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Global Mobility Trends and Expatriate Relocation

Global Mobility Trends and Expatriate Relocation

Weichert Relocation Resources have recently released a whitepaper entitled “Current Global Workforce Mobility Trends”.  These reports, no matter which company its from, are a great insight into international relocations and personnel movements.

From our perspective as providers of services that feed into relocation such as translation or expatriate relocation training, it is key to understand shifts and movements so that we can adapt our offerings accordingly.

So what have we learnt from the 2013 whitepaper? Well here are some high level points for consideration. If you want to download the whitepaper, the link it as the end.

Tax Compliance

Tax authorities are looking for new revenue streams. They have become more aggressive in pursuing lost tax dollars and are now much more au fait with expatriate populations and their employers. Countries are now embracing stricter tax rules and reporting mechanisms. As a result, one of the major concerns for companies today is which type of compensation approach to take with their employees.


In the interests of compliance and consistency, resources are being leveraged across supply chains. Companies are moving towards a model whereby relocation services and outsourced rather than managed in-house. A major reason for this seems to be the ability to access the supplier’s resources and knowledge.

Centralized or De-centralized Management?

International relocation in the past was managed in different countries by different stakeholders. Today, this has moved to a more centralized system but at the same time global in approach. Drivers behind this seem to be improvement in technology,  compliance issues, a more consistent relocation approach, centralized management of assignees and leveraging volumes across the supply chain.


The emerging markets seem to be hot on the list of locations people are being sent to. The BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India & China) countries sees most activity in terms of rising activity. Those to watch out for include the UAE and Qatar illustrating the future importance of The Gulf economy.


In the sense of international relocation, localization means putting an international assignee on the same compensation and benefits package as locals would. Some 45% of companies surveyed for the whitepaper said they are using localization for assignees on long term stays.

Alternative Assignments

Recent economic developments seem to be changing how businesses think about their staffing internationally. The traditional ‘family move over for 5-7 years’ approach is still popular but getting less and companies tighten budgets. We are now seeing what Weichert called “alternative policies”. These include alternatives such as commuter assignments, extended business trips, rotational assignments and others.


So what conclusions can we draw from the research carried out?

  • 1/ Compliance and tax regulations are a major concern for businesses today
  • 2/ Alternative assignments have become more prevalent due to changes in the speed and nature of business
  • 3/ Companies are becoming more in-tune with local expectations and needs
  • 4/ There is still plenty of business for relocation related services as outsourcing becomes more beneficial
  • 5/ Watch out for new and emerging economies – companies will have personnel travelling there in one form or another

If you would like to download the whitepaper then click here.

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