Considering working as an Expat…

February 03, 2012Posted by alex

International work is one of the many rewarding aspects of a professional mining career, but there are some vital aspects to consider before jumping into an expat opportunity. Here are some of the key things you need to consider..

Working overseas has many benefits, both from professional and personal perspectives. It can offer the opportunity to travel, unique cultural experiences, exposure to different mining methods, challenging environments and also financial rewards.

However, before taking the leap into expat work, it is important to consider a number of few key issues which may impact your choice of expat role or whether you even go overseas.

Taxation is a complicated issue and one that varies depending on everyone’s individual situation. Essentially, following amendments to the Australian income tax legislation in 2008, Aussies who work as an expat on a FIFO basis from overseas are liable for income tax in Australia. However, typically a tax credit is provided for any income tax paid overseas in the host country. If you leave Australia for a minimum of 2 years on a residential basis however, this allows you to be treated as a non-resident for tax purposes by the Australian Tax Office. For an accurate assessment or advice on your personal tax liability, speak to an accountant.

Medical and life insurance provided by Australian private health funds typically doesn’t cover you when you’re overseas. So if you plan on working overseas, it’s essential to have appropriate medical and evacuation insurance for yourself and family when abroad. In most cases employers provide medical insurance, but occasionally this can be overlooked or an insufficient level of cover.

Security risks are apparent everywhere, but some regions are obviously more volatile and insecure than others. While it can be great fun having an adventure, most people see things differently after their first frightening experience when abroad. At the end of the day, money isn’t everything!

Facilities for family if you choose to work abroad on a residential basis are a vital consideration. It’s important to take a holistic view when choosing when and where to work overseas. Consider what schooling amenities your family needs, this will vary based on the age of your kids and becomes a more challenging issue as they reach high school years. When your kids aren’t at school, sporting and recreation facilities are important, as are medical care facilities.

Need advice on expatriate issues or would you like to consult a specialist? We recommend visiting, an extremely valuable resource for expats.