Spousal employment is a key consideration for families posted overseas, as many locations have restricted employment opportunities. Where possible, consider how you plan to continue your employment before you move overseas. Research your options thoroughly, and understand the limitations and implications for you.
Families need to consider the host nation’s rules and laws on issues such as:
It is worthwhile seeking further guidance from your host nation Liaison Officer or the Defence Attaché.
The MOD has confirmed that there are no tax protections for military spouses and partners while on an overseas posting.
HMRC has confirmed that tax responsibilities for spouses/partners on overseas postings depend on individual circumstances and the Statutory Residence Test. Any income which meets the tax threshold will require you to pay tax either via the UK system or that of the country of residence.
Due to the fact that any tax responsibilities are based on individual circumstances, you would need to contact HMRC to establish your own tax requirements, or speak to one of their specialist tax advisors. More information is available on tax on a foreign income at gov.uk/tax-foreign-income.
HMRC has also advised that you may need to contact the relevant tax authority in your overseas location to find out if there are any tax obligations in the host nation.
If you experience any difficulties accessing advice and support on tax responsibilities, please contact email@example.com in the first instance.
As AFF staff are not regulated financial advisors, we cannot provide personal tax or financial advice, and recommend that you seek specialist tax advice before commencing employment overseas.
There is no obligation under the Armed Forces Covenant for employers to continue your employment contract whilst on an overseas posting.
Employers employing someone remotely overseas need to consider issues such as their tax position due to having an employee working in another country, how they pay the salary, health and safety, employer liability, insurance e.g. medical, home, travel etc.
If your employer is unable to employ you remotely overseas, they may consider you applying for a career break or sabbatical for the duration of your posting.Back to top
AFF is aware that there is a lack of clear and official information for spouses and partners wishing to work remotely for a UK-based company whilst accompanying their soldier on an overseas assignment. These issues include their tax residence status, diplomatic accreditation and any potential impact of working remotely on their dependency status as part of the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) or host nation agreement.
AFF has consistently raised this issue with the MOD and asked for clear and accessible guidance to be provided to families. The MOD has not yet provided this information but has provided interim guidance, which has been shared with units and the chain of command:
The MOD would like to clarify that there are no tax protections offered to partners and spouses under SOFA. The MOD’s view is that paying tax to the host nation does not affect status under the SOFA and they are not aware of any issues raised in the past. The MOD is unable to rule out that a host nation may interpret the position differently but would ask that any examples of issues faced by spouses are raised to the chain of command.
AFF will continue to urge the MOD to provide families with robust support and guidance on these issues.
If you have any specific questions, or experience any issues with working remotely whilst overseas, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance.Back to top
Please note that countries have different SOFA or host nation agreements, the following only applies if you are posted to a NATO member country.
The SOFA is a multinational agreement between nations enabling the operation of a nation’s Defence task in the territory of another nation. It does not cover spousal employment but also does not rule it out.
A Force Information Note on spousal employment has been developed, and is available at GOV.UK – UK Defence in Germany and Europe: Information notes. The key points are:
The SBA Fiscal Office in Cyprus has issued guidance, in relation to tax and social security, for UK family members who intend to work remotely in the Sovereign Base Areas for a UK employer. Find out more at sbaadministration.org/index.php/notices-guidesBack to top
Depending on the location, there may be limited opportunities for local employment overseas. Forces Families Jobs now includes some job vacancies in overseas units. In addition, see our ‘Your posting’ pages – these include information on spousal employment opportunities in country.Back to top
There are many reasons why working overseas may not be practical for you, such as the availability of childcare, visa restrictions, or general feasibility. However, there are other opportunities to help fill the career gap.
You may be able to access training and education opportunities and gain new skills or qualifications. Make sure that there are no study or education restrictions in location, and check how any training is delivered and if exams can be taken remotely. Visit our Training page for more information and course ideas.
Volunteering is a great way to fill gaps on your CV, and to get involved in your local community. The volunteering page on Forces Families Jobs offers advice and ideas to get you started.Back to top
If you need help to restart your career, or support to get back into employment when you return, visit our Employment page
A few things to remember when you return from your overseas posting:
For more information on these, visit our Benefits, National Insurance and Tax page.
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