Other considerations | KPMG | GLOBAL
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Other considerations

Other considerations

Other common considerations of international assignees.


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My domestic partner/spouse works. What issues should we consider before making the decision to take the international assignment? (We will use the term ‘spouse’ to refer to both ‘domestic partner’ and ‘spouse’)?

Before weighing the pros and cons, you should find out if your company provides some form of spousal assistance. Due to the increase in dual-career couples, many organizations have added provisions specifically for the spouse’s use. Examples of types of assistance for your spouse are education reimbursement, work permit assistance (so that the spouse can work in the host location), allowances for résumé writing and job search, and other various forms, depending on the company.

After understanding the opportunities the spouse may have in the host location, there are other practical and financial issues that should be considered. For example, how will the loss of the spouse’s income impact the household? How does the loss affect retirement benefits? Also, are these losses less of a financial impact in the long run, as the assignment may considerably help the other assignee-spouse’s career? Will the spouse be able to re-enter the home country workforce upon repatriation at the same level as he or she was before the assignment? Finally, and most importantly, will the spouse’s career interruption impact the spousal relationship and family life? Spouses should reflect on what the pause in their career will mean for them emotionally.

What if there is an emergency in the host country (i.e., natural disaster or civil unrest)?

There are third-party providers that specialize in helping organizations in times of crisis in host locations. Most multinational organizations are affiliated with a provider that can assist you and your family should an emergency occur in the form of, for example, a natural disaster, civil unrest, or a medical emergency. This information is generally provided to expatriates during the pre-assignment orientation.

Will I be moved to a new payroll?

Possibly. Your payroll may vary due to host country regulations, as well as home organization’s practices. During your host country pre-assignment orientation, you should be informed asto how you will be paid, which includes the compensation methodology, as well as delivery mechanism.

Please note that countries vary with regard to how they remit taxes. For example, you might be used to having withholdings retained from each paycheck. However, some countries do not have withholdings. Upon learning about your payroll, please keep this in mind.

How does the company determine whether I will be eligible for a hardship allowance?

Employers typically rely on studies from independent advisers and government guidelines in determining which assignment locations merit hardship allowances. Not only do these studies identify the locations, but they also provide recommended hardship allowances as a percentage of salary.

Will I need to change banks and notify credit card companies?

Not necessarily. However, in order for you to make this decision, it is important to reflect on what types of payments you will continue to have in the home location, as well as what payments you will need to make in the host location. Then, determine whether you will need to make multiple wire transfers a month to keep up with your bills, how much does each wire transfer cost (some companies will reimburse one per month), and, in doing so, how will exchange rates affect the amount being transferred.

In addition, it is important to contact your credit card companies prior to departure to inform them of your move (and, if you happen to know it, the address for them to send your statements), and that you intend to use the cards in your host location. Ask the card companies about the application of foreign exchange fees and determine if it makes sense to apply for a different credit card from another bank for greater global acceptability.

While this may seem overwhelming, many expatriates maintain home and host banking accounts, credit cards, or change to a larger global banking institution that has specific programs to assist people with responsibilities in multiple countries.

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