By Lina Martinez
With cheaper travel costs and increased connectivity between business and the market across the globe, it’s becoming easier than ever to work overseas. A lot of people do find their place in the market far away from home and enjoy all the benefits of living in a new environment, gaining perspective, and sometimes getting paid more than they would from home. However, for anyone considering that dream life living overseas, there are also risks worth considering. They’re on the rise and you should be aware of the potential negatives to any career change.
There are increasing concerns about the risk of accident, injury, and illness when working overseas. This is predominantly about some of the more strenuous overseas jobs, like working on an oil rig, on ships or in harbors, or even doing contract work that can involve working on government agency payrolls. These kinds of contract positions can include anything from construction to trucking to providing security. When you’re injured in these roles, you need to know what kind of help is applicable to you, since the usual worker’s comp might not apply. For overseas workers in government contract positions, a Defense Base Act lawyer might be a crucial contact for you should you get injured. It’s not enough to assume that nothing bad will happen to you, you need to plan for the worst and prepare for the best.
Your labor laws at home aren’t always going to apply overseas, either. What you might consider your basic rights as a worker might not be met by the employer you’re working with. How many hours you can work, how many breaks you can take, whether there’s any paid time off can all depend on where you work and who you work for. Granted, you may sometimes work in countries that have more employee-friendly labor laws, but that won’t be the case in a lot of countries. Do your research on the laws of the country you plan to work in and which apply to you.
Personal safety outside of work, especially in regard to working in any countries that are major tourist centers or less developed than home, should be a major concern. There’s no doubt that, to criminals, foreigners can look like an easy target. The rise of terrorism should always be a concern where you work, too. Get to know the threats, common types of crime, and safety tips for wherever you work. You don’t have to worry about becoming a victim all the time, but no matter why you travel, whether for work or for leisure, you should always be safe. The same goes for vetting potential overseas employers. Do they have enough of a track record that you can be certain they are not con artists?
The risks don’t necessarily have to turn you off the idea of working overseas. However, you should be aware of them, especially if you can prepare for them in advance. Don’t get caught off guard by the realities of working far from home.