Living in another country, what to know?

There is a beautiful quote from my favorite book that states ”Adolescence is like heavy rain. Even though you catch a cold from it, you still look forward to experiencing it once again.”

Being alone in a foreign land, experiencing a new culture and meeting new friends, aren’t those the most memorable experiences of youth?

In the grand openness of the world, many travel opportunities are available  for those who are enthusiastic enough explore. Nowadays, travelling to a beautiful and interesting country while looking for a job to pay for your trip is common amongst young people. Three favorable options include: participating in an exchange program, studying for a higher degree, or looking for a long-term job.

However, the difference in culture and laws can bring about many issues. Therefore, for those who desire to live and work in another country, it is quite important to pay attention to the following:

  1. Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is the insurance for the purpose of paying expenses due to losses occurring abroad, such as loss of luggage, accident, illness or other risks, depending on the insurance package in which you register. When arriving in an unfamiliar land, especially for first-time travelers, mistakes and losses are very likely to occur.  Even though Chinese government does not issued any mandatory regulations requiring foreigner tourists to buy travel insurance, be sure to note that in China, the United States and many countries in Europe, medical expenses are often quite expensive, it is essential to find a reliable insurance company and to buy suitable insurance, even if the trip lasts only a few months.

  1. Housing

With the assistance of the Internet, finding a home before departure date is not difficult. Even though it’s recommended for travelers to speak with the landlord and get pictures of the house before you travel to the new country, one should book a hotel for the first few nights, in order to see the house with your own eyes, and have time to further discuss the lease. The lease should be written in English and specifying all utilities covered in the rent. Please also be noted that, in China, you shall go through the registration formalities with the public security organs in the places of residence within 24 hours after arrival, as described in Art.39 of the Exit-Entry Administration Law of PRC, otherwise a warning plus a fine will be applied.

  1. Are you allowed to work?

It’s important to check whether you are allowed to work, before applying for a job in a foreign country. In most cases, if you enter the country under a tourist visa, you cannot work. For example, foreigners are not allowed to be hired legally in China without working permit pursuant to the Circular on the Issuance of the Regulations on the Management of the Employment of Foreigners in China. Besides, those under a student visa are unable to work outside school or be hired as internship without the consent of his school, as regulated in Article 22 of Administrative Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Entry and Exit of Aliens. Obtaining the approval from school is not enough, you need to apply for the annotation of information such as the place and period for work with the exit and entry administration institution of the public security authority. One should also understand the basic regulations in regards to the maximum permitted working hours, minimum wage and other documents, such as work permit, that grant you the right to work in your chosen foreign country. It’s advisable to be especially aware of employers who are willing to hire you even with a tourist visa, it may mean they are looking for someone who would work for a low salary and extra hours.

  1. Tax

The general principal is if you work in any country, you shall pay personal income tax on the salary you earn there. For example, foreigners living in China for more than 90 days will be required to pay taxes after the new revised Individual Income Tax Law implemented since January 1, 2019. Meanwhile, depending on the national regulations and the travel period, you may still have to pay tax for your income back home. Therefore, it’s of paramount importance to ask for clarification from the tax authorities of both countries, as well as to talk to those with similar experiences in order to strictly follow the law.

In summary, living abroad can bring hardship, but speaking from personal experience, having the chance to see this wonderful and complicated world is worth the trouble.

*This article was published on the Nanjinger magazine on August 2019.