The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in record numbers of people working remotely around the world, and many of them are keen to continue doing so. Business owners and employees are realising the benefits of more flexible ways of working such as reduced overheads, higher levels of productivity and better work-life balance.
Have you recently experienced working from home for the first time? Has it set your mind racing about the possibilities of an entirely remote career? Travel may be a challenge in the current climate, but it’s the perfect time to start planning a new life working abroad. When restrictions are lifted, you’ll be good to go!
Do Your Research and Make a Plan
Moving abroad is a big step, and for most people, there’s no reason to rush into it. Take the time to think about what you want, research your options, and make a plan to suit your desired timescale.
Some questions to consider:
- What’s important to me about the location I live in?
- Will there be a reliable internet connection for work?
- What’s the cost of living in my dream destination, and can I earn enough to afford it?
- Will I be employed working remotely or freelance?
- When do I want to set off?
- How long do I want to work abroad?
Having a plan in place with clear milestones will keep you on track and help you to achieve your goal within the time frame you’ve chosen. If you’re thinking of moving to a place you’ve never visited before, talk to friends that have been there, check out social media groups that give you an insight into the location, and consider a short trip (if possible) to get a feel for the area.
Assess Your Finances and Create a Budget
Do you have a generous pot of savings that will cover the cost of moving abroad and any gaps in employment? Unless you will be continuing an existing job, there will probably be an initial period while you are travelling and setting up where you are not earning — do you have the funds to allow for this?
You should also create a financial plan and budget for ongoing costs. The cost of living varies wildly between countries and even cities within a country. Consider how much you expect to earn and whether this will be paid in local currency or that of your home country, then draft a list of monthly expenses to check if the numbers add up. There may be extra costs of living in a new country that you don’t currently have to pay, such as regional taxes or exceptionally high rents.
If you’re planning to move abroad indefinitely, finding a cash house buyer is a quick and hassle-free way to release the capital from your biggest asset. You won’t have to worry about your property when you’re abroad, and you can use the proceeds of the sale to cover the initial costs of moving and provide a nest egg for contingencies.
Investigate the Red Tape
Getting a permanent or resident visa can be difficult, but many countries offer working holiday visas that will allow you to live and work in a country for a fixed period. If you stay long enough, you may be eligible for a permanent visa in a few years. Check the government website of your chosen destination to explore the legalities of moving there.
You also need to think about what taxes you will be liable for. If you’re working for an employer in the UK, but you’re living abroad, you’ll probably still have to pay income tax to the British government. The country where you live might tax your income too. Paying two lots of tax can have a significant impact on your take-home pay, so be sure to check this out before committing to a move.
Brush up on Your Language and Work Skills
Living in a country where you don’t speak a word of the language can be incredibly isolating. If you’re putting down long-term roots in another country, you’ll need a good grasp of the language to build a social life, manage everyday tasks (such as shopping) and ask for help if you need it.
If you plan to buy a home abroad you need to be able to understand what contracts or loan agreements you’re committing to. Regularly paying for an interpreter will soon deplete your savings.
There are scores of online language courses and phone apps to help you get started. There may even be a friendly local conversation class you can sign up to. If you’re new to remote working or are planning to build an online business, you may need to develop a different skill set, such as digital marketing, website design or writing for business.
Consider Using an Agency
If this all feels a little daunting, there are plenty of agencies that will help you plan your move abroad. Shop around to find an agency that offers the services you need within your budget.
Making your work abroad dreams a reality has never been easier. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and advances in technology, more employers than ever before are willing to consider taking on remote workers. If you put the time into researching and planning your move now, you’ll be all set to start a new life abroad when travel restrictions are lifted.