Congratulations on your new job! Now comes the hard part, being discerning enough to negotiate over your overseas employment contract. Don’t be too overjoyed at getting that job that you forget that being accepted is just the beginning. Your employment contract as an overseas foreign worker will set the tone for your life abroad. Here are the things that you need to inspect closely:
Visa and Miscellaneous Fees
Since you will be working abroad, you will most likely need a working visa. For countries like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, look for exit visa provisions. It should say who will be paying for the visa, visa extensions, and other travel documents. Is your plane fare or emergency repatriation covered? As a worker living abroad, these should be discussed in your contract.
Of course, compensation is the first consideration for most of us. It’s only the tip of the iceberg, though. Part of your compensation would be the provision for bonuses. This is the tricky part. While your minimum bonus can be in your contract, it may also be stated that it will be upon the discretion of the company. Meaning it is not guaranteed. The same thing with verbal promises. Make sure that whatever bonus the recruiter promised you is included in the contract that you will be signing. Otherwise, it’s all just hot air.
Housing and Other Benefits
It is normal practice for Gulf Cooperation Council employers to provide housing to its foreign workers. Check the contract if the housing allowance is included and what it entails. Does it include the basic amenities like water and electricity? Will the furnishings be the bare minimum? Will there be travel allowances or provisions for it? It should be included in writing. Ask questions if it is not clear.
Leaves and Health Coverage
Another consideration is your health coverage. When you’re overseas, your health is more prone to break down because you are away from your usual support network. Make sure that your back is covered with health insurance included in your contract. And speaking of health, look for the allowable sick leaves, as well as the number of your vacation leaves.
When you’re working, part of the metrics is time. Your working hours should be specified as well as any overtime pay. Your duties and responsibilities should be stated plainly and it should be something that can be achieved within your workday. Since you will be working overseas on a contractual basis, there should be a start and end date. There should be a provision in case your contract can be extended. Don’t forget to inspect the clause for termination and ask your future employer questions if it’s in any way unclear to you. Another clause that you should look for is the growth opportunity within the organization.
Resignations, Notices, and Breaches of Contract
When you are not within your comfort zone, the unforeseeable can happen. Remember that you will be coming in blind as you will not be familiar with your working environment, the company, and your co-workers. Look for clauses that will allow you to exit gracefully. How much notice does the company wants if you want to leave? If you need to leave immediately, will there be a bond to pay? These are hard questions to ask, but it’s necessary in order to cover all eventualities.
Finally, now that you have covered everything, go over the contract once more, just in case you missed a detail on your first read. Good luck!