A Beginner’s guide to global mobility: benefits of corporate relocation

Corporate relocation is thrilling and a bit scary at the same time. Imagine you are at the very beginning of your first international adventure. You see yourself as a cosmopolitan spirit, eager to learn and acquire new skills and experiences. You are thrilled because your boss gave you such an important assignment. But before you start packing your bags, imagine yourself really living in a different part of the world that has nothing in common with your current reality. Where will you live, grocery shop, drive your car, plug in your laptop, and meet new people? Moving internationally will definitely bring a flood of questions to your head. As it turns out, packing your bags might be the easiest part.

Now, don’t panic! This experience shouldn’t be traumatic at all – it’s an opportunity to grow in almost every way! We have a lot of experience to share with you that will help dissolve the cloud of confusion in your mind. There are so many global mobility solutions that can help you with your journey across the world. Remember – success is not a destination, it is a journey. So enjoy the ride! Use our tips to make your corporate relocation the adventure it’s meant to be.

What are the most common types of international assignments?

Okay, let’s start with the basics… What are the most common types of international assignments? Are you just hungry for a short-term adventure or do you want to become part of a completely new (to you) culture? There are four types of assignments. Choose which one best suits your situation:

  • Long-term assignments: An employee is assigned a long-term job between 3 to 5 years.
  • Short-term assignments: An employee is assigned a position that lasts between 1 to 3 years, and in most cases is a variation of an extended business trip.
  • Localization/local plus assignments: An employee is fully integrated into a local market.
  • Domestic relocation: An employee has a corporate relocation within their country of origin.

Each of these four options has very different implications when it comes to global tax rules and mobility solutions. You need to research personal and cultural practices to anticipate the needs you’ll have, in order to have a safe journey and play by the rules. Laws are complicated, as simple as that. Because of that you need to be well-informed, things will go as smoothly as possible.

When it comes to long-term assignments, here are some important things to consider:

First, the cost of living in a foreign country has to include considerations for housing, daily transportation, and other comparable regular expenses. Also, your quality of living must be at a satisfying level. You want to remain productive and your work/life conditions must support that. If you initially feel right at home, the period of adjustment will pass much easier. Now, when the basic needs of survival (food, shelter, water, sleep) are secured in your new international work assignment, the next important resource is a mobility starter kit. You need to have a fresh start. And prepare for anything and everything. You need to calculate estimated mobility cost and stick to your plan. Include every possible scenario and most importantly, at any moment, know your rights and responsibilities.

Immigration considerations

Immigration is a complicated topic and project. There is much to consider on all fronts as well as constantly changing politics. Because of that -moving employees across borders should be done swiftly and within your budget. Some things to consider and investigate immediately are immigration and visa requirements, tax and social security implications, data privacy mandates, employment rules, stock benefits, compensation issues, and FCPA restrictions. We know it is easy to get lost in the endless sea of regulations, but your ability to move your talent where things are happening will help you start conquering the distant markets and broaden your horizons.

More on immigration laws

Be careful (but vigilant) with this one because immigration laws tend to vary. Every country has strict rules about visa criteria. There is a very big conflict in immigration permissions. Business visas and work permits are not the same things. There are slight differences between the two but people often get confused. The risks of having the wrong immigration permission document can be vast and could definitely ruin your company’s good reputation in another country. That is not what you want or need to happen – so avoid this by any chance. Business visas are often used for short-term assignments, visits to customers or vendors, visits to your foreign offices, negotiations, etc. Business visas exclude any kind of ‘’productive work’’. If you continue your day-to-day activities and are productive, it is likely that you are breaking the regulations of a business visa.

Work permits give permission to you or your employees to engage in substantive work in the country. Work permits also allow you to continue your work and bring something new to the table of your foreign colleagues. Often, this may involve management positions, systems implementation, or other work that generates revenue but may not always be a long duration.  Even a short stay may require a work permit, depending on the type of employee activity. As we mentioned before, gather the right information so your corporate relocation isn’t so stressful.

Payment methods

Always choose the option that suits you the best. You can still receive your payment from your homeland employer during your assignment. This method is considered very desirable…why? Because of the current administration, you could prevent later complications. By doing so, you can stay on your home country pension plan and you will still receive all of your benefits.

You need to keep in mind the importance of tax preparation. You need to play by the rules. Going global doesn’t change the responsibilities to your country as a citizen. You need to know what your duties are – if you are not sure, opt for global mobility tax services. In no time you will be a savvy world traveler who knows how to make the system work for you.

Many countries have recognized the importance of global mobility. To make things even easier, faster and more efficient, many countries have entered into social security agreements based on which employees can continue to participate in their origin country’s social security system.

There are few types of contracts for corporate relocation:

  • Secondment
  • Transfer
  • Dual employment

With those types of contracts in mind, you can agree with your employer on which option is the best to keep everything clear.

Benefits of corporate relocation

When all that bureaucracy and sea of paperwork is finally behind you, its time to be productive (with a work permit, not business visa). You are ready for your corporate relocation. You are ready to submerge yourself in a new culture, complete various tasks, and obtain new knowledge that will help your business grow. While it’s all very stressful, there are some major benefits to corporate relocation to keep in mind:

  • You will improve your skills. You have talent that propels your business into motion. With improved opportunities, you will bring something new and different to your business.
  • You will have a chance to represent your business. This experience is crucial. Make everyone proud and always keep in mind why are you there.
  • You will explore different workplace cultures. It isn’t just your downtime that will experience culture shock. Your new workplace will come with a new culture and climate that will challenge and diversify what you have to offer as a business leader.
  • Diversity. You will work with different kinds of people, undoubtedly learn and grow. You will know how to accept new challenges and expand from the new viewpoints and knowledge that you are witnessing.

Now that you have all the necessary knowledge, you can enjoy all the benefits. Furthermore, the world is your workplace … are you ready to be a part of that adventure?

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