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Things to consider when you move your career abroad

By June 18, 2018October 17th, 2023FinGlobal

Things to consider when you move your career abroad

June 18, 2018


Becoming an expat and moving abroad has a huge impact on both your professional and personal life. To ensure your career benefits from your move abroad, here are some important things you can do to secure your future.

1. Become the global expert

As an expat living abroad, you are able to see the global marketplace from a different perspective. This will help you see connections and challenges often before the locals in your new country. Capitalise on this by actively working to expand your professional network – especially if your work takes you between countries. In this way you will become a global expert who has the answers that the locals are looking for, both in your home country and in your new country.

2. Diversify your skills

Moving abroad often gives expats the opportunity to pursue career options that weren’t available in their home countries, especially if you are moving to an emerging market where your core skill set is in short demand. Take every opportunity you can to study and learn further – both on the job and academically. As the saying goes – “A little learning goes a long way”, and in the case of a skilled expat, it can take you across the world.

3. Focus on cross-cultural communication

Moving abroad often means you have to work in a different language or learn a new business culture with different rules. Try to learn about your new business culture before you move and take business language skill courses so that when you arrive you are able to easily assimilate into the working environment.  The more you become aware of the different ways conversation, business etiquette and communication differ from your home country and your new country, the better your career progressions will be.

4. Get to grips with the hidden costs of living abroad

Moving abroad is filled with costs – some apparent and some that are not so obvious. Before you move, look at the different models and costs of medical care and the different foreign tax systems. In some countries like Australia and Canada, the taxes are a lot higher in order to accommodate the state-funded medical system. The more prepared you are for the costs of living abroad, the better positioned you are to negotiate a good salary and ensure you have sufficient income to cover the unexpected.

5. Work on improving your financial situation

Having an income in a different currency can be the ideal way to spread your risk and secure your financial future. If you plan to return to your home country and you are concerned about the economy back home, you are in an ideal position to hedge your finances by making astute investment decisions while you are working abroad.

If you have decided to live permanently abroad, it makes financial sense to consider financial emigration. Financial emigration is also known as formal emigration and simply means your status, for exchange control purposes with the South African Reserve Bank, changes from resident to non-resident. Financial emigration does not change your status as a South African. You and your family still have the right to South African citizenship and your South African passports.

Financial emigration concludes one’s financial affairs from a South African point of view and brings with it many benefits including cashing in your South African retirement annuity, even before you turn 55! It also affords you other financial opportunities:

As a financial emigrant you may transfer offshore:

  • The proceeds of your retirement annuity, even before age 55. This can be used for any purpose in your new country including buying property – or even a round-the-world trip
  • South African source inheritance
  • The proceeds of assets declared in your emigration application
  • Passive income, i.e. rent, dividends, director’s fees, salary for services rendered in South Africa and income from discretionary or vesting trusts

As South Africa’s longest offshore financial service provider, FinGlobal has helped thousands of South Africans financially emigrate and cash in their South African retirement annuities so they can live abroad for the long term. For information on how we can assist you with these processes contact us today.


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