When we are on this side of the pond, for sure we would prob not be able to meet the company rep, but when ya get over, i think it would be a good idea to meet someone, would you want to get sent to a job site by a person who's office is a cardboard box in an alleyway? ( an exageration)
Body language is 80 percent of a conversation, and ya can't get that from an email or phone call. I think the face to face is important...
If it is a North American company who is placing you over seas, than start calling around, BBB, Google, friends who may live near the address of the company..personaly P.O. boxes at the local postoffice are kinda scary.
TP is right though, DO THE RESEARCH!!!!! It could mean the difference between you hook'n up with a sweet gig, or a situation you may not be able to get out of.