Some might consider this decision bizarre, to be working abroad amidst a pandemic. The idea of normalcy still seems like a distant future for most of us, let alone how risky it is to leave your comfy abodes in Singapore for unfamiliar land.
Despite such uncertainties, there are merits that might propel one to contemplate working abroad. If you have been toying with the idea, here are some considerations before you make that decision.
#1 Current Job Prospects In Singapore
The COVID-19 outbreak has dampened outlook for the labour market. Companies are tightening their belts to survive the economic fallout from the pandemic, putting a pause on hiring while others grapple with retrenchments and pay cuts. That makes it particularly challenging to secure a job in Singapore now.
With weak job prospects and retrenchment figures on the rise, there might not be job opportunities for everyone in Singapore even when businesses resume full operations. Such an outlook might propel one to cast a wider net beyond local shores to seek for job prospects.
If the opportunity abroad does present itself, it is almost at an opportune time to broaden your horizons, given that one might not find an equally valuable opportunity in Singapore now.
#2 Severity Of Virus Transmission
That being said, seizing this opportunity abroad is still dependent on the infection rate in that particular country. Certain countries are still struggling to contain the virus’s spread, while others are more successful in limiting its transmission.
One would logically only consider countries of the latter. But as lockdowns and restrictions are easing, we should also be well aware of a potential second wave of infection.
Thus, it is also worth considering the country’s ability to deal with a new wave, and the precautions taken to mitigate that.
#3 Travel Advisories Issued By The Government
The Ministry of Health has stated that any Singapore resident or Long-Term Pass holders who leave the country from 27 March will be charged at unsubsidised inpatient stay rates, should they be admitted for suspected COVID-19. This advisory on travel remains even after the circuit breaker ends and the message is clear — to defer all travel abroad.
But if you were to leave Singapore to work abroad, and have no intentions to return anytime soon, there are no guidelines that stop you from doing so. The risk you take will be either paying the unsubsidised medical fees at the country you work at, or when you return back to Singapore.
To eliminate that risk, one can choose to wait for travel restrictions to be eased. That could be sooner than we think, given the discussions that several nations are in to create “travel bubbles”.
At the moment, Singapore is considering lifting travel restrictions for certain countries, with safeguards in place. It will be based on factors such as infection rates, the types of precautions. taken, the effectiveness of infection control, safe distancing measures, and testing abilities. One might also use the same factors to evaluate if a certain country is considerably safe to be living in.
Thus, while waiting for the Government to finalise the countries to ease travel restrictions on, one can stay open to both local and overseas job opportunities. Sticking to the countries that Singapore eases the borders will also mean that there will be operational travel routes to send you home if necessary.
#4 Access To Healthcare Amid COVID-19
Before taking on an overseas job posting, one should evaluate the recovery options in the unfortunate event that one becomes a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. There are two options – return home or remain in the destination country for treatment.
If you choose to stay, consider if the level of healthcare quality is adequate to support your recovery from COVID-19. Availability and affordability of health services of the country is an important factor. Otherwise, in the event that you fall ill and medical care is not readily available to you, you may have to return back to Singapore for treatment, and to receive treatment at unsubsidised rates.
This could be countered if your company provides you with robust medical coverage, inclusive of COVID-19 treatment. That might be the most favourable outcome, but not all companies offer comprehensive medical insurance.
Furthermore, knowing your employee benefits only comes in the later stage of the interview process, so your main deciding factor still ought to be the level of healthcare quality instead.
We Can Be Open To Opportunities, Wherever They Are
With countries around the globe still grappling with the pandemic, one might be hesitant to take the leap and work abroad.
While it remains as a justifiable concern, it shouldn’t automatically be should be struck off as an career path. The current job market may take longer than we think to recover and the number of jobs available are shrinking.
Keeping an open-minded view may just open up new surprising prospects, even during such tough times.
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