Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Understanding and Overcoming the Challenges of Pursuing an Expat Career

by Megan Fitzgerald

It’s important to understand the challenges you will face if you decide to pursue an expat career. I always recommend making a list of these obstacles so you can develop a plan to address them. This will set you up for success as you start your search for jobs overseas.

Those who have been considering work abroad for some time are likely aware of many of these challenges. However I’ve found that many people are not aware of all of the solutions available to overcome these obstacles and realize their dream of living and working abroad.

For this reason I’ve shared possible solutions to the some of the most common challenges:

Language skills

The problem: Not speaking the language of the country you want to work in will limit the job opportunities available to you – particularly countries where your mother tongue is not spoken at all.

If you are an English speaker, as it is the language of business, you will have more opportunities than those who speak other languages. Many jobs require not just an ability to speak, but fluency, which can be hard to achieve when not using the language regularly.

Possible solutions:
Find and target countries who speak your language. You’d be surprised how many there are. There are over 50 countries who have English as an official language, over 30 countries where French is an official language and over 20 where Spanish is spoken.

Learning a language as part of your career or business development plan is also an option. Finding opportunities to immerse yourself in the language through study courses abroad or even several weeks of holiday would be important. This would help you both learn and assess your ability to actually operate in that language in your target country.http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

Work Permits

The problem: Most of the time you are required to get a work permit or visa in your target country to secure a job abroad. This most often requires a job offer and the company facilitating the process.

Depending on a country’s immigration policies, there may also be limits to the amount of visas issued each year. If that number is relatively small then you are likely competing with the top talent globally for those visa slots.

If you are an accompanying spouse...

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