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Careers and Jobs on the Move

What work is available to expatriate, trailing spouses, who follow their partner in a move abroad should they wish to continue in their profession? Many opportunities have opened in the world of portable careers and telecommuting, in the last few years. Let's explore them.

Many opportunities have opened up, both in the business world to include portable careers as well as telecommuting jobs.

  • We live in an age where anything is possible with the advancements in technology. This opens a new wealth of opportunity to people who are moved to another country, following the career move of their spouse. (Let's say they have moved to China) and want to work in another (for example Germany)
  • This can be achieved by a combination of will power, perseverance and some entrepreneurial skills.
  • Portable careers are defined as any activity which does not require you to be in a geographical location. The list, a limited one a while ago, due in the most part to the internet, is growing, although work permit requirements remain a difficult factor in the equation. The freedom to work from home does not yet apply to "wherever your home is" and it is a subject whose implications  you should research with  experts in your country of residence. This is to avoid nasty surprises for those who plan to work in a different country from that of their employer. As an example, working for a French company from the US does not exempt you from the necessity to obtain a work permit, nor from French tax obligations
  • With the corporate world being increasingly aware of dual-career couples and how it impacts negatively upon the companies’ ability to move employees around the world, pressure is being put upon governments to allow work permits for accompanying spouses. Take for example, the recent case of work permits being granted to spouses of employees who pursue employment in the US under an L1 or H1 visa. (See further information in Houston-Work permit). If you wish to be kept up-to-date about the  countries progress worldwide about issuing visa to accompanying spouses make sure to check  PermitsFoundation website.
    Permits Foundation  is an international, non-profit, corporate initiative to promote access of accompanying spouses and partners of international staff to employment through an improvement of work permit regulations.
  • So, are you eager to work and legally entitled to do so?
    What’s the next stage? Possibly rethinking your career and a job in terms of portability and possible telecommuting!
    Here are some of the aspects of portability and telecommuting, showing you both sides of the 'want to keep working' coin:


  • Telecommuting is a work arrangement in which employers carry out some or all of their duty at alternative work sites, usually from home or within a part-time arrangement. This occurred when companies realised the value of having employees working from home, and not necessarily being physically present in the office. Telecommuting jobs, usually require the use of telecommuting tools such as an internet connection, phone lines and fax machines.                                                                                                              
    TIP: Do check if you can stay continuously connected (possibly with a fast connection like broadband or adsl) in the location you are moving to. It could be a requirement of the assignment package.
  • A telecommuting job may require spending no time at all in the office or commitment to a regular weekly or monthly presence, for meetings or updates.
    TIP: Check prior to your departure whether you may be provided / expected to embark on a number of trips home as part of the package!
  • Obviously there are jobs that are particularly suitable for telecommuting, others are not! If pursuing a ‘virtual option’ is not possible, begin looking at ways to re-plan your career.
    TIP:  You may consider a request as part of your relocation package from the company moving your partner to provide you with career re-orientation services!
  • One advantage to both you and the company that you work for may be the fact that you are not using valuable office work space or another advantage to be aware of is making the most of the time-zones differences. For example by having work ready for the new day in a different time-zone.

How Can I Find a job?

The internet is brimming with telecommuting job offers. The important point to watch out for is avoiding scams that attempt to appear to be genuine jobs or opportunities. Here are some of the most common types of jobs that can be found in a telecommuting or virtual opportunity:
- writing/editing :includes technical writing, PR and Corporate writers, journalism, copy editors and ghostwriters, screen and script writers and proofreaders
- translation
- medical transcription and medical report writing
- consulting (legal, technical, medical, editorial etc.)
- artistic (painting, sculpting etc.)
- photographer
- illustrator
- graphic designer
- computer graphics
- web design
- data entry
- customer service
- on line sales assistance
- programmer
- virtual assistance/PR and secretarial work

Advantages of pursuing telecommuting or online opportunities:

  • Flexibility of working hours and being available for family commitments
    The chance to set your own ‘rules’
    The opportunity to avoid office politics
    Avoids wasted traveling time
    The chance to join a soaring and far-reaching industry

Finding a portable job

The following web sites offer telecommuting job positions or opportunities for portable careers. All the sites are in English and the majority is geared to the American market. We would welcome your feedback to add-to and refine this list.

Career in your suitcase - Everything you need for a career on the move. Website packed with inspiration from Joanna Parfitt, the author of Career in Your Suitcase and Expat Entrepreneur.

Worldatwork - Founded in 1993, ITAC is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing the growth and success of work independent of location. ITAC includes Fortune 500 firms and federal government agencies as its members. On January 1, 2005, WorldatWork acquired all of the assets of ITAC and ITAC is now identified as ITAC, the Telework Advisory Group for WorldatWork. Both WorldatWork and ITAC are 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations

Careerjet - Careerjet is a job search engine designed to make the process of finding a job on the internet easier for the user. It maps the huge selection of job offerings available on the internet in one extensive database by referencing job listings originating from company websites, recruitment agency websites and large specialist recruitment sites. Using a fast and straightforward interface, users can query this database and save themselves the trouble of visiting each site individually. The job offerings themselves are not hosted by Careerjet and users are always redirected to the original job listing. Essentially, Careerjet acts as traffic driver to those sites.
Careerjet's job search engine network encompasses over 50 countries, featuring separate interfaces that are translated into 20 languages.
Co-founder Thomas Busch describes how Careerjet differs from other job search websites, "Careerjet is unique because its search engine links job seekers to employment opportunities on all six populated continents (sorry, Antarctica). Our comprehensive website features jobs in over 50 countries, whose interfaces and job listings are featured in languages native to each country's site. Careerjet is the only job database to cover this broad a range.

Finding Project-based Work

This is a list of websites, mostly of American based companies, which have tapped into the talent pool of professionals who have traded an high powered job for time with the family. They offer a flexible approach to work that is suitable for expatriates too.
An Industry-First Business Model for Flexible Employment. We are the experts in the flexible employment market. We provide companies direct access to a previously untapped market segment of exceptional talent - professionals who have opted out of the traditional workplace. We enable professionals to work in their respective fields, while simultaneously meeting familial needs and responsibilities.
We had so many bright, talented friends who had given up their careers to raise their children or pursue other interests, that we wondered what would happen if we could harness those talents and put them back on the market with a more realistic approach at time management. Giving up your career is a huge step, and Flexible Executives allows its employees to keep his/her resume current and keep up with his/her industry without the daily pressures of the corporate structure.
creating a productive workforce suited to the 24/7 global economy and e-business model
Flexible work arrangements are those that fall outside the nine-to-five, five-days-per- week norm, including permanent part time; job sharing; telecommuting; short- and long- term projects; and creative full-time arrangements in the virtual office.
We understand the desire of many professionals to blend a rewarding professional life with an enriching personal life. We partner with our seasoned talent to make it easy to find flexible work opportunities. Flexperience is a boutique firm that connects experienced marketing, human resources, finance and legal professionals with opportunities for part-time, flex-time, or project-based work with our clients.
Our philosophy is simple. We believe that flexible work arrangements can be key differentiators for organizations, helping them to hire and keep the best people. We focus on our clients' bottom lines and our candidates' career goals.


Other organizations include:

website: www.telecommute.orgindex.htm
website: www.mymommybiz.comtelecommute
website: www.writerfind.comfreelance_jobs
website: www.electricpenguin.comohijobs
website: www.homewiththekids.comwah.htm
website: www.telework-connection.comjob-sites.htm
website: www.skidmore.eduadministrationcareertelecommute.htm