Expat Contracts: What to Expect

Chantal Panozzo
  • By Chantal Panozzo
  • October 19th, 2010

By Chantal Panozzo

Aim High, Ask for Expat Benefits

Aim High, Ask for Expat Benefits

Thinking of moving abroad? Below are five things to consider before signing a contract.

One: Housing Stipend

Many limited-contract expat packages offer housing stipends. In essence, this is so that it’s possible to live abroad but still maintain a house back home. Whether you intend to do this or not, it’s important to check that you’ll receive some kind of housing allowance, especially if the cost of living is significantly higher abroad but the salary you’re being offered is not.

Two: Language Training

Does the package include language training for both the employee and their spouse? If you’re moving to a country where they speak something other than English, the language training is just as important for the spouse as the employee. If this is not included, it’s something to bargain for. Up to 150 hours of paid language training is not unreasonable to request.

Three: Transportation

If you’ll be using public transport in your new country, will the company give you and your family free transport passes? Or if you’ll be driving will they pay for a company car? Will they help with the leasing of a car? If they are not moving your vehicle abroad, this is something that should be considered in the contract.

Four: Flights home

Will the company pay for one flight back home per year per family member? If not, this is also something that can be negotiated.

Five: Relocation Agent Services

It’s hard enough to find an apartment in a place like New York City. Throw in another language, the fact that housing discrimination is legal (and practiced) in many countries, and you will want the services of a relocation agent abroad. These people speak the local language, know the safest neighborhoods, know the market, and can help you translate leases and/or mortgages. Some will even go so far as to introduce you to the neighbors.

What do you look for in an expat contract?

Chantal Panozzo is a writer in Switzerland who has written for a variety of publications on two continents. She’s the author of One Big Yodel, a blog about life in Switzerland and moving abroad, and also discusses living abroad as a freelancer at Writer Abroad.


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sandy brown
Comment #1 by sandy brown
October 24, 2010    Rate Comment

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