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Sorry if this question is a duplicate, I did some extensive searching and found nothing on quite the same topic (though a couple on partially-overlapping topics).

Recently, whilst on holiday in Munich, Germany, I was taken aback by the sheer number of programming-related posts available in the city that I easily qualify for (both in terms of knowledge, and experience). The advertised working environments seemed good and the pay seemed to be at least as good as what I'd expect here in the UK. Probably 80% of the advertisements I saw on the underground were for IT-related jobs, and a good 60% of those I was easily qualified for.

At the moment, I work as a freelancer mostly on web and small software projects, but seeing the vast availability of jobs in Munich versus my local area has me thinking about remote working.

I'm unable to relocate for a job for the next 3 years (my wife has a contract to continue being a doctor at her current hospital for that time) but would almost certainly be open to it after that (after all, my wife and I both love Munich). In the meanwhile, I would be very interested in remote-working.

So, my question is thus do companies ever take on remote workers (even with semi-frequent trips to the office) from abroad, with a view to later relocation? And, if so, how do you go about broaching the topic with a recruiter when getting in contact about a job posting?

Language isn't a barrier for me, here, as 90% of the jobs I've looked up in Munich don't require German speakers (seems they have a big recruiting market abroad). I'm also under no illusions about the disadvantages of remote working, but I'm more interested in the viability of the scenario rather than the intricacies (at least at this point).

I'd really appreciate any contributions, especially from those who have experience with working in such a scenario!

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closed as off topic by Mark Trapp Jan 30 '12 at 13:13

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I'm lucky enough currently to be remote working from British Columbia, Canada, while preparing to relocate to the UK. I applied to a development job in London because a friend worked for the company, thinking they'd laugh my CV all the way into the bin, but rather astonishingly they were impressed by my qualifications and agreed to give me a try.

Because of the unusualness of the situation - they don't make a habit of hiring people on from the other side of the world, in fact I don't know if they've ever done it before! - they decided to give me a project to work on remotely for a few months on a contract basis. When that went relatively well, they flew me in for a week on site, and then offered me a job. I've started working full-time from Canada, even though it's still a month till I actually fly into the UK to work there on a permanent basis.

Based on my experiences, I'd suggest that an imaginative company could definitely contemplate the possibility of hiring a suitably qualified individual from abroad; in such a case, it makes excellent sense for them to let you work remotely for a while, as no one on either side of the equation wants to relocate an employee thousands of miles only for it not to work out for some reason, three months later. That'd just be unpleasant.

Of course, I imagine you'd have to be a really good fit for the role, to beat off competition from local candidates, who are obviously, all other things being equal, less hassle to hire. Either that, or take advantage of nepotism and have a friend at the company in question, like I did!

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Thanks for the shared experience... it's good to know that it might be viable, even if it's a long-shot. I'll wait a day or two and see if I get any more answers before accepting, though :) –  James Burgess Jun 28 '11 at 16:59
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