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I've been working for an IT company in the EU for the past 10 months, through an outsourcing company based in Eastern Europe. The client I've been working for has invited me to move to their HQ and work for them directly. My current employer has said yes, my work permit and visa have been approved, and I'm supposed to get on a plane December 1st (this is when the contract between the companies expires), while my wife will be joining me in late January.

The problem is that I have been unable to find a suitable apartment, and that it turns out it won't be possible to get one until I am physically present there, have a bank account open, social security number, etc. So, I'd have to be living in a hostel or B&B for a few weeks.

While I don't mind this generally, the fact that I might be spending the holidays alone in a pokey hostel depresses me, and in a period where I need to be sharp, both to negotiate well on an apartment, and to prove myself in my new position. The fact that the private rooms in a few hostels are already all booked for that period doesn't help.

I'm looking to postpone my arrival to approx. 10th January (after certain relogious holidays in my home country), and to work for the company during December as a contractor/consultant. I would also be looking for the consulting fee for the month to be equal to my salary there, as I need to pay taxes in my home country as well.

Doeas all of this make sense? Does anyone have any suggestions or advice? Thanks!

  • Why do you need to be a contractor during December? doesn't sound like any advantage other than being able to maybe go home for Christmas? Can the new employer not arrange a short term rental, not unusual in relocation plans. Would give you a base for a few weeks to explore and get your final accommodation sorted. – The Wandering Dev Manager Nov 10 '14 at 12:40
  • Nope, they've already agreed to pay the deposit and first month for an apartment, but I have to find it myself. Would be working as a contractor in Dec (from where I am now, to clarify), as the contract between my current employer and my (future) foreign employer expires by the end of this month. – neuron Nov 10 '14 at 12:43
  • Ah ok, so you'd work under the old location/arrangement, I see. But that doesn't really help you get the accommodation you need, just defers the problem a month as your still not there to arrange it. I would maybe try and get a compromise, maybe the first couple of weeks are paid, but you have time to go to see apartments/banks/ss etc in work time, so you can get set up. I would seriously only get a short term let in case you hate the area/or the new work (even though your doing the same job, being there will change it). – The Wandering Dev Manager Nov 10 '14 at 12:50
  • No, it doesn't solve the problem of the apartment, but my wife's visa would be processed by then, which would make things easier for me psychologically, as well as have her support in choosing an apartment. No short-term lets, I'm afraid, as all leases are for 12 months (that's why I think I'm looking at a few weeks of searching - good apartments are hard to come by, and you have to choose the right one since you're stuck for a year with it). – neuron Nov 10 '14 at 12:56
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If you are working for a reputable company you should not be living in a 'pokey hostel' while you wait to find an apartment. Everyone I know who has been relocated by their company has stayed in a good business-class hotel, at the company's expense, while they wait to find permanent accomodation.

Given that you are relocating to somewhere a couple of hours flight away, you shouldn't need to spend the holidays away from home at all. Fly back home at the start of the holiday season, then out again when it's over. A reputable company should pay for things like that, but even if they don't they should be paying you enough that trips like that shouldn't be a burden. It would probably have been a good idea to negotiate some of this up front, but it might still be possible.

In response to comments, most reputable companies also provide assistance with finding accomodation in your new location. That means they do some of the work for you, but most importantly they help you navigate the business of finding a place. How do people get short term leases? Where are good apartments advertised? These are all things locals know and you don't, and they should be helping you. The general rule is that if they asked you to move, then the move should cost you nothing. They should also provide you with letters that will expedite you getting a bank account. They should also be in a position to provide all the guarantees that a landlord requires when they rent you an apartment.

  • I think relocation packages and expat arrangements are more modest now than they used to be. If this is a large multinational, then it may still be at the same standard, but smaller companies may offer less. – Eric Nov 10 '14 at 16:53
  • @Eric That's probably true, but it still shouldn't be at the 'pokey hostel' level, and certainly not in a shared room at a pokey hostel. Where is the OP putting his laptop and other personal electronics while he is staying in this shared room? My advice is to find out what hotel your boss stays at when he visits the clients you are working for. That's your benchmark. – DJClayworth Nov 10 '14 at 17:00
  • To be more specific, the company is a tech startup, albeit with decent financing. The suggestions to fly back home (at the company's expense), or ask them to pay for temporary accommodation (which could last a while) aren't going to work, unfortunately. So, we're left with the question - is it reasonable to ask them to do contracting work during December, and then move (so, a month later)? – neuron Nov 10 '14 at 19:27
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    Have you asked? The cost of a few hours' intra-European flight should be tiny compared to the cost of hiring you full-time, and even the poorest company should be paying for a week or two of temporary accommodations (most would pay for a month). – jpatokal Nov 10 '14 at 21:45
  • Wouldn't get my hopes up there, as when I was negotiating for the moving expenses, they were willing to pay for my wife's and mine plane tickets, but not for the moving expenses for our pet. – neuron Nov 11 '14 at 8:26

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