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Expat Relocation Packages: What you can expect

If you have been offered an international assignment by your company and are considering relocating for work, your HR department will most likely offer you an expat relocation package.

Written by Steve Nelson on 4 August 2015

If you have been offered an international assignment by your company and are considering relocating for work, your HR department will most likely offer you an expat relocation package.

An increased salary and exotic new landscape may sound attractive, but it’s important to remember that not all relocation packages are created equal. The international health insurance advisers at Medibroker take a look at what you should expect from your employment package if you are thinking of working overseas.

What is an expat relocation package?

A relocation package is usually offered to professionals who are moving overseas for their job. It consists of the added bonuses, one time payments, and allowances that aim to cover the costs of relocation and make the process smoother. Some aspects of a relocation package will be one-off payments while others are designed to help the employee for the duration of their assignment. Typical perks include an accommodation budget, annual flights home and a company car; but this is not always the case and relocation packages should be negotiable.

Family and education

If you are relocating your family for your international assignment, there will be a number of costs that your company may cover, such as the family’s flight tickets. It’s wise to question how well your dependents will be looked after.

Many expats have no choice but to either home school their children or pay for private school, for example in Dubai, and these fees can be very high. Most companies will provide schooling fees, but this is something you should discuss with your employer if your family will be coming with you.

Finding an international school is an important task if you are moving abroad with children. Read this guide to choosing the right international school for your kids to help you make your decision.

Relocation fees

Visa application fees, shipping your belongings overseas and plane tickets are just some of the costs involved in the actual act of moving abroad. There may also be a penalty fee attached to breaking a lease at home that you have to consider.

Will you be selling your home in the UK to move abroad?

Some companies offer assistance for selling your home, and will pay the estate agent fees, cover mortgage payments while the house is on the market, and even handle the closing. This might be worth negotiating with the company.

Accommodation

Accommodation is likely to be one of the biggest costs to evaluate when moving abroad.

In certain locations, security will be a factor to consider when choosing where to live. In countries such as South Africa or Dubai, many expatriates live in gated communities with other expats for increased security, and these properties come with a price tag.

If you are being relocated to somewhere like Singapore, where property prices are among the highest in the world, it’s the norm for companies to provide you with an accommodation budget.

Healthcare

Your company should offer you international medical insurance that covers treatment in your expat country. The level of cover you will need will vary depending on your personal health, circumstances and the standard of healthcare in your new country. You should always question the extent of health cover supplied by your employer, for example whether the costs of maternity and childbirth or dental treatment will be covered. Some employers may cover you but not your dependents, so you will have to negotiate this.

If the quality of medical facilities is below those at home, you may also need cover that includes medical evacuation or allows you to choose where you receive treatment.

Living Costs

The general cost of living differs around the world, so before you accept a salary rise (or fall) for your relocation, research the price of petrol, a grocery shop, and utilities in your target location.

While you may be dazzled by the initial salary increase, it’s important to take into account how advantageous this actually is in relation to the cost of living in your destination.

Taxes

Keeping track of taxes when you have assets in your home and expat country, or when you work outside your country can be complicated. Make sure you have either tax services provided for you or tax assistance paid for. If you are going to be double-taxed, your salary should take this into account.

Exchange Rate Protection

If the salary and expenses are going to be paid in a different currency from the currency where you are living, then you will want to agree upon an exchange rate protection to avoid nasty shocks.

Transport

Will you be able to buy or rent a car immediately in your new country? You might need a local social security number to get the car registered or to get insurance for it, and all of that can take time. If commuting will be an issue, ask your company to pay for a rental car, or make sure public transportation is available and safe to use.

 

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