This is the second installment of a three-part series inspired by students’ and recent graduates’ requests for my advice on how to get a job offers abroad immediately after graduation. The series topics are Before You Leave, Visa Advice and Once You’re There, in that order.

Part 2: Visa Advice

Can you even work legally?

Looking into visa regulations in your country of choice is just as important as job searching. Visa policies will have a large impact on what kind of jobs you can get abroad. Find out what is required for whatever visas you need to work legally, how easy it is to switch between visa types, and how easy it is for people to work illegally. For example, in China, foreigners need to either be 25 or have worked outside China for two years in order to get a work visa, but most foreigners work illegally, even in office jobs.

Wait until you’re there, if possible.
If it’s either possible for you to get a work visa after arriving in your country of choice or easy to work without one, then I suggest you wait until you get there before you accept an offer. You will find out about a lot more opportunities after you arrive. You can use the networking tips in Part 1 to line up people to meet with once you get to your destination. It’s also ideal for any job that you get to see the office and meet the employees before you accept an offer. All that said, if you need a work visa in order to enter the country, then you obviously should aim to get an offer while still in your home country.

Don’t rely on official government sources for this information; ask expats in similar situations to you and visit online forums. For China, a good source is The Beijinger Visa Issues forum.