‘Trailing Spouses’ Create Own Work Opportunities Abroad

Posted by on Feb 5, 2012 in live abroad, moving abroad, work abroad | 4 Comments

One of the biggest problems when an employee is relocated to another country to work is whether their partner and family will enjoy their new home. In fact, this can often make the difference between the success or failure of the move.

The BBC recently highlighted this issue in the first in a series looking at the trials, tribulations and triumphs of moving abroad.

alone in the dark © by miss vichan

The Happiness of the Partner is Key

The position of the partner can often be very difficult when a couple or family moves abroad. Often there are strict restrictions on working due to visa regulations (although this differs from country to country), and sometimes they are left looking for work but not being able to find anything suitable.

This can lead to unhappiness and discontent, and when the partner is not happy, the employee who has been moved by their company is often not happy either.

Expensive Emigrations

Companies do not make decisions to move their staff abroad lightly. It can be very expensive when all of the benefits and expenses have been taken into account, and they are therefore keen for the period their employee spends abroad to be as successful as possible.

It’s therefore understandable why keeping the partners of their employees happy is one of the biggest issues a company now faces when moving staff abroad.

The BBC article highlighted how many large companies are now including spousal job assistance in relocation packages. They understand that the success of their own employee’s position is related to the success of the move for their partner and family, and they are now taking this into consideration.

Entrepreneurism Abroad

But the most interesting thing that the article described was the fact that many travelling spouses are not waiting around to either stay in the home or look for jobs in the traditional sense.

Instead, they are taking matters into their own hands.

Many spouses are now looking into the opportunities of entrepreneurism and starting up their own businesses when they are abroad. This helps them to get around many of the restrictions imposed on them when they move abroad and can end up being very successful.

It is easy to see how this is becoming a popular option. There are many opportunities now available for people moving abroad, whatever their skills may be. Freelance opportunities are numerous, and the ubiquitousness of the web has meant that many people turn to online work when moving abroad because it is one of the simplest and most convenient ways to work.

This type of work comes with another benefit: if their partner’s job doesn’t work out and they end up moving back home, they can simply take their work with them.

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  1. Nicky Peet
    February 23, 2012

    An interesting article Phil. Being an expat coach this is right in my field. In France where I live it is even more the case where foreign diplomas are not recognised, so it’s very difficult to be employed, hence many creating their own opportunities ( like me!) and becoming entrepreneurs. Obviously nowadays technology makes this so much easier with skype and the internet making working from home a huge possibility and crossing the language barrier being able to work worldwide.

    • Phil Byrne
      Phil Byrne
      February 23, 2012

      Thanks for your comments Nicky, how do you find France? Are your clientèle mainly French or Brits living in France?

  2. Nicky Peet
    February 23, 2012

    Could you send me or put up the original bbc article please? Thanks

    • Phil Byrne
      Phil Byrne
      February 23, 2012

      Hi Nicky
      The BBS source is actually a series they ran on TV, you can read an article based on the series here that references some of the sources we took from for our article – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16086241


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