What To Consider When You Send an Employee Overseas on Assignment

Companies are sending employees abroad in record numbers. Sometimes, this is just a temporary assignment to set up a new branch, help on a project, or fill a strategic role. Other times, companies expect the employee to hold a specific position on an extended duration such as they would at home. Whatever the agreement, however, there are a few expatriate administration tasks to keep in mind when giving employees overseas assignments.

Who Is the “Employer”?

Will it be the home company or the host company? The host company is often a subsidiary of the home company or a separate legal entity. You will need to be clear about who the legal employer is as this will affect the tax and immigration policies. Failure to be clear about who the employer is may lead to double taxation and other costly issues. 

If you haven’t yet made a decision, note that in most instances the existing or home company continues to be the employer. However, it is best to examine local laws as well as international agreements between countries to see which option is most beneficial to the employee and the companies involved as there are payroll and tax implications involved with this decision. 

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Has a Relocation Agreement Been Drafted?

When employees relocate abroad there are a lot of details that must be agreed to, and expectations that are best to be put down in writing. 

Along with outlining the expectations of what will be accomplished by the employee in their new role, the duration of the assignment, and a repayment agreement, the agreement should outline the relocation benefits provided such as housing allowances, school fees, home trips for the year, compensation, etc.

Is There a Support Structure for the Employee?

Even the best and brightest employees may have a difficult time adjusting to life abroad. After the honeymoon period passes, employees can miss everything from family members to their favorite restaurant. 

Nostalgia can gradually escalate to depression and lack of commitment, affecting an employee’s ability to work. What support will be in place for the employee? This may be regularly scheduled calls with the home team, cultural training, or pairing with a new colleague in the host location. 

How Will You Handle Record-keeping?

All documents and agreements relating to the assignment/relocation must be properly stored, in case any business or legal issues later arise. Some documents that should be stored safely, include employment contracts, waivers, compensation details, and all immigration and taxation documents. 

All governments have different rules and regulations surrounding foreign workers in their countries. As a result, you may, on several occasions, need to, or assist your employees in, proving and re-proving their legitimate immigration status.

These are just some of the many concerns you will need to address and plan for. Thankfully a Global Mobility Mangement platform can help you manage these concerns. If you are looking for a more efficient way to navigate the complexities of a globally mobile workforce, request a free demo of Topia’s global mobility management software to see how technology can help you effectively leverage your global workforce.

Sean Pratt

About the author

Sean Pratt

Sean is Topia's Sr. Marketing Manager and a certified Global Mobility Specialist.

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