Your Expert Guide to Job Hunting as an International Contractor

 In Contractors

If you dream of contracting in foreign countries, then you might wonder how to look for new clients abroad.  In your home country, you have the advantage of professional contacts, networks, and local references, but that won’t be the case in an international job search. You will need to develop a strategy that is centred around your skills, industry and countries of interest.

Tips To Help You With Job Hunting

There are a few tips that will help you with job hunting regardless of the country you are interested in or the industry.

Digital presence

In most cases, your search will happen online and it’s important to have a broad approach.  Register on multiple job sites and boards, as well as community forums.  This will expand your chances of attracting offers as well as finding open positions.

Tailor your application to the country 

When you do apply for a position, you should understand how to ‘fit’ the location.  This includes resume format and content, your interest in the location and using the local language if possible.

Learn language and culture

While English is widely used in business around the world, some countries might use the native language as well.  Spending time learning the language and culture of your desired location can be an advantage for both interviews and eventual workplace integration.

Target search to country/region

Some contractors may not be too choosy when it comes to the location, while others will have a specific region or country in mind.  If you do, then you can target your search to that country, become familiar with the companies there, and not spend time on a global search.

How To Get A Job Abroad

Once you’re determined about job hunting abroad, here are some places to look out for immediately.

1. International job boards

There are a variety of international job boards that list positions by industry, profession and country.  While many of these are employment-related, you will also find contracting positions listed.

It is worth noting that if you are going to work for a single client in-country, you might end up as an employee anyway for work permit sponsorship.  The other option is to use an umbrella company to be your sponsor as a contractor.

Here are a few examples of popular job boards:

  • Indeed Worldwide: While based in the US, Indeed Worldwide does list global positions on its website by country.
  • Expat Network:  This board does list international positions as well as posts useful information and articles for ex-pat workers.
  • CEO Worldwide: If you are interested in management or executive positions, CEO Worldwide has a listing of open positions, including consulting and temporary roles.  The majority of jobs require you to be vetted before viewing or applying, which can be done on the website.

2. Recruiting Agencies

There are recruiting agencies that specialize in international contractor positions, which can save you the time and effort of an online job search.  Keep in mind that the way agencies work is they charge you a percentage of your client rate, so you might have to adjust to account for that.  Agencies may also be involved in any relationship you form with an umbrella company and your client, so it does add an extra party to the contracting and payment process.

3. In-Country Job Search

A bolder approach is to spend time in the country you prefer and do a job search.  This does have a cost and risk that you won’t have to search from home, and you could be limited to the duration of a tourist visa.  This is easier for EU citizens where no visas are required in the EU, and travel is quick and inexpensive.  The advantage is that you can request meetings, interview in person, and demonstrate your commitment to working in the country.

4. Target a Specific Company

If you have one company in mind that you want to work for abroad, you can either apply directly or go through a recruiter.  For example, in Norway’s oil and gas industry Equinor is the largest company with over 18,000 employees, and has ongoing openings.  The HR department of a large company will likely post regularly available positions, as seen here on Equinor’s website.

5. LinkedIn

LinkedIn has become a real resource for international positions and offers search functions for both workers and companies. One aspect of LinkedIn is the ability to network with others in a particular profession or region.  This can result in leads, recommendations and at the least some friends in your new country. There are many remote work positions advertised on LinkedIn, which could be an excellent way to make a start with a company without moving.  If the relationship goes well, you could end up working on-site in the future.

Research Tax Rates/Residency while job hunting

If you have one or more countries in mind you should be familiar with the tax rates and tax residency requirements.  Both of these will affect your take-home earnings, and that excellent rate you negotiated could be taxed up to 50%.  Likewise, with tax residency, you could find yourself seeking relief from a tax treaty to avoid double taxation at home.

Immigration Requirements

It pays to be aware of the immigration requirements for work permits in your desired destination.  This is not an issue for EU residents looking for work in the EU, but all others will have to overcome this hurdle.  Even if your client agrees to sponsor a work permit, there may be governmental restrictions.

For example, perhaps you are an Asian IT specialist who is job hunting in the US. You may have also found a position in Silicon Valley.  Your client will help you with the H1B visa sponsorship and application, but there is one problem.  The H1B program is capped at 65,000 per year (plus 20,000 for advanced degrees) and you will have to enter a lottery along with thousands of applicants.  If you are not selected, the only option is to work remotely from home.

Other countries may have similar limitations, such as a demonstrated lack of local applicants for the position, or education and experience requirements.  Even if work permits are available, most countries require a company sponsor as self-employment work visas are rarely available.

How can Contractor Taxation help you with international contracting?

Contractor Taxation has fully vetted umbrella companies in all major markets, who can assist you with contracting abroad.  You can even engage with an umbrella company during your job search if you have decided upon a country destination.  They can let you know how contracts are usually handled, available banking partners and work permit options.

There is no reason to go it alone when contracting internationally, and other benefits of umbrella companies include:

  • Manages all client payments, tax withholding and any social contributions
  • Issues you a payslip each month, to a local or foreign account
  • Sponsors work permits
  • Helps set up the contract with the client
  • Moderates any disputes with your client
  • Advises on access to totalization and double taxation treaties

If you have questions about how an umbrella company can help you as an international contractor, please contact us at Contractor Taxation.

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