MANAGE YOUR EXPAT PACKAGE EXPENSES
If you are an employee sent abroad by the company you want to read this, I will give an overview of the essential aspects of expat benefits and how to negotiate a better deal.
What is an expat benefit package?
There are many words to describe the benefits expats receive when being transferred abroad by a company: Expat Package, Expat Benefits, Deployment Package are just a few to name. No matter the label, let us dive into what it is you need to know BEFORE and DURING your time abroad. There are hardly any official studies of how big those expat packages are because each company is managing this topic differently. Benefits are highly individual and at the end it is also a matter of negotiation.
The size of the expat package depends on:
The company factor
The human factor
Typical parts of an Expat Package
As stated, expat packages are highly individual. There are however benefits that are more common than others. I most recently asked 25 families for their personal benefits. About 70% of them received some sort of Expat Package. International Health Care, Housing Allowance, and flights back home have been the most mentioned items on the list.
While 25 families are not a high number to compare, the answers actually reflected what I am hearing from many others throughout the last year and are hence a good indication to start with.
on social media!
How expat Packages will change in the future
Not only the world is getting more global but also our minds! Back in the days, companies tried to convince their top employees to accept an international assignment by offering anything to make life abroad as comfortable as possible. Next to financial incentives, many used to have their private driver and other support in the form of employees. Next, to making life more comfortable, this is also connected to the responsibility of supporting the local economy (which is still in practice today). Depending on the country not that much has changed. However, if countries are not that exotic, there are often many employees lining up waiting for their chance to go abroad. So there is less obligation to make this journey attractive. Therefore many experts argue that expat packages are decreasing in value and number of benefits over time.
However, at the same time, we see a second trend: The rise of dual-career couples. Nowadays more and more young professionals are shying away from taking on an international assignment if the partner can’t find work. Most accompanying partner will stop working during the time abroad. As an effect, household income is decreasing despite the financial benefits of the expat package (depending on the deal).
As a consequence, more and more employees are demanding expat partner support in the form of work permit management, language courses, and career coaching. Intercultural training and educations packages are becoming more popular. Smaller companies are not aware of the need to the same extent but are slowly realizing that coaching is not that expensive for the company to pay but has a very positive effect on the attitude of the partner towards the expatriation adventure.
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How to negotiate the expat package
There are a couple of tips I can mention from experience that many expats would have loved to consider upfront. Of course, each situation and company policy is different but I am a huge believer in: Nothing will get better if we won’t communicate our needs! So here it is, my top tricks:
WHAT IF THERE IS NO EXPAT PACKAGE?
Some words to the Expat Partner: Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get enough financial support from your partner’s employer. These support packages are not a guarantee for success. What you mostly need lies within you already: drive, persistence, and patience. You need to define a strategy for yourself on how you want to approach your career during your time abroad – with or without an Expat Package.
However, only because their is no defined process within the company for expat benefits it never is too late to ask!
TRACK YOUR BUDGET EXPENSES
If you find yourself in the lucky position to have access to an Expat Education Package I only can recommend you to use it wisely. At the very beginning, I set up an Excel sheet to follow up on all my expenses and to keep track on the budget left to decide on whether to add another training for myself or not.
Here is a picture of that Excel sheet. If you want to track your budget in a similar way you can download this sheet with a simple click for free. Customize it to your own needs and likes.
I hope this information is helpful to you and will encourage you to ask for some benefits! Let’s connect via Social Media or send me a message to email@example.com if you want to chat about it.
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