Guide To Working Overseas As An Expatriate

Rates and Fees verified correct on October 26th, 2016

What you need to know about working overseas

Many people in Australia may have a dream of working overseas. Not only can working in international locations be quite lucrative, but the prospect of travelling abroad and visiting new locations is quite an attraction for some people. However, working and living in a different country is no piece of cake and will require you to make a lot of personal and monetary decisions. There are also several tax implications for Australians who are working and living abroad. This article aims to provide all the information that may be necessary for living the perfect expatriate life.

How to find work overseas

The first requirement for working overseas is to actually get a job in another country. Here are some resources that you can use to get a good job in an international location:

  • Putting in an application for a job transfer: If you work in a multinational company or in any kind of business that has a presence outside Australia, then the easiest way to get a job overseas may be to ask for a transfer to another country. If your company is looking to set up international operations, then this may be a golden chance for you to live the expatriate life. Not many people may be open to moving abroad, especially if they have a spouse and school going kids. Hence, you should look at overseas opportunities within your current company and make it known to the higher-ups that you are willing to take up a position in one of the international offices. However, international postings can be quite challenging. Therefore, you need to ensure that you have the necessary capabilities that may be required for a job overseas.
  • Researching international job markets: While it could be quite a difficult and time consuming task, you should research international job markets if you are indeed serious about working abroad. You can look for work opportunities in cities that interest you and also send your resume to companies if there is an opening that you may be suited to. You can also visit the website of the Department Of Foreign Affairs And Trade as that is a good place to get information about working overseas. Visiting international trade fairs in your city will also enable you to understand work opportunities abroad and perhaps help you to land a job overseas too.
  • Registering with an international placement agency: If you do not have the time or the inclination to find an international job on your own, you should think about registering with a good placement agency that has a proven track record for good international placements. Not only will you be able to get a good job as per your talents and skills, but once you do land a job, the placement agency can assist you with various legal requirements such as work visas, travel permits and other such documents.

Working overseas under the working holiday maker (WHOM) scheme

Australia has a unique scheme for working overseas known as the Working Holiday Maker (WHOM) visa scheme. Under this program, an Australian who is between the ages of 18 and 30 can live and work in other countries for a period of one year. The list of countries is available with the Australian embassy and can be used to determine the various countries where the WHOM visa is applicable.

Hence, if you are not sure whether the expatriate life is for you, then you can apply for such a visa and try your hand at working overseas before looking for a more permanent position. With such a visa, you will not be allowed to work in the career of your choice, but the work has to be part of your holiday. Hence, you can travel and work at the same time for a period of 12 months. In addition to working abroad, this type of visa also allows you to study abroad for a certain number of months. The visa is valid for one full year and you can leave and re-enter that particular country any number of times during the validity of the WHOM visa.

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Tax Implications for Australians working overseas

An Australian resident is taxed according to their worldwide income. Hence, whether you are living and working in Australia or working overseas, you will still have to file an income tax return in Australia as long as you remain an Australian citizen. However, if you do not remain an Australian citizen and do not have any income in Australia, then you may not be required to pay any tax in Australia. The website of the ATO explains all the tax implications of working overseas in more detail.

Double taxation is one of the major concerns that Australians who work overseas face. Hence, in order to avoid taxation in their home country as well as in the country they are working; the Australian government has a Double Taxation Agreement with several countries so that its citizens do not end up paying double tax while working overseas.

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2 Responses to Guide To Working Overseas As An Expatriate

  1. Default Gravatar
    Sam | November 11, 2013

    If I was to get a job offshore getting paid in USD tax free what would I have to do to avoid paying tax here in Aus, I have no major assets and m willing to move overseas.

    • Staff
      Shirley | November 11, 2013

      Hi Sam,

      Thanks for your comment.

      The Australian Smart Traveller website states that “if you earn an income overseas, you may be required to pay tax on that income in the country where it’s earned. Australia has reciprocal agreements in place with only a few countries to prevent double taxation. You should check the rules and regulations with the other country’s foreign mission before you leave Australia.”

      It may be worthwhile to have a look at US laws regarding taxation and then contact the ATO to discuss your personal situation and see what tax obligations could apply to you.

      Hope this helps,

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