So you are thinking of working abroad but you don’t know where to start. Don’t worry! I’ve got your back. I’ve been to a couple of countries on a working holiday visa and I’ve done a few different jobs abroad. I also have loads of friends who have worked around the world so I totally understand the whole process after many years on the road. In this post I’m going to help you find all the opportunities out there to work abroad and travel the world. I’ll answer your questions of how you can get started with the opportunities available. Let’s get started!
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The Different Types of Working Traveller
Everyone’s work abroad experiences are different, yet similar. I believe there are 3 types of working traveller:
- People that head overseas on a working holiday to a specific country. Check out which countries have a working holiday visa here. And they pick up typical ‘backpacker jobs’ as they travel.
- Individuals who choose a particular type of work to take them around the world, like working on a cruise ship or teach English or nursing skills where you can apply for a Work Permit to work in a specific country.
- Travellers who work online and become a remote worker or a digital nomad. Visit the Work Online & Digital Nomad Jobs page for jobs you can do online to work remotely or as a digital nomad.
How To Get a Job Abroad
NOTE: Before I get into how to work abroad and travel the world, be aware each country has its own rules. Add to that, your passport can determine what rules you will need to abide by. Even though most of what I’m going to talk about following applies to many people of different nationalities, particularly Australians, New Zealanders, British, Canadians and Americans, not every work abroad opportunity will apply to every person reading this. Ultimately, YOU will need to check the immigration website for each country you want to work and travel and delve into the work abroad opportunities they offer.
1. How To Work Abroad Through a Working Holiday Visa
The UK is just one of the countries with a working holiday visa
If you want to work while travelling so you can earn money to travel longer, your best bet is to apply for a Working Holiday Visa. What is a Working Holiday Visa you ask? The concept of the Working Holiday Visa is to allow young people the chance to experience another culture. Basically, it is a cultural exchange that allows you to work to fund your travels and lifestyle while in a country. The visa varies from country to country but basically:
- It is aimed at people aged 18-30 years of age, sometimes up to 35 years. If you are over this age, don’t worry, there are still options for you. Read my post Over 30 – Your Work and Travel Options.
- You are allowed to stay between 1-2 years (depending on the country’s regulations).
- You can only work for one employer for 3-6 months of your stay.
- Work may be limited to ‘typical backpacker jobs’.
- There is a visa fee plus, you are required to have a certain amount of savings to support yourself during your initial stay.
There is also a Work and Travel Visa. The main difference for this visa from the Working Holiday Visa is it is for tertiary students or recent graduates. But it works similar to the Working Holiday Visa.
What Type of Jobs Abroad Can You Do on The Working Holiday Visa?
Get a hostel reception job while you work abroad and travel the world
Types of work you can do on a Working Holiday Visa varies, but there are some typical ‘backpacker jobs’ which you can do. And note, you won’t find one of these jobs until you arrive in your destination country. It is frowned upon if you organise one beforehand. Jobs include:
- Au Pair / Nanny
- Farm jobs – picking fruit and vegetables
- Hospitality – working in cafes and restaurants
- Hostel Job
- Office work – accounting, banking, administration
Some popular working holiday destinations include:
- Australia Working Holiday
- Canada Working Holiday
- Italy Working Holiday
- Japan Working Holiday
- New Zealand Working Holiday
- UK Working Holiday
2. How to Work Abroad Through Skilled Visas
If you have a particular skill set, you may be able to apply to live and work in another country through a skilled visa. There are many countries that welcome immigrants so first, decide on the country, then visit their visa website and see if they are looking to source critical skills for specific industries. They industries can include, but not limited to, the fields such as accounting, nursing, other medical, tech or even farming. If you qualify for one of these skilled visas you will be allowed to enter your desired country and live and work, as long as you work in that field. The length of the visa will be advised at the time of approval and will vary.
Types of Skilled Visas
There are two ways to a skilled visa. You find a local company to sponsor you through a job offer or you apply for the visa, because you have the skills and find a job once you arrive.
Getting a Job Abroad Through Skilled Work Visas
You will need to do some research as to countries offering a skilled work visa as each country has their own rules and regulations. To get the ball rolling, here are some contacts to get you started, Please note, they are in alphabetical order:
- Live and Work Abroad in Australia – SkillSelect program
- Live and Work Abroad in Canada – Canadian Skilled Visa Program
- Live and Work Abroad in Japan – Specified Skilled Workers Program
- Live and Work Abroad in New Zealand – Skilled Visa program
- Live and Work Abroad in the UK – The skilled work visa is the main route for skilled workers to live and work abroad in the UK. Details can be found here.
- Live and Work Abroad in the USA – Skilled Worker Program
- Live and Work Abroad in South Africa – Critical Skills Work Permit
3. How to Work Abroad Teaching English Abroad on a Work Permit
Teaching English in Japan on a Work Permit is a popular Work Abroad travel job
Millions of people worldwide want to learn English and many English Language Schools, particularly in Asia, South America and Eastern Europe are often on the lookout for English language teachers. Teaching English abroad is one of the most popular ways for people to work and travel the world. And you don’t need to organise a job before you arrive in a particular country – you can do it after you have arrived. You basically apply to a school and if you get the job, they will organise a work permit so you can work for them. Though after many countries experienced lockdowns due to covid many schools require teachers to teach online. You don’t need a work permit for this and you don’t even need to be in the country to do this.
4. Other Ways of Getting Work Abroad on a Work Permit
That’s right, there are still other opportunities for getting work abroad on a work permit. Cruise lines for instance employ people of many different nationalities. Fancy spending your time cruising popular spots in the Pacific Ocean, Mediterranean or the Caribbean? The best way to apply for a job is through the individual cruise line websites. You can get a list of the top 10 in my ebook Work on a Cruise Ship.
Another options is to have an ‘endless winter’ by working then moving from one ski resort to another. You could do a season in the Northern Hemisphere in Canada, USA, Europe or UK then move to the Southern Hemisphere and do a season in Australia, New Zealand or South America. As work in the ski resorts is quite specific, particularly if you are a ski or snowboard instructor you can often gain a work permit and be sponsored by an employer. Check out the following posts.
Another option for working abroad is to ask your current employer if they have offices overseas where you could be transferred to. This is quite often the case for large international financial institutions. These include, but not limited to, Booking.com, Amazon, Facebook, Deloittes, etc. You may need to have worked for them for a year or two before they will consider you, but it is worth asking to help you work abroad.
5. How to Work Abroad through Programs
Being a Camp Counselor on a USA Summer Camp is a popular Work Abroad option for the USA
There are a number of work abroad programs that will help you gain a work abroad or volunteer position in a variety of areas. This can include being a camp counsellor in a USA summer camp to farming work to being an intern in an office. For a fee, they will help you choose the right program, organise your visa and job and provide support for the entirety of the program. Programs and Exchanges to check out include:
- BUNAC (British Universities North America Club)
- IEP (International Exchange Programs)
Other useful websites include:
- Transitions Abroad – a great resource for anyone looking to live or work abroad.
6. How to Work Abroad through Work Exchanges
Work exchanges are just that – you exchange your work for free travel, accommodation and sometimes meals. In most cases you will not be paid so therefore, you do not need a work permit – a holiday visa will usually suffice. But have this confirmed from the organisation you are going through first. And don’t expect five-star accommodation either. More than likely you will be sharing with other participants. Some work exchange programs to consider include, (note: there is a fee to participate on a program):
- Helpx – great for volunteer work in exchange for accommodation and meals on farms, stables, boats and hostels.
- Worldpackers – is a well-known and popular work abroad program. You can search their database for great work abroad experiences.
- WWOOFing – this is one of my favourites which I have done a number of times. WWOOFing stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms and is available in many countries around the world. In exchange for your work on an organic farm you will receive free accommodation and food.
- Picking Jobs – similar to WWOOFing but available for picking fruit and vegetables in some 18 or so countries.
READ MORE: WWOOFing Your Way Around the World
7. How to Work Abroad Volunteering
There are many volunteering organisations where you can pay a fee and participate in a great volunteer project. Ranging from teaching to community work to archaeological digs with plenty of other opportunities in between. Some Volunteering organisations to contact include:
- Volunteering Solutions has options including teaching and community work in around 20 different countries.
- Love Volunteers for opportunities in Africa, Asia and Latin America with a few other countries too.
- Fronteering for wildlife conservation projects and helping indigenous communities.
8. Work Online and Live and Travel Abroad
Work Online and Work from Anywhere
I believe there are three types of people who work online, those who:
- Work remotely for a company. They work from home or move around and work from anywhere.
- Have created their own job online and work from home and then travel.
- Are digital nomads who work online from anywhere and travel around moving from country to country.
Many choose to travel the world working online by staying for up to 3 months in one country on a holiday visa. But more and more countries worldwide are now offering digital nomad visas so you are not tied down to one physical location. These digital nomad visas allow individuals the opportunity to stay in a country for longer, usually up to 1 to 2 years. To be a digital nomad or online worker there are many jobs you could do, ranging from graphic design, content creation, videography, bookkeeping and blogging to name a few.
My Top Tips for Finding Work Abroad
- Understand what visas are available and choose the right one.
- Revamp and tailor your resume to the specific job you wish to do – and the country style.
- Ensure your passport has more than 6 months left on it as some countries refuse to issue a visa if it is less than this.
- Build up your on-line presence and spread the word you are available for work – maybe on websites such as Upwork and Fiverr.
- Definitely take out insurance. World Nomads and Safety Wing.
- Start learning the language of your chosen country/countries as language skills are a real benefit.
Are You Ready to Travel and Work Abroad?