The Beginner’s Guide to Moving and Working Overseas

Moving overseas for work is one of the best career moves you can make. It doesn’t matter if your plans are long term or short term; the experience you will gain in the process will be invaluable to your career growth.

That said, moving overseas is not always easy. In fact, it can be quite difficult until you manage to settle in and get a job. Adjusting to a new lifestyle and the culture of a different country is never easy and may be one of the most stressful times of your life. But, as long as you take the proper steps, you’ll probably find that the risks and inconveniences are well worth it.

Some destinations are more straightforward to relocate to than others. For example, moving to Australia is not particularly difficult, especially if you have a specialized skill set. This country is always eager to welcome talented people, and you will surely have a great working experience if you decide to move there. Similarly, moving to Canada is relatively straightforward for the highly educated, because Canada is actively seeking out skilled people to come and help build their economy. Regardless of how easy working in a particular destination may seem, though, you’ll still have to be highly organized to make it happen.

Planning to move overseas for work? This article will serve as a guide for you.

Do comprehensive destination research

No matter how enticing an opportunity is, it is never a good idea to just up and go without knowing what you’re getting yourself into.


Photo by Venveo on UnsplashPhoto by Venveo on Unsplash


Moving to a new country comes with essential tasks and responsibilities, such as getting the right visa, setting up a bank account, sorting out the tax requirements, and overcoming language and cultural barriers. Figuring out how to proceed with these steps is essential to your success as an expat.
You will find a lot of information about the country you want to move to online, including the mandatory documents you will need. Just make sure to have all the necessary information on hand before proceeding.

Find a job before you go

Unless you plan on living off your savings early on in your new country, you should definitely get a job or secure a solid commitment for a job before you leave. Getting a job will make it easy for you to get the necessary work visa for your country of choice. It also means that you will start earning almost as soon as you arrive.


Supporting yourself in a new country is never easy, no matter how cheap the place is. If you’re not careful, you will run out of funds before you know it. So, if you plan to move overseas for work purposes, don’t venture out until you are sure there’s a job opportunity waiting for you.

Visit before taking the plunge

It may be a good idea to first visit the country as a tourist. Gain first-hand information about the country, the people, the work situation, and what to expect from the upcoming transition.


Moving to a new country is supposed to be an upward career move, and dozens of countries make an effort to welcome an international workforce. For example, Australia is known to have a great economy and great working conditions. According to research, the Australian standard of living is high, and workers earn a higher hourly salary than their counterparts in other wealthy countries like the UK. However, visiting might be the only way to check if the job environment is right for you.


Photo by Tim Mossholder on UnsplashPhoto by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash


Spending a few weeks or months in the country you want to move to will give you the opportunity to decide if you are making the right choice and will help you feel confident about uprooting yourself from your comfort zone, buying or renting a home, and taking the plunge.

Create a packing list

Once you’re sure of the end destination, the next step is to create a packing list. No one expects you to take every single item from your home. In fact, there are certain things that can’t legally be brought into a new country. So, decide what to take with you and what to sell off or give away.


Visit your new country’s government website to find out what they accept and what could cause you unnecessary delays. Raw wood and natural animal products (such as feathers) are generally not allowed to cross the border, and don’t forget to check the quarantine rules if you plan to bring a pet along.

Moving over

Moving your belongings across borders will present an additional challenge, so be prepared! As already established, there are certain things you cannot carry into a foreign country. Every country has a list of prohibited items, and it is your responsibility to know these items and remove them from your packing list. For people moving to Australia, you will find a list of prohibited items here.


You may want to consider hiring an international moving company to move your possessions. This will save you the hassle of packing, moving, and unpacking, and will also take away the pressure of dealing with officials in your new country. Just make sure you go for a professional company who will guide you through the process of moving your important belongings overseas.

Save money while working

So, you’ve arrived at your new country and workplace. Congratulations! Take some time to celebrate, but don’t forget that the job market all over the world is volatile. In the event of an overhaul, the newest and least qualified employees will be let go. Foreign employees who don’t handle key responsibilities in the organization will be affected. As such, it’s a good idea to live frugally and save money. The money you save will come in handy in the event of an emergency.


Photo by Kaleidico on UnsplashPhoto by Kaleidico on Unsplash


Even when you do have job security, you’ll need cash to handle responsibilities until you can settle in and get access to insurance. Try to find a balance between your income and expenditure so that you don’t get stranded when it matters. You’re entitled to splurge every once in a while, just don’t go crazy.

Be aware of legalities

Living and working overseas is a lot more complicated than visiting as a tourist. There are papers, permits, and licenses to acquire. With that in mind, do not delay in getting the required documentation for working in your host country. Make sure that your employment contract is intact and contains the length of time you will be working, because once that expires, so does your working permit.


While you are working, be sure to get all the needed licenses, permits, and insurance policies available to people of your status. This is vital and can be the difference between the success and failure of your new life as an expat.

Work and learn, then play

Finally, as long as you are in a country to work, work hard. Don’t get carried away by the romance of a new country. Use the work opportunity to learn new skills, learn about your host country, meet new people, and make new friends. At the end of the day, how you use your time overseas will determine whether you’ve made the right career move or not.

James Cummings is a travel enthusiast and business psychologist and loves to write about some of the most exciting experiences and the cultural uniqueness of the places he has visited. James is the CEO of DailyPosts UK and an experienced business psychologist. He has successfully managed multiple business projects and delivered staffing solutions to some of the world’s leading brands. See more on Linkedin.

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