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The 4 Secrets of Successfully Relocating Employees Internationally

An international relocation is a big deal for anyone who experiences it. Changing countries for a job can be a big upheaval and it will certainly never be forgotten. It will be one of life’s biggest moments for all involved.

In other words, if your business needs to send employees overseas, this is something you really must get right on behalf of your much valued employees. However, it needn’t be daunting. It’s largely a case of being thoughtful, dedicated and caring — something international relocations specialists can help you take care of. 

Here are four tips to ensure you have the whole process of moving your employees overseas well thought out.

1.    Have the basics covered

Relocating employees is a challenging task. There is a lot to coordinate. Firstly, there are formalities to take care of, including visa and immigration paperwork. Add to that, the logistics of moving the employees’ possessions and household goods. Perhaps living arrangements or storage need to be organised. There is insurance to arrange, too. If the employee is bringing their spouse or partner and their children, then the tasks are multiplied.

All these individual tasks add up to a momentous effort. Navigating it and executing it all smoothly can be very difficult without experience. And as we’ve said before, this is something a company really needs to get right. The solution is to turn to a reputable international relocation service.

Working with a professional service takes much of the pressure off your shoulders. They should have experience in relocating employees to the country to which you intend to relocate your employees. This means that they will be able to organise and solve many of the issues above quickly and without significant effort on your behalf.

Services that an international relocation service can offer:

  • Move planning and coordination
  • Home surveys
  • Customs forms and documentation
  • Packing, unpacking and a full removals service
  • Insurance
  • Storage services
  • Insurance and claim management support
  • Destination services

Note that by taking an all-inclusive relocation package, you may also find your costs significantly reduced. This is of course another reason why using a professional service can be hugely advantageous.

2.    Support your employee’s family through the move

Supporting an assignee’s spouse, partner and family through an international move is of crucial importance. It’s far more than a kind gesture.

Analysis by Expat Research, published in 2019, revealed that the happiness of the whole family is likely to be the most influencing factor in the success of a relocation. “A strong and stable marriage” is said to be of great importance in 99% of international moves. Family comes first for most assignees.

Therefore, helping the whole family settle into their new environment is of more significance than many employers may realise. You can ease the transition for employees by taking away stress factors for the whole family. Look at ways you can support their move into a new culture. You could help with support in finding school places, medical care, and language learning, for example. This will help your assignee feel very much valued.

3.    Tell your assignees what they need to know

Many assignees will relish the opportunity to live in a different country and culture, to expand their language skills and to travel. This does not mean they will find everything easy, however.

Good planning is key to as little stress as possible. The more information you can provide about the destination, the better. This will help your assignees plan their moves more efficiently, avoid nasty surprises, and settle in quickly. Consider providing some form of guide to the destination that will help them ease into their new role and location quickly.

The kind of information you could help provide includes information on the cost of living. What is particularly expensive or difficult to find (and therefore worth packing)? Conversely, what is abundant and inexpensive and should be left behind?

You could also provide employees with a guide to the types and costs of housing or residential areas if they will be finding their own accommodation. A guide to public services, like organising a driving licence, navigating the postal system, public transport and more could also be of enormous value.

Sounds like a lot of effort? Then this is something an international relocation service could also take care of.

Destination services

Destination services are offered by international removal companies where a well-informed, friendly consultant is in place in the destination location to assist assignees. In this case, services offered may include:

  • Preview trips to give assignees first-hand experience of their destination before they move
  • Property services and coordination, including contract negotiation
  • Help with utilities, banking, driving licences, household insurance and much more

4.   Continue to support your assignees after the move

Your workforce is critical to business success. Those agile, experienced and talented employees that become international assignees are of enormous value. The financial investment businesses make in their relocation is usually hugely successful.

Therefore, it may be dispiriting to learn that a substantial proportion of assignees look to “jump ship” and may be actively looking for an external job opportunity during their assignment. Expat Research published evidence that this situation may apply to around a third of employees. 

Knowing that these individuals are not people a business can afford to lose, it’s imperative that risks are minimised and that assignees are well looked after. This applies to the whole assignment, not just the settling in period.

Businesses need to communicate well with their assignees, and to seek out and act on feedback. This should help companies identify where they can better support all their staff in this particular destination. This, in turn, will boost staff retention rates, and thus, profits as well. 

To summarise, it’s really important that companies prioritise the well-being of assignees during an international relocation. This benefits the business, and becomes of vital importance to the employee and their family. Choosing a relocation and international removal specialist to partner with your business can help make transitions as smooth as possible, enabling all the pieces of the relocation puzzle to easily fall into place.


Lee Brewin is the CEO of BTR International, one of the UK's premier corporate relocations companies. Providing services which facilitate companies to aid their employees to move and settle down in their new country of assignment, BTR International is all about taking care of people, simplifying business, and bringing optimal efficiency.