An international relocation can be a dream come true for many people. Working in the same office for years isn’t something that everybody wants to do. When somebody needs to be sent to an overseas office, this is the person who usually steps up to volunteer.
An international transfer will look great on a resume and may even help you rise up in your career. Not only that, but it is a one-of-a-kind learning experience.
However, as exciting as it seems to be sent to another country to work, it isn’t an easy thing to do. And you’ll want to know that your employer has everything sorted out before moving abroad from the USA. In this article, we will go over some of the questions you should be asking your employer, and yourself, to make sure the transition is going to go as smoothly as possible.
1 – Is the relocation paid for?
The cost of transferring to another country is quite expensive. There are plane tickets that are not cheap, but moving a lot of personal belongings will rack up costs in the thousands of dollars.
Many people will want to ship their furniture or car to make it feel more like home when they get there. If they plan to stay for a few years then this is very likely. A container can be sent to the destination country but at a price.
Will the employer be handling these costs? If they don’t cover those exact moving costs then it has to be uncovered exactly what they will pay. There will also likely be some temporary housing needed to do house hunting on arrival if there isn’t employee housing already sorted out by the company.
If the answer is that they won’t be paying for the relocation then try to negotiate some kind of bonus for the move so it doesn’t take too much out of pocket for you to accept the transfer. If there isn’t a relocation bonus, then make sure to put your things in storage and look for a furnished apartment at your destination.
2 – What is the cost of living there?
Some countries have a far lower cost of living but there are others where it is absolutely astronomical. Life in the Scandinavian countries and Switzerland is much higher than in many areas of the US. the cost of living is going to have a major impact on how well you do living there.
In areas with a high cost of living, housing is going to be a burden and can take up to half of a US salary. If this is the case, then it makes sense to negotiate with the company to give a subsidy for housing so some of the costs are offset.
Once you know what you are working with, make sure to set a budget and stick to it. Make sure to calculate all of the expected expenses from health insurance to housing plus everything in between. Not having enough money to get through the month when living in another country will create a lot of stress.
3 – What is the healthcare plan?
Your health insurance from back home is not going to cover you abroad. You will need to have a plan specifically for Americans living abroad. Since you won’t be a citizen of the country you will live you won’t be in the public system.
Healthcare costs will be at least a few hundred dollars per month for a typical plan that covers one person. This can eat away at your salary so negotiate with your employer to pay for your healthcare while you are overseas.
Look for plans that cover doctor visits as well as a hospital stay. If the country where you will be living has a poor healthcare infrastructure then add emergency evacuation for medical reasons to the plan.
4 – Will family be included?
If you have a spouse and children then a transfer abroad is not going to look attractive if they can’t come with you. If they aren’t included in the visa then this will fall onto your shoulders to get them the right to accompany you. The cost of this plus the other expenses of having a family there will be high.
Make sure that the company is willing to include your family so you won’t be alone, but will also be able to afford it. The company should take care of the visa for the entire family as well as make sure that you end up in adequate housing for the size of your family.
Schooling will also be a concern and many people opt for putting their kids in an international school. These are private and will hopefully be paid or subsidized by your employer.