A Managing Expatriates is a home country or third country national who is assigned to a country operational location. Most expatriates are managers or highly-trained technical experts. Globalisation of business is leading to an increase in the number of expatriates being sent to foreign locales to tap opportunities thrown up by the changing business environment. However, this is adding to the complexity of Managing Expatriates management. It is not just management-related aspects that need due consideration, but a host of other issues also.
One of the important challenges for organisations is preparing people to be expatriate employees working in a nation other than their home country. Without this preparation, such employees may not be able to take on and successfully complete an overseas assignment. To survive, cope and succeed, managers generally require training in three areas: the culture, the language and practical day-to-day matters. Research studies show a high rate of expatriate failures, ranging from 25 to 50 percent mainly due to the culture shock that usually occurs 4 to 6 months after arrival in the foreign country.
Apart from the accompanying partner’s career, there are family considerations that can cause a potential expatriate to decline the international assignment. Disruption to children’s education is an important consideration, and the selected candidate may reject the offered assignment on the grounds that a move at this particular stage in his child’s life is inappropriate. The care of ageing or invalid parents is another consideration.
Health and Safety
Employee Health and safety laws and regulations vary from country to country, ranging from virtually non-existent to more stringent than in India. With more and more expatriates working internationally in some of the less-developed nations, safety-related issues have assumed importance in recent times. In countries like Brazil, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia and New Guinea street crimes are quite common and kidnapping has become a way of life. In countries like Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan medical facilities are primitive, treatment is not as available and medicines are less easily obtained. Before sending executives abroad, therefore, the home-office should understand the local environment, local conditions and the level of difficulty in each global assignment.
Remuneration decisions are strategic decisions and play a key role in achieving performance and sustainable expatriation. This is one of the important issues in expatriation. For multinational firms, successful management of compensation and benefits requires knowledge of the employment and taxation laws, customs, environment, and employment practices of many foreign countries. Also needed are familiarity with currency fluctuations and the effect of inflation on compensation, and an understanding of why and when special allowances must be supplied and which allowances are necessary for what countries. All of these needs must be fulfilled within the context of shifting political, economic, and social conditions.