CapRelo Blog

Global Mobility: Ways to Help Your Employees to Assimilate

Posted by Amy Mergler on Thu, Jul 14, 2016

business-man-with-globe.jpgGlobal relocations present unique challenges that your HR team, and your employees, do not encounter during a domestic relocation. When you help your employees assimilate to the new culture in the weeks prior to, and during, a global relocation, you will ensure a faster return to full productivity in the office, greater productivity in the long run and increased employee retention. What can you do to help make a global relocation as smooth as a move within the States?

Learn more about managing global relocations with our free guide. 

How Can You Help Your Transferees Assimilate to the New Culture?

  • Multiple Trips Abroad: 
    Help your employees (and their families) connect with local networking organizations, sports clubs and the like, made up of both locals and expatriates. Find similarities to home, while also helping employees and their families embrace the new culture prior to their global relocation.

  • Foreign Language & Cross-Cultural Training:
    Providing lessons on the local language and cross-cultural training will not only help your transferees acclimate more quickly and become more productive in the office, it can also make them happier following the move, which improves retention.

  • Educate Your Employees on Laws Affecting Expatriates:
    Health care laws that recently went into effect may help reduce costs for employees living and working abroad. Let employees know about other positive changes and benefits they may experience as a result of their global relocation, too.

  • Assist with Paperwork:
    Help your transferee navigate the confusing maze of paperwork that comes with a global relocation, including obtaining visas and registering children in their new school.

A global relocation is more complex than a domestic transfer, but by providing tools to assist your employees and their families adjust to the new culture, you can help ensure a successful relocation and faster return to productivity for your transferee.

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Topics: global mobility, global relocation, language training, trailing spouse syndrome,, expatriate employees

Advice for Expat Children Applying to Colleges

Posted by Jim Retzer on Tue, Mar 03, 2015

College-Application-FormFor expat young people considering attending college (in the USA), many of the same conditions apply to expats and other foreign students as well as their stateside peers. One advantage expats may have is exposure to a broader range of cultures: many schools consider the expat’s foreign living experience a big ‘plus’ when considering applications, as they are often more mature and adaptable to change.

Learn more about global assignments with our free guide.

Finding a school

Overseas transferees and Foreign Service families will find abundant information online, including taking ‘virtual tours’ of prospective campuses, downloading academic information, applications and other considerations. Non-citizen students need to know that many of these post-secondasry school websites also have additional sections containing information about special admission requirements for non-citizens.

The application process

Most US high school students who plan to attend college apply to more than one school due to the variations in selectivity among colleges, with an average of three to five schools – as should ex pat students. Many schools have deadlines months in advance, so apply as soon as possible.

Although colleges will also vary in the type of forms needed, as a rule close to 400 of the more selective institutions use the Common Application (also called ‘CA’) forms, asking for records of school grade reports, including high school, a personal essay, and extracurricular activities as well as at least one letter of recommendation from a high school teacher.

State vs. private schools

Most state-funded schools don’t use the CA mentioned previously, but the more selective the school (such as the highly-regarded University of California at Berkley) the more stringent will be the admission requirements. State schools also favor their own state’s residents when admitting new or transfer students: many have minimum resident student quotas which they must meet for funding. If a student’s family has retained their residency status, schools in the ‘home state’ could be good options. Most state colleges offer lower tuition, even for out-of-state students, than do private schools.

Tests and other academic records

While there is no one standard college test in the U.S. many schools require successful completion of the ACT (American College Testing Program) or the College Board tests (also referred to as Standardized Achievement Tests, or SATs). While the SATs are in wider use, more selective schools are asking for scores from both.

High scores on a student’s International Baccalaureate tests and Advanced Placement tests may permit college freshman students to ‘place out’ of required lower-level core classes, moving ahead faster.

Other documents prospective foreign or expat college students may need:

  • Student visa – this will be necessary if you are a long-term resident of or a citizen of a foreign country. This will also include the need to show proof of ability to pay tuition; otherwise, the student must apply for financial aid as soon as possible.

For all students, embarking on the adventure of higher education offers the same promise of discovery and lifelong learning as it has for generations.

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Topics: expats, expatriate employees

Managing International Relocation Expenses and Expatriate Salaries

Posted by Rick Bruce on Thu, May 26, 2011

There are several methods to calculate expatriate salaries during international relocation services. One of the most common, albeit often the most costly, is the home-based method. 

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This method looks at the cost-of-living at the expatriate employee's home base, and calculates the salary based on those figures. This may result in an expatriate being paid more than his local counterparts, but is a fair arrangement to employees, especially for short-term assignments. 

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International Relocation Expenses to Cut

Even if you use a home-based system for calculating salaries, there are other ways you can reduce international relocation expenses.

  • Reduce the location allowance by taking into account “hardship” in the home location, as well reduce or eliminate the hardship allowance or any transferee bonuses
  • Select a lower level of subsidy for the Cost of Living Allowance
  • Use more conservative housing standards to determine host housing subsidies
  • Let the employee contribute to home housing costs
  • Reduce or eliminate familiarization trips, language lessons and other benefits, or find lower cost ways to offer these services

Reduce International Relocation Expenses with a Host-Based Salary System

With most international relocations, U.S.-headquartered companies can save money by using a host-based system to calculate salaries, where employees are paid based on the cost-of-living and average salaries in the host country


A Guide to  Relocation Costs


Cut Costs with Trainees

Twenty-three percent of companies expect an increase in the number of trainee or developmental assignments overseas, according to a white paper released by Worldwide ERC. Many of these employees are willing to accept a reduced salary or relocation package in exchange for the experience of an international assignment. 

This is good news, since 44% of the companies surveyed are looking to adopt a “low-cost alternative package” in order to cut international relocation expenses.

Topics: relocation packages, international relocation expenses, expatriate employees, international relocation services

International Relocation Service Helps Companies Face New Challenges

Posted by Mickey Williams on Fri, Mar 11, 2011

Workforce mobility is changing in regard to international relocation, and an international relocation service can help your company adapt to tighter budgets, more demanding expatriates, and a new landscape that frequently transfers employees from emerging regions to other emerging regions, rather than simply transferring employees from established regions to emerging locations. 

Expatriate Survey Results 

The recent Mobility Outlook Survey from AIRINC (Associates for International Research, Inc.) showed some surprising challenges in regard to international relocation. Eighty-three percent of companies expect the number of expatriate employees to grow or stay the same, yet companies are looking to cut costs for these relocations to keep the budget down. There is also substantial growth in the area of transferring training or developing employees, in order to pay lower wages. Twenty-three percent of the companies surveyed are willing to make this trade-off to keep costs down. 

Meanwhile, 44% of all companies are seeking “low cost alternative [relocation] packages.” Working with an international relocation service can help your HR staff create new expatriate benefits packages to keep costs down while keeping employees happy. 

3 Ways Your International Relocation Service Can Help You Set New Relocation Policies 

A whitepaper published by AIRINC spotlights several methods to calculate expatriate pay and benefits, which can help maintain tight relocation budgets while satisfying employees with fair wages. An international relocation service like CapRelo can help you design, structure and implement international relocation packages using a home-based system, a reduced balance sheet system, a headquarters-based system or any one of several other systems.

Topics: relocation packages, relocation packages, expatriate employees, international relocation services, Home Selling and Purchase Assistance, Corporate Relocation Costs

What Should You Look for in International Relocation Services?

Posted by Rick Bruce on Mon, Feb 21, 2011

You've run the numbers and it makes perfect sense to move your corporate operations to a new location overseas. But now you're faced with a unique challenge: moving and managing expatriate employees.  

Three Types of Employees 

U.S. employees working abroad fall into three categories, outlined in an article from the August 2010 issue of Mobility magazine. 


    • U.S. citizens - The easiest category of employee to relocate; all they need for return to U.S. is a valid passport. 
    • U.S. permanent resident - These employees must take steps to maintain their permanent resident status and eligibility to apply for U.S. citizenship in the future (if desired). 
    • Foreign nationals - These employees hold a non-immigrant visa and can only return to the U.S. (to visit or move) while their visa is still valid. It may be difficult to get a visa renewed while living abroad, making these the least mobile employees in your workforce. 

International Relocation Services Help You Manage it All

A firm experienced in international relocation services helps you manage paperwork, tax filing and the actual relocation of all three types of employees. But there's even more to think about than just visas and airline tickets.

International relocation services also include helping employees acclimate to a new culture. International relocation services often include: 

  • foreign language training 
  • cultural training 
  • organizing tours of the region 
  • helping children of relocated employees acclimate to their new surroundings (includes helping parents select the best schools to meet their children's needs) 
  • Don't let the challenges behind an international relocation scare you out of the right choice for your company's growth. Let an international relocation services company help you navigate foreign waters

Topics: expatriate employees, international relocation services

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