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6 Things You Need to Do if You Want to Work Abroad Legally

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By now, you have probably read about Kristen Gray and her since-then deleted tweet. If not, let me fill in the deets for you.

Kristen, a 28-year old American influencer posted a thread on Twitter explaining her living situation in Bali and encouraging others to follow suit ━ even favoring going behind the law and breaking quarantine protocols. Her controversial post eventually led to her deportation by Indonesian Immigration.

Like many of us millennials and Gen Z-ers, we also dream of living off comfortably in another country with a remote job that allows us to live a relatively lavish lifestyle. Of course, this is not a sinister ambition. However, we do not want to get entangled badly with the law (like what happened with Kristen).

Living and working abroad offers great experiences and opportunities. Not only will you expand your language skills and cultural competencies, but you can also build valuable networks that could help you out in your career and personal life. With all these said, here are 6 things that you need to do before working abroad.

1) Learn more about visas and work permits 

Regardless of how much effort you put into planning and organizing, your dream of working abroad would ultimately depend on your visa and work permit. Thus, your first step should be to find out what papers you need to legally work in another country and how you can obtain these papers.

Acquiring a visa and work permit entails allocating time and money. Make sure you have enough cash to cover up the costs and you can give some time to get all these documents. Learn as well the expiration dates of these documents so you can properly set your timeline.

2) Cost of living and your salary

Though you might not have any idea yet how much you will make each month, having a rough estimate of your salary and the cost of living in your destination country helps you in your long-term financial goals. Furthermore, nothing is more depressing than living in a nice place and not being able to afford anything.

3) Learn how to find a job and where to live

If you already have a specific city in mind where you are planning on staying, find out how easy it is to find a job there and the available living options. Learn more about how people get around places and factor it into your budget and expectations.

Some employers would hire background verification companies to do a little digging in their applicants’ history to ensure they are hiring someone reputable with a clean record. Try to be comfortable with it, and as long as you have nothing to hide, you will do alright.

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4) Figure out how much time you have

One major reason why most of us want to move overseas is to explore a new culture. Doing so entails spending a considerable amount of time. Though it might not seem important at the start, you need to know how much vacation and sick leaves you will get. Numbers can vary from country to country.

Being able to live abroad but without enough time to explore the place is still a downer. After all, you are there for a great adventure, and you cannot do that when you are always stuck at work. Also, you need time as well to visit your family back home now and then.

5) Build your network

Having a connection in another country is crucial in this ever-evolving globalized world. Leverage your social media to find and connect with people who are in your industry. Consider asking for advice, help, and “two cents”, as it would significantly help you fare in your new environment.

Be active on Twitter and LinkedIn, join discussions and talk to ex-pats and locals to get valuable insights as you thread these uncharted waters.

6) Learn more about the country and its culture

Things are different if you are going to a place on vacation — everything just seems awesome. But now, since you are planning on living in the country, you need to take off your vacation goggles and be more realistic about things. You will have to face bills, taxes, and everyday mundane things. Prepare yourself for it.

One good suggestion is to visit your future home before moving in. Ask yourself whether you can truly live there. If possible, you may consider meeting your future employer, even if just for networking purposes. Go around the neighborhood and talk to the locals.

Living and working abroad is an exciting adventure. And if fear is holding you back, remember: if not now, when?

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