Simple guide to jobs abroad for Brits – what’s involved with working overseas?

Simple guide to jobs abroad for Brits – what’s involved with working overseas?

While the decision to work abroad cannot be taken lightly, there are plenty of reasons why you should go for it and, maybe, break free of your comfort zone.

Take time to consider those benefits, which we discuss below, since working abroad is not right for everyone.

So what are the benefits of working abroad?


Benefits of working abroad

The chance to experience a different culture is perhaps one of the clearest benefits. When you work abroad, you get to see and experience the country in ways that you simply cannot as a tourist, even if you’re a frequent or regular visitor to a particular country.


‘A good fitter-inner’

When you work abroad, your stock rises. You instantly become more ‘employable’. You’re seen as someone who can work with initiative and perseverance.

And, you’re more likely to be ‘a good fitter-inner’ – that’s to say someone who can fit in with a new crowd in a new place and mix well, making their bosses’ lives easy and their colleagues’ time at work more pleasant.

Employers love that. It shows that you’re no trouble and will probably add to the social cohesion of any group you’re part of. That enhances your credentials and improves your chances of landing better work in the future – and that’s something not to be taken lightly.


Learning a language

This is huge. In today’s marketplace, the ability to speak more than one language gives you a tremendous advantage over your competitors who may be going for the same opportunities as you.


What to consider before working abroad

So, the benefits are big, but what about the downside? What else should you consider before taking the leap?


Can you do it? Are you ready for it? Is this for you?

As mentioned above, working abroad isn’t for everyone. The potential language difficulties,

living away from family and friends – and even your favourite football team – may be

factors in determining your suitability to overseas work.


How will it impact on your partner or spouse?

Do they need a work permit? If they do, will they get one easily? If they’re not

intending to travel and work abroad with you, are they happy about your move, even

if it’s temporary?


Will it hinder or help your career?

How does the role fit into your career path? Will your plan

help you progress or are you simply looking for foreign fun?


Do you already know the country where you'd like to work? 

Again, as mentioned earlier, travel as a tourist is not the same as living

somewhere as part of the workforce. Smaller aspects of life, such as a faster or

slower pace than you're used to, or bureaucracy – or cultural nuances – may come as a

surprise, so be prepared.


Returning to the subject of language, do you know the local language where you intend to work? Colleagues will respect you more if you can speak even a little of their native tongue and know that you're making the effort to learn more as time passes.

Plus, of course, your life will be so much easier when you understand what’s being said by others around you.

Also worth considering: is there much of jargon or technical vocab to learn that’s specific to your job? 


Will you have to pay tax and National Insurance (NICs) in the UK or where you’re working?

It depends on the location and requirements of the work you’re contracted to do.

If you’re contracted to work for longer than six months, you’ll almost certainly have to pay tax from the outset in the country where you’re working. 

You may be able to pay social premiums (national insurance contributions ) here in the UK rather than in the country of work (but please note that this may not be allowed). Also the umbrella company, acting as the ‘employer’, will have to pay the employer’s social contributions, which must then be charged to you.  



In some countries, you aren’t able to deduct expenses from your monthly taxable income.

Where this applies, tax adjustments are made at a later date, after your completed tax return is submitted, and we’ll supply the appropriate forms – as well as guidance on which expenses may be claimed.


How does all this impact on your life back in the UK?

You might need figures for foreign tax returns, mortgage and loan references and/or tenancy agreements.

Your expenses will generally be collected and approved on a monthly basis and can be used to reduce your tax liability (we at International Umbrella retain copies for six years – and suggest you do the same).


What’s the best solution for you when working overseas – should you work through your UK limited company or an umbrella service?

We covered that particular subject in this post and it’s one of the key questions you’ll need to answer.

If you’re better off using a UK limited company, we’ll advise you accordingly.

If you decide that an umbrella company is indeed your best solution, the key aspect that you should be looking for is compliance. You don’t want to be caught out or pay more tax than you need to.

You’ll need to think about choosing the right company to serve you well.


How might an umbrella company help?

First and foremost, an umbrella company provides knowledge and peace of mind.

It’s obvious but it needs saying: you need an umbrella company that’s got your best interests at heart.

For example, any umbrella company worth its salt will read your contract before you sign it to check on the small print, advise you accordingly, remain compliant and ensure you receive the correct payment in a timely manner.



Choosing an umbrella company

Choosing an international umbrella company to work with can be daunting, as you’re trusting them to provide you with a service and manage your income, tax and social premium deductions, while keeping you compliant with the system in whichever country you’re working.

As you’ll appreciate, international compliance is a very complicated area requiring specialist expertise. You’ll want to remove any risk when appointing an umbrella company as you contract abroad.




















At International Umbrella Limited, your best interests are central to what we do.  So as far as you’re concerned, we’re a risk-free option. We work transparently with no unexpected fees or false promises.

Whether or not you have to pay tax and NICs in the UK or where you’re working (depending on the location and requirements of your work), we’ll look after it for you.

How do we do that?

Simple: International Umbrella Limited is a registered employer in all the various countries in which we operate and support contractors like you.

We stay abreast of the latest changes in each country’s admin rules and regulations so you don’t have to.


Working with International Umbrella – what you’ll need to do...

As a contractor working overseas, you’re responsible for correctly completing timesheets (which must also be signed-off) and sending them to us and any other party that needs them, such as the end client, who then authorises payment.

You’ll also need to keep hold of any receipts for purchases made (and send photocopies with a claim form to us monthly throughout the year).


...and what you can expect from us

Ultimately, we work to accomplish two things for you:

  1. Get you paid as soon as possible
  2. Keep you compliant with the relevant authorities by keeping accurate paperwork and making the correct payments to you and the appropriate authorities

To achieve these things, we...

  • Collect your key information

Using our tried and tested Fact Finding Registration Form, wel gather all the information we need to support you

  • Liaise with your agency and/or end client

A contract is the best option in many cases, signed by International Umbrella Limited and the agency or end client. It might also need to be signed by you, the contractor

You get the best advice from a solid base of local and international knowledge

  • Manage your paperwork

In a nutshell, we’ll look after your invoicing (when appropriate) for the first gross earnings, chase payments if required and arrange for social premiums and all other mandatory deductions to be deducted from gross earnings

You’ll want to keep things nice and simple in every area of your admin. That’s why we take care of all the ‘heavy lifting’ regarding your tax and social premiums.

Under European law, you become our employee from our initial engagement and our first invoice for your gross earnings. And when the end client or agency has settled that initial invoice, we’ll do what’s necessary to register you in your country of work.

We might use estimates in the early weeks of your contract, and guarantee accurate payslips by your fourth month of working abroad.

The only thing you have to worry about is making sure there are enough funds to cover costs and charges.

  • Payment

Not only that, but International Umbrella will do the following for you too:

  • Issue you with a payslip
  • Make all mandatory deductions for tax and social contributions
  • Make sure you stay compliant in your country of employment.
  • Deal with Euros, dollars and sterling
  • Send your earnings to your nominated account which can be held at any bank in the world
  • Advise you on which expenses can be claimed, approve them on behalf of the revenue (not every umbrella company can do this) so that you pay less tax

If you do decide that working abroad is for you, use our support to take care of all your in-country tax and social premium deductions – and give that priceless peace of mind.

Finally, as a Briton working abroad, please bear in mind that the Foreign Office might not be able to help with every little issue you come up against. William Hague, when he was Foreign Secretary, lists some of the more random requests by Brits abroad...

Want to know more about working abroad? Get in touch here.           



Our Services

  • PAYE locally – including Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Spain and other countries – please enquire.

  • Delivering tax efficient solutions across Europe and Internationally from the dedicated UK office.

  • Best practice – we work transparently with no unexpected fees, false promises or unrealistic return on income rates.

The Complete International Umbrella Service

Taking the decision to work abroad can be a difficult one. Often it involves working away from family and friends in an environment that presents new challenges. Having the support of a respected umbrella company to take care of all your in-country tax and social premium deductions will ease these additional demands.

International Umbrella has over 23 years’ experience of contractor accountancy and international compliance solutions.  We have the required skills, knowledge and  experience, to provide the contractor, recruitment agency and end client, the complete international compliance service.

Contracting Resources

Useful information to help you when contracting abroad.