If you’re immigrating abroad for work you’ll probably be the envy of family and friends who imagine you enjoying all the delights of a foreign destination. But before you buy your air ticket, it’s a good thing to question your new employer and ask them these pertinent questions – just to ensure you’re prepared when you arrive on the other side.
Questions to ask your foreign employer
How will you be appraised?
Before taking on any job, even if it does come with a very prestigious title, find out what criteria you will be judged on. Find out if your salary or bonuses are linked to your appraisals and who will be performing them. Discover what departments you will be working with and whether your colleagues’ opinions will form part of the appraisal. All this information will help you be prepared before you start your first day in the office.
What does your expat salary package cover?
Some expat salary packages are very generous and cover everything from accommodation to transport and education for your children at the local international school. Others are not so inclusive. So it’s important to ascertain exactly how much money you are bringing home every month and whether it will cover your monthly costs. Create a mock budget based on realistic prices in your new destination and ensure you can afford your new expat lifestyle.
What language will you work in?
English may be the preferred language of the business world, but it doesn’t help if meetings are conducted in English, but everyone else speaks the local dialect. If you need to converse in the language of your new country, try and negotiate language lessons both before you arrive and while you’re there until you are up-to-speed with the level of fluency that is required.
Will you be required to travel a lot?
This question is important if you are moving with your family. While much of the world is relatively safe to live in, there are countries where you have to be a lot more careful. Make sure your employer is able to offer your family with the right level of security if you are moving to an area of unrest.
How long is your contract?
Find out if your contract is only for a finite period or if there is a chance of it being extended. The last position you want to be in is on the other side of the world, when the rental or storage lease on your home or goods expires. Yes, it is possible to do these types of negotiations from abroad, but it helps to be able to put plans in place now. The big question to ask is “Can this position become permanent?” If there is a chance that it can, your move needs to be looked at in a whole new light, as you consider whether you want to make your new country a permanent home.
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