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Thursday, 30 August, 2001, 06:14 GMT 07:14 UK
Get away and work abroad
This is the third part of BBC News Online's "kick-start your career" guideDisclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
By BBC News Online's personal finance reporter Sarah Toyne
Andrea Higgins, 28, is one a growing number of people who are making the most of international work opportunities.
She is a manager at Blevins Franks Trustees, an offshore trust company in Malta, and she has worked there for the past 18 months.
Andrea says: "I decided to have a change of scene. A lot of my friends have been travelling around. Living in London was very hectic and I didn't get much free time. I fancied the sunshine, I was a bit fed-up of the rain".
"Working here is not the same as in the UK, you get to learn a lot and experience different ways of working and living.
"It has definitely helped me with my confidence. Living abroad builds-up your personality."
If you want to spend some time working abroad like Andrea, the first step is to know where to find work.
If you are lucky and work for a large international organisation, you may be able to get a work placement abroad.
Alternatively, you can either apply for jobs advertised in newspapers and on websites in the UK or apply directly to a company abroad.
There are an increasing number of websites, such as Stepstone, Monster and NewMonday which advertise international job opportunities.
Monster's global gateway service, for example, offers a raft of information and jobs in different countries around the world. You can also post your CV on the site.
If you are considering working abroad for a short period of time, you can fix up work through a temping agency before you get there.
Manpower, for example, has 3,000 branches worldwide. If you contact your local branch it will put you in contact with a branch overseas. Alternatively, you can call Manpower's head office in the UK on 020 7224 6688 and ask for "Manpower International".
If you fancy doing something unusual while you are abroad - work as a lifeguard, on a turtle conservation project or as a kayak instructor, Hot Recruit has a "Crazy job" section, aimed at younger people.
You could also become a volunteer with organisation such as Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) or the European Voluntary Service.
Vacationwork publishes a large number of books on living and working abroad, including "The International Directory of Voluntary Work" and "The Directory of Jobs and Careers Abroad".
If you are fluent in a foreign language you will have a much better chance of getting a job abroad in countries where English is not the first language.
If you have a second language you can also expect to earn about 20% more, according to international recruitment consultants Angela Mortimer.
Davide Mele, director of the company's international division, places secretaries in Europe.
He says: "In France, they are very keen on having real English secretaries because their technical skills, such as typing, are much more advanced.
"In big merchant, investment banks and management consultants, many division heads are either English or American and there are a lot of dealings in English."
However, even people who do not have language skills but aim to live in Europe can get help.
You could get work with a foreign company's branch in the UK and then try and re-locate to Europe in the future.
Alternatively, if you find that poor language skills are an impediment to working in your chosen country, you could try a job which requires less demanding language skills, such as bar or restaurant work.
Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) is one of the most popular options for people who want to work abroad. It costs between £600 and £1,000 to take a TEFL course.
While it is relatively straightforward for British citizens to work in European Union member states, it can be more tricky elsewhere.
However, there are a number of useful websites which list visa information as well as more detailed country profiles.
Try the Prospect site or alternatively, contact the country's embassy in London. Embassy World has comprehensive listings of embassies around the world.
Popular destinations with Britons, such as Australia, have specialist sites on the web.
Before you decide to move abroad, you will need to weigh up the risks involved, and your responsibilities back home.
Career counsellors also advise people to set a timeframe for the trip and their return to the UK.
Siobhan Hamilton-Phillips a senior psychologist at Career Psychology says: "If you are going abroad, you must plan when you are going to come back, otherwise you can drift and not have any focus.
"If you plan when you will return, going abroad moves away from being a way of escaping or running away, and becomes an adventure."
Edward Heckels, 34, worked in the Far East for seven years for an international banking group.
As he was "posted" to the Far East by his company, he had everything from his accommodation, work permits, and tax returns organised for him.
His company also paid for Japanese lessons.
Edward says it was a "fabulous experience".
"It was the kind of experience I never could have had if I had stayed in the UK," he says.
If you are not going through a secondment from your company, you will need to sort out any tax or pensions issues.
Britain has reciprocal taxation agreements with many countries, which should ensure that you are not taxed twice on capital against tax and income.
The general rule is that if you spend more than 183 days a year in a foreign country, you are classed as a resident in that country and will be liable for tax there.
However, there are exceptions and it is important to find out what your liabilities are abroad and in the UK.
The Inland Revenue's guide IR20 has more details on double taxation.
If you decide to work in Europe, there is some useful tax and social security information on the Dialogue website.
You might be able to claim benefits while you are abroad. The Department for Work & Pensions international division will tell you which benefits you can continue to claim (0645 154811).
Alternatively, try guidance note SA29 available from www.dss.gov.uk.
If you are contributing to a pension in the UK, you may be able to continue contributions for up to five years after you leave, but it depends on the type of plan you have.
If you have net relevant earnings in Britain from a trade or profession in the UK you should be able to extend the contribution period indefinitely.
Tell us about your experiences at work - have you upped sticks and moved abroad? Or have you kick-started your career and successfully changed direction? Do you have any tips for job seekers?
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