Supporting Employees with International Relocation

6 Minutes

Written by our partners at ViewHR For many people at the moment, international travel may se...

Written by our partners at ViewHR For many people at the moment, international travel may seem like nothing more than a distant memory. However, as countries start to lift travel restrictions, individuals are also starting to explore opportunities within the international jobs market again. Moving to a different country can have many benefits for individual employees seeking a better lifestyle and exciting employment opportunities, and can offer employers access to a global talent pool. However, moving to a different country can also present unfamiliar circumstances and challenges. Support provided by employers can play an important role in helping employees to feel at home more quickly, and to enable them to focus on their new role rather than distractions. In this blog, we explore some top tips for employers to support employees with international relocation.

1. Be realistic about timescales You have an important vacancy that needs to be filled – ideally yesterday! So once you have found your ideal candidate, you want them to start as soon as possible. However, putting pressure (either directly or otherwise) on a new recruit to potentially pack up their life and move to a new country in a fortnight could store up problems for later down the line. You could find your new employee is distracted by all the things they still need to sort out but couldn’t in the short period before they started the role. Instead of determining the start date based on the current notice period, instead work out a realistic plan to accommodate time for the employee to tie up any loose ends before they leave, orientate themselves in their new home, and at least get over any jet lag! Understanding their personal circumstances in terms of partners, children, pets, etc. is also helpful at the planning stage.

2. Be clear on what’s included.  Does the job come with accommodation, if so, for the whole family or just one person? And is it just for a limited period just after the move, or ongoing? What about flights “home” – is there any allowance for those? Can employees take leave to fit in with religious festivals or other holiday periods in their home country? Many job adverts will advertise headline benefits such as “accommodation” and “flights home”, however, these smaller details can make a big difference to the individual, and consequently impact their motivation levels and long-term desire to continue in a role. Another important benefit can be healthcare, particularly if the employee is moving to a country where the state does not provide free healthcare at the point of use. Are there limitations to the cover, what about family members, what are the key details in case of an emergency? It is important that your new employee has this vital information from the start, so they can ensure that they and any family members are appropriately covered and able to get assistance when they need it.

3. Check any visa requirements If your employee requires a visa for their new role, it is important to ensure that the employee and employer are aware of any requirements associated with this. Depending on the type of visa and location, the employee may have restrictions placed on how long they are allowed to leave their new country of residence. This means that business trips overseas, or periods working on other company premises internationally, may need to be subjected to limits. There may also be other requirements associated with the visa, such as to report to a local police station or a government office to present documents, that the employee may need time off during working hours to undertake. 

 4. Appoint a buddy A buddy system can be beneficial to support new employees within an organization regardless of relocation. However, when an employee has just moved to a new country, a buddy can be especially valuable. A suitable buddy will be able to provide information on the local area and a warm welcome. It isn’t essential that they have previously relocated themselves, but it might provide something useful in common. A buddy can also help new employees to become familiar with local and organizational Covid-19 measures and guidelines. Connecting the buddy and new employee before the new employee’s first day can also be useful so that the connection is there from the start, and so the buddy can also brief on first-day questions such as mask-wearing, shaking hands, dress code, etc. 

 5. Resources If you regularly recruit internationally, it might be useful to begin building an FAQ (frequently asked questions) bank of things that people wanted to know when they first moved. This can be developed over time and become a useful resource to share with other new starters, either when or before they join. It may also be useful to develop a list of handy contacts for new starters as well, including things like local government websites, pharmacies that provide out-of-hours openings, etc. Of course, most things can be Googled, but this can help to direct people to reliable sources, and also save some of their roaming data while they are getting their broadband and local mobile phone contract arranged! 

 If you would like to discuss further the support you can provide for new employees, whether or not they are relocating internationally, please get in touch with a member of the ViewHR team today for an initial discussion: | +44(0)1425 205390 | ViewHR are UK based and provides flexible HR support and guidance to an international portfolio of clients.