Saturday 15th January 2011

3 Things That Expats Overlook When Negotiating Their Contracts

1) The type of contract on offer. One major area that many expats overlook when negotiating their contract is the type of contract they will ultimately be bound by; a local contract or international contract. The type of contract should have a major bearing on your negotiation as it will impact your life abroad. If you sign a local contract, for example, you will be bound by all the employment laws of the host country and may not be offered some of the traditional expat benefits you may be seeking. One useful resource for identifying local jurisdiction and how it may impact your expat compensation packages is the International Expatriate Employment Handbook by Andrius Kantrimas and Mary Samsa.

2) The need for equalization. One of the most important words that any expat should bear in mind when negotiating their expatriate compensation package is “equalization.” When agreeing a salary and benefits you should always seek to ensure that the payment and compensation you are offered ensures that you are financially the same, or better off, than you were in your home country. This requires a full understanding of the cost of living in your host country. In order to answer all the questions outlined above, as well as any others that you may have, you will need to do a significant amount of research. Often you will need to compare several sources in order to ensure that the information you have been provided with is accurate and up–to-date and is applicable to your unique situation. One method of reducing the amount of time required to understand the cost of living in popular expat destinations is to consult an expat relocation guide. Each one of our expat guides contains a comprehensive breakdown of the cost of living in a number of major cities across different types of lifestyles and living options. Because our guides are written by expats who live and work in the countries themselves, you can be assured that the information is accurate. We also ensure that all material is updated on a regular basis and you will be able to instantly see the date at which all figures were prepared. This can give you the peace of mind that the information you have is reliable. If you are comparing a number of different locations as potential destinations for you and your family, you can purchase more than one guide at a reduced price and thus extremely quickly and easily see how the cost of living facts and figures compare.

3) What will happen when the contract is over or terminated. In any contract, the “divorce” is just as important as the “marriage” and, although you hope that your overseas posting will be a major success, you should always plan for the fact that it may not. The last thing you will want is to find yourself in living overseas with no visa, work permit and/or means of relocating yourself and your family. The repatriation package, notice period and severance details are just as, if not more, important as your benefits and compensation in the expatriate contract and should never be overlooked.

For more information about negotiating your expat contract please see our free resource on expat contract negotiation. It contains everything you need to know about planning and executing the negotiation process and provides useful hints and tips for ensuring that you agree terms and conditions that will fully meet your needs.

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