What to Do If You’re Facing Unemployment as an Expat: 4 Important Tips

There’s no two ways about it: losing your job is tough.

And for expats, facing unemployment can be particularly devastating.


While you shouldn’t have to needlessly stress out over “what-if” situations, expats should have some sort of plan in case their job suddenly falls through.

But what happens if you don’t have a padded emergency fund? What if your gig that you thought was a “sure thing” has suddenly fallen through?

If you suspect that you might soon lose your job or know that the clock is ticking on your current situation, you can’t afford to take such news lightly. Instead, you need to get your mind right and start plotting your next move ASAP.

Consider the following four tips first and foremost if unemployment appears to be looming and you don’t want your expat journey to come to a sudden end.

Cut Down on Discretionary Spending


Adopting frugal habits and staying thrifty when you’re jobless or on the chopping block flat out makes sense.

Whether it’s selling odds and ends online or cutting back on entertainment, anything you can do to keep more money in your pocket is fair game. Likewise, consider how you can spend less on essential expenditures such as remittance with the help of services such as Remitly. In your current situation, adopting an “every penny counts” mentality is a brilliant move.


Don’t Panic


Your gut reaction to losing your job might be to go into a full-blown panic mode, but that doesn’t do you any favors. Neither does assuming you need to pack your things and catch the next plane back home. Instead, take a step back.

Take a look at your savings account and overall financial situation, assessing how long you have before you’re in a legitimate financial crunch. If you have a few weeks of time in the proverbial bank, you may very well be able to nail something down in the nick of time or seek some quick financial relief from friends and family. In short, you might need little more than a hold-over.


Begin Your Job Search Under the Radar


For those who suspect their current role is coming to an end but aren’t 100%, it never hurts to start looking at opportunities now so you’re not kicking yourself when your paychecks stop coming. There are plenty of reputable international job boards in addition to sites like LinkedIn where you can jumpstart your job search.


As a side note, be wary of speaking too much to coworkers about your desire for a new job. You could put yourself in needless hot water by announcing that you’re looking for a new gig prematurely. That said, talking to people outside of your office is fair game as in-person networking still remains such an effective way to find a new job.


Make Sure You’re Not in Legal Trouble


Of course, if you have an employment-based immigrant visa, your employment status may have instant implications on your ability to stay in the country. In this case, you may have no choice but to depart. Don’t assume you’re in this situation and, as always, speaking to a lawyer is probably your best bet for peace of mind.


Simply put, locking down steady employment should be your top priority as an expat. If you suspect that yours might be coming to an end soon, make sure you keep these pointers in mind as you focus your energy on getting back to work.