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 International Organizations

International Organizations offer a variety of employment opportunities, but more than that, they offer certain immunities and privileges that you may not be aware of. International Organizations such as the United Nations need to maintain their neutrality, they cannot be linked with any one country or fiscal system, therefore most International Organizations have an agreement with the country that hosts them. Such an agreement is known as the headquarters agreement or host state agreement. A host country agreement  states what privileges that the organization and its staff shall receive from that country. For example staff usually pay no national income taxes or social contributions, no taxes on their assets or gains on assets or bank interest etc. In general there are serious fiscal advantages for expatriates who work for an International Organization.

Tax free salary not enough? Normally, International Civil Servants can expect to purchase tax free cars and other items of value, many receive fuel coupons to get tax free fuel and alcohol.

On the non-financial side of things, there is of course the issue of language. Whilst you are expected to be proficient in at least two official languages of an organization, you can usually get by with English and French, hence you get to live in another country, sample and interact with a foreign system and its diverse and rich cultures, yet professionally you can work in a language that you understand.

That said, there are some down sides. Whilst you may get a job with an International Organization, there is no guarantee that the host country will provide work permits to your family members. Some countries only exempt taxes on salaries and not on savings or investments, some countries levy [high] local taxes on property or residency. Sometimes there are good expatriate schools and childcare facilities in place (but are often  very expensive), sometimes not. Other issues to be researched include the opportunities to travel back to your country of origin (sometimes paid, sometimes not, time off  etc.) and the need to pay extortionate expatriate rental and property prices in come cities, which could easily eat all of the other benefits that you may get. You must carefully read any job offer that you receive in conjunction with the host country agreement, bi-lateral tax treaties, cost of living indicators, and a survey of real estates prices and other information that impact your personal situation.

For the main part International Organizations are a good place for expatriate staff to work if you are looking for employment abroad.

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