial assistance to employees who are relocating, so it’s worth asking about this during the hiring process. Even if your employer doesn’t typically offer relocation services, it’s worth negotiating this with them if it’s crucial for you to be able to make the move. Make sure to find out what your moving expenses will look like and if your goods need to be shipped so that you have a basis for negotiation. Some companies may also offer corporate housing.
4. Research, research, research
Research your future company as much as possible and find out who you will be reporting into and what the team is like. You can find out more about the organisation’s ethic and culture by asking to speak to someone in a similar role as the one you’ll be doing.
Next up think through the logistics of your move. Is it a permanent move? Will you be gone for a few months or a couple of years? Selling a house is one of the biggest complications that relocating homeowners face. So, analysing how permanent your move is will influence if you keep your current property, put your things into storage or opt for the full move. Renting your accommodation is also a great choice to settle into a new city without making a huge commitment.
Make sure you know how much your cost of living will be, including accommodation, transport, childcare, other expenses, and tax rates. Your new job may offer a better salary package overall, but it may soon lose its novelty when compared to your cost of living.
You also need to find out if you need a visa or residency permit to live in the new county. Visas can take quite a lot of time to process, so tackle it early on. If you already have found a job, the company is likely to sort this part out for you. But you should double check if this is the case before accepting the position.
It is also worth looking into taxation as many countries have different tax guidelines especially if you are self-employed. Several countries also have bilateral tax treaties in place for non-residents to avoid being double taxed in your home nation and abroad. The UK for example, has over 100 of these treaties with different states. Your move can also affect your state pension so it’s best to clarify your pension status.
To make the whole process easier, the best thing to do is to become a list person and keep a to do list for your current location and one for your destination. That way you have an overview of everything you need to keep on top of and don’t forget anything important during this busy time.
5. Think family
If you have family, you need to take into consideration how they feel about the move. Will your partner be able to find work and what is the education system, schools and childcare like? Are there language barriers that will affect integration for your whole family? Is an international school the best option?
6. Your new start
Once settled in your new city, make sure you’ve done the trial commute to your new place of work and know how long it takes you. The last thing you want is to turn up late on your first day.
Networking will help you make new friends and build your safety net. Your new company may offer social clubs and activities to help you meet new people. Joining sports groups is also a great way to meet people with similar interests. The trick is to say yes, get out and be social.
7. If it doesn’t work out
You’ve moved to a new city or country and started a new job. Now it’s turned out to be different than what you expected. Remember that it can take some time to get used to new surroundings and cultural differences which can be stressful but it’s important to stick with it and give your new situation a chance.
If you’re still not happy after months and you don’t think that will change, you need to have a backup plan. Is it something job specific that is bothering you and could it change if you discuss it with your Manager or is it the location you are living in? Perhaps your commute is too long which is adding on stress or you’re not making any friends. Analyse why you're unhappy with the situation and see if a simple change could have a positive impact. If after this, the situation is still not working out for you, consider what your other options are.
Overall, experiencing a different city or country can be the boost you and your career need. The key is that if you don’t like it, you can always go back, but chances are you won’t want to...