Offshore Living

Looking for a Job? Try Looking Abroad

I receive emails almost daily from U.S. citizens looking for opportunities outside the United States. However, many of these opportunities require substantial capital investment. But what if you don't have a lot of capital and simply want to work overseas?

In many cases, that's not a problem. While the United States hasn't traditionally been a labor source for the rest of the world, that's beginning to change. Indeed, almost every U.S. citizen seriously interested in working abroad can obtain a job, almost instantly.

One of the easiest ways to do so is to teach English. Even if you've never taught anything before, if you're a native English speaker, you have a skill in demand worldwide. Teachers of English as a second language work in dozens of different environments, from public schools to private tutoring, and everything in-between. See, e.g.,

Age is no limitation. A few weeks ago, I met two guys in their late 20s who both teach English as a second language full time. I also have a friend—60 years young—who is completing certification in teaching English as a second language. Such TESOL/TESL/TEFL certification isn't always mandatory to obtain a position teaching English, but often makes it easier. When she finishes, she has a job waiting for her at a leading language school in Mexico.

Teaching English isn't everyone's dream job, but it does provide almost any native English speaker the opportunity to work abroad. And it's not the only opportunity U.S. citizens have to work overseas.

I have an acquaintance who is about 30 with a degree in mechanical engineering. Despite this background, he was unemployed for the last two years. But just last month, I learned he had accepted a new job in Canada, with a mining company there.

Indeed, entire countries are seeking to satisfy labor shortages in the United States. For instance, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship recently co-sponsored a job fair in Houston. Job-seekers with experience in mining and oil drilling, for instance, can often expect to receive salaries exceeding the equivalent of $100,000 annually in Australia. Most such workers obtain a "temporary skilled migrant" visa through sponsorship of the company hire them. For 2012, Australia will issue approximately 90,000 such visas.

If you're a U.S. citizen working overseas, don't forget that you have continuing U.S. tax and reporting obligations. So long as you remain a U.S. citizen, you must continue filing U.S. tax returns, although if you're living full-time overseas, you can likely qualify for the "foreign earned income exclusion," which I wrote about here. And if you open bank accounts overseas to pay local expenses, you must acknowledge their existence if the aggregate balance exceeds $10,000 even one time during the year. Additional reporting obligations may also exist.

Should you work abroad? Why not, especially if you have skills that you can put to better use outside the United States?

Copyright © 2012 by Mark Nestmann

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