Moving to a new country is easier now than in the past, with many tech and communication tools to assist you. International contractors have needs that are distinct from the typical expat or traveller, as they must be able to work independently in a new country.
Fortunately, there are many apps that can streamline this process and give you essential information about your destination before you arrive. More importantly, some apps will be continually useful to overcome challenges with banking, lodging, language and communication.
Entering a new country to live and work in presents a challenge, but these apps should be useful to overcome many of the barriers for contractors moving abroad.
If you plan to set up a local bank account in the country, Wise is a good choice for making money transfers. Once you set up your account, you can transfer funds from your home country bank to the foreign bank and vice versa. You can transfer between currencies and the app will calculate the exact amount you receive minus fees. It typically only takes a few hours for the transfer to complete, and the fees are much lower than other remittance choices. Their currency exchange rates match the current spot rate and are guaranteed for eight hours after you initiate the transfer.
2. Work from anywhere (WFA.com)
Tax residency is an ongoing issue for international contractors and can affect your overall after-tax net earnings. WFA is not strictly an app but has a useful tool on its website that will calculate your tax residency risk. You can just enter the destination country, length of stay and nationality and it will give you the basic guidelines. Naturally, you will want to research a bit further once you have committed to a country and make sure you know the rules and tax rates.
3. XE Currency Converter
XE’s currency converter has been around since 1995 and is used by millions to track accurate currency rates. This is not only important to calculate the price of goods in your home currency, but also for setting contract rates. Fluctuating cross currency rates can affect your net earnings, so it pays to have a currency rate limit in your contract, and to keep track of it regularly.
Whether you plan to stay long term or short term, Airbnb is a good option to secure your initial accommodations before you leave home. The app connects you with property owners who rent a variety of options from apartments, rooms and even houses. The rental is paid for upon booking for the reserved dates, with varying cancellation policies. At a minimum, it gives you peace of mind that you have a place to stay on arrival, with a local contact to ask for advice. You may find the owner has long term rental options as well, so it’s a good place to start.
5. Grab/Uber Ride Sharing
If you have ever arrived at the airport in a new country and tried to find an honest and reliable taxi or transport, you know this can be a stress point. Ridesharing services abroad work much the same way as at home, although the services and rates may differ. Instead of hopping into a random taxi at midnight, you get a verified driver and rate before they arrive. It’s a great way to get around initially until you discover other public transportation options, or it may become your favourite method of transport. Grab is the main option in Asia and also has food delivery services, while Uber is more common in the US and Europe.
6. Contractor Taxation
Contractor Taxation assists contractors with visa sponsorship, client payments and tax withholding to allow you to focus on your work. We have a global network of umbrella companies that are in place and ready to ease your transition into a new country. The umbrella company will act as an intermediary between you and your client to help overcome any language or cultural barriers and ensure a smooth experience. For contractors moving abroad who are unsure about tax residency, how to set up your contract or confirm client payments, the umbrella company can help you locally. Contact us if you have questions about using an umbrella company for international contracting.
Moving to a new country is not all about work, and Meetup will give you a tool to connect with those who share your interests. It sets up events with like-minded people and contractors moving abroad can begin to create a community while living abroad.
8. Facebook Expat and Country Pages
When you join Facebook’s expat pages you can ask and answer questions about topics such as international tax, visas and banking. Page members share their experiences and resources so that you can stay up to date and informed with real-time information. Specific country pages offer the same thing for your new destination, as well as another way to meet locals and expats.
9. Google Translate
While it’s not a new app by any means, Google Translate goes far beyond translating simple text between 108 languages. It also offers translations of chat in real-time as well as instant camera translation of the text. This can prove invaluable if you are entering a country with an unfamiliar language, or are trying to set up a contract with a new client.
If you need to stay in touch with people at home (or friends in other countries), Skype is a good app to rely on. If both parties have the app installed, voice and video calls are free of charge. Skype does have international calling rates as well for non-Skype numbers at a reasonable rate.
Sitata is a useful app that can help you stay safe when travelling. If you enter your destination, it will update you with any health or safety concerns, as well as flight changes or interruptions. This has become more important than ever with shifting conditions due to coronavirus, and any local restrictions on entry or quarantines.
12. Google Maps
For contractors moving abroad, you may find yourself taking walks and exploring, especially since you’re in a new city. Google Maps helps you find local businesses around you, view maps and directions so you can navigate faster and easier.