Moving abroad is stressful...
It really is but it does not have to be so here are some scams or red flags that you need to worry about. In the end, you have to trust your gut and if it seems to good to be true it probably is. Unfortunately, people will always try and take advantage of those who are vulnerable and moving abroad does put you in a vulverable position. This is especially true because you do not know the laws of the country you are moving into or how to navigate the endless bureaucracy.
This a super popular one. Keep an eye out for potential landlords asking for a deposit before seeing the property. Do not do it.
A professional landlord will allow you to take the time to decide but those that pressure you to make immediate decisions need to be taken with caution. Another thing is to take notice if the landlord’s number is in one country but their bank account is in another.
To avoid this try and use reputable rental companies initially, which can be expensive. Another idea is to search the FB groups, for instance, if you are a woman then find a Girls Gone International (GGI) Group in the nearest city. Someone might be looking for a new flatmate or trying to rent out a place.
Low moving quotes and abrupt price hikes
The adage of ‘if it is too good to be true it probably is’, holds true in this case. If a company quotes you a price that is significantly lower than their competitors then they might have hidden fees. Always shop around for quotes, and then compare to get a realistic quote. Do not allow yourself to be rushed into a contract, this should ring alarm bells and it is a typical sales tactic to make you feel you will lose a good deal. In addition, take the time to read the terms and conditions, and in the end trust your gut.
Moving companies using different names
If you run into a company that is using multiple names on their paperwork or even when getting a quote then this might signal that something going on with the company. Make sure to only use companies that have a good reputation and have been around for several years.
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Demanding a large deposit for anything
Check out what the expected housing deposit is in the market you plan to move to. Personal experience is at least the first and last months rent plus a security deposit which can equate to one month’s rent.
Then when it comes to a moving company, most reputable international companies will only ask for a 10% deposit.
ALWAYS CHECK THE PAPERWORK. All fees and deposits should be clearly stated, if they aren’t then do not sign until they are added.
The Job search
I am saddened that I have to add this in because I have only recently heard of this one. Make sure the company you are applying to has a physical address, a website, social media. This is 2021, if a company does not have the latter two it should worry you.
Never pay for work. This is similar to Multilevel Marketing (MLM), where you have these upfront costs, however, these tend to not be MLM’s. They still want you to pay to work for them. This reminds me of the reverse financed internship ad that has been going around.
Use reliable job search engines. Check their Glassdoor and LinkedIn pages. In addition, depending on the country you move to make sure you join a union, generally, they have lawyers who will take a look at any contract to ensure that it is okay. This is the case in Sweden, but it might not be available everywhere.
In the End
Stay 100% skeptical until you are fully comfortable in the new country and you are aware of your rights. Then you can lower it to about 90% because there are always untrustworthy people.
If something is too good to be true then it probably is.
The best bet is to join any expat groups or the GGI group mentioned above. On these pages, you can find out about the local scams and get advice from other people living there. You never know, you might make some friends this way.