Resources How do Contractors Achieve Long Term Sustainable Travelling and Working Abroad?

How do Contractors Achieve Long Term Sustainable Travelling and Working Abroad?

As a new contractor working abroad, you may eventually face the question of how to sustain your international career over a period of time. 

What is the key to contracting longevity, and how might that be affected by your own personal goals and preferences?  We have some ideas for you that can help you define and achieve your perfect sustainable work/travel lifestyle.

International contractors appear to have the best of all worlds: living abroad in new cultures while pursuing a skilled profession with their foreign clients. 

But the challenges of working abroad are less apparent, especially if you want to find a stable, sustainable job or work stay.  Your end goal may even be immigration to a new country, which requires another level of commitment and certainty in your choice.

At the other extreme is when you are interested in working in multiple countries for both the personal and work experience, so your focus is on creating a sustainable journey from country to country. 

You may switch clients frequently for seasonal or short term gigs, or you can become a true digital nomad working remotely from wherever you choose.

In all cases, sustainable traveling and working abroad will require clarity about your goals and thorough preparation.  This article has some tips for you to get a start on your sustainable international contracting path.

Sustainable Travel and Working Abroad

When you want to find sustainability at work, you will likely focus on finding the best client, regardless of location.  If you are interested in Europe you may find yourself in a colder climate than planned, but with significant work opportunities. 

You will still have to prepare for the travel and living conditions if it is new to you, as you may eventually be drawn to immigrating to your new work home.

This is where the reasons for working abroad at a sustainable job will differ from the remote worker. 

Experienced contractors realise that long term foreign work can lead to permanent residency and professional satisfaction. 

However, there is still a need for you to use sustainable travel techniques, as you could change clients a few times before finding the ideal role.

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Those methods may include limiting the number of personal belongings, using short term rentals, always reviewing immigration restrictions and creating an overall flexible mindset. 

In essence, you become your own mobile work hub, without overreliance on any one country, client or circumstance until you become settled.

Best Ways to be a Sustainable Traveler and Remote Worker

If you are younger and drawn to the idea of maximum work flexibility, remote work might be your contracting path.  Remote workers have an easier time of being a sustainable traveller as they dont have the goal of a sustainable job, instead they are working for one more remote client. 

With the advent of digital nomad visas, this has become even easier as long as you can meet the criteria.  

In the past, remote workers often relied on tourist visas, moving every two or three months to a new country.  But, this method does carry pitfalls on the immigration side, and creates a constant stress point for you. 

Shania had been a digital nomad for years, and was used to moving countries every two to three months as her tourist visa expired. But the process was getting tiresome, and when she would return to a country immigration would often ask her source of financial support. 

She couldn’t open a local bank account, as the payments would be evidence of her income while staying in the country.  She was relieved when a wave of countries started offering digital nomad visas. She could choose among many one year visas, and stay in full compliance.

However you manage the visa process, there are some best practices when travelling and working remotely:

Insurance for working abroad

Many expats will start out with a good travel insurance policy, and then switch to a local policy once settled.  Many countries offer health insurance as part of their social contribution programs as well, so it’s a good idea to research this ahead of time. 

If you are going the digital nomad visa route, some may require health insurance of some type.

Things to bring when working abroad

Keep in mind that most anything can be purchased or ordered abroad, so it’s best to travel light.  Specialised electronics might be items to bring such as a laptop or phone, along with adapters. 

Of course you will have your passport, but other documents might include school transcripts, birth certificate and any supporting documents for visas and work permits. 

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Basically, you don’t want to be without the items that will support your contracting, or deal with the hassle of having them sent from home.

Sustainable travel packing essentials

Everyone has certain items that are personally essential, that can aid sustainable travel.  This will often include what is considered ‘personal comfort’ items such as portable beverage makers, favourite pillow, music, and fitness tools. 

These might sound superficial but can really assist in adapting to a new environment so you can focus on work.

Socially responsible travel

For those who are concerned about the environmental impact of travel, there are ways to engage in socially responsible travel. 

Most airlines allow you to pay carbon offsets, and you can always choose slower but more environmentally sound travel modes.  Once settled, you might decide to commute by foot or bicycle, and use public transport where available.

Sustainable Travel International Jobs

At first glance, it would seem that most any role can be made into a sustainable job with a few best practices.  But there are some jobs that directly lend themselves to sustainable travel.

Accounting: one expat shared their success with the accounting profession as a sustainable job, as it’s truly a necessary global industry.

Sales: another expat commented on the fact that every company in the world relies on sales, so if that is your talent you will always be in high demand in multiple countries.

Aviation: not just for pilots as most aviation practices are standardised globally, so it is possible to step into your role and use your expertise in foreign countries.

Hospitality: the hotel industry may be one of the most sustainable job arenas internationally.  With the right language skills, you could work almost anywhere in the world, and the use of foreign expat staff at major hotel chains is evidence of this fact.

Remote Work Roles:  if you are a pure remote worker there are roles that are well suited to a nomadic lifestyle.  IT specialists, business support, content management and marketing are all flexible enough to be performed remotely across time zones and borders.

How Contractor Taxation Can Help Support Your Sustainable Travel and Work Journey

Sustainable travelling and working abroad can be achieved more easily when you have a reliable partner in the foreign destination. 

Contractor Taxation has a global network of umbrella companies that are ready to assist you with setting up as a contractor and managing your client payments and compliance concerns. 

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When regulations change they will advise you and make sure that there are no interruptions in your work status and income.

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.

More on Sustainable Travelling and Working

Can a foreigner on an H1B visa work remotely outside the US?

The H1B visa is the US immigration work permission for foreign nationals.  It does not prohibit you from working remotely outside the US, but you do risk losing the H1B if you remain in another country for too long.  This is one example where immigration policies directly affect sustainable travelling and working abroad.

Is travelling and working remotely sustainable in the long term?

In terms of demand and possibility, it certainly can be done long term.  The more important question is whether you are personally suited to living as an expat for long periods of time.  Even if you have the temperament, you still have to think about details like mail forwarding, banking and health care and how to adapt to any changes.

How do long term international contractors handle passport renewal and existing visa stamps when working abroad?

One American expat shared how they were easily able to renew their passport through the US embassy in the host country.  First, they checked with local immigration who assured them that their existing visa would transfer to their new passport. 

Next, they sent the expiring passport to the embassy along with the application and payment verification, and the embassy took care of the rest.  They received a new passport within 6 weeks, and then took it to immigration for the visa transfer.  This example shows how your country’s embassy resources can be of real value for long term contracting abroad.

More topics about travel and working abroad

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By clicking submit, Campbell will introduce you by email to the best matched Umbrella Partners for your contract. It's the fastest way for Umbrella Companies to provide a detailed quote, scope of service and a projection of your net earnings. There will be no charge to you for this referral service. If you have any questions or need to talk at any stage, we're here to help.

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