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International living can mean financial freedom

The current downturn, perhaps the harshest and longest in memory, has struck nearly every state. Skilled workers wonder if there isn’t a better way to earn enough money to pay the bills, invest in real estate, or set aside a tidy sum for their retirement. Some even dream of socking money away to pay for college for their children.

International living can mean financial freedom

Overseas jobs are just the ticket for many.

Where can People Find Expat Jobs?

What is an expat? Simply put, an expat is a person who has chosen to work and live in a country other than his own.

Finding construction jobs with international contractors through the Internet nowadays is a simple process. Two companies now in need of Americans are Morganti International Inc. (MII) and Contrack International Inc. (CII).

Both are esteemed major international construction companies. MII is a member of Consolidated Contractors Company group (CCIC), and CII is a member of OCI group. Engineering Weekly rates both very highly.

The companies build hotels, airports, refineries, power stations, residential complexes and shopping centers, to name just a few. In fact, CCC has been erecting the largest shopping mall in the world in Dubai, which is alongside the tallest structure in the world that is being built by an affiliate of OCI.

Other international contractors currently employing American and Western expats:

Bechtel
J.A. Jones (Halliburton)
Arab International Contractors
Odebrecht
Another terrific source of information is MEED Magazine online.

Where the Jobs Overseas Jobs Are

Most of the best paying overseas jobs are in North Africa and the Middle East. Published reports in MEED state the Egypt is seeking investors for more than $15 billion in infrastructure projects over the next two to three years.

Libya has employed an American firm out of Houston, Texas to administer infrastructure and housing projects exceeding $60 billion. Further, Libya has under construction now, three international airport projects valued at more than $3 billion plus several international hotels.

Although it is difficult for USA passport holders to get visas for Libya, annual salaries in this North African country can exceed $125,000 tax-free.

Beware though. Living conditions in Libya can cause discomfort. Yet, those who are fortunate might swim, fish or surf the 500 miles of virgin beachfront. Further, exotic holidays in Cyprus, Malta, Tunisia, Europe, Egypt, or even safaris in Central Africa are only hours away.

Outside Libya, job opportunities abound in Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, pay in these countries is at a premium because of security issues.

Other countries worth considering are Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan and Lebanon. Understand, though, that the current recession has impacted each of these countries. Those jobs that still remain are usually within the oil and gas sector.

A Few Keys to Understand Tax Implications

For Americans seeking international employment, probably the most common question concerns income taxes.
Confer with a qualified tax preparer experienced with expat regulations for the state of residence.
File taxes on time. Fail in this and there will be no overseas exemption.
Expats must live outside the United States a minimum of 330 full days in any given 365 day period. The period can bridge two calendar years, say, from June 1 of one year through May 1 of the following year.
The day one leaves the U.S. does not qualify. Nor, generally, does the date of arrival at destination.
One must maintain a separate foreign residence.
Expats remain responsible for their half of social security and Medicare American-registered employers still must withhold these deductions, or
If employed by a foreign firm, consult a qualified tax preparer to arrange for quarterly deposits.
Always consult with a qualified tax preparer experienced with expats.

Living and Working Overseas Rewards Diligent Expats

Overseas employment can be maximized as a rewarding adventure by taking the time to find the right opportunity, learn how best to comply with tax laws remember that expats are guests in their host country.

Feel at Home When Living in a Foreign Country

While there is no set formula for getting used to a new place, particularly a new place in a foreign country, there are ways to make the new country, city, even apartment feel more like home. Here are just a few suggestions for those looking for ways to feel at home while abroad.

Start Exploring: Discover the New City

The best way to get to know a new city is to take a walk, or, if in a larger city, to take public transportation to various locations and start looking around. Knowing where stuff is will make a city more familiar, and is a step toward feeling more at home.

Find Some New Hangouts

While exploring, stop at different cafes, shops, restaurants, parks, museums, and so forth. Go back to the favorites, and this time, invite new friends along.

Get to Know the Area: Travel Locally

Local tourism is usually cheap, and a great way to enjoy some time away from working or studying in the new city. Take a day trip or a weekend trip to a place of interest and gain a further appreciation for the city’s surrounding area.

Or…Travel Across the Country

Hop on a bus or train and take a long weekend trip to a destination in a different part of the country. For those who plan on taking frequent train trips, there are usually special types of transportation passes that offer a discount, a worthwhile investment. Be sure to check out the country’s smaller airlines, too.

Make the Immediate Surroundings Comfortable: Personalize the Dorm or Flat
While bringing a bunch of personal items from home is impractical, every suitcase has room for a couple of photos. While buying a bunch of furniture is also impractical (unless planning to stay for a couple of years or so), be sure to stop by an inexpensive furniture/decor store like IKEA for stuff that can help make a room cozy (and be stuffed in a suitcase when going home).

Share Photos and Get Feedback

Send photos to family and friends, or post them on a blog or social networking site. Positive feedback about how cool/pretty/interesting/fun a place looks can help bring about the realization: “I get to live here!”

With plenty of ways to get over homesickness and appreciate new surroundings, feeling at home in a foreign country can become less of a challenge and more of an exciting experience. Traveling around the area, personalizing a dorm room or flat, getting to know different parts of the country, and sharing experiences and photos with family and friends at home are all great ways to feel more comfortable in a new country.

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