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Will it boost or harm your career.
- February 1, 2021
There is no suspicion that working abroad is romantic. Living in a culture with different languages, habits, and working styles is an exciting and once-in-a-lifetime experience. It can not only much promote your career development, but also broaden your horizons. However, what many companies now call “global” assignments has some disadvantages. Some parts of the world are indeed dangerous for some visitors, but in most postings worldwide, the challenges are related to different cultures and ways of doing business. Here are some pros and cons of an international assignment to help you decide if it is a smart career move.
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Pros of international assignment, international work experience.
Indeed, the world is growing and becoming more and more mobile and accessible. This is the main driving force. Business leaders today are not geographically constrained. Work experience in an international corporate environment and culture is often described as a prerequisite for most senior positions at major international companies. Instantly add diverse and multicultural elements to your portfolio and experiences to make them more appealing to your position on a global scale.
Global companies are paying more and more attention to international diversity, and there is no sign that this trend stops. Therefore, the overseas experience gained by international mission professionals will help those seeking senior management positions. If you are one of these ambitious professionals, the question should be whether you can afford not to participate in the international assignment?
The company devotes substantial resources to expats international assignments. Allocation itself is usually performed for a specific purpose, and ROI is an important goal. For example, you can transfer assignees with specific skills to a new location to lead a project that is considered essential. Therefore, being selected for a job is usually a compliment, but it is also an opportunity. A successful project overview allows you to prove that you are the assignee and develop your career from the benefits of success. If you can withstand the pressure, then your international assignment can prove beneficial. Are you ready to move forward and succeed?
Experience Different Ways of Doing Business
Learning a particular field and working in that field in the same country means a fairly fixed set of expectations and assumptions. Overall, understanding how other countries treat your industry and business can be an excellent way to open yourself to new ways of doing things. The best part? Wherever you are, you will get these learning outcomes.
Diversify Your Income
When it is difficult to predict what will happen politically, earning income in different currencies is an excellent way to diversify risks and protect the financial future. For example, in the past two years, the pound sterling value has changed 30% from the value of the euro. If you are particularly interested in the domestic economy, relocation is still a way to obtain better salaries and employment opportunities in a more stable business environment.
Explore the world
If you are passionate about traveling, nothing is better than working abroad. Not only you experience the country more deeply, but you can also get rewarded for it. You do not need to spend two weeks to get to know the country’s culture and personality directly. This is also an excellent opportunity to explore neighboring countries. If you are learning a language, immersion in the countryside is also an excellent way to quickly improve your skills.
Cons of an international assignment, emotional problems.
Life as an expat is a rewarding experience. However, it can be challenging. Loneliness, culture shock, and nostalgia usually overwhelm foreigners, and not all migrants are ready to face this strong, perhaps new emotion. The combination of pain and diligence described above has reportedly resulted in high burnout among professional immigrants.
Less Job Flexibility
You love your new country, but do you hate work? Unlike going home, if your position is not suitable for you, you can shop here. Working abroad may mean that your job is linked to your visa. Even if you are not restricted by a visa, your lack of language skills and local experience may limit your escape options.
Interrupted Career Progression
For outsiders, “Out of sight, out of mind” can be a very familiar word. Even if you live in the same company, you do not go out every day or work in different time zones. This means that good impressions are slowly disappearing and are no longer the number one promotion. In the country of visit, it may be necessary to take a junior position due to a lack of local experience or limited language skills, which can feel like a step back professionally.
Cultural and Language Barriers
Among foreigners who cannot establish the necessary business relationships or live daily lives, posting emails in places where there is a tremendous cultural difference or where communication in a new language is required can cause trouble. Non-traditional families, such as gay couples, may face cultural resistance and pressure, making assignment management difficult in the long run
Domestic work laws and regulations regarding wages, taxes, and pensions usually differ between residents and foreigners. As with immigration requirements, compliance with legal requirements must be ensured.
Your country’s technology can lag foreign countries for several years. After returning home, it may take several months to digest all the changes.
As global mobility increases, many employees want foreign stamps on their passports to support their personal growth and career development. They are increasingly looking for commuters, rotational, expatriate, or other alternative jobs to build resumes. International assignments are an essential tool for international career development. In this case, employees with international experience are the greater wealth for the organization.
Some potential business traveling international career in which global travel is usually necessary like international accountant, marketing and sales International missions help improve cultural literacy, promote foreign language learning, expand professionals’ network, and broaden their horizons. But of course there are always pros and cons of an international assignment.
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International Assignments: Managing Benefits and Taxes for Expatriate Employees
Written on February 28, 2019
Given the complexity of the U.S. tax code and the myriad regulations related to ERISA plans, managing benefits for domestic employees is a complicated undertaking. But managing benefits for employees who your U.S. company sends to work overseas—known as expatriates, or expats—adds several layers of complexity.
As globalization continues to be a defining characteristic of the economy, many U.S. companies are finding opportunities to grow abroad. But before their employees ever step on foreign soil, employers need to learn about the various taxes other governments may impose on benefits and compensation and think through the various questions that go into developing a sound policy for managing benefits for expatriate employees. Employers also need to help their employees understand what the foreign assignment means to them with respect to taxes and benefits.
Understand the Basics of Expatriate Taxation
For purposes of this article, an expatriate is a U.S. citizen or green card holder who is sent by their U.S. employer to work at a branch or other linked organization in a foreign country. Assignment duration may vary anywhere from six months to several years. Employees must obtain a work visa, and—depending upon the host country—may be eligible for certain benefits offered by that country while working abroad.
U.S. citizens, green card holders, and their employers need to understand that expatriates will still have an income tax liability and income tax return filing obligation at home regardless of where they work globally. The United States is unusual in this regard with respect to taxing their citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) who are living and working abroad; many foreign governments allow their citizens to fall under the host country’s tax code when working abroad and home country taxation is often suspended until the individual returns to their home country.
The United States’ unusual approach, however, doesn’t mean that U.S. expatriates will always face double taxation. The U.S. tax code looks to offset this, at least partially, by allowing certain foreign tax credits and/or the foreign earned income exclusion. Employers take these credits, the foreign earned income exclusion, and the foreign country’s tax policies into consideration when developing the compensation package for the employee.
In addition to understanding how the U.S. will tax the expatriate’s foreign compensation and benefits, employers also need to understand how the host country will tax this income. Almost every country requires some kind of tax to be paid by foreign workers. While taxation of salary and bonuses may be relatively straightforward, things can get quite complicated when it comes to how benefits—such as retirement matching contributions or profit sharing—are taxed.
Consider Your Options for Making Expatriates Whole
Employers need to study foreign countries’ tax laws and be aware of each country’s nuances so a fair, balanced and competitive compensation package is developed. The good news is that employers have flexibility in navigating these issues and developing their policies.
The first option is to do nothing. Sometimes, in this scenario, the expatriate is responsible for the taxes and other costs incurred while working in the host country. A more common strategy is to equalize the tax burden on the employee. This is a tax-neutral policy, often referred to as tax equalization, where the employee is no worse or better off while working abroad. In this case, the goal of the compensation package is to keep employees whole—which means maintaining roughly the same financial standards they would have experienced at home.
Beware Double Taxation of Retirement Benefits
Expatriates are allowed to participate in U.S.-based retirement plans while working abroad. They can contribute pre-tax dollars to their traditional 401(k) plans, and employers can offer a match to the employee deferral. Unfortunately, many foreign countries consider the deferral to be taxable income.
What’s more, the employer contribution may be considered regular income subject to foreign taxes as well. In this case, the employee is double taxed: first by the host country for the “income” sent to the retirement plan, and then by the United States when it’s time for the participant to withdraw assets. (Double taxation may also happen in a Roth situation, where participants pay taxes up front when making the deferral.)
In these situations, employers will need to decide whether expatriates should be excluded from the plan and possibly compensated outside of the benefit to avoid the double taxation—or utilize a tax equalization policy where the expatriate is made whole. The latter approach would be in keeping with the U.S. system, in which qualified retirement plan contributions are only taxed once when the employee takes a distribution from the plan at or after retirement.
Insight: Take a “No Surprises” Approach to Your Expatriate Benefit Policy The goal of any expatriate compensation package should be to ensure that neither the employee nor the company encounter any surprises. To achieve this, employers need to think through many issues well before sending an employee abroad.
The first issue is to decide whether or how to make employees whole. After that major issue is resolved, employers need to focus on finer points such as evaluating foreign tax policies, reviewing plan documents to determine eligibility and analyzing foreign tax credit structures to maximize value.
It’s also important to have strong communication strategies and resources for employees. A solid two-way communication plan aids expatriates in clearly understanding what they will be receiving and responsible for, and offering them access to experts who can help them feel that they are not alone in navigating the oftentimes complex tax structures in host countries.
Employees working at different companies often compare notes about their employer’s compensation policy for expatriates with other expatriates they meet abroad, so understand that there are competitive reasons for developing a fair, robust approach.
When sending employees abroad, employers have a lot to manage from a benefits perspective, between adequately rewarding employees, understanding individual countries’ tax rules, filing the appropriate forms in the foreign jurisdictions and keeping costs under control.
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Home-based approaches have been traditionally the most commonly used to compensate international assignees. Assignees on a home-based approach retain their home-country salary and receive a suite of allowances and premiums designed to cover the costs linked to expatriation.
International Assignments: Managing Benefits and Taxes for Expatriate Employees Written on February 28, 2019 Given the complexity of the U.S. tax code and the myriad regulations related to ERISA plans, managing benefits for domestic employees is a complicated undertaking.