The blurring international boundaries over the last few decades have created a whole new community of expats globally. Even though the boundaries are blurring, there’s a lot one needs to take into consideration while crossing them to another country. Every country has something unique and different about it that should impact the preparations, expats make before relocating to that particular country. Your incoming expat employees too are probably nervous and just that bit apprehensive and this is where you can help and support them.
There are certain things that one should have in their checklist before migrating or relocating to a new country. This is not about creating fear – it’s about being prepared for the worst, even if it may never happen. Here are some essentials in a safety checklist you can share with your incoming expat employee.
1. Medical and healthcare
The topmost thing on our list is the medical and healthcare facilities in the host country. Shifting countries mean exposing the body to a different climatic zone. The sudden shift can be a little difficult for the immune system. Before planning the shift, it is essential for your incoming expat to know about the medical and healthcare facilities here. Guide them to sources where they can study the local weather and related conditions. Ask them to seek guidance from their local physician on how to get acclimatized to the new environment with ease. A check on how equipped the healthcare system of the host country is to tackle medical situations will help your expats prepare better.
In India, if the need arises, the expats will most likely have to avail the services of the private hospitals. Things like this will impact the living cost, and especially in cases when the expat of their family has a need for ongoing medical attention, they must factor that in. In addition to this, having a health insurance policy that covers most of the medical and healthcare expenses in a foreign land may be a good idea.
2. The social landscape
Relocating to a foreign country means becoming a part of the social landscape of that country. This means being ready to deal with the largely good, and the occasionally bad too. Countries around the world are battling perceptions of becoming more insular and unwelcoming. Help your incoming expats understand the reality of India in this context. Don’t sugar-coat the information you give them. For example, advise them of go and no-go areas in the city where they intend to live. Better safe than sorry is a wise policy until they build up their familiarity with the area.
It is important for them to study the general crime rate and socio-political scenario of the country too. Is it safe for a foreign national in general? Are there situations that are better avoided than confronted? Share emergency contacts numbers of people within your organization as well as in the local law enforcement and administration who can help in case of any emergency.
3. Financial issues
The financial checklist can be divided into:
a) Actual salary in the home country’s currency
In expat assignments, it is normal to compensate the expat in the currency of the host country. Occasionally expats also ask that the company offer compensation in their home currency. In either case, the most important consideration is the currency exchange rate between these two countries. Understanding this and getting a sense of the general trends helps in better financial planning.
b) Tax deductions and liabilities
In most countries, including India, a tax on the expat’s income is inevitable. This can add up to a substantial sum as the salaries get higher. Clearly, this can mess with the “real” income calculations of the expat. Help your incoming expat get a sense of the applicable taxes and the likely deductions to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
c) Banking and credit cards
Different countries have different rules regarding allowing foreign nationals to hold certain types of bank accounts and accessing certain types of banking facilities. This extends to the types of credit cards they can use and the situations they can use them in. Help your incoming expats understand more about how the banks would work and other involved costs in using their existing bank accounts and credit cards too.
The most important factor to consider while relocating to a foreign country is the immigration and visa process. Every country has different immigration rules and regulations for every foreign national. The type of visa depends upon the nature and purpose of the expat’s visit. We have written previously about some of the prevailing rules in India for foreigners working here. Give your expat employees all the information they may need, including the documentation they must carry out, and any other mandated formality.
Relocating to a foreign land for better opportunities is always an exciting process. In today’s time, with a plethora of information online, it has become easier to know all about a country. Your incoming expat employees are also probably equal parts excited and anxious at making the big move. The support and information you provide them at this time will help make their transition smooth and happy.
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