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I'm planning to relocate to a European country as a software developer. I have on-going interviews with few companies and everything suggests that I will be getting at least two initial offers, one from company in Germany and one from company based in Netherlands.

Therefore (and apologies if this question has an obvious answer) I'd like to know how is a formal offer made in case such as this, where the candidate has to relocate from abroad? Do they send an offer in digital format which needs to be signed up-front by myself? Do they only 'guarantee' that you have been accepted with an e-mail confirmation only?

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    Any particular reason you do not expect them to send you a written contract to sign and return? – Patricia Shanahan Apr 16 at 20:43
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A signed employment offer paper in your hands does. This also allows you to get your worker's permit (which you'll need before your starting date, at least in Germany). You may not even be able to get in the country without the paper.

E-mails and phone calls do not account as offers / contracts. Scans are borderline valid, so preferably they should physically mail you the offer for you to sign after you get an e-mail/phone call.

One thing I've done is receive two copies of the offer, one personal and one for the company, and since I was suppose to arrive asap I took both with me and delivered their copy personally instead of mailing it back.

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I wouldn't trust anything that's not in writing. These are (assumably) relatively new companies to you; they don't know you and you don't know them. It's just too easy for something to go wrong: for example, you get an offer from a company that you believe is bonne fide, but while you are in the process of relocating, they retract the offer. I'm not saying that's likely; I'm just saying that if it's not in writing, I would keep an arm's length from actually making a financial investment into the relocation.

Personally, if they offer you a job (officially) by e-mail, I would request a written and signed job offer in the mail, which, as @PatriciaShanahan says, you could sign and return.

In fact, I might even go so far as to request two; one to keep on hand and one to send back. That might be a bit superfluous, though, as you could make a photocopy or something of that sort, which though perhaps not as official, is at least a hard copy.

It's far easier to send something off by e-mail than to mail it; it's also generally less legally binding, as e-mails tend to be frowned on in some courts. If the company is serious about hiring you, printing, signing, and mailing an official offer is no big trouble, especially if you've already confirmed (by e-mail) that you will sign the contract when it arrives.

  • I would definitely request two copies. – Alice Ryhl Apr 17 at 11:18
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Having gone through this from Europe to Asia - I requested a scan of a letter signed by the hiring manager and MD of the company (basically someone that wasn't just HR), on letter headed paper, confirming the terms of employment, the terms of the relocation package and the terms of the visa sponsorship/process.

Along with that, I asked for a copy of the contract to be signed by the Company, scanned and sent electronically.

I then asked for both hard copies to be posted out to me before the agreed move date (i.e. the terms of the relocation and the starting dates need to be agreed before you commit to anything)

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