Working overseas can be a great career option at any stage in life. However, following through on dreams of working in exotic locales can be tricky.

Depending on where you’re planning to ply your trade, you may well find yourself having to navigate the process of securing a work permit or visa before you jet off to your dream destination.

There are different ways around this – here we outline some of the routes you can take:

1. Pick where you want to go
First things first: decide where in the world you’d like to work. Do your research and make sure you’re aware of any cultural or religious sensitivities. Ideally you’ll also have a sprinkling of the language. From here you can begin making enquiries to that country’s local embassy or consulate about the procedures involved.

2. But ideally go where you’re needed
A sensible tactic is to identify where your skills and qualifications are most in demand. Logic dictates that the more sought-after your profession, the easier it will be to find work. Healthcare professionals and, increasingly, IT specialists tend to top the majority of most wanted lists. However, every country has specific needs – engineers are in high demand across the Middle East, for example – and some may have a fast-track vetting process for key industries.

3. Apply to an employer in your home country with overseas offices
By far the easiest way to navigate the work permit application process is to bypass it altogether by applying for a transfer to an overseas office from an organisation in your home country. So although it’s more of a long game, if you want to work abroad it might be worth considering applying to work for a business within your own country that has offices overseas.

4. Find a job in your target country
Bear in mind that you will usually be required to do this in your home country before arriving overseas. You will then need a formal guarantee that an employer is willing to hire you (and sponsor your work permit) before a work permit can be granted. A word of warning: some countries require you to present a notarised employment contract before issuing a visa, whereas others just ask to see a written job offer.

5. Sneak in through the back door
Should you fail to secure a permanent role, you could try Plan C, which is to find work on a temporary or seasonal basis. There is huge demand for English teachers across Asia and Latin America, for example; using this as a launch pad, it’s often possible to make enquiries to employers in situ. The likes of Australia and New Zealand run temporary, two-year work visa schemes for under 30s, and a number of people have had success finding longer-term work once on the ground.

It’s worth reiterating that each country will have its own rules and procedures around gaining authorisation to work there. Red tape and bureaucracy are unavoidable obstacles for international jobseekers – so make sure you fully understand what you’re facing before you embark on the process.

Reference: About.com; Transitions Abroad; Abingetro
05 Jan 2017
career options

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