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Australian Expatriates: Career Issues

Expatriate Jobs - Career and Remuneration Issues

Provided below is a checklist of issues you should consider when considering an overseas job, whether it is a new job or an assignment from your existing employer.

Career - Expatriate and Domestic

Many positions will expand your horizons technically and managerially. You should not expect however that these experiences will automatically be appreciated when you return to Australia and you should explore what has happened to other employees who have gone on similar assignments, or returnees within your own profession or sector.

There are a limited number of companies that manage this aspect properly, and they tend to be “international” in their scope and dependent upon an internationally mobile and professional workforce. Similarly, in a number of professions like accounting, law and engineering periods overseas can be viewed very positively - but you can leave your “network” behind and that can have a negative impact. In short, Australia remains a very parochial environment and you need to plan for your eventual return and work hard to maintain your contacts.

This will likely change with time, but you shouldn’t rely upon it as an excuse for not doing the required planning and thinking the future will "look after itself". Australians almost always return home – often at those junctures which are critical in terms of the education of their children. Whatever excitement an expatriate career holds, most Australians still believe this is one of the best countries in the world to bring up children.

We discuss these issues in more detail in our document, Exfin Australian Career and Remuneration Issues, available for download below.

Remuneration

Offshore salaries can often appear very attractive when translated into Australian dollars – but you should consider a number of factors when comparing packages and negotiating terms and conditions:

  • Host Country Tax rates
  • Exchange rate changes - are you protected?
  • Cost of Living Differences
  • Housing Costs
  • Health & Life Insurance
  • Education Costs - including later boarding schools
  • Social Security Payments
  • Pension Benefits
  • Costs of regular returns to Australia and holiday leave
  • Relocation costs
  • Notice provisions
  • Redundancy terms

In the case of a dispute over your contract entitlements, an important consideration is also where any dispute will be adjudicated and what contract law (eg. Australian) applies to any interpretation of the contract.

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