If you are planning to expatriate one of your employees to one of your subsidiaries abroad, support is the key word. Indeed, professional expatriation is not only limited to obligations and formalities, but also includes support for the expatriate employee as well as family arrangements. It is therefore necessary to pre-empt the expatriation of an employee, and to anticipate his departure.
To this end, we will list the various points to be taken into consideration in the case of a professional expatriation.
Professional expatriation and relocation
The first key stage of an employee’s relocation includes the move and the search for accommodation. Support depends on the company’s expatriation policy, as companies often compensate the expatriate employee for these additional costs, which they would not have had to pay in France. This coverage is provided by the company and can include:
- Dual residence expenses;
- Reimbursement of furniture storage;
- The purchase of furniture;
- The maximum rent allowed, the reimbursement of rents;
- The provision of free accommodation;
- Payment of maintenance expenses (gas, electricity, telephone, etc.).
Supporting the expatriate employee throughout the cultural change
Sometimes, the gap between culture and traditions on the expatriate employee is bigger than what the employee can imagine. Food, behaviour, management style, loss of reference points, language – the culture shock can impact the expatriate employee. As part of its international mobility plan, the company can offer intercultural training to the employee and their family to facilitate their integration. These can cover a wide range of topics, from the habits and customs of the host country to overcoming stereotypes, optimising relations at work and understanding life in society.
In order to avoid the stress inherent in the change, some companies are proactive and take care of the following for the expatriate employee:
- Immigration formalities;
- A reconnaissance trip to visit the country before the move;
- Administrative formalities (opening a bank account and energy contracts, etc.)
Allowances for the expatriate employee’s
Unless the employee is single, the professional expatriation does not only involve the expatriate worker. Thus, family arrangements are essential to promote the well-being of the family during the relocation. To this end, the company can take steps beforehand to arrange schooling for the child(ren). Similarly, childcare can be taken into account in the procedures. Some companies assist the spouse in finding a job through outplacement firms. These firms are responsible for reclassifying expatriate spouses and helping them return to the work world in their host country. This is a good time to remind you that we have published a comprehensive article on expatriate spouses and how to optimise their experience!
Other examples of company support for the expatriation process
Other allowances can be taken into account by the employer to facilitate the life of expatriate employees:
- To compensate for the cost of living and the ensuing loss to the employee, the company can revaluate the amount of the expatriate employee’s salary.
- Regarding taxation, the company can cover part of the income tax paid abroad, so that the employee does not pay a higher tax burden than in France.
- The expatriate employee’s travel can be integrated and paid for by the employer depending on the periodicity.
- The purchase allowance, the rental of a vehicle as well as insurance expenses, fuel, etc., can also be part of the company’s international mobility policy.
- Health insurance, as we discussed in our article on the expatriation package, can either be imposed in the company’s expatriation policy or freely chosen by the expatriate employee. However, be careful not to choose a travel insurance but an expatriation health insurance.
Finally, the most important thing is a continuous dialogue with the employee. It is necessary for the employer to maintain this link with the expatriate employee, which will contribute to the success of the relocation.