Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Bringing Your Spouse, Partner, Boyfriend, or Girlfriend

Updated 12 November 2014

If you're thinking about teaching abroad and would like to bring your significant other with you, you're going to have to plan a bit more than those who are single. An interesting article to read is how your spouse's personality influences your career. It's very true for those going abroad. There are two main issues that you're going to have to deal with: money and location. If you have children, you might also want to look at teaching with kids in tow.

Men who support their wives or girlfriends often have an easier time doing so than women who support their husbands or boyfriends. Each relationship is different, so make sure you know what you're getting into.

Partners who follow their significant other to another country are commonly referred to as trailing spouses. International Schools Review has written an article and people have shared their experiences in this article. If you’re married things will be a bit easier. Most country allow spousal visas. So if you get a visa you can get one for you spouse. There are some exceptions. For example, in Oman women can't get spousal visas for their husbands. Ironically, they can in Saudi Arabia.

As far as money goes, it is possible to live on one salary; just don't expect it to be easy. You're going to have to do some budgeting. If you have a passive income, such as retirement or rental income, than that will make things easier.

Some countries have restrictions on if and how many hours your spouse can work. Hong Kong allows dependents to work. In Japan your spouse can work part-time on a dependent visa (DV). Singapore as well allows dependent pass (DP) visa holders (except those whose spouse is an EP (employment pass) S pass holder) to work as long as the employer applies for a letter of consent. This takes about 3 weeks and the DP can work as long as the EP's visa is valid.

You will have to check with the immigration officers for the country where you want to go. Keep in mind that in some countries, such as Korea, people on dependent visas (F3s) are legally not allowed to work without permission. Make sure you find out the laws beforehand as fines, imprisonment, and deportation are often consequences. Sometimes they can find casual work or tutoring, other times, they may be able to get a job within their career. If your significant other is also a teacher, try reading teaching as a couple.

If you’re not married, things may get a little more difficult. Countries don’t tend to accept common law marriages, there are exceptions, such as Australia. But the majority of them will not get your partner a visa if you’re not married. That means your partner will have to find or border hop.

If your partner doesn’t want to teach English, than he or she will have to look at other possibilities. The best paying ones are those that will transfer your spouse to the country of your choice. These will often offer expat deals, such as housing, flights, schooling, etc.

Don't forget the internet. In this day and age, many people are able to earn money online doing translation, consulatant work, taking photographs, and even more. With an open mind, you should be able to find a couple ideas that you could try out. Check out earning money online for some ideas. Second, if you're going to be supporting your significant other, you might want to head towards countries where you can make a lot of money. Asian countries, such as Korea, China, Taiwan, and Brunei and the Middle Eastern countries such as Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE are good choices.

If working isn’t an option, your partner will have to find something else to do while living abroad. They could try volunteering, studying the language, working online, raising a family, or picking up a couple of private classes, are just a few ideas. The person staying home can feel bored and out of place (especially if they don’t speak the local language), and the person working can be felt taken advantage of for earning all the money. Remember, to plan carefully to make sure that your budget can handle whatever decision you make.

When you go abroad with someone else, you're going to have to make sure that you both agree on a location. Some locations, such as Saudi Arabia, Thailand or Latin American countries, can be challenging for women to live in. Men usually have a easier time, though they may not like the restrictions that Muslim countries can place on them, such not being able to purchase alcohol. Basically, do as much research as you can so that you know what the country is like before you arrive.

All in all, it can be done. Plenty of teachers out there support their significant others and are able to happily get by. Your goals and reasons for living abroad will determine whether or not it can work for you.



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