Questions to Consider Before An International Relocation

Whether you’re an employee or an employer

(Hint: there are a lot - & I haven’t even started!)

By Christine Hall, GMS

With Brexit and all that’s happening in the world these days, chances are high that you will be asked to relocate to another country sometime soon.

Or perhaps you’re a business leader that needs to ask employees to move internationally and you don’t want to lose any key people in the raging war between employers for the best global talent.

Here are some fundamental questions you might want to consider.

What should you expect to find in a relocation package? 

You will, of course, want to know about salary.  But what about the impact of social security, tax, currency and cost of living? 

There are plenty of things an employer can do to give your employees a soft landing in the foreign destination.  At a minimum, employees expect assistance with tax returns, immigration compliance and reimbursement of direct expenses.  These days most expect, and get, considerably more.

For example, employers can provide allowances to offset higher rental or transitional costs.  I recommend that you draw up a list of challenges, extra costs and potential solutions in preparation for the negotiation.

What about your family? 

Perhaps you have children in school or a partner who works.  What can be done to make the move work for them? 

Don’t forget to check basics like quality, availability and cost of housing and schools - and make sure you take account of any special health or immigration concerns. 

A temporary period of ‘international commuting’ may help reduce disruption, for example to a child’s exams.  Employers should think carefully before agreeing to commuting or ‘virtual’ employment arrangements, however, as they can be surprisingly expensive.

What assistance will there be in terms of such basics as finding a rental home in the foreign market and navigating the school system to ensure the children’s education is enhanced and not damaged.

What happens when you’re ready to move back? 

At some point, you are likely to want to move back – or your employer will require you to move back.

How will a period abroad affect your ability to secure your next role?  

What about pension arrangements?  It makes sense to look at the contract carefully to identify potential barriers and to assess the financial impact in the event of termination.  For example, will any of the repatriation expenses be reimbursed at the end as well, as relocation costs at the beginning?  If so, how much is fair to both parties?

Are there other factors to think about? 

There are usually factors beyond the contract that should be considered.  Will leaving the foreign location now affect your (or family members’) freedom to return to work or education in your home country without additional immigration clearance?  

What would happen if you divorce (yes I’ve seen it happen many times!), have a baby, get sick, inherit money or exercise share options whilst you are abroad?  Often employers want to help but do not have enough personal information about employees to do so properly.  These days they have to worry about making personal enquiries that might trigger discrimination or other legal claims.

As I indicated, I’ve barely gotten started in this short blog.  Believe me, there are myriad issues for both employer and assignee to think about and ask questions about.  My team at Saunders 1865 – The VIP Relocation Company –handle these questions for both parties to every relocation transaction day in, day out.  Every relocating family is a unique case to us – and a case that deserves highly personal, tailored support.

You can get initial advice from us for free whether you’re an employer and employee.  If you’re the employer, we will have a free, initial discussion with any employee that you need to relocate.  We will explore their needs and concerns very carefully.  Then we’ll put forward a reasoned, costed relocation plan for your consideration.  And we’ll be sure that your employee feels important and highly valued by you.

VIP-level relocation support is worth its weight in gold because it increases loyalty and talent retention.  It also saves your business money.

Contact us today for a free consultation.