The thought of getting a job abroad may sound appealing for many but the reality is, too many people are put off by the thought of doing it. They have no idea how to even begin the process or what their actual options are for getting a job abroad.
So how to get a job abroad!?
Don’t worry! I got your back. I’ve done a few jobs abroad, have tons of friends who have worked around the world, and I understand the process a lot more after years on the road.
I’m going to help you find all the opportunities out there and answer how you can work abroad right here. Let’s get started!
How To Get a Job Abroad
One thing to remember before we move on in this post is that each country has its own rules. On top of that, those wondering how to work abroad are also bound to the specific country’s rules depending on YOUR passport.
While A LOT of what I’m going to tell you below applies to many people, particularly Americans, not every single work abroad opportunity below can apply to every person reading this.
Always check the immigration website for each country and dig a bit deeper to make sure you and your country are available for the work abroad opportunity mentioned.
How To Work Abroad Through a Working Holiday Visa
The typical visa of choice for those looking for work while traveling is the Working Holiday Visa. The visa varies from country to country but generally caters to those between the ages of 18 and 30, with some countries going up to 35.
How long you can stay also depends on the country but is usually between 1-2 years. These are a great option if you are fresh out of college, as they require little to no skills and are very simple to apply for.
Many different countries offer these visas, and more and more countries are introducing them all the time. In general, most countries that offer these visas are English-speaking commonwealth countries such as Australia and Canada, so there are some great options out there.
In all cases, you’ll have to pay to get the visa, which is often over $450, but the application process is pretty straightforward. They usually come with a series of regulations, such as you can only work in one place for six months, to encourage you to work and travel.
There are some additional regulations; for example, in Australia, you have to complete a specific number of days of labor work before getting a second year.
What Type of Jobs Abroad Can You Do on This Visa?
The type of work available with a Working Holiday Visa varies greatly, but most people will become office assistants, farmers, waiters, or other similar service jobs. Sure, the money might not always be amazing, but as long as it is enough for you to pay for food and lodging, as well as some extra for adventuring, this is usually enough.
This doesn’t have to be the case though, my boyfriend and I saved TONS of cash working in Australia.
In most cases, you won’t get a job until you get to your destination country, which can be a little scary. You then look for work when you land. Some companies are available to place travelers, which can be a good place to start but not necessary. Some hostels also have job boards.
If you want an easy way to live in another country for a while and are not bothered too much about the sort of work you do, then a Working Holiday Visa may be the best option for your needs.
- Working Holiday Visas For Americans and Other Ways To Work Abroad
- A Guide To All 13 of the Working Holiday Visas for Canadians
- Working Holiday Visas for UK Citizens & Work Abroad Opportunities
- The Ultimate Guide To the Australian Working Holiday Visa and Why To Go NOW!
- Work & Travel New Zealand: Get a Working Holiday Visa For New Zealand
How to Work Abroad Through Skilled Visas
If you have a particular skill set, such as having years of experience being a nurse, being proficient in the tech or medical industry, or any other skill that another country may require, a skilled visa is a good option.
Many countries worldwide welcome immigrants who have a specific skill set to work and live in their country through a skilled visa scheme. The country looks to source critical skills, which vary greatly depending on the destination.
Still, they will look at the skills and experience that an individual can bring to the country, especially if, locally, that skill is in short supply.
Types of Skilled Visas
There are two paths to this kind of visa. The first is for a local company to sponsor the applicant through a job offer, so you will have to have been offered a job before applying for the visa.
The second method is to obtain a skilled visa without actually having a job offer first. You will most likely get accepted for a visa if your skills lie within your desired country’s skills shortage list, which is constantly updated.
Getting a Job Abroad Through Skilled Work Visas
Here are some popular country examples and their skilled visas. A Google search will surely reveal tons more!
Australia is a very popular destination for skilled workers. For skilled workers looking to live and work in Australia, you have to go through the SkillSelect program, where individuals may be able to get a permanent Australian visa taking into account qualifications, work experience, and language ability.
The SkillSelect program works very much like a job board, where available jobs can be matched to potential employees who meet the skill requirements. You’ll have to make sure you meet the minimum point score of 65 and that your occupation of choice is included under the list of skilled occupations that allow you to apply.
You must then present an Expression of Interest before being invited to apply for the visa. There is a relatively large list of occupations on the list, over 400, ranging from accountant to illustrator, ICT support engineer to optometrist, so it is worth taking a look.
New Zealand has a skilled visa that is open to a range of applicants. The country invites people who have the skills to contribute to New Zealand’s economic growth to apply for the visa. Interested individuals will have to give an Expression of Interest, which details employment, work experience, and qualifications.
If this is successful, you’ll have the opportunity to apply for a visa. Expressions of Interest are rated on a points basis. You’ll have a good chance of obtaining a visa if you have a skill on the country’s skill shortage list, which you can check on the New Zealand Immigration website.
Desirable skills include construction, engineering, various health, and social services, and environmental research scientists, to name a few.
A skilled work visa in the UK is the main visa route for those skilled workers that have a job offer and are coming to the UK to take up employment. In general, the minimum salary for this visa is £25600 per annum, but there are exceptions to this rule.
To apply for this visa, you need to have a job offer and a certificate of sponsorship from a UK employer. It is easier to get this visa if your skills can be applied to the UK’s shortage occupation list, which includes jobs such as mechanical engineers, web design and development professionals, and graphic designers, to name a few.
Another method to get a skilled visa in the UK is through a Global Talent Visa. This critical skills visa aims to attract top-tier talent in specific industries, including science, medicine, technology, research, and the arts. This type of visa doesn’t tie you to any employer and is for up to five years, which can then be extended.
Sunny South Africa offers a Critical Skills Work Permit. There is a national list of occupations and critical skills that are in high demand. This type of visa lasts for five years, and you don’t have to have a job offer to apply.
The difference with a Canadian Skilled Visa program is that there are both country-wide and regional programs. The national program works on a points-based system, and although you don’t have to have a confirmed job offer, it will help add points to your application.
If your occupation is on the High Demand Occupations List, the process may be fast-tracked. There are around 350 jobs on this list, including human resource professionals, dentists, pattern makers, and chemists, to name a few. Many of Canada’s regional governments also administer independent programs.
These are just a few of the countries that offer skilled visas. You could also look into skilled visas in Austria, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, and Germany, and there are likely more to be found.
Teaching English Abroad
The best thing about teaching English abroad is that it can be done by pretty much anyone. It is the ultimate choice for someone who has just left college and is looking for a way to get out there and explore the big, wide world.
In fact, most (but not all) TEFL language teachers are fresh-faced 20-somethings that have stepped right out of college or university with a range of different degrees and skills behind them. That’s part of what makes it so great.
Millions and millions of people worldwide want to learn English, and that’s why English teachers are in such high demand. There are varying degrees of requirements to become an English as a Foreign Language teacher, with some jobs having more requirements than others.
Just being present and being able to speak English is enough for some places. Most will require a TEFL (click for a discount code) to know the basics of teaching, but it is possible to get this qualification online easily. If you have a TEFL qualification, then you will then have access to the TEFL job board.
In general, teaching jobs pay well, and the hours are often flexible. Some schools will even pay for your flight.
Other Ways of Getting Work Abroad
That’s not it! There are definitely other opportunities for getting work abroad. Here are some more ideas to get your wheels turning.
Applying For a Work Visa
If you are above 30 or 35 and don’t have a particular skill, don’t worry, as there are still other ways you may be able to work abroad. You could apply for a work visa, which can be a little time-consuming and complicated to get, so be sure to plan and be aware that your resume and experience level can be a big advantage here.
Through an Agency
If you’ve recently graduated, then a few agencies and organizations specialize in internships and other types of work abroad, be it for a gap year or longer term. Some of these programs vary in quality, so it is worth doing a bit of research before you jump in, as some may even end up costing you money.
Non-Native English Speaker Teacher
If you are not a native English speaker, that doesn’t mean you can’t teach a language overseas. Why not teach your own language? There are language schools for most languages, especially in big, international cities.
You don’t even have to be present to teach a foreign language, as there are many websites and platforms out there that allow you to connect with eager learners online. With these platforms, you can set your own rates and hours, so it is very flexible.
Move Through the Seasons
There is a big demand for temporary labor abroad when it comes to seasonal work. You’ll easily be able to travel the world this way, moving with the seasons. Work on boats, ski resorts, bars, or on a farm; there are many options out there, especially in tourist seasons.
When deciding what kind of seasonal work you want, first consider your skills. If you are a great entertainer, working on a cruise ship might be worth exploring, or if you can ski, check out places that are looking for new ski instructors.
You’ll have to check if you need any certificates or training before you get started; for example, if you will be working on boats, you will need the STCW training, or if you are working with children, you may need to get a background check. The regulations vary from country to country.
- 17+ Seasonal & Temp Jobs That Could Get You Abroad Faster
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Work for a Company With Offices Overseas
Depending on your current situation, where you currently work could potentially lead to work overseas. The most likely occasion this could happen is if you work for an employer with offices abroad. If this is the case, then it might be worth arranging a meeting with your manager about the option of transferring to the overseas office.
If you are a skilled worker, such as in healthcare, your chances of getting a job overseas are more likely. You might find work placements abroad via your sector’s associations. All countries need healthcare professions; therefore, it is good to have when looking for work in another country.
Various big companies, such as UBS and Deloitte, are well known for offering their employees 2 or 3-year assignments at an international office. They take care of everything, from visas to moving costs.
They will even help you find an apartment and set up your cable. Booking.com has over 200 international offices and allows its employees to transfer to different counties when there is an opportunity available, and there are many others with similar schemes in place.
Work Abroad Programs and Websites
All of this can be a little overwhelming, but don’t worry; you don’t have to go through the whole process independently. GoAbroad is one of the most well-known education and international travel sites out there.
It has a database of over 18,000 verified programs to choose from. Categories on the site include volunteering abroad, teaching abroad, TELF courses, Gap year options, and more.
Transitions Abroad is another similar company that is a great resource for anyone looking to live or work overseas. BUNAC stands for the British Universities North America Club, a company focusing on overseas work and volunteer opportunities.
There are work abroad programs in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and Britain, and the company will help you with applying for your work visa.
How to Work Abroad Through Work Exchanges
A work exchange can be a lot of fun and are ideal if you want to see the world while on a tighter budget. Essentially, it is the closest thing you are going to get to travel for free, as in exchange for your work, you’ll get to sleep and sometimes eat for free.
Work exchanges are very varied, with lots of options available. You could be doing something skilled, such as marketing in an office-based role, working in a hostel, or doing more manual labor. What you decide to go with very much depends on what kind of work you fancy doing.
Not having to worry about where you are going to sleep and where you will get your next meal can be a huge advantage and can take a lot of the stress out of traveling. Then, in your free time, you can go and explore.
Be aware that the majority of the time, you are not exactly going to be staying in five-star accommodation. It is likely to be the equivalent of hostel accommodation, so be prepared to give up a few ‘luxuries.’
Hostels are often looking for staff, and as the turnover is relatively high, there are usually quite a few placements available. This is great if you are looking for something temporary, as the hostel will often let you stay for free if you can help out with jobs like cleaning, working the desk, or running the bar crawls.
Don’t be afraid to ask about job opportunities, as they are not always advertised.
How to Work Abroad Through Volunteering
If you’re looking to find a way to give back to the community while you travel, a volunteer program may be the way to go. These opportunities are prolific all over the world and could look great on your future resume.
Helpx is a great company that offers volunteer work in exchange for free accommodation and food on farms, stables, onboard a boat, and in hostels. There are tons of opportunities listed on the site, all offering short-term work, which can be a great cultural exchange for those looking to work and travel on a budget.
Not only will you be staying with local people, but you also can gain a range of practical experience, and usually, you only work around four hours a day. Some may require a bit more work but come with other benefits such as free internet use, local sightseeing trips, lessons and more.
Workaway is one of the most popular and well-known work abroad programs and is a good place to start your search for any volunteer opportunities. Search the website either by the type of work you are interested in or the location you would like to travel to and if you find something you like, you can apply for it.
Most positions give you board in exchange for your time, so although you won’t be paid, at least you’ll be able to essentially travel for free, perfect for seeing the world on a budget. The type of jobs you are likely to find here include orphanages, yoga retreats, farms, and various conservation projects.
IVHQ is a program similar to Workaway, offering work abroad and volunteer placements. All placements are very diverse, with options for a huge range of interests. There are partners from all over the world, making it a great way to travel the globe.
Volunteering Solutions opportunities can be found in 20 different countries and offer something a little different in addition to standard volunteer opportunities. There are options like teaching and community work and jobs that are a little more specialized, including medical internships, working with disabled children, and sports coaching, to name a few.
Love Volunteers offers opportunities in various countries worldwide, with a focus on Africa, Asia, and Latin America. However, you may also find some in Europe and the Middle East. The application process here is pretty easy, making it great for those that want to get out there fast.
If you want to see the places in the world that others may not have the chance to visit, then Fronteering may be a good opportunity. You’ll be sent to the more remote places worldwide, with jobs including wildlife conservation projects and helping out indigenous communities.
Other Ways for How To Find Work Abroad
For many people, WOOFing is the go-to for those that are seeking farm-type work abroad. You can apply to work on a farm in countless places around the world, and in exchange, you will be given meals and accommodation.
Often, you will only be required to labor for around four to six hours per day, so you will have plenty of time to explore your local area. On your days off, you can use the time to travel a little further afield. Pick where you want to go, and see if the company has any opportunities available.
Picking Jobs is a similar platform to the more well-known WWOOFing, with seasonal farm work available in 18 countries. Whether helping with the harvest in Australia or hitting the vineyards in France, it is a good way to get aboard if you don’t have much experience. You can either apply directly to the farms or make yourself a profile and wait for the farms to come to you.
Working Online and Living Abroad
If you work online, then your options for working and living abroad open up considerably. There are, of course, limitations when it comes to visas and how long you can stay in certain countries, but essentially you can call pretty much anywhere home for a set amount of time.
More and more countries worldwide are now offering digital nomad visas and offering intrepid individuals the opportunity to stay in a country for longer. A digital nomad is essentially someone who works online, therefore they are not tied down to one physical location.
There are tons of digital nomad jobs available, ranging from writing jobs, tech, tutoring, graphic design and more.
It is possible to work in a different country remotely without a digital nomad visa on a tourist visa. Still, a digital nomad visa lets you stay for much longer, so you can really base yourself in one country without having to worry about your visa running out for one or two years.
With the whole world going online, more and more countries have started to offer these visas. Digital nomad-friendly countries include Germany, the Czech Republic, Georgia, and Barbados, to name just a few. You can read my list of countries offering digital nomad visas and find out more about the different requirements in each country.
What It’s Like Being a Digital Nomad
Being a digital nomad is great, but it is not all lying on the beach drinking cocktails; there is a lot of work. For a start, you will probably end up working longer than your traditional day job, especially in the first few years.
In some cases, you may end up working 50-70 hours a week as you become more established, and there is always more work that can be done.
It is effortless to take a day off here and there, but this could end up costing you if, for example, you lose a client or end up with a backlog of work. Being your own boss can be great, but you have to be strict with yourself.
There is also the issue with friendships. As you are constantly on the move, you have to be prepared to say goodbye as either you move to a different location or your new found community does.
Starting as a digital nomad can be hard, but if you really work on it and are okay with the lifestyle it brings, it can bring some incredible opportunities. You can read my full guide on what it’s like to be a digital nomad.
How To Become a Digital Nomad
First things first, you need to work out the best place to travel. Be sure to do a lot of research before just jetting off somewhere new. Be sure your desired location has good WiFi, for example, and locations on the cheaper end of the spectrum, at least to start with. Southeast Asia is a great hub for digital nomads as it is cheap, and the internet tends to be good.
It is also important you find good digital nomad travel insurance. A couple of good ones are Safety Wing and World Nomads. The trouble tends to be that you don’t know how long you are going to be away for, and you can’t renew it while you are abroad. I choose Safety Wing as it offers the flexibility I need.
When it comes to actually finding work, you need to find a job that you actually want to do; otherwise, what is the point of becoming a digital nomad? You could get into teaching English, freelance writing, or get seasonal work; there are tons of options out there.
Tips for Finding Work Abroad
- Have a strong online presence – Like most things these days, job searches are predominantly done online. Having a strong online presence can help you get noticed by potential employers, and make sure everything is squeaky clean on your social media platforms.
- Revamp your resume – A resume in one country will look completely different from a resume in another, so you will want to do your research. Even for entry-level jobs, it will be a good idea to tailor your resume to the country you are applying to. For example, in some countries, it is essential to provide a photo of yourself, while others don’t require this, and some may even find it a little odd.
- Check the visa requirements of a country before wasting your time applying for a job in that country. You should also read all job descriptions carefully to see if they specify that you need a work visa even to be considered.
- There are other things in addition to a visa that will help you become eligible to work abroad. Check your passport and ensure it has more than six months of validity left on it, so you don’t have to push back a job starting date and make necessary doctor’s appointments as soon as possible.
- Spread the word that you are looking to work abroad. The more people you network with, the bigger the chance that someone will know someone who knows someone who has an opportunity available.
- If you are interested in a specific country, start to build up your language skills a little, as this could be a real benefit both in the interview process and when you are in that country.
Nina Ragusa is an adventurer, messy bun master, breakfast fan, and full-time travel blogger. She’s been abroad and epically failing at the American Dream since 2011. Her sassy yet informative blog, Where in the World is Nina? is all about how to work abroad to live a more adventurous life. If you want to travel longer you have to work to wander.