How to move internationally now?
April 3, 2020 12:04 AM   Subscribe

I was offered a stable job in my home country. I am currently in Japan. How does this work??

I live in Japan with my Japanese husband, and was offered a job back in Germany. Financially, I should take that job. But how does it work logistically?

Do I fly to my hometown first, take a cab to my elderly parents' house and stay in my room for two weeks while they leave food outside? (I have my own bathroom.)

Or do I fly to the job location and stay in a hotel (if I can afford one and it takes me in) and get food delivered? Do I get a temporary apartment? How do I get in there? How do I sign up for stuff at city hall?

How the heck does one move for work these days? They want me to be in Germany, so remoting first won't work. The job starts in June or July, if necessary.
posted by LoonyLovegood to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
There's a few months to organise the logistics, so I'd start with asking your new company to help you with the formalities and procedures, especially since by June these could be different. If there's any other option than your parents' house I'd take it - in my surroundings (Poland, obligatory two-week quarantine for people returning from abroad) people opt to rent apartments or stay in summer houses, with food delivered by friends or by delivery services. Different states in Germany are also doing things differently, so this'll depend on the actual location.

Anecdotally, here in Poland 95% of official government and local government business has moved online, so I can't imagine Germany is worse at this. Even those official quarantines are assisted by an app to send selfies from on demand to verify that you're at home.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:14 AM on April 3, 2020 [1 favorite]


It's difficult to imagine any company asking this of you right now - there are almost no flights, and hotels are closed to business and tourism visitors in Germany. The current date is late April, but from my experience also in Europe, nobody thinks the current dates are anything but a temporary answer.

I'm sure you know this is an enormous risk for your parents, your community, the airline staff, etc, and that there is no ethical way to do this right now. If you do need to proceed, though, I would contact the German embassy in Japan about repatriation.
posted by carbide at 1:16 AM on April 3, 2020 [7 favorites]


As you have a German passport you can absolutely get yourself repatriated and the embassy can help with that. The German efforts in this respect have been much admired by the British press in the last week or so, compared to their own government’s pathetic efforts. They will also be able to advise you on specific quarantine requirements as you get back.

In the spirit of acting responsibly the idea here should be for you to spend as little time as possible moving around. So that would suggest you stay in your home in Japan until it is time to start the new job and then move directly to that location with whatever timeframe for quarantine is required at that point. The situation is extremely fluid though so both you and the prospective employer will have to be flexible in working out the practicalities. For example, most countries had lock down requirements until the week after Easter and in the last couple of days you start to see extensions until the end of the month or into May, I’d not be surprised by extensions until Whitsun. I’d expect the German states to update their guidance as they approach the end of the Easter school holidays because school closures. So keep an eye out for that.

If the potential employer is unable to recognise how fluid this is and that life will not be back to normal in June/July I would be very reluctant to start to work for them. That kind of outlook would suggest that their business continuity plan is absolutely inadequate. They should be willing to reassess the timeline as you go . And presumably they like you as a candidate because you have a specific profile they are looking for, otherwise they’d go with a local candidate. Use that to request reasonable assistance to move such as employee loans for deposits and moving expenses etc. If they won’t do that don’t move. Other jobs will come up in time, especially if you have a specialist profile.

Finally, if you move to Germany from abroad you have more time to register than for a domestic move so that is the least of your problems.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:59 AM on April 3, 2020


Response by poster: Thank you, everyone.

I am not sure reppatriation is for German citizens who regularly live in Japan, mostly for exchange students and tourists. I have the option to stay put (husband has a job for now) and almost think I should, but being offered a stable position at an established company in Europe during a time like this seems like something I cannot turn down in good conscience (or without having massive anxiety about our future income, as Japan has not been great with financial support and my husband's job is temporary anyway). I wish I had more time to look into my options, but the company wants an answer after the weekend and I am panicking. They offered to help with relocation costs, but if I can't get a hotel and have to rent an apartment once I get there, what happens if that doesn't work out? And how do I go about renting while quarantined? I also don't have any friends in the area who could deliver groceries, I know no one in the new city.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 2:20 AM on April 3, 2020 [1 favorite]


Best answer: And how do I go about renting while quarantined?

airbnb bookings have cratered, so owners will be desperate to rent to you.

I also don't have any friends in the area who could deliver groceries,

Looks like grocers and other services are doing deliveries, albeit with substantial lead time:

https://www.reddit.com/r/berlin/comments/fgk8ez/berlins_coronavirus_megathread_live_updates/fm739g1/

This active thread in /r/germany seems pretty helpful.

https://www.reddit.com/r/germany/comments/djbkc7/tourists_visitors_international_students_people/
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:44 AM on April 3, 2020 [1 favorite]


Anecdotally, here in Poland 95% of official government and local government business has moved online, so I can't imagine Germany is worse at this.

Yes Germany is worse at this. The government is still very analog/paper based.

I am not sure reppatriation is for German citizens who regularly live in Japan, mostly for exchange students and tourists.

Yes they will repatriate you. Contact the German embassy in Japan and get put on a list. I have a friend who is a South African citizen and a German resident and she was visiting family in SA when all this went down and she is on the list to be repatriated back to Germany once they get around to South Africa (Germany is focusing on higher risk areas first).

Your specific location would actually be very helpful as some Bundesländer are more strict than others.

If you really want this job, I say take it. Logistical details can be worked out later and if things get better your move will be easier and if things get worse, the company may still move you or they may consider rescinding the offer. Either way, saying no means definitely closing that door but saying yes keeps the possibility open.
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:00 AM on April 3, 2020 [3 favorites]


Best answer: I wish I had more time to look into my options, but the company wants an answer after the weekend and I am panicking.

What are the consequences if you answer in the affirmative and then the situation changes in May and you need to back out? Burning a bridge with this particular corporation would be unfortunate but are there any legal or financial or long-term career consequences to having to write a note that says "I'm very sorry but do to the ongoing global uncertainty it turns out this isn't going to work the way we hoped it would, and for that reason I have to cancel our employment agreement."

I'm in Canada so genuinely have no understanding of what the fallout of that might be for you. Here, for me, there would be almost none but I'm a middle aged white man with a strong local network in a strong industry even with everything that's happening, so I am very probably in a very different situation.

If their experienced relocation team that gets paid to sort this stuff out isn't doing enough to support you and address your concerns then you back out. Their job is literally to support you in this. Take advantage fo that. They are going to need to learn how to do all this as well of course so be compassionate and understanding, but if the company won't address your concerns you've learned a lot about whether or not they're a good employer at least
.
posted by cCranium at 6:00 AM on April 3, 2020 [12 favorites]


They are going to need to learn how to do all this as well of course so be compassionate and understanding, but if the company won't address your concerns you've learned a lot about whether or not they're a good employer at least

While I would generally agree my experience, working for a large multinational, is that some of the least competent and engaged people seem to work in our relocation teams across the globe. So if they fail you, at least reach out to the people who actually made the hiring decision and tell them you’re thinking of dropping out of the process because they are not supporting you enough. They may be able to motivate the right relocation people to make things happen after all.
posted by koahiatamadl at 6:42 AM on April 3, 2020 [4 favorites]


Accept the offer and make sure they know you will need to arrive two weeks early to self-quarantine, and that you will need their help in finding somewhere you can self-quarantine that has options for food delivery and such. Make it clear that you cannot self-quarantine with family because of their risk factors- which you do not need to enumerate. Put it all in writing to them so you can refer back.
posted by mareli at 6:57 AM on April 3, 2020 [3 favorites]


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