I have lived overseas for over 30 years, so I am an ex-pat or expatriate. Some want to know if they can work overseas without a college degree.
Some countries may still allow you to work overseas even if you do not have a college degree; the requirements for ex-pats and their permits to work will change from country to country. An ex-pat is usually a foreign expert who lives in another country for an extended period. But even among the ex-pats, there are different kinds of ex-pats and a variety of reasons why a person would become an ex-pat.
Table of Contents
- Becoming An Expat Without A College Degree
- What is an Expat or Expatriate?
Eight Main Types of Expats
- The Expat’s Company Sends Them
- Some Expats Are Embassy or Government Employees
- Some Expats Are Professional Teachers
- Some Expats Come On Their Own
- Independent Business Owners Become Expats
- Some Expats Come To Do Charity Work
- Some Expats Are Married To A Local
- Some Expats Are Retired or Independently Wealthy
- Related Questions
Becoming An Expat Without A College Degree
If you do not have a college degree, there are still countries that may allow you to come and work in their country. Whether or not this is possible will depend on the local rules of the country where you want to go live and be an ex-pat.
Before you go to a country to work there, you must carefully check all their laws and regulations as this will change from country to country.
What is an Expat or Expatriate?
If you have been overseas, you may have heard someone refer to themselves as ex-pat or expatriate. The word ex-pat is short for the word expatriate.
The Oxford Dictionary refers to an ex-pat or expatriate as:
An ex-pat is not just about someone traveling to another country but someone who lives in another country for an extended time. This is very different from someone who may travel for an extended period as an ex-pat will have a place to live in the country they call home.
Eight Main Types of Expats
Even within the term ex-pat or expatriate, there are usually several types of ex-pats. The reason is that people come to live overseas for a variety of different reasons.
Here are the eight main reasons we have identified for a person to go overseas to work and live:
The Expat’s Company Sends Them
A company in the United States or Europe needs someone to live and work in another country as they have a specific skill that they need there. They usually work for the company in the states or Europe but have been asked to transfer to work for the company overseas.
The ex-pat package they get depends a lot on the country and their company’s policies. There are no actual rules about what or how much a company will or will not pay.
But a basic package usually includes housing, children’s school, a container load with household furniture, and some annual home leave. Many companies may also give a car and driver to the employee and family and even tax privileges to help with double taxation issues.
If you are considering going overseas on a package like this, you should negotiate the things you want in your package before leaving your home country, not once you are at your destination.
As the economy has gotten more challenging and as many countries also have qualified local candidates who are educated overseas, I have noticed fewer ex-pats sent overseas by their companies – especially over the last ten years in many parts of Asia.
The reason has to do with economics. Keeping an ex-pat and their family overseas can be extremely costly, and they need to be sure the expense is worth it. School fees for one child can be over 20,000 USD per year. Many of these ex-pats may be paid well, but they must travel and work long hours.
Some Expats Are Embassy or Government Employees
Most ex-pats who work for a government or Embassy will be assigned to a specific country for several years, then go on to a new posting. They are not permanent but usually stay anywhere from 2 to 5 years.
Depending on the country they work for, the diplomats get a package that includes their housing, schooling for the children, and maybe some other perks. United States Embassy employees usually have APO box privileges to get packages sent to them just like they were in the states.
Most US Embassy personnel get some home leave paid for the entire family, but how often is usually left up to the individual agency they work for. And the US Embassy usually allows the employees to send a car with their household goods.
Those overseas for an embassy or government role will usually also be holders of diplomatic passports. In many countries, a diplomatic passport gives the holders special privileges that others do not have, but it can also cause special restrictions.
Some Expats Are Professional Teachers
Another critical group of ex-pats is teachers and educators; most ex-pat communities would not be able to function without the educators also coming overseas to educate the children of the ex-pats.
The children of the ex-pats need qualified schools and teachers. Most of them will go to English-speaking schools or even a school in their language. So they need qualified teachers who can also teach them and a program comparable to what they would get in their own country.
This is one of the essential areas of ex-pat life. Their children need a school to go to while their parents are working overseas. This is why International schools are usually necessary for any expatriate community. Some of these teachers were recruited from their home countries or at an international teachers’ jobs fair, and others came independently and were hired.
Some Expats Come On Their Own
Then there is the ex-pat who decided they wanted to live in a particular country or place and find a job. Many of these hires can be considered “local hires.”
Many people who do not have college degrees may come on their own and look to find a job while they are here. In most places, the primary job is teaching English as a second language. If you do not have a college degree and can speak English or understand English grammar, it can help you get a job.
Another field you may be able to get a job without a degree is if you have excellent technical or artistic skills and you find a company that needs those skills. Also, if you have outstanding social media and writing skills, a company may want to hire you to help them with their social media or English writing.
Many countries have visa restrictions because you can not come on a tourist visa and switch to a work visa. Also, others require that you find a company in the location that is willing to sponsor your residency. I mention this as going overseas to find a job is not always easy.
Those locally hired may or may not get their housing, school fees, or home leaves paid for. Some companies may help with this, and others may give a budget but have the employee pay for it themselves. Others will not pay anything, so you must handle all this on your own,
Affording the cost of living and work overseas will depend significantly on your pay. School fees can be costly.
Some ex-pats have also put their children in a local school system. Whether this is possible depends significantly on where you live and if the local schools will even allow this.
For most ex-pats, the most expensive things in living overseas are housing and school fees. If you do not need to worry about the expensive school fees, this will significantly help your living budget.
I have noticed this trend of hiring ex-pats on a local or semi-local package. I expect this trend will continue as more and more companies look for ways to save money and do not want to pay the substantial compensation packages that many ex-pats require.
Independent Business Owners Become Expats
Some ex-pats who live overseas may be here simply because they own an overseas-based business. As they are business owners, this ex-pat will be responsible for paying for everything themselves. This will include housing, school fees, transportation, and any home leaves or trips back home.
Of course, being able to survive overseas is not always easy. There will not be a security blanket for you, so you must have a company that allows you to survive overseas long-term.
For example, you may not be able to purchase land or housing and may need to pay high rent to have a decent standard of living. You may have to pay school fees for children if you want your children to obtain an education.
Some Expats Come To Do Charity Work
Some ex-pats go overseas not for money, lifestyle, or work, but they may do charity work for a specific reason. Some may work with a charity organization, and others will set up their charity.
Many of these ex-pats I have seen may live a simple overseas life without many modern conveniences. Their main reason and aim are to go overseas to do some good.
Some of them are missionaries or ministers for a Christian organization, and others may work with a group like the United States Peace Corps. These Ex-pat are usually very passionate about what they are doing and why they are doing it. Many of them may even live outside regular ex-pat centers of the country they are living in.
Some Expats Are Married To A Local
The most permanent of the ex-pats are usually the ex-pat that is married to a local. They typically live a more local life as they have a spouse with family and others in their country. Some of them are exceptionally well off, and others are not. It just really depends on who they marry.
There can be benefits to those married to a local that other ex-pats do not have. The country they live in may treat them as local and allow them to do things that are hard for any ex-pat, such as opening a business, buying land, or obtaining a driver’s license.
Some Expats Are Retired or Independently Wealthy
Not all ex-pats work overseas. Some may be retired or independently wealthy, so they move overseas. Usually, this person is living overseas for a specific reason.
Maybe they are in Costa Rica as the cost of living is not as high as in the United States, and they want to be near the ocean. Or they may decide to move to Paris as they love the art scene there.
Others may decide to move to Africa for the excitement of it all. There can be a host of reasons why someone in this category would decide to move overseas.
An ex-pat is a person who lives overseas for an extended period. But even among the ex-pat community, there can be various reasons a person would want to live overseas. And in many places, most ex-pats have college degrees, but some may not.
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