life as an expat

Get the most out of life as an expat with these tips

Moving abroad and living life as an expat is an incredibly rewarding and educational experience, but it does come with a few complications.

From coming to terms with the visa requirements of a country for expats, through to understanding and embracing a new culture and/or a new language, living life as an expat overseas can be challenging.

Although moving overseas can be challenging, particularly for the first time, rest assured that wherever you’re heading, many other Australian’s will have forged a path before you and many of those are very willing to share their best tips in various online forums.

As such, it’s often a good idea to browse various expatriate Facebook groups and forums to learn what to expect from their big move before setting off. To help you get started, we have outlined some tips to help you get the most out of your life as an expat overseas.

Check your visa status

Understanding your visa status and worker rights is vital if you are looking to earn a living while abroad as an expat. Working on a tourist visa is a generally not a good idea. If you get caught earning income while visiting as a tourist you’ll most likely get deported and potentially blacklisted from re-entry to that country for a number of years. So as you begin your planning phase, it’s often well worth speaking to your destination country’s embassy in Australia or alternatively, discuss your visa options with an immigration lawyer.

On the subject of working whilst on a tourist visa, if you’re planning on working remotely for your Australian employer, you should check with the foreign embassy (of the country where you are heading to) whether that will be permitted during your stay in that country.

It also pays to understand which, if any, country (or both) will tax you on the income that you’re earning whilst overseas. Due to the complexities involved, particularly where Australia’s concerned, attending an ‘Outbound Expat’ tax consultation with a specialist Australian expatriate tax firm (like ours) is highly recommended, as doing so will give you the best chance for minimising your taxes and maximising your opportunities from day one of your overseas adventure.

Try to learn the language

Learning a language is difficult, but immersing yourself in that language can make it much easier and it’s definitely appreciated by locals in your new community. As an expat abroad, you will have a unique opportunity to learn a language passively while you work, live, and socialise with the locals. Not only will knowing the local lingo help you integrate into the country, but it will go a long way in business and in every day life as an expat if you can speak their language, even if only basically.

Live Life as an Expat – get out of your comfort zone

Life as an expat ebbs and flows, with bursts of excitement and adventure followed by the simplicity of day-to-day living. Once you’ve established a daily routine, much of the initial excitement of life as an expat often gives way to the everyday things like getting up, going to work, paying bills, buying groceries and cleaning your house etc.

Whilst it’s easy to fall back into a familiar routine, albeit in a new country, you have a unique opportunity to explore your new city and country and to experience a different culture. Accordingly, try hard not to fall back into your daily routine for too long!

Making the most out of your life as an expat can be incredibly rewarding, but you’ll need to put some effort in too, to truly enjoy your time. Get out there and experience as much as you can because ultimately, you have a whole new world around you to explore.

If you are considering moving overseas to experience life as an expat, but are unsure about how to go about it, or if you’re unsure about your overseas and Australian tax return obligations, contact us at Expat Taxes today – our team are always happy to answer your questions and to help.

Shane Macfarlane CA
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