The pros and cons of working overseas
Working overseas can be an opportunity of a lifetime - you get to immerse yourself in a different culture, possibly learn a new language, meet new people and can improve your job prospects when you get back.
You'll need to get a lot of things sorted before you jump on a plane, including arranging the relevant work permits and visas, lining up a job and shipping all your belongings.
Thinking about your banking needs should be close to the top of that list - especially as you'll need somewhere for your salary payments to go.
It can be a good idea to try and set up an account before you leave Australia but that may be easier said than done, depending on the country. Talk to your existing institution first and ask if it can help you. It might have a recommendation for the country you will visit.
If not, try contacting an international bank such as Citibank or HSBC. Both say that they can help you set up an account before you leave Australia.
Online services may be able to help you open an account before you go, for a fee, if it all seems too hard.
If you can't open an account before you go, make it a priority when you land. Just find out ahead of time what documentation you will need to make this happen so that you don't have to source it from back home. Get in touch with banks in your destination country online to ask what they will need.
It's a good idea to keep your Australian bank account open. Just make sure you don't pay any ongoing fees to keep it open.
If, for example, you need to have a minimum amount in the account for any fees to be waived, make sure you meet that requirement or look for an account without that requirement.
Ensure you find out what fees will apply if you use this account overseas. In most cases it probably won't be suitable as your main transaction account because the fees will be too high.
"Before departing Australia it's also advisable to check with your bank about the ease and cost of transferring money internationally between accounts in Australia and the country in which you'll live," says the federal government's SmartTraveller website.
"It's important to find out if your host country has any rules which could limit the amount of funds you can transfer between your Australian bank accounts and your host country. Currency laws can be quite restrictive, so do your research."
Checklist for living overseas
- Research jobs in the destination country, pay rates and the cost of living.
- Find out the visa requirements to work legally.
- Try to line up a job before you go. Search job boards and contact expatriate groups and local recruiters that have overseas offices. And use social media.
- Get your bank accounts sorted.
- Get an international driving permit.
- Will you remain a tax resident here or become a non-resident? See ato.gov.au.
- Find out if your employer will contribute to your super fund here or to a pension scheme in your new country.