If I were an Expat (10/10): The 10 points to consider

If I were an expat about to start my assignment, these are the 10 points that I would keep in mind:
  1. Manage your own career: Before making the decision of working abroad, think how it improves your capabilities and your long term career perspectives. It is important to keep in mind that you are in the driving seat of what is coming ahead in your professional career.
  2. Total Compensation: The acceptance of an expatriation depends on the assessment of all benefits, not only the monetary ones such as salary, housing, etc. In recent years, professional, personal and family reasons are gaining importance, as the experience of working abroad is generally a very positive experience for the career of the expats and for their families.
  3. Family: If you want the assignment to be successful, the family deserves your full attention, especially during the first months. According to recent studies, the most common argument for the rejection of an assignment is the career of the spouse.
  4. Expat letter: When working abroad you have to face issues on the labor front that have to be studied in detail and that vary greatly depending on the country (e.g. Social Security). The signing of the expat letter is an important moment to clarify these points.
  5. Visas: Keep in mind that obtaining your visa may take longer than you expect. 
  6. Taxes. The complexity of the tax obligations for a person moving abroad makes it advisable to contact a tax expert to help you with your personal tax return both at home and in the country of destination. It is important to understand how your compensation is defined, specifically, if you are on a gross or an equalized policy.
  7. Health & SecurityMake sure you have the basic security information so you can avoid any high risk area or activity. Also, get a contact list from your medical insurance of the available hospitals in case of emergency. Be careful when driving abroad and ensure that you have a valid driver license.
  8. During the Expatriation: Once you arrive to your destination, there are some questions that can help you in the landing process; spend time with your family, learn the language, do your best to understand the history and culture, etc.
  9. Return: Start planning for the return a few months before the end of your assignment. Remember that you probably have a unique know-how that you should share with your colleagues to ensure it is not lost after your departure.
  10. Finally, be respectful, keep your mind open and a positive attitude. You will need to be flexible to adapt to the new environment.
In most cases, the satisfaction of the Expats and their families exceed their initial expectations.  If you are starting a new assignment, I hope your expectations are exceeded too!

PS. For furher reading, you have details about all these points in previous entries of this blog.