While for the most part relocation candidates are selected based on their professional and technical competencies, it’s crucial for the success of the relocation that everyone involved on the employee side experience the new location and prepare as much as possible for life in the new country before ever leaving home. Pre-Assignment assistance as part of your global mobility services provides the relocation candidate and any accompanying family with the support required for a fast and seamless transition, and affords your company added protection of your investment in the assignment.

Candidate Assessment

Companies sometimes select candidates for international assignments based solely on their professional experience and technical expertise, with little or no consideration of their ability to live and work in another culture. Unfortunately, immediate business needs sometimes eclipse this crucial step. Candidate Assessment can help companies select candidates best suited for global assignments and help safeguard their considerable investment.

Best practice to include in: Short- and Long-Term Assignment Policies, Localizations and Permanent Moves

Medical Exams / Immunizations

Proper medical evaluations and immunizations help ensure assignees’ and their families’ good health and well-being. Host country immigration officials often require them. Employers should reimburse any costs not covered by medical insurance.

Best practice to include in: All International Policies

Visa and Immigration

Compliance with home and host legal and immigration laws is essential and non-negotiable. Non-compliance can put the assignee and company at significant risk. Countries can levy hefty fines on organizations and bar them from doing business in the country in more severe instances. Therefore, companies should monitor compliance regularly and keep all immigration documentation current.

Best practice to include in: All International Policies

Home-Finding Trip

A home-finding trip is typical for the assignee and spouse/partner (children are policy exceptions) to become more familiar with the host/destination location, locate suitable housing or at least narrow the search and visit local schools, if applicable. Standard trips usually are five to ten days, including travel time. Best practice is to adhere to the corporate travel policy and include hotel, meals and transportation. In some cases, companies will offer a pre-assignment visit (look-see trip) for the employee and spouse/partner before the assignment/move is accepted to assist the decision-making process.

Best practice to include in: Long-Term Assignment and Permanent Move Policies

Tax Orientation / Ongoing Tax Assistance

The tax orientation is an opportunity for the assignee to meet with tax experts to discuss the employer’s tax treatment of their assignment benefits. Best practice is tax equalization, which simply means that the assignee will not suffer a monetary loss or a financial gain due to going on assignment. The assignee should be paying a similar amount of taxes as they would have if they had stayed in the home country and did not go on assignment.

Further, any tax assistance provided by the employer during an assignment typically excludes any personal income and is based on assignee employment-earned income only. It is also best practice for the employer to pay for outside tax preparation each year that the employee is on assignment and the first year following repatriation or localizing/moving permanently.

Best practice to include in: All International Policies

Language Training

Although English is often used to conduct business across global teams, working knowledge of the host country’s language will contribute to the assignment’s success. If an assignee is not fluent in the host country’s language, best practice is to offer language training that begins in the home country and continues in the host country. If applicable, the standard is 100–125 hours for the assignee and each family member. Younger children may need less language training in-country if they receive lessons in school upon arrival.

Best practice to include in: All International Policies

Cross-Cultural Training

One to two days of cross-cultural training facilitates cultural understanding and helps to ensure a more successful adjustment for the assignee and family. Many programs focus on living in the new culture for the first day and working in the new culture for the second day. More companies are including cross-cultural training in repatriation benefits to enhance the employee experience and support the duty of care.

Best practice to include in: All International Policies

Security Briefings

While not yet considered a pre-assignment best practice, security briefings are becoming more common. They can help ensure assignees are prepared for the destination location and help companies fulfill their duty of care responsibilities.

Learn more in this Global Mobility Policy whitepaper!

Read this whitepaper on Global Mobility Policy Trends, Design and Best Practices that will help you to assess your global mobility policies in light of current realities.

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