The decision to go as an expatriate on an international assignment and relocate abroad marks a new phase in your life. It’s not only a challenge from the work perspective, but also a complete change in your personal life. It’s almost like starting your life from scratch… We have compiled a checklist of all issues every expat should keep in mind throughout different stages of the relocation process.
Many corporations have very generous policies with regards to international personnel helping expats to prepare for relocation abroad. Expats are offered assistance of a relocation services agency from the destination country, high living allowance, outsourced legal and financial counseling, as well as cultural orientation. Some other smaller companies or these that are just starting to expand internationally, may not be able to offer you all of these benefits.
We advise expats how to get prepared for relocation abroad:
1. Discuss with your employer exact targets of your international assignment and repatriation options after your assignment has finished.
2. Get all detailed information on what your expat’s package includes and which costs you would need to bear yourself:
Relocation – would you be offered services of a relocation agency abroad? Or are you expected to take care of all the errands yourself? Will you be offered a reimbursement of the costs if you choose to hire a relocation agency or real estate agent? Or would your employer will offer a lump sum as a part of an installment allowance?
Finance – find out all the details regarding your new expat’s salary, allowances and all other expat’s benefits in kind. Read about different expats allowances in our article.
Real Estate in home country – would your employer help you in selling your property in your home country if you choose to? Would you be given support to keep your property? Would you be offered trips to visit your property at home?
New House – would you be offered services of a real estate agency to support your house search, expat’s legal advice to sign up a rental contract, buying costs reimbursement, if you choose to purchase a property abroad? Which household costs would be paid by your employer?
Health Care System – would you be given a private health care insurance designed especially for expats, both for you and your family members? Or are you expected to sign up to a public health care system in your host country?
Expat’s Tax Advise – clarify how you will be taxed: according to you local country or German taxation system? If you get tax relives in your local country due to investments or because your spouse is unemployed or earns less, would you be able to keep this benefit? If your spouse would like to work in Germany would (s)he be offered tax advice as well?
Moving costs – how much are you allowed to ship to your host country? If you choose to keep some of your goods in a storage in your local country, would your company take the cost? Understand what would be your annual growth allowance of your household during your international assignment so the repatriation costs would not be of a surprise to you, if you choose to buy new furniture.
3. Ask for cross cultural training for expat’s moving to Germany. As you are a newcomer and things do work different here than in other countries, it’s always advised to understand the basics of the local culture.
4. Clarify all the benefits for your family members:
Education courses for your expats spouse due to the pause in her/his career to keep qualifications up to date.
School for your children. If you choose to send your children to international school, would your employer bear the costs for it? Do you get an allowance for a day-care for your baby? You can find more info on international schools in the Frankfurt area on our website.
Language courses – Would the company sponsor language courses for you and your family?
5. Discuss how many additional days of holidays you may take due to the move and relocation.