English

Help! I am an Expat!

What is an “Expat”? The word is short for “Expatriate”, which designates a person, who for a while is living and working in a foreign country.

In an increasingly global world, such temporary moves abroad are becoming more and more frequent, especially for management positions or specialist personnel. Definitely, such a stay can be an exciting experience for the whole family. Especially with family, however, it does take some preparation and good planning for the adventure to be successful.

I already wrote about some of the common problems in a different post. But where can a person find help with all that paperwork?

More and more companies are starting to lend their employees a helping hand. Big companies especially often even have a special International HR Department that looks after the Expats. Apartment hunting and the bureaucracy are often taken care of.

For the paper work, or the ‚red tape‘ , there are services by now, companies that provide help with applying for visa, work permits, etc., or even take over those tasks completely. The apartment hunt and relocation planning itself can almost entirely be delegated now.  However, depending on what services you chose, those offers are not always cheap.

First of all, you need to decide what the move should look like. Will the current house/apartment be sold, or will it be kept and the new home abroad be a secondary residence? Of course, this very much depends on the individual situation, the distance and the expected duration of the stay. How often do you plan to take a trip home? Will a house for the whole family be needed, or does an apartment suffice? Will all the furniture and personal belongings be moved, or should part of it be put in storage?

Of all this, which part should be done by the service company?

Another common service is counsel concerning insurances. What is the health system in that country like? Is there a national retirement fund, and will I be eligible to participate? Do I need additional coverage? Is it possible to freeze my German insurances for a while, should I simply keep them running, or would it be smart to cancel them?

All these are questions that need to be solved. Before you go looking for a relocation agency, it is important to have a solid idea first about what kind of services are needed and expected. Otherwise important parts might end up not taken care of while running a tall bill for unnecessary details.

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