When staffing your international operations, careful consideration should be paid to hiring local nationals versus sending a foreign national into market and issues of global mobility. Rather than spend time on this blog about the pros, cons, and decision-making process around the alternatives, I will instead point you to a great article written by the Harvard Business Review back in 1999. While the article is a bit dated, the content is as relevant as ever and gives wonderful examples and key points for consideration while moving employees from country to country.
If you decide an expatriate assignment is the best option, here are the top 10 questions for the logistical things you should be thinking about in regards to global mobility:
10. Do you have an entity that can sponsor the worker’s visa?
A local company must sponsor the work permit for that individual. If not, look at our FSaaS solution for an easy and cost-effective fix. If you do, just make sure it’s the right kind of entity to sponsor foreign workers.
9. How are you dealing with the “home and host country” taxes?
In most cases the employee still has tax and reporting liabilities back at home even though the income is earned overseas. Are you leaving that up to the employee or are you providing some sort of assistance? Assistance can come in the form of Tax Assistance (where you cover the costs they incur for accountants in both countries) or Tax Equalization (where you make them “whole” if the total tax bill is higher than intended). To learn more about expat taxes take a look at this post.
8. Will you provide a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)?
This requires an analysis of the costs the employee will incur by moving to the new location and providing a stipend to cover those costs.
7. How will the employee find a place to live?
Simple but very important; it’s smart to make sure that the living situation reflects other factors like safety, transportation and cost of living.
6. If the employee is bringing family members, will they also need a visa?
5. Will the employee be traveling outside the country regularly?
Some countries require a special traveler visa.
4. Who can the expat call if they need assistance?
One of the most common complaints by expatriates is that they feel left on an island when issues arise. You may not have all the answers for that particular country, but as long as you can be responsive and make the mobile employee know you care… you’re 90% of the way there.
3. How will the expat get their possessions from the home to host country, and who is going to pay for that?
Don’t forget they will also need a return trip for their goods.
2. How often will the employee be allowed/asked to come back home?
Giving the employee quarterly or semi-annual trips back to their homeland may make all the difference.