A guide to working abroad for the Canadian resaurant and foodservice industry

By Jordan Knox

Working and travelling is one of the big upsides of a career in the food and beverage industry, but there are challenges and certain hurdles to navigate when considering a move to a warmer local.

Aside from checking out what the political situation is like in the area, the main focus of research should be financial, but not necessarily in the way you might think. Although making money is important, once you have landed a job it will generally cover the cost of living.

1 – The main financial concern to start with is the amount of money that is needed for start-up costs. To figure this out you, will need to know the currency of the location. Most places that have their own currency will convert everything from American Dollars or EU Currency. Once you have determined the living costs (rent, food, and transportation) there is the small issue of immigration costs.

2 – Most countries will expect you to arrive with the equivalent of $200.00 of local currency per day that you are there while unemployed. They will also expect you to have lodgings for this time period, so be sure to have a copy of your online booking slip as well as bank statements.

3 – Because you are immigrating to a new country, you do not necessarily get the same welcome that you would if you were a tourist visiting. Expect immigration officers to ask a lot more questions, and if you are going to a smaller community or island perhaps, expect that everyone on the island knows someone from the immigration department that may or may not be able to vote you off.

4 –  In some countries, it is up to the employee to pay for a work permit or visa; in others it is up to the employer to apply and pay. In any case, the term of your permit should last as long as you want to stay. In most situations the government wants people applying for work permits out of the country until paperwork has been processed. So if you do not have a work permit before you go, you may want to plan a trip to a neighbouring country.

5 – Other things to consider when you are picking out your work destination are the local rate of employment as most countries will give preferential treatment to locals.

6 – If you are going to a country like this, look for major chains that are classified as equal opportunity employers. This means that they sometimes have company guidelines that will supersede local government preferences.

7 – The final thing to consider when moving abroad is the immigration process itself. Many Caribbean countries will screen for various medical conditions such as tuberculosis or STDs. Most of the time you can go on to the individual government websites and print out the work permit or visa forms to give you a head start on what you will need. Hopefully the country that you choose will be fruitful, but sometimes when it comes to working abroad, it is less about the money and more about getting out of the cold and experiencing the world.

About the author

Jordan Knox works at Northland Properties and is a General Manager in training at Moxie’s in Vancouver, B.C.  With over 18 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, Jordan has worked throughout North America and the Caribbean with industry-leading companies. He received his diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Management from SAIT Polytechnic in 2000 and is a lifelong student of the food and beverage industry, always looking for what new trends are emerging.

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