6 weeks ago, I accepted a job offer for a senior position based overseas and signed and returned the offer letter. The onboard date was determined to be 2 weeks from now. Everything seems good. I am in the process of making international relocation, selling my house, furniture, cars...

Yesterday, I was notified that the prospective employer will need to do reference check and ask me to provide 3 references that I had worked with. The employer said that this process is only specific to senior position hire and will allow me talk to my references ahead of time. It is claimed that the reference check will help employer know more about me and the results of reference check will do nothing with the job offer that was already extended and signed, except if a dismissal involved a serious integrity issue.

There is no reason to believe that I won't pass the reference check as I had good performance and good work relationship with my references. But it makes me very uncomfortable about this unexpected process and very hesitant to resume my ongoing effort in moving abroad.

Plus, according to local labor law, the first 6-month employment with new employer is probationary. In other words, either employer or employee could terminate the employment without any reason or cost, e.g. severance package, within the first 6 months of employment.

I will certainly opt in the reference check process and contact and provide my references and hope to complete this process in 1-2 weeks.

In order to take this position I will need to sell my house, cars, and other not easily moved stuff. Then get a new home to move myself, my wife and my kids into it. This request late in the process concerns me. What steps should I take to protect myself?

  • 5
    What is your question here? See the FAQ. This is a Q/A site, not a discussion forum, and general "what do you all think about this..." posts are not questions matching the format of this site.
    – enderland
    Mar 14, 2013 at 14:07
  • Are you dealing with a 3rd Party recruiting firm? I think that were it me before I sold my house and moved my family to another company I would want a firm commitment from the company. I would also want the company to guarantee me at least the 6 months to prove my value. As you noted this is a Senior position and you are right to expect some commitment from them as well. Mar 14, 2013 at 15:58
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    Moving abroad can be a big deal. If it were me I wouldn't begin moving until the offer was signed and done. I mean, could you imagine what would happen if you sell your car or house and then somehow the deal falls through? Mar 14, 2013 at 15:59
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    I have modified your question to bring it on topic. I think this is basically the question you were wanting to ask. Please correct if I am mistaken Mar 14, 2013 at 16:15
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    It would really help if you shared the country you are moving from, and the country you are moving to.
    – jmac
    Mar 14, 2013 at 23:54

3 Answers 3


I have seen few of my friends in similar situation wanting to take a job overseas and relocate with family there. The best way I think is to go step by step for it. Do not sell everything at once. What you can do is, take the offer if you trust it, then go there without your family. Most companies provide accommodation etc for first few days. Or you can arrange for living there for few months and see the ground reality. After few months if you are happy and satisfied with the situation you can ask your family to join you and settle there.


Taken mostly from a very similar question here, adjusted slightly to fit your situation.

General Caveats

Most companies in the world do not have much experience hiring workers other countries. This is so incredibly important I cannot express it enough. Visa requirements, paperwork, translations of paperwork from non-English countries, translations to other languages to non-English countries, bureaucracy, immigration restrictions, etc. etc. etc. make this a minefield for most candidates of any position.

Do not trust that the company knows what they are doing. You need to learn to be responsible for watching your own back so that you don't end up in a horrible situation.

Negotiate Your Contract Well Before Going

Don't just take their word for anything. They may offer pay package X and tell you to come over, but it's just not that simple. Moving overseas is hugely expensive, and very difficult to cancel in a short period, so make sure all the ducks are lined up before hopping on that plane. Some things to consider:

  1. Termination On Loss of Visa Many contracts for foreign workers will say that the employer has the right to terminate the contract if you lose your visa/permission to work. If your company is sponsoring you for the visa, this gives them an easy out to screw you over if they so desire, or otherwise give them leverage over you. While they will argue they have no control over whether you are issued a visa, at least put in language that says the employer is responsible for timely submission of paperwork for visa renewal, and that if they will not renew the contract/renew the visa sponsorship, they are required to give you 6 months prior notice.
  2. Payment on Termination of Contract Many contracts have no provisions for how you will get home afterwards. Make sure that your contract contains a provision for either a severance package on termination of the contract for any reason (so you're not stuck with no money and no way home), or a company-paid move to a country of your choosing at the end of the stint (they may want to restrict you to moving back to your home country, but this is a global marketplace, and try to get it a bit broader than that)
  3. Expenses for Moving to Take the Job Many companies will not pay you any money to actually move to the location where the job is. This can be very expensive. Ideally, the company will pay your expenses for relocating. Depending on the size of the company, this may not be realistic. At a bare minimum get a provision in the contract stating that if the company terminates the contract within X months (at least 12, preferably 18 or 24) then they will reimburse you X amount.
  4. Time Before Starting Work When you move overseas, you will need time to find housing, open a bank account, get a driver's license, go to immigration or local city offices, etc. Make sure that the company either gives you time before you start to do that, or that they will not charge you vacation days for those things.

Whatever you end up negotiating, make sure the contract is signed before you agree to anything or preparing to move. Don't sell away your rights counting on the company to do the right thing later on -- if they are going to do the right thing, there's no harm in them doing the right thing now.

Especially for a senior position, you probably have a lot more leeway when it comes to getting some perks. Some "standard" ex-pat perks for more senior people are:

  1. Company subsidizes housing of a similar standard to where you are coming from
  2. Company pays for transportation to and from work
  3. A stipend for trips back "home" X times per year
  4. Additional leave for trips back "home"
  • The employer is supposed to pay for all expenses ralated to house hunting - meals and lodging for the employee and all his family members. If the US is the country he is moving from, there is a huge tax advantage . . .
    – Nobody
    Mar 15, 2013 at 7:55
  • That is not universal @scaaahu -- when I first moved to Japan I was assigned housing by my employer without any say in it. There are many different countries/companies/policies out there to generalize on things like this, which is why I stated it.
    – jmac
    Mar 15, 2013 at 8:03
  • In your case, the employer is supposed to pay meals and lodging if the housing is not immediately available(occupied by somebody who is supposed to move out when you get there, etc.).
    – Nobody
    Mar 15, 2013 at 8:13

I am going to answer your question directly,

What steps should I take to protect myself?

If you already signed the employment contract, consult with a lawyer. We cannot provide legal opinions here.

If you have Not signed the employment contract, negotiate one with your prospective employer. Be careful. Read jmac's answer and my comments below his answer. We don't know the details of your situation such as the countries you're moving from and to, the nature of the business, etc. We cannot provide you too much details. Do your own research or update your question so that experts here may give you more info. Better yet, hire an expert to help you.

Generally speaking, employers give employees incentives to encourage them to take on oversea assignments. This is because oversea jobs are harder. You have to be in a foreign country to perform. Not only you but also your family members will have hard time to be away from home, adjust to different life styles. Kids may have to go to international school. Your spouse will have nothing to do but staying at home, ...*, etc. So, employers tend to be nicer to oversea employees. Some big companies have employee assistance department to help oversea employees around the world. My former employer has relocation department who helped me a lot when I moved to oversea and moved back to home country.

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