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Expats complain of lack of support

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Staff on international assignments upbeat about expat life, but reveal lack of employer support.

Sixty percent of international assignees are happier than they were in the UK. But more than a fifth didn’t get any support from their employer when moving overseas. Nearly half say they would have benefited from more help to move and settle in. Some 61 percent of employees on overseas work assignments are happier than they were in the UK, according to a survey by Lloyds TSB International Global Mobility Banking, but more than one in five (22 percent) didn’t receive any support from their employer when moving overseas.

The survey of international assignees reveals nearly half (46 percent) say they would have benefited from more help to move and settle in, and suggests that while international assignments are popular among employees, some companies could improve employee satisfaction by boosting their relocation services and advice. Only half (50 percent) of international assignees received a moving allowance, while 42 percent received flights back to the UK and 41 percent had help with housing costs. Support for employees’ partners is patchier with only 13 percent receiving flights home and a meagre three percent receiving help with foreign language courses, compared to 16 percent for employees. Over half (56 percent) said they received no assistance from their partner’s employer at all. The survey also reveals a large gap in the provision of financial advice, only 21 percent of international assignees received this when they moved abroad.

Some 51 percent say they would have benefited from more financial advice on investments, 53 percent say more advice on tax issues would have been useful, and 48 percent say more advice on their pension arrangements would have helped. Overall, 52 percent admit they would have benefited from planning their finances more carefully when they moved overseas. Nicholas Boys Smith, Director, Lloyds TSB International commented: “Many companies are currently under pressure to reduce costs and we’re well aware how expensive overseas assignments can be for employers. But we’re also aware that most employees really value any help their companies can give to guide them through the logistics of moving overseas. “There are cost-effective ways of providing certain support, particularly in the area of their banking and financial requirements. It is possible to create a standard process for referring employees to financial and tax advisers, while we can take care of their banking requirements, setting up accounts pre-move, providing financial reviews and advice on savings and investments, all delivered by English-speaking teams based in the UK. It’s so often the little details involved in moving overseas that make the transition either a smooth or bumpy ride, for both the employee and for their company.”

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