A Stress Free Guide to Moving Overseas for Work [4 minute read]
It is often said that moving overseas is one of the most stressful activities you can do in your life. We tend to disagree! With a solid gameplan, moving overseas can be an incredibly rewarding and exciting time.
In this guide we cover off the essential things you need to consider before making the move to help you settle into your new home abroad, stress free.
If you have any relocation tips or would like to share your story of moving overseas to start a new job, please reach out to us here to discuss being featured in a future post.
1 – Check your bankroll
There is no denying that moving overseas is going to be a costly exercise. For this reason, we strongly suggest having your employment arranged before commiting to relocating to ensure you are putting yourself in the most financially secure position. Many employers offer relocation packages for employees moving from overseas to help reduce this burden.
Regardless of your employement situation, it will be important to make sure you have some money in savings to help you get set up with your a new house/apartment, cover flights, and any living costs while you are not bringing in an income.
We suggest planning ahead 4-6 weeks before the move and start selling unnecessary items on second hand marketplaces such as Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace or eBay.
Firstly, this will reduce the costs associated with shipping belongings over to your new home or keeping them in a storage unit. Secondly, this will allow you to build up a nice nest egg of savings from the items you sell. TV’s, couches, electronic appliances and pushbikes all have great resell value and are all items that can be bought locally in your new city once you are settled in.
You will also benefit from simplifying your life to the most essential items. Check our Marie Kondo’s ‘Spark Joy’ method for leading a more minimalist lifestyle.
2 – Learn about the local tax system
Albert Einstein famously said “The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax” This is particularly true when you are moving overseas and need to learn a whole new tax system.
Taking the time upfront to research the local tax and social security system will help you avoid any unexpected surprises when you get your first paycheck. This will also help you to better understand any job offers you may receive and what your likely net pay will be after all your deductions are taken out.
We recommend using an online tax calculator such as Salary After Tax and a cost of living tool such as Numbeo to help you get a better understand what your likely net income will be and get context to the local cost of living in your new city.
Most importantly, you will also need to learn what has to be set up for tax purposes in your new country and start the process of registering with the government.
3 – Set up a bank account
Setting up a bank account used to be an incredibly painful process, especially when you are relocating to another country. Thankfully with the rise of Neo Banks (Online only banks), you can often get a bank account set up in a matter of minutes with online verification.
For example, N26 is a popular online bank based in Berlin, Germany that services most of europe. In just 10 minutes, including a video call to verify your identity, you are set up with a local bank account and can start transferring funds and paying some of your upfront set up costs.
Some online banks we reccommend:
4 – Get an address
Finding a place to call home in a new country is going to be one of the most important steps to help you get settled into your new life abroad, and should not be taken lightly. For this reason, we suggest planning ahead to book short term accomodation in a fully furnished apartment so can arrive with your suitcase and start getting settled. Booking at least 4 weeks in an apartment will allow you to focus on all the life admin that comes with relocating to a new city. You can also take your time while you are settling into the city to find the perfect apartment/house in the right neighborhood, without feeling rushed.
Search for places while you’re abroad, or booking hotels is only going to cause more stress than it is worth. There are a number of great resources to find medium-term furnished accommodation around the world. We recommend checking out Nestpick, Homelike, and AirBnB.
5 – Transfer funds
Now that you have a bank account set up, it’s time to top it up. In the chaos of moving overseas, people often fall victim to the convenience factor. When you pay for things with your bank card from back home or exchange cash at the airport you are going to be stung with excessive conversion fees.
By planning ahead, you can save hundreds of dollars and loads of stress. If you manage to set up your local bank account before arriving, we reccomend keeping track of the exchange rates over a couple of weeks and then transferring a lump sum to your new local bank account.
You can do an international transfer through your current bank, however you are likely to be charged a transfer fee of $15-$30 each time and also receive less than favourable exchange rates. Or, you can use a modern solution such as Transferwise and send your money internationally in minutes, and recieve an excellent exchange rate.
We just did a comparisson and by using Transferwise we would have saved $180 transferring $4000 internationally vs using the local bank. You can also order a debit card with them and load it up with several currencies, which is very handy if you are doing lots of travel.
Check out Transferwise here for more info on how it works.
6 – Learn about the local expat community
Leaving your home city and relocating is an emotional process. You often have to say goodbye to close friends, family, and leave your entire network behind. An important part of settling into your new home abroad is making sure you invest time to integrate into the community and making new friends and professional connections. Thankfully it has never been easier to network and meet new friends.
Before making the move, we suggest getting a headstart and searching for Facebook groups in your new city that seem relevant to your personal and professional interests and starting conversations early. Most major cities have established expat communities that hold regular events, so this will be a great starting place.
You can also join Meetup.com to look for networking opportunities and social events coming up so you can hit the ground running with a full calendar of activities when you arrive.
Moving overseas is a hard process, but it is also a very exciting time. Having a job lined up before relocating is always going to be significantly less stressful on you and any family members relocating with you.
Should you be interested in having an informal conversation regarding potential relocation opportunities for tech jobs in Singapore, Australia or abroad, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here. We’re always happy to talk.
You can also see all our current job opportunities here.
Functionn are a boutique recruitment company specialising in the recruitment and relocation of elite technologists for APAC’s leading startups and technology companies.