PREPARING FOR AN INTERNATIONAL ASSIGNMENT. By Robert D. Miller. An international assignment can be a great career opportunity. Follow these tips to ensure a smooth transition.
By Robert D. Miller
Your employees will be making many decisions relative to the move. Below you’ll find valuable information to share with your employees to help them with this process. By encouraging your employees to discuss all the important issues prior to their move, such as where to live, what to bring and school choices, you can assure they are able to make the most of their international move.
Learn as much as you can about your host country prior to the move. The best way to do this is to visit the host country approximately six weeks prior to your move. Generally, your employer will pay for the costs of this trip. Both the employee and spouse (if married) should make this visit. The primary purpose of the “look-see” visit is to locate housing and make schooling arrangements for children. It will also give you a feel for the culture, languages, business practices, and the weather of your host country. If you cannot visit before moving, research the host country thoroughly by using books, travel agencies, the Internet, and by talking to other expatriates.
Here are a variety of important tasks/research you should perform during your “look-see” visit or research before your move:
It is best to begin planning for an international move as early as possible, giving yourself ample time for all the last minute arrangements and preparations, such as:
The following items should be packed in a bag or briefcase that you should carry with you during the flight:
After you arrive, you’ll want to register with the nearest embassy or consulate, and check with the postal service for any held mail. Additionally, determine and meet local in-country registration requirements. Finally, maintain a record of all moving expenses—these costs may be reimbursable by your employer and/or be tax-deductible.
An international assignment does not have to be a complex process. Adequate planning and preparation from the outset can greatly diminish the chances of something going awry. Once you are in-country, relax and enjoy yourself. The benefits from your advance planning will soon be readily apparent as you settle in to your new work and social environment.
Solutions, Winter 2002