Sending An Employee Abroad: Expatriation Or Temporary Assignment?

Julia Meyer

Sending employees abroad is one of the first steps towards the global expansion of a business. And naturally, it presents some challenges. Plus, you have to decide whether to make it an expatriation or a temporary assignment. Hopefully, the following article will shed some light on this issue.

Differences between Temporary Assignment and Expatriation

Sending employees overseas can be done in two ways: You can either send them on a temporary assignment, or on an expatriation or secondment. As the French Social Security defines it, the distinction between the two exists. There might be some confusion regarding the differences. So let’s try to clear that up.

An employee on a temporary assignment is referred to as ‘détaché’ by French Social Security. In such a case, the employee will be carrying out the assigned task on foreign ground on behalf of his employer while remaining on the payroll of the French employer.

In other words, the French social security system will still be covering this employee who is at the time not working within France. So, he or she will continue to make their due contributions to society while they are away .

Society determines the length of the temporary assignment. And it is not the same for every country. For example, within EU, if an employee goes on a temporary assignment to another European Union country, he or she can benefit from the Social Security of his or her home country for a maximum of two years (1 year, renewable one time).

If the criteria allows, he or she may renew this stay once. Whereas in the case of a non-European-Union country, the length of stay depends on the agreement with that host country.

passport in airport

In contrast, sending employees abroad on expatriate assignments means that French Social Security will not cover them during the time of their stay. So, the expatriate employee would not be paying their contributions to the organization.

In the case of this expatriate assignment, the residence in the foreign country is fiscal. And the employee wouldn’t be on the payroll of his/her French employer. Rather, the new employer in the country of expatriation will be paying this salary.

However, if an employee desires, he or she may voluntarily maintain his or her relationship with French Social Security. They can do this via the Fund for French Nationals Abroad.

Managing expatriates on international assignments

Managing expatriates on international assignments is very important for the global success of your business. This will determine how well you will be able to expand your operations across borders. So, this is the first thing you should look into when planning an international expansion. Here are a few tips for successful International Mobility of employees.

Expatriation or Secondment

The first thing is to decide whether you want to send your employees on temporary assignments or expatriate them. There’s a lot to consider before you send them on either one. Such as, how the employee feels about it, his/her adjustment skills, and the host country in question. So, you need to start planning quite early and carefully.

Secondly, you have to provide some minimal training to the employees for the country they are traveling to. Such as language, cultural, political, or religious trends. Simple training on these matters can make a huge difference in performance. Plus, it will also make the employee feel more confident.

Another very important aspect of international mobility has to do with the legislative environment of that country. Because laws and legislation regarding business vary widely across borders. So, the business structure that was legal and sustainable in France might not be considered the same in the country you are moving to.

And lastly, you have to be ready to respond to any sudden problems the employees face on foreign ground. This might range from simply running out of money or food-and-accommodation problems to medical and legal issues. Make sure you have preparations to deal with this before sending an employee abroad.

ERES will help you sending employees overseas

Sending employees abroad is one of the most important steps towards expanding your business internationally. However, it comes with a lot of challenges that need tactful handling, smart solutions, and instant reaction. Which, frankly, is tough and will keep you from focusing on your main work.

So, why not use our services at ERES Relocation? We specialize in the global mobility of employees. No business is too small or large for us. So, if you are planning on expansion or relocation, get in touch with us today. Wishing you a successful and happy relocation.

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