Employing migrant workers


Mobility in a global market


Multi-national organisations often require their staff to work in different countries.

Success in the global market relies upon individuals with business understanding, global experience, knowledge of several languages and an international network. Supporting individuals to move around the world is vital for these organisations.

Moving employees between different countries also helps to stimulate innovation and to share corporate skills and knowledge across country boundaries. Broader cultural experiences are also likely to help employees better understand the needs of international clients

Supporting staff who are working abroad for a long period of time (6 months or more) is crucial to ensuring that they are productive and satisfied in their work. This means helping to support their families too.

Facts and figures

  • Successful overseas assignments mean understanding the needs of your employee. Participants in ORC's 2000 Worldwide Policies and Practices Survey of over 610 organisations indicated that Dual Careers and family matters are the most frequently cited reasons for turning down assignments¹
  • The types of support vary from organisation to organisation but the most typical options are:
    • language tuition
    • cultural orientation
    • work permit assistance
    • payments toward further education2
  • Academic research shows that labour mobility is an efficient mechanism to deliver sophisticated and customised solutions to clients. It also improves the local office network through 'face to face' exchanges of knowledge and ideas.(Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995)3.
  • HSBC has a specific group of 'International Managers' who take a conscious decision to opt for a career in which they can be sent anywhere and at any time, in return for a good employment package, challenging jobs in different countries, and good career prospects4.
1 See http://www.netexpat.com/news/200201.html
2 Internationally Yours by Mary A De Vries pub by Houghton Mifflin ISBN 0-395-69611-9
Transitions, The Challenge of Change by Hopson, Scally & Stafford ISBN1-852-120-1
The Psychological Impact of Expatriate Relocation on Partners pub by The Journal of Human Resource Management 2:3 Dec 1991
3 Nonaka, I. and Takeuchi, H. (1995) The knowledge creating organisation. New York: Oxford University Press.
4 Hirsh, W. & Jackson, C. (2004) Managing Careers in Large Organisations: The Work


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