CapRelo Blog

Global Assignment Services

Posted by Amy Mergler on Fri, Jun 16, 2017

crumpled paper and traveling around the world as concept.jpegAs an HR director, you may have encountered a situation similar to the following: Your company is planning to open a new sales division in Europe and will relocate several members of the sales team to the new office. You and your staff must take on the responsibility of coordinating their relocations.

A global relocation is more complex than a domestic transfer, which means there are more details to take into account. Many of the details – from the actual move to expenses – may not even have occurred to you. Here are just a few things you need to consider.

Assignment Services

Remember when it was a hassle to get a passport? Now, you likely also need to think about taxation, compensation, immigration.

Language and Cross-Cultural Training

When traveling, it takes a while to become accustomed to a new country’s language, culture and customs. If traveling for pleasure, this doesn't usually pose a problem because it doesn’t need to happen quickly. However, when employees have to adjust to a new worksite in a foreign country it can mean a delay in productivity.

Destination Services

Don’t forget the employee’s partner and family. This is a tough transition on them, too. Quality-of-life questions are a real concern for the relocating family. Will the neighborhood be nice? How about the cost of living in the new country?

Departure and Destination Housing

We all know the anxiety that goes with selling a home in this uncertain economy. If the employee is in another country, worrying about their home sale situation can be a major distraction from work. You want to do everything you can to help with a smooth transition and get your employee back in productivity mode. If the employee opts to rent out their home, property management services are also a good option.

Moving a Household

Moving is one of the most stressful life events, even when it's a positive exciting opportunity. It's important to manage this aspect of the relocation process as efficiently as possible to eliminate as much stress on your employee as possible to ensure a quick return to productivity in the new location.


Global Assignment Guide


Topics: global mobility, global relocation, international relocation services, Relocation Services

Exclusive Webinar - Real Estate Roundtable: Expert Advice on Relocation's Biggest Challenges

Posted by Amy Mergler on Wed, Oct 07, 2015

Up-to-date real estate policies are critical to the success of your relocation program. Nothing can disrupt your talent management goals faster than a transferee distracted by a house that won't sell. And, nothing can increase your program costs faster than managing policy exceptions for unexpected issues.

Please join our lively roundtable on Tuesday, October 27th at 2:00 pm as we bring together a lender, appraiser, closing attorney and home inspector to discuss the hottest challenges in the U.S. real estate market in our WERC Learning Zone Webinar: Real Estate Roundtable: Expert Advice on Relocation's Biggest Challenges.

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • Legal issues that can impact closings
  • Inspection concerns that can cause a home sale delay
  • Appraisal matters that your transferees need to consider when buying or selling
  • Mortgage industry changes that can affect a successful relocation

Presenters for the webinar include:

Brian Shea, GMS
Vice President, Sales and Business Development

Tom Dempsey, SCRP, GMS
Director, Relocation and Business Development
Quicken Loans

Jay Hershman, Esq., CRP
Baillie & Hershman, Associated Title & Closing Co., P.C.

Frank Wisniewski
Director, Account Management
Fidelity Residential Solutions

Michael S. Cook, MAI, SRA
Michael S. Cook & Associates, Inc.

CapRelo presents this free, exclusive webinar through the WERC Learning Zone so you can learn more about creating a successful international relocation policy. This webinar is good for one CRP credit.

Register today for our October 27th Learning Zone Webinar: Real Estate Roundtable: Expert Advice on Relocation's Biggest Challenges.

Topics: caprelo webinars, Relocation Services, international relocation services, Real Estate

Destination Services and Providers - Global Relocations

Posted by Jim Retzer on Tue, Dec 09, 2014

digital-world-map.jpgGlobal relocations often involve numerous moving parts for companies and major adjustments for professionals and their families. The best way to make the process more streamlined and comfortable is to rely on a destination services provider (DSP).

A DSP delivers professional services designed to help assignees and their family members experience smoother global transitions. DSPs can deliver a range of standard services as well as customized offerings based on a professional’s preferences and interests. The following are just a few of the highly useful services DSPs use to make your organization’s global relocations easier. 

Learn more about managing global assignments with our free guide.

Area Orientation

Adjusting to life in a new country is often the most overwhelming concern for professionals and their families. A DSP eases these concerns by providing in-depth area orientations that include neighborhood descriptions, housing market profiles, lists of medical facilities and even customized information that addresses an assignee’s specific interests. 

Home-Finding Assistance

The home buying and renting procedures can vary significantly in different countries. A good DSP makes this process easier by pulling together data on the local market, laying out buying and renting steps and explaining any legal requirements. If an assignee desires more hands-on help, relocation management providers can actually walk assignees through the entire home-buying or home-renting process, in addition to helping them rent or sell their old homes. 

School Searches

Relocation management services assist families in finding schools that offer the same or a higher level of education than their old schools provided. DSPs can also make sure children and parents are fully prepared for the start of school by gathering details on entrance exams and other enrollment considerations. 

Foreign Language Training

Strong language training is a crucial aspect of helping professionals and their families to feel comfortable in an unfamiliar location. While learning a new language can seem like a large undertaking, professional programs offer options to make the process easier – including at-home classes, classes at the office, and classes customized for each individual’s personal and professional needs. 

Cultural Instruction

It’s common to focus on language skills and forget about another essential part of moving to a new country – learning about that area’s cultural identity and nuances. While most languages have detailed rules and structures, a country’s cultural identity can be much harder to pin down. That’s where a DSP comes in to provide detailed knowledge on a country’s customs, etiquette, taboos and common business practices. 

Spousal Support

While most executives grasp the importance of providing training and service for relocating employees, many forget that it’s also essential to offer services for spouses undergoing the relocation process. Destination service providers can arrange for spouses to receive career counseling, information on recreational activities, opportunities for social interaction, and other services that may help them feel more at home.


It’s never too early to start incorporating these destination services into your company’s relocation process. In fact, the sooner professionals find the information and support they need, the more likely they are to enjoy a smooth adjustment and return to full productivity.

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Topics: international relocation services, destination services, global mobility, global relocation

Job Relocation: Why Employers Should Invest in Language Training

Posted by Jim Retzer on Tue, Jul 22, 2014


For an employee, being relocated by his or her employer can be an unnerving process. Yet millions of people move every year at management's request, some of them moving globally to a place where the primary language spoken is different. Your employees will likely face language barriers, cultural barriers, perhaps even discrimination depending on where they are moving to and from. An global move must be managed very carefully, paying close attention to the needs of the person(s) being moved; language training is one very important part of the relocation process.

Find out more about managing global relocations in our free article.

Why Language Training?

It is not difficult to imagine what it would be like to be dropped into a country where you don’t speak the language. There is nothing worse than being lost in every sense in a foreign place. At the very least, one should have some idea of the language well in advance of leaving. Learning to speak a new language is a challenge at best for 99.9% of adults but there are accelerated learning programs available if one’s employer is willing to invest in courses for employees being moved.

Who Benefits?

Who benefits from language training? All parties involved benefit in one way or another. For the employee being moved, language training more fully prepares them for living and working in another country. The better they communicate with their new co-workers, the quicker they will be able to resume work and get back to full productivity. Struggling with the language can be costly in man hours spent correcting issues created by poor communication. Employees feel less stressed with fewer cultural and lingual barriers, and employers benefit from increased productivity as a result. There will be fewer complaints if all parties are speaking and understanding local language and culture, lessening the negative effects of an international relocation.

The Bottom Line

Every dollar invested in language training for employees who are relocating to another part of the world is a dollar well spent. The return on investment in cases such as these is profound. Not only does the employer retain an employee, they relocate a well-prepared employee who will be ready to hit the ground running once the relocation is complete. The employee is happy, his/her new co-workers are happy that their new peer speaks their language. Communication errors are less of a risk and productivity can resume without too much culture shock when the employee is prepared for it ahead of time. Language training: it’s a win-win proposition.

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Topics: job relocation, language training, relocating employees, international relocation services, global mobility, global relocation

Steps to Reduce Security Risks During an International Move

Posted by Jim Retzer on Tue, Jun 24, 2014

country signsAs if international relocations weren’t complicated enough with the myriad of country-specific, cultural considerations – the security implications of moving to another country make the entire move even more complex.

As an employer moving one or more employees abroad, it’s critical to be mindful of and take steps to reduce the many security risks your employees face in an international move – like these mentioned below:

  • Conduct a thorough audit of household goods. Make sure to have a list of all the items that will be moved in each and every shipment. Most international moving companies will provide a complete inventory of items being moved. This helps provide accurate records for weight quotes. More importantly, it serves as a record of items being shipped for the household being relocated. This way, it’s easier to quickly identify objects that may be missing or tampered with.
  • Choose tamper-proof seals when packing. Speaking of tampering, when packing up certain household goods, consider using tamper-proof seals or tamper-proof tape so that unauthorized access can be easily identified. This is a great way to help transferees determine if their specified possessions have been tampered with during their move overseas.
  • Verify legalities and restrictions. From a customs perspective, there are many items that can be problematic when making international moves.

The following are among the top items that cause customs issues:



 Animal Products

 Cultural Antiquitiescustoms image

There are more. Be sure to ask the relocation company to provide a list of current restrictions and prohibitions for the specific country to which you will be relocating.

  • Expect heightened scrutiny depending on the country of origin. Diplomatic relations between nations have a significant impact on the level of scrutiny incoming items must endure. Countries make security measures for items crossing their borders according to these relationships – for better or for worse. Transferring employees should be aware and expect the possibility of greater scrutiny of some household goods and personal possessions.
  • Protect personal information. In the information age, information is universal currency. When relocating employees internationally, consider working with relocation specialists that work within the U.S. – E.U. Safe Harbor Frameworks are designed to prevent the unintentional loss or disclosure of personal information. Take care with tracking information for shipments; allow access to only the people who need this information.
  • Audit shipments while unpacking. This step doesn’t necessarily help prevent loss, theft, or exposure, but it does help movers quickly identify objects that are missing or may have been tampered with. This is where detailed inventories and audits prior to the move prove helpful.

There are many challenges in any employee relocation move, whether it’s down the street, to a new city, or to a new state. But moving from one country to the next opens a brand new scope of challenges. In addition to the logistics of the move, there are new cultures, customs, rules, import and export regulations, security concerns, and laws to learn and a short time to get them all down.

Dealing with the ins and outs of transferring employees across borders can be difficult in the best of situations. Simplify the process by hiring a reputable international relocation company to handle the details for you.

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Topics: how to reduce security risks, relocating employees, international relocation services

Exclusive Webinar: Creating a Successful International Relocation Policy

Posted by Brian D'Orazio on Thu, Sep 05, 2013

Is your current or ad hoc international relocation policy designed to handle the new business complexities in today’s global environment? When developing or revising an international relocation program, do you know which key elements to consider to make it successful?

Please join us on October 3rd at 2:00 pm as David Macpherson, Senior Vice President, International Division, and Keela Shumard, CRP, Relocation Counselor, lead the discussion in our WERC Learning Zone Webinar: Creating a Successful International Relocation Policy.

In this webinar, you’ll learn about:

  • Finding the right candidate
  • Proactively managing visas, work permits, and business permits
  • Arranging temporary living accommodations
  • Providing cross cultural and language training
  • Locating homes and arranging moving services
  • Home and host country departure services
  • Managing ongoing assignment
  • Getting a good ROI for your company
  • Determining the best type of policy to meet your business needs

CapRelo presents this free, exclusive webinar through the WERC Learning Zone so you can learn more about creating a successful international relocation policy. This webinar is good for one CRP-INTL credit and one GMS credit.

Register today for our October 3rd Learning Zone Webinar: Creating a Successful International Relocation Policy.

Topics: international relocation services, caprelo webinars

How To Help Employees Assimilate To A New Culture During An International Relocation

Posted by David Macpherson on Tue, Jul 09, 2013

International relocations typically involve assignees adapting to a new, very different culture. Even a transfer to English-speaking countries requires some language training, to understand different word usage, and cultural variations.

From both an assignee and employer perspective, the quicker the transferred employee assimilates the new culture, the more beneficial the international relocation. Adopting the following suggestions can make your international relocation policies more successful for both assignee and company. 

Culture Assimilation Services

  • House hunting trips. Depending on your lead time for the relocating employee, multiple house hunting trips, along with finding an appropriate residence, help assignees understand and assimilate the impending cultural differences they'll face.

  • Language training. Although American assignees transferring to English-speaking countries must often deal with some different spelling of common US words, the local usage and meaning of other words can present a short-term challenge. Employees transferring to some other global locations, such as Berlin, Paris or Tokyo, encounter even greater challenges. Language lessons focused on more common words and terms help assignees communicate and assimilate the new culture quickly.

  • Familiarize assignees with local laws. Just as in America, local laws in different areas of the country can be 'quirky,' to be polite. These differences in US laws can be even more confusing in the destination countries. Offering information on local laws helps assignees better assimilate the legal culture differences in the new country.

  • Help assignees navigate the confusing waters of documentation requirements. Required documents in destination countries can be vastly different from common documentation in the US. Even common, simple documents that we often take for granted in America, such as obtaining drivers' licenses, can confuse transferred employees. Work visas and permits can be even more baffling to expatriates. Helping your assignee manage these initially-confusing documentation requirements increase the success of your international relocations.

  • Assist assignees with children register for school. Do not overlook this important requirement in your relocation policy. Employees with families may want English-speaking top schools or local schools for their children to retain their American culture or assimilate the new country's culture and language. The requirements in countries with dramatic cultural differences often also have substantial school registration 'red tape.'

Employee and Employer Beneficial Features

Assimilating the new culture has important ramifications, as vital for the company as they are for the transferred employee. For your assignee to immediately contribute with high performance, consider the following issues.

  • Prepare the assignee. Once the transfer is proposed and accepted by the employee, employer preparation for the future assignee should begin, particularly surrounding language and cultural differences. Properly preparing the assignee by offering cultural information and language lessons may be the most critical component of successful international relocations. The real value to both assignee and the company cannot be overstated. Just as proper preparation helps students pass difficult exams, athletes perform better in big games or public speakers deliver more impressive talks, preparing employees for the cultural and language differences they'll face leads to similar superior performance.

  • Clearly state international relocation policies. Because of the importance, cost and significance of international relocations, employers should take great care in adopting and publishing features of their program in clear, concise and detailed language. The sheer immensity of employee transfers to different countries demands that companies leave little--preferably, no room--for misinterpretations or misunderstandings by their assignees in the monetary or expert assistance offered.

  • Partner with experts in the destination country. This is the final major component in a successful international relocation. Your company can help ensure a comfortable relocation by enlisting the aid of experts familiar with relocating employees to the experts' country. If natural language barriers exist, these professionals should be bi-lingual to effectively communicate with the assignee, eliminating misinterpretation, while helping the transferring employee assimilate the new culture rapidly.

These international relocation services benefit both assignee and company. Cultures are always a bit confusing to assignees, at least in the short-term. Companies that offer extensive preparation help the assignee become more comfortable with the relocation.

Comfortable employees perform better. Even transfers within the US can present local cultural and corporate culture differences that may confound the transferred employee. International relocations multiply the "cultural difference factor' by some level, typically a large exponent. Comfortable assignees usually reduce the 'learning curve' to a minimum.

Use these suggestions to improve your international relocations, which will translate to increased bottom lines. Always stress the positive effects of these transfers, while backing up company claims with services that help employees transfer with comfort by assimilating the new, local culture rapidly.


5 International Relocation  Benefits you Should  Consider Offering


Topics: international relocation expenses, international relocation services

Managing Global Relocation Expenses and Expatriate Salaries

Posted by David Macpherson on Wed, Jun 19, 2013

Global Mobility PoliciesManaging and controlling global relocation expenses and assignee compensation is always an employer concern. This is both natural and valid. Global relocations are often vital to company success.

Find out more about developing a global relocation policy in our free guide. 

Consider the following realities.

  • First, the company must accept that global transfers are costly. 
    It is impossible to attract the best employees without being the best employer. Attracting and retaining the highest performing employees demands that companies offer competitive relocation programs--US and internationally.

  • Second, managing these costs, while remaining competitive, is a challenge companies can overcome. 
    Take into account any currency differences to reasonably manage the costs of global relocations. Offer the assistance outstanding employees want, while being frugal wherever possible.

  • Third, compare compensation levels in the host country of the assignee, to arrive at salary control. 
    If the assignment is classified as 'short-term' with a rather rapid return to the US, you can use American compensation as your benchmark. However, when a long-term stay is projected, use the compensation range for the host country, assuming it is reasonable and appropriate for the assignees' responsibilities.

Expatriate Employee Expectations

It is unreasonable to expect global transfers to be successful without examining competitive salaries and cost of living issues in the host country. It can be equally unreasonable to assume that top employees will accept such a major move without appropriate compensation.

Losing money is not a transferring employee's expectation. As exciting as a global relocation may appear to your proven employee and/or new hires, their positive anticipation will dim rapidly and, possibly, permanently if the basics of their former compensation are not duplicated.

Managing Relocation Expenses

While it may be numerically impossible to anticipate and/or reduce many global relocation expenses, companies can manage them by applying foresight and comparing competitive offers. Some suggestions that have worked consistently include, but are not limited, to the following.

  • Control the subsidy level of cost of living allowances. 
    Whether you lower former subsidy levels or set maximums applicable to all global relocations, the company will reduce and manage these costs effectively.

  • Cap relocation housing monetary subsidies. 
    While host locality real estate values are outside of your control, you could cap housing allowances in light of home values in the immediate area of the country where your transferring employee will work and live.

    All subsidies should be adjusted on a quarterly basis to take into account currency fluctuations and other fluctuations in the local area.

  • Require the assignee to make contributions to related housing costs. 
    Typically, your company is not mandated to provide zero cost to the assignee. If the competitive environment permits, you can require the assignee to reasonably contribute to housing costs.

  • Find lower cost requirements for home finding trips, language training and assimilation services. 
    Do your homework. Search for lower cost alternatives to the major components of your global relocation services. Get quotes from top professional relocation firms, who may have already done an extensive analysis of providers and costs, which may save you money.

These tips will allow you to manage your global relocation costs and assignee salaries. Certainly, to attract and/or retain your top employees, you'll need to maintain your competitive edge. However, if the company is reasonable with their transfer offers, it will benefit from controlling and managing these costs as described.

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Topics: international relocation expenses, international relocation services, global mobility, global relocation

How To Reduce Global Relocation Expenses

Posted by David Macpherson on Tue, Jun 04, 2013

International RelocationGlobal relocations will cost employers dearly. However, not offering competitive relocation programs typically cost employers much more over the long-term. That doesn't change the wisdom of managing, controlling and cutting some global relocation costs wherever possible.

Learn more about global mobility and developing global relocation policies in our free guide. 

Assignee Compensation

Your company may or may not consider assignee salaries as a pure relocation cost. Yet, if the employer needs another staff member to complete the duties of the assignee, these salaries do become another relocation expense. Companies have two primary options for determining assignee compensation.

  • Home-based approach. While allowing for potential currency value differences, employers can offer salaries that match compensation applicable to equal responsibilities in the home country. Particularly valuable in retaining employees targeted for shorter term functions in different countries, this method often creates apples-to-apples comparisons for employees contemplating global relocation. This keeps the employer competitive with other companies.

  • New location comparison. Employers can also offer equitable compensation, while controlling costs, by duplicating new country compensation levels for similar positions. Regardless of additional benefits the employer offers, managing salaries based on similar responsibility levels is typically fair and equitable for the assignee.

Cost Cutting and Control Measures

Depending on your industry and competing company’s relocation policies, there are potential costs that can be reduced and managed to benefit the employer. Carefully assess the competitive environment for talented employees in both the home and host location. Taking any of these measures without such an evaluation might be risky if you want the best of the best talent.

  • Reduce 'hardship' bonuses and compensation. Liberal relocation policies often include hardship rewards for loss on home sales, bonuses for fast home sales and compensation for relocation quality of life issues. To save money, some companies reduce these awards and/or modify policy language to cap these monetary reimbursements.

  • Control cost of living allowance. Host country cost of living issues affect residents, either positively or negatively. Cutting or strictly controlling company subsidies for assignees can save considerable relocation costs.

  • Cap housing duplication and subsidies. If your relocation program includes promises or guarantees of duplicating the assignees' former home in the new location, you could re-evaluate the extent of this feature. For example, it may be nearly impossible or much more expensive to duplicate the assignee's former home in some countries. Eliminate enforceable guarantees and/or cap housing assistance to assignees. Another variation is to require the assignee to contribute some portion of the cost of duplicating his or her former home in the host country.

  • Reduce or cap reimbursement for house hunting trips. While difficult to eliminate home finding trips to the new location, international air fares alone for the assignee and family can be expensive, before housing and meals even enter the equation. Reduce former reimbursement policies and/or cap the monetary reimbursement level to cut some international relocation costs.

You can search for other potential awards and reimbursements, even minor ones, in your relocation program. Companies sometimes find that numerous minor cuts and caps, when added together, offer substantial savings and cost control. Often, these limits do not affect the assignee in a negative manner.

The company still must offer competitive global relocation programs to get the employees they want. However, there is no verifiable reason to offer awards and reimbursements that 'blow away' the competition. Should the company want to do so, they will reap many benefits. The question remains that you must weigh the benefits versus their costs to ensure that your global relocation policy accomplishes the goals the company craves.

In so doing, you'll offer relocation policies that employees want, while also reducing and controlling the short-term costs involved. The company will still have happy, productive assignees along with equally happy stockholders, finance department management and controlled expenses that tend to create impressive financial statements.


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Topics: international relocation expenses, international relocation services, global mobility, global relocation

How To Make An International Relocation Go As Smoothly As A US Move

Posted by David Macpherson on Thu, May 30, 2013

2349684.jpgYou may, at first, believe that an international relocation as smooth as an intra-US transfer is impossible. Not true. Much depends on the professionalism and scope of the components of your international relocation policy. Because of the perceived uncertainties of many country relocations, consider using a proven employee relocation firm instead of potentially over-taxing the time and ability of your HR department.

Incorporating some popular features of your domestic relocation policy, while adding some internationally-focused components, often helps both assignee and your company enjoy a successful employee transfer. Among the features that typically apply to US and international relocation programs are the following.

Relocation Services Applicable to US and International Transfers

  • Home selling assistance.
    Employers can offer both monetary rewards for fast sales or loss on sale compensation, along with expert professional assistance.

  • Home finding help.
    Important services for US transfers, offering monetary and/or expert assistance in finding an appropriate residence in other countries takes on much greater importance. Policies that offer multiple house hunting trips abroad tend to be the most successful component for both assignee and employer.

  • Expert documentation help and features.
    Assignees without substantial world travel experience appreciate assistance with procuring necessary documentation. For example, as a tourist, assignees may only need a valid passport. However, as an assignee, moving the family to a new employment location, documentation needs multiply. Valid visas and/or work permits issued by the country can be time-consuming and frustrating to receive. Expert help in getting these documents smooth out the relocation process immeasurably.

  • Provide understanding of country laws and responsibilities.
    Local laws within the US can often be quite different and initially strange to assignees. While this feature is often part of US relocation programs, it takes on greater importance for international moves. Since 'ignorance' of local laws seldom is a valid defense for infractions, offering information and suggestions on local laws can prove invaluable to the assignee.

International Relocation

  • Language lessons.
    It's counterproductive to depend on company translators for more than the short-term. Offering at least rudimentary training in the language of the destination country helps your assignee on the path to communicating clearly with local employees and others in the new location.

  • Explain major cultural differences.
    Whether as simple as the Japanese custom of bowing, often in lieu of a traditional handshake, or highly complex as the deep cultural differences of some other countries, advising your assignee of these differences makes the assignee more comfortable, less apprehensive and better attuned to cultural differences.

Adopting and incorporating these services into your international relocation service policies will pay back the company many times over in the future. It is unreasonable to expect an assignee, however seasoned, to be totally comfortable in a new country.

However, offering these few features can remove much of the anxiety, concern and apprehension assignees typically face with international relocations. The company will quickly have a high-producing employee, as he or she will quickly meld into the new local and corporate culture as a valuable decision-maker.


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Topics: international relocation expenses, international relocation services

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