Managing Autism as an Expat Working Abroad  


March 2023 

Despite some progression autism awareness, at least 85% of autistic adults in the US with a college education are unemployed. So as an expat how can you overcome these challenges? With the right preparation and support network in place, it is possible to make a successful move abroad. We cover key steps you can take to improve your experience living and working abroad as an expat with autism. 

A recent report in the UK found that over 50% of managers would avoid hiring autistic employees. Navigating the hiring process can push individuals into masking their condition. This is not a sustainable approach and can often lead to fatigue, burnout, and high levels of stress. Forcing expats with autism to fall into an unsustainable and unhealthy work-life balance. Other challenges autistic employees can face in the workplace include:
Autism is often misunderstood as an intellectual learning or mental health disability. This is why autism awareness is crucial. Autism is, in fact, a complex developmental condition that affects individuals' sensory, social and communication experiences. The autism spectrum has many dimensions and can be different for everyone. 
Tricky office politics can cause challenges for most expats, especially when unfamiliar with the language and cultural norms. On top of this expats managing autism also have to face harmful stereotypes affecting their careers and personal life. Often leading to fewer opportunities for growth and situations of workplace bullying.

Recent studies show that autistic professionals can be 140% more productive than typical employees when working in the right career. Finding the right job for you is all about focusing in on your strengths. Defining your professional goals and personal priorities is a great place to start. Helping you to focus on your strengths and understand what truly motivates you. 


Often autistic employees can find great success in traditional employment that allows flexibility and growth. Others might be more suited to an intrapreneurial role that allows them to channel their focus.

If you’re unsure about disclosing your diagnosis, do your research first. In many countries, it is required by law that your employers support you and make accommodations. Employers will have their own set of limitations when it comes to supporting you. So focus on prioritising your needs and how to manage your work alongside this.

As an autistic employee, it can be difficult to advocate for yourself in the workplace. But it is possible to make your voice heard and succeed in a professional environment. To advocate for yourself you need to understand your skills and challenges. 


It's important to remember that you possess unique skills and perspectives that can be valuable assets to any organisation. Speaking up for yourself is the only way to ensure your voice is heard and respected by your employers.

Seeking professional help can give you the necessary tools for adjusting to your new environment. Professional guidance can also help you understand how to advocate for yourself in the workplace. With the right support, living abroad with autism doesn't have to be an overwhelming experience.


At Allianz Care, we offer multilingual and confidential support for mental, financial, physical, and emotional well-being with our Expat Assistance Programme. Helping you plan for the future with support available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.


For more information about autism, read our Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorders.