A BBC Special Report: At Home Abroad

“Couples usually come home very married or extremely divorced…”

The BBC is doing a special investigation into the effects of living overseas on families; particularly in regard to wives (OK, spouses – but let’s face it, it’s normally women stuck in the H4 scenario).

How serendipitous.

It’s for the business section of the website, which just goes to show how important a consideration this is for industry.

After all, there’s a huge percentage of overseas placements that fail (something like 70%), because the family of the person with the working visa is unhappy. Even if the person with the working visa is successful and making oodles of money for the company he/she works for.

So it makes sense for organisations to dedicate some time to thinking about how the relocation of their employee is going to effect his personal life.

I’m continually maddened by how ignorant the H1Bs company have been over the difficulties of us living here.

When the H1B recently called his line manager to bring his attention to the fact that our health insurance premiums were going up, his response was: “HOW much? That’s outrageous”.

Funny, that’s what I was thinking too.

I also was thinking that we shouldn’t be paying for any health insurance in the first place (the verbal agreement that agreed our health insurance would be covered by the company seems to have been forgotten and, despite our polite reminders, any resolution is continually delayed).

I don’t think this is malicious – just neglectful. It’s not surprising that a manager doesn’t fully grasp the intricacies (or basic issues) but why there isn’t someone in HR who deals with international relocation in a multi-billion dollar company is beyond me.

Or perhaps there is – and no one has told us. That wouldn’t surprise me either.

Here’s an extract from the piece:

Moving an employee abroad is staggeringly expensive. The living expenses, relocation allowance and benefits can cost three to four times the employee’s normal compensation, according to most estimates.

Given such high stakes, companies from Shell to Dupont are looking at the factors that can lead to successful stints abroad for their employees. A happy spouse has long been, and continues to be, the best predictor of a successful move.

The number one reason for assignment failure is the family’s inability to acclimatise and adjust to the new location,” says Andrew Walker, the director of global mobility at WorleyParsons, which oversees more than 3,000 employees who move abroad.

> Read the full report


One thought on “A BBC Special Report: At Home Abroad

  1. Really interesting stuff. I look forward to reading a big feature by you about this in one of the UK broadsheets!

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