I have recently been contacted by a department of my own company from a different geographic region to enquire about whether I'd be interested in filling a position that had opened up in country X. It seemed like a good opportunity as it promised plenty of control, responsibility, international reach and a very good pay, so we started talking.

Now it looks likely that they will indeed offer the position to me, but it turns out that country X has some very restrictive visa quotas in place which may make my transfer there all but impossible. On the other hand, the role could be based in country Y, where my line manager would be working from. The rest of the team would still be in country X, but at least that would solve any visa issues.

The problem is I really don't want to live in country Y: I don't share the political values of the government there, its stance on social and civil liberties, I don't approve of their actions and I'm afraid it may affect me negatively if I moved there. I understand it is not my company or potential line manager's fault, but that is a deal breaker for me.

What's the best way to communicate that country Y cannot be an option without jeopardising my relationship with the people there? They are my colleagues really, so I'll have to keep doing business with them even if I stay put. Indeed, the ideal outcome would be to have them see this as a problem to solve together and push to get me a visa in country X, but that will be hard to achieve if I come across as uncooperative or, worse still, offensive.

  • 4
    "I am not comfortable working in Country Y" - Why not this direct straight forward answer? Aug 1, 2022 at 9:42
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    For instance, If I was offered a position in Saudi Arabia, I will reject as no amount of compensation is enough, as they consider people like me as terrorist and I have a non-zero probability of ending up in jail or prosecuted. Aug 1, 2022 at 9:44
  • Has the company suggested redirecting you to country Y? You say "the role could be based in country Y", but that doesn't specify whether this is your observation or theirs.
    – Flater
    Aug 1, 2022 at 10:35
  • You're right @Flater, that sentence is ambiguous. The company is actively offering country Y as an alternative.
    – imergodic
    Aug 1, 2022 at 13:01

2 Answers 2


While I'm very excited for this opportunity and would love to take the role if it were in country X, working in country Y is not an option for me for personal reasons.

Simple and to the point while not criticising country Y and/or its people.

  • Thanks! This is a solution which is curt without being rude, but I'm afraid it would still come across as weakly grounded in facts. If I were dealing with an external recruiter or hiring manager I wouldn't have many qualms using it, but for an internal role I feel I need to maintain a stronger relationship of trust.
    – imergodic
    Aug 17, 2022 at 6:17

Thanks everyone for the feedback. I eventually settled for an approach focussing mostly on country X's pull factors. Some of them are clearly in direct opposition to what happens in country Y, but at least it gives my stance a more positive spin and maintains a constructive discourse in the negotiation.

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