Expat employees are not something new these days because, in the modern international marketplace, more organizations hire employees from overseas. They also implement a global mobility policy that allows professionals to work abroad. The truth is that millions of expat employees work and live worldwide, and those numbers are only rising.


What Is the Expatriate Employees Definition?

According to the expatriate employees definition, these people are also known as expats, and they are individuals who are employed externally by an organization in their home country but work in a different country. The assignment can range from several months to a few years because this period depends on the needs of the organization and the nature of the role or project.

Expatriate employees are usually hired by multinational corporations and companies with global operations. The goal of such assignments is to leverage the outstanding knowledge, skills, and experience of professionals in a foreign market. Thus, they manage to implement business strategies successfully and achieve organizational goals.

Reasons for Hiring Expatriate Employees

Expat employees are popular thanks to their specialized skills and expertise which make them play an important role in international business operations.

Just knowing the expatriate employees definition is now enough to understand what skills these people can bring to the table. So, here are some of them:

  •  Technical expertise. Expatriate employees tend to possess advanced technical knowledge and certain skills in areas, like technology, engineering, finance, research and development, or marketing. Thanks to their expertise, these people can tackle complex challenges and bring innovation to foreign markets.
  •  Industry knowledge. Expatriate employees can bring industry-specific knowledge from their country, which can help identify opportunities, navigate local market dynamics, and formulate effective business strategies.
  •  Language proficiency. Expat employees are known for their outstanding language skills, which are important for communicating and conducting business in a different country. The strategic importance arises from their ability to speak the local language or even a few languages because it can improve relationships with local customers, stakeholders, and partners.
  • Cross-cultural competence. Expat employees obtain cultural intelligence and understanding of both the host country`s and their home country`s cultures. Thanks to this, expatriate employees can navigate cultural nuances, adapt business practices to suit local customers, and build relationships. Their cross-cultural competence makes interactions smoother and allows effective collaboration in international work environments.


What Are the Benefits of Hiring Expat Employees?

Hiring expat employees brings a few advantages to your company in terms of adaptation and cultural understanding.

These individuals have spent a lot of time in their host country to get an intimate understanding of the local market. They are attuned to cultural sensitivities, customer preferences, and emerging trends. This implies that they can provide valuable insights for successful market entry strategies and product localization efforts.

Moreover, expatriate employees can bridge gaps and build meaningful relationships with local stakeholders, including suppliers, customers, business partners, and government officials. Thanks to their understanding of local business etiquette and customs, you can facilitate negotiations, build trust, and foster successful relationships.

One more important fact is that expatriate employees can adapt to new environments, which means that they are more flexible when it comes to work. That is why these individuals can assimilate into local culture, collaborate effectively with local staff, and respect local practices. The ability to adapt, typical for expatriate employees, promotes a harmonious work environment and allows the integration of local and global perspectives.


Expatriate Employees Vs Local Employees

Expatriate employees are known for a few critical characteristics that help them stand out from the crowd in foreign countries:

  •     Nationality and citizenship. These people are citizens of one country, but they work in a different country, which tends to be referred to as the host country. Expatriate employees retain their home country citizenship and temporarily work and reside abroad.
  •    Mobility and international experience. Unlike local workers who primarily work within their country, expat employees are extremely adaptable and mobile. These people have experience in working and living in a variety of cultural contexts and can navigate the opportunities and challenges that arise from operating in foreign environments.
  •   Cultural adaptation. Expatriate employees face the unusual challenge of getting used to a new social and cultural environment. These individuals are required to develop cross-cultural competence and navigate differences in customers, language, business etiquette, and work practices. This way, they can tailor and bridge cultural gaps because it is essential for success in the host country.
  •   Specific expertise. Expat employees are chosen for their specialized skills, knowledge, and experience that are critical for performing certain projects or roles in the host countries. These people tend to bring technical know-how and valuable expertise that may be absent or in high demand in the foreign market.
  •   Global mindset. Expatriate employees are widely known for their global mindset, which implies that they understand and appreciate different business practices and cultures. These people can think and operate beyond their home country`s confines. Thus, they adapt their approaches to fit certain requirements of the host country and work effectively with their colleagues.
  •   Dual roles. These professionals often have dual roles as representatives of both the host and the home countries. Expatriate employees happen to be a link between the headquarters and the local operations, which means that they are a communication channel. This way they need to make sure that organizational goals are aligned.

Challenges of Hiring Expat Employes: Remote Employees as an Alternative

Transferring professionals abroad also comes with a few challenges to expatriate employees, such as managing work visas and permits, enduring high costs, and providing additional wellness and health support to relocated professionals.

Below, you can find a list of a few challenges:

  1.     High costs. Hiring expatriate employees or relocating talent as a constituent of your global expansion goal often comes with higher costs than getting local staff in a new country. The higher costs are caused by the benefits and salary expectations of expat employees. For instance, while similar job salaries and the cost of living in the target country might be lower, these professionals will most probably expect the same salary as their colleagues in your home country. Consequently, hiring expatriate employees versus getting local talent results in higher costs for your business.

These professionals also expect and should get extra benefits to get used to a new country. These perks usually include:

  •       Housing benefits and allowances.
  •       Relocation costs.
  •       Family benefits, like childcare and schooling.
  •       Cultural training.
  •       Language classes.
  1.     Tax equalization. In addition to higher salaries and benefits, a bigger part of businesses utilizes tax equalization to make sure that both local and expatriate employees have the same tax burden. When an organization utilizes tax equalization, they calculate what the specialists` tax burden would be at home and extract it from the person`s paycheck regularly. The organization then pays the actual tax burden of the employees in the country where they reside. If the tax burden is lower compared to the home country, the business can save money. Thanks to tax equalization programs, those who go abroad do not experience tax-related disadvantages because of their international assignment.

Tax equalization programs are beneficial for expatriate employees, but they can cause challenges for businesses that expand abroad:

  •       Complex tax codes. As countries have different and ever-changing tax codes, the process requires the organization to understand and comply with the tax laws of both the host and the home countries.
  •       Record keeping. To make sure that tax equalization is accurate, businesses have to maintain detailed records of expatriate employees` benefits, compensation, and tax payments. The process is administratively burdensome and requires specialized services or software.
  •       Reporting and filing requirements. Compliance with tax laws tends to involve reporting and filing requirements in both the host and home countries. If you fail to meet these requirements, you may face penalties and fines.
  •       Exchange rate fluctuations. Exchange rate fluctuations might have an impact on the tax equalization calculation. Organizations might have to adjust their calculations following currency fluctuations, which can make the process complicated.
  •       Changing regulations. Tax regulations and laws often change, and international tax rules can be especially fluid. That is why organizations have to stay informed about changes in laws and adjust their programs accordingly.
  •       Vost considerations. Tax equalization programs can be costly to administer, especially if they come with compliance efforts and complex tax planning. Companies that hire expatriate employees must carefully manage the cost of these programs to make sure that they never outweigh the advantages.  
  1.     Visas and permits administration. Immigration laws and work visa requirements tend to differ from one country to another. The process of getting the appropriate visas and permits for expatriate employees always takes time and research, which can stress out legal and HR teams. Organizations that are willing to relocate professionals to new markets must consider additional administration tasks, such as renewing and securing permits and work visas, to make sure that the process goes smoothly.
  2.     Ongoing wellness support. Expat employees who go abroad face stressors that would not normally happen in their home country. From navigating new cultural norms to learning a new language, the process is challenging and lengthy. Organizations that want to retain and support their expatriate employees tend to offer supplemental benefits to help them avoid burnout, stress, and dissatisfaction in the new country.

As you can see hiring expatriate employees can be an extremely challenging task. At the same time, you can choose an easier option – hire remote workers. In this case, you will receive highly professional specialists with all the benefits expat employees have, but without difficulties associated with relocation. HR Bit global recruitment agency can help to recruit remote IT specialists, in-house employees, or expatriate employees quickly and stress-free. We also support talent mapping, talent acquisition, developing IT sourcing strategy, and much more.


Managing Expatriate Employees

Effective expatriate management is essential for companies that hire expat employees. Thanks to this, the company maximizes the potential of its international workforce and lowers the risks connected with international assignments. Further, you can find the main reasons why efficient expatriate management is critical:

  •       The success of international operations. Expat employees play an important role when it comes to the success of international operations. Effective management is required to make sure that professionals are well-supported, prepared, and equipped to perform their responsibilities and roles. This way, they can contribute to the achievement of company goals in the host country.
  •       Cost efficiency. Organizations can save some money by managing expatriate assignments effectively. By choosing the right professionals, delivering adequate support and training, and facilitating a smooth experience, businesses can cut failure rates, turnover, and unnecessary expenses.
  •       Employee retention and engagement. A great expatriate program results in employee satisfaction, retention, and engagement. Expatriate employees who feel valued and supported tend to be more motivated, committed, and productive when they return. Therefore, there are higher employee retention rates and knowledge retention within the company.


Find and Recruit Expatriate Employees With HR Bit

HR Bit is a reputable recruitment company that helps numerous companies grow. We are here to provide you with any sort of IT professionals required for your organization.

Our agency is experienced enough to understand your needs and the challenges you are facing, and we will help you deal with them.

Hiring expatriate employees may not be an easy task because there are a lot of aspects to consider. The good news is that you do not have to do that yourself – you can just contact HR Bit. Our experts can solve all the problems and make the process simple.