What to Expect From a Relocation Package When You Get a Job Abroad

by Maria May 23, 2019
travel, relocating, relocation, moving abroad

Moving abroad—a famously easy, stress-free experience!

Just kidding.

There are countless things to keep track of in an international career move. Your relocation package from your new employer is one of them.

If you’re a job seeker who has been living under a rock, you might have missed the good news—you control the job market (well, not you personally, but you know what I mean). Employers around the world are feeling the pressure to attract and relocate talent from abroad. What does that mean for you, the talent?

I sat down with Jobbatical’s Global Mobility Manager Helise Johanson for a Q&A on relocation and what kind of support you should expect from an employer that wants to move you abroad. Here are her answers to the most pressing questions:

When moving abroad for a job, should everyone expect a relocation package?

Because at Jobbatical we primarily deal with top tech and business talent that receives relocation support from their employers, we see how much it really helps. In a perfect world, every employer should offer some form of relocation support. And because the talent controls the labor market, the talent also has the right to expect it. No one should think they’re not worth the expense.

It’s a big deal, moving your life to a different country, to help grow someone’s business and contribute to it. I’d say that expectation is justified. Expect it! Ask for it!

What’s more, it’s mandatory in some countries for the employer to kick off the immigration process. In Estonia, for example, you might be able to start your own residence permit process based on an invitation from the employer. But in many countries, such as Singapore, the Netherlands, and Spain, the employer is actually required to start the residence permit process. The employee initiating the process isn’t even an option. So it’s not even possible for the employer to tell you, “Hey, you’re on your own!” on the relocation.

So yes, some sort of relocation package should absolutely be the expectation.

What would you consider a good relocation package?

Relocation packages vary a lot in what they offer. Much of it depends on the employer’s industry and the job level. The tech industry, which is where we mostly work, already has one foot in the future, in a way, and solid relocation packages tend to be the default here. Immigration should definitely be included. Flights, too, for the person to get from point A to point B.

Another perk we see often is employers covering the first month’s accommodation and helping people find a long-term place to live, including viewing properties together. We do this at Jobbatical too. And we have clients who cover this for the employee 100%.

So the basics are immigration, flights, health insurance, and accommodation for at least the first two weeks. Anything else is gravy.

What’s something talent might not know to ask for help with?

Finding long-term accommodation is something that people might not know to ask for help with. But don’t be afraid to ask. Many employers are ready to offer support. You can always turn to their HR, even if it’s just to ask for recommendations on convenient neighborhoods. Or if you need to call a broker about a property and they don’t speak English, ask the company’s HR person to help translate.

We can’t endorse asking HR to push you around in a moving box so you can pretend to be an airplane. But we also can’t stop you. Image via Shutterstock.

Looking for long-term accommodation in a different country before you even get there is extremely complicated, after all. Wherever you’re moving, the rental market will probably be different from what you’re used to. People might not speak your language. You might have to explain why you’re in the country. Having local support creates trust and speeds up the process, so ask your employer about it.

What is the most difficult part of relocating? And what’s your advice for dealing with it?

The most difficult part, I’d say, is immigration. Government websites are often extremely confusing. One will redirect you to one place, another to another. It’s all a mess, and in many countries, even the professionals might not really know what documents are required where. In a word—complicated. Not in all countries, but most of them.

And the immigration process is something you just have to get right. Because if you make a mistake, you might have to appeal the decision, and that’ll be even trickier. Better to make sure you have the right support and nail it the first time. Otherwise, it’ll take forever.

Another hard part is finding friends and a community. Sure, you’ll have your colleagues right off the bat, but it’s still very easy to get lonely in a new country. That’s why we created our own community for jobbaticlers in Estonia. Another thing that helps is searching on Facebook for expat groups in your city. Pretty much every bigger city has one.

One more thing I always recommend is joining volunteer organizations. They’re usually mostly locals, but many welcome foreigners. Integration is easier in some ways because you know you all share a passion, a vision, a goal. Look into places like that where you can meet locals. Hobby groups, workouts, book clubs, art classes, that sort of thing. It’s easier than ever to find a community, so take advantage of that.

Make friends, save the planet. Image via Shutterstock

To sum up: as daunting as it may seem at first, relocating for your new job can be surprisingly smooth if you…

  • Find the right employer (they’re waiting for you on Jobbatical);
  • Communicate openly and honestly with your employer about your relocation package;
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for help.

To increase your chances of getting a job that comes with a good relocation package, find your next international career move on Jobbatical. The best tech and business jobs on the planet at your fingertips. Relocation and immigration included.

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