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I have the opportunity to work in an 'overseas' country. I have passed the technical interviews and I am at the 'offer' stage. Everything is ok, except for the fact that I am expected to pay for my plane ticket, which is almost 2000 EUR (an aprox 8000 km distance). I've discussed this with the possible future employer and they said that the plane ticket is my expense.

What I'm asking you is: Shouldn't they pay me for the plane ticket? Or give me a relocation package? Do you accept this kind of offer? What relocation package would you have asked for if you were in my shoes?

PS: Destionation country is Singapore. I am a Delphi Developer with 5 years of experience in SD, and overall 8 years in IT.

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closed as off topic by Yannis Rizos Mar 7 '12 at 5:55

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This is so not-programmer-specific. It would apply to any overseas job offer in any field. –  David Thornley May 5 '11 at 14:01

12 Answers 12

up vote 7 down vote accepted

You might want to think about it this way:

If they want you badly enough, shouldn't the plane ticket be a moot point to them? Their refusal to pay your plane ticket seems, to me, that they don't really value their employees.

If at this point they are unwilling to pay for your ability to work there, how will they treat you once you're an employee?

You may want to consider working at a place that would value your ability enough to pay for a plane ticket. I've heard of people be flown out to places just for an interview!

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that's what I believe too... –  RBA May 5 '11 at 8:54

When I went to work in the United States for a large company, they paid all of my family's expenses and a generous sign on bonus. And they took care of all of the work permit stuff, provided a relocation consultant, and so on ...

But there was a catch. If I didn't stay with them for 2 years, I had to pay back the expenses and bonus pro-rata. It was a good way for them to say "we're serious about you, but you have to be too".

Fair enough.

In this case, it sounds like the company is not serious about wanting you to work for them. In the worst case, you could be stuck in a foreign company with no job, and all of the bills from your relocation ... in addition to the airfares.

Unless you really, really want that job (and can afford to take the financial risk of being shafted), you are better off telling them "sorry" ... IMO.

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USA has a different culture and sense of responsibility. While it isn't uncommon to have your relocation expenses taken care of--particularly for senior positions--there are cases where even American companies won't pay for relocation. One case is moving from state to state. –  Berin Loritsch May 5 '11 at 13:11
@Berin Loritsch: That depends on the company. The US company I worked at certainly did provide full relocation in moving from state to state. The only case where they didn't was when the new location was less than 50 miles from the old location. YMMV. –  Peter K. May 5 '11 at 13:52
Correct. It depends on the company, the location, and your perceived value to the company. Some companies have a blanket policy of handling relocation charges for anything longer than X miles. Companies in high-demand areas either can't afford the relocation costs, or don't need to because the worker wants it so bad. In that case it really depends on the company. Companies in low-demand areas can't afford not to pay for relocation. –  Berin Loritsch May 5 '11 at 13:57

Since you haven't specified what country you're moving to, there is no way to determine whether they would be obliged to do so by law. But they probably won't, since most countries want to promote companies to hire locals (to push down unemployment rates).

That said, it really depends on who is doing who a favor here:

  • Do you really want to move to the country the company is based in?
  • Do they really want to hire you even though you're from very far away?

In the first case, then it's understandable for them to have the position that if you really want to move to their country, that it's your responsibility to do so. In the second case, if they really want to hire you, they should make it as easy as possible for you to move, which includes paying for it.

In that second case, the relocation package shouldn't be a fixed amount. It should just cover all expenses.

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I think the answers to your questions will depend on your age, family status, ambitions, country of origin...

I don't think it's unsual that they're not paying for the ticket unless it's a senior position they're offering you.

If your young, single, ambitious and you think that moving to this country and joining this company will increase your oportunities and progress your career then go for it. If it doesn't work out you've gained some life experience and you can always return back home.

Tip: There'll be cultural differences in the way they work and interact. Keep your eyes open at all times.

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So in worst case he will have some life experience by the price of 4000 Euro (back and forth) sounds pretty expensive to me :) –  artjom May 5 '11 at 11:53
@artjom - It definately would be expensive but you can live your life analysing the pros and cons of something until you go blue in the face. At some point you've got to take a risk. My advice is if your young enough and your personal situation allows for you to take some risks then go for it. –  John Shaft May 5 '11 at 12:03
A caveat though...I would never base a decision solely on advice from a q and a site :) –  John Shaft May 5 '11 at 12:07
If you are already there, and are able to pass qualifications for one company, you can always get another job in that country. A company willing to sponsor you through a work visa will usually keep their promise once you get there. Another company may be willing to take over the work visa if the first one flakes out. You'll never know if you don't go. But you are right, that's a lot of money. –  Berin Loritsch May 5 '11 at 13:09

Its an negotiation that has one of two possible outcomes. If 2K euro is an issue for you or them, the offer is marginal both ways. Find a better offer before making a commitment to move half a world away.

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If the company is serious about you , it will give you a relocation package even if it is 100 euros.

In this case , I would reject the offer under "normal circumstances"

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It depends on the job in question. If it is a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity I would take it even if they don't pay the ticket. In my country it's relatively rare for employers to pay for a relocation at all, so I usually don't even think about it.

Do you earn more? Are your possibilities of advancement greatly enhanced? Then you can see it as an investment. If the job isn't that outstanding to begin and you are not dependent on it in the moment you can try your luck with demanding more.

And also consider what happens if they fire you. Your investment should amortize itself quickly or you could be left standing in the rain with expenses you won't get back. So in my opinion you have to weigh your investment with the benefits you get and decide from that standpoint how much you want to force a relocation package.

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When I moved abroad more than 10 years ago, my new employer paid the plane ticket (which was not a big sum as I was moving within Europe) plus a hefty relocation package. Now, that was when the company in question was in its heydays, aiming for world domination. I am quite sure they wouldn't pay such generous relocation fees now, when they are in big trouble (if they are hiring from abroad at all - nowadays they are laying off employees rather than hiring).

So it is very dependent on the economic situation, and - as others have noted - culture and local laws too.

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A bit on a negative side, but these days the job market is shrinking while the numbers of heads trying their muscles in programming is exploding, not in the last instance due to the fact that everyone keeps hearing how programmers get rich by virtually doing nothing (just typing something on the keyboard). Even fewer and fewer companies are inclined to go an extra effort for a particular candidate since there are so many of them. Relocation packages are increasingly becoming an image from the past.

Just a bit of extra advice. Don't do any long-term commitments there until you've at least past the evaluation period. There are stories of people optimistically signing an apartment rental contract for 3 years, then prematurely ending the work and returning to their homeland only to find themselves in a legal battle with the landlord who wants the rent for the resting 2.5 years. Beware of this. Put a clause in the contract which immediately ends it upon your departure from the company or the country. Mobile phone contracts and insurances can be an issue too.

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It depends on the salary. They're taking a risk. You could fly there and turn right around and go home. They've lost the plane fare.

You have to negotiate. Why don't they want to pay for the ticket? Is it purely about the money? Are they concerned with the upfront expenditure? Are they paying you more than someone who was local? The manager may be locked into a budget to fill the position.

Ask to be reimbursed for the ticket if you stay with the company for 3 months.

This may be a warning sign that they do not offer perks. There are many companies that want to provide benefits for their employees and keep them happy.

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I would be really careful if I were you. This could be a sign of a cheapskate company with a corporate attitude you will regret.

I often see this when people are relocated to our area. The employer is taking advantage of the employee's naivete' about how much it costs to live here.

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When I moved abroad for a job in 2005, I was pleasantly surprised at how awesome the relocation package was, but I would have moved even if there was no relocation package.

This was because the job was really good, with a great company, an opportunity not available in my country. So really it is down to you, the job, the country you are moving to etc.

In the end, they paid for the ferry to bring my family and my car over, removal company for furniture, 1 months wages as a signing on bonus, 1 month in a ridiculously expensive apartment, 1 month car hire, relocation consultant who took us round apartments to rent, meeting with financial consultant to discuss pension and local tax issues.

They also would have paid up to 3 months outstanding rent payments if I'd needed to get out of a rental agreement (which I didn't), but I did take them up the paying of my laywers fees for selling my house!

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