Expat Assignment Checklist


Expat Assignment Checklist

Items to consider during your expat assignment contract negotiations.

By Camille Henning

Congratulations on your new job offer abroad! Whether you’re considering yet another international assignment or if this is your first, you should make sure that the agreement is solid so that the assignment will be a success.

Here are few checklist items to be negotiated and included in your upcoming deal:

Employment Terms:

  • Job Title & Description
  • Place of work
  • Hours of work
  • Bonus entitlement and or stock option program
  • Pension plan
    • Home or new country?
    • Company/Public?
  • Overtime
  • Length of Contract
  • Probation Period
  • Planning for the potential “what’s next”


  • Accommodation
    • Rent Free or subsidized
    • Expat standard accommodation adequate to size of family
    • Utilities
    • Local taxes
    • Home insurance
    • Buying furniture/appliances/home goods
    • Repairs
  • Relocation
    • Temporary housing on arrival
    • Relocation costs – belongings shipping, pets
    • Shipping expenses – Import duties /Freight/Storage/Packing/Insurance (loss/damage)
    • Removal Company
      • You expense payment or company is directly paying?
      • Which currency?
    • If you have left a property in your currently country how will that be managed, and who will potentially cover the costs?
    • Disturbance allowance – charges you will incur in your home country from moving- redirecting mail, early termination of phone contracts ect.
    • Visa costs – company to cover the costs of visas for you, your family and pets
    • Cash advance in local currency
    • Support in opening a bank account/credit cards for you and your partner
    • Support in securing utility contracts (housing expenditures)
  • Healthcare plan
    • Are they providing and what does it cover
    • You pay and get reimbursed or immediate coverage
    • Does it cover regular doctors appointments or emergency’s only
    • Covered outside working hours and on leave
    • Does it include all family members
    • Will it offer Income protection cover
    • Are repatriations covered (natural disasters or medical emergencies)
  • Transport
    • Travel allowance or a car with/without driver
    • Car – company/private
      • How will the car be purchased – company paid or loan to you
    • Driver
    • Is your driver’s license valid in your new country? If not, how do you get a new one?
    • Is the use of the car limited to work or can it be used privately for you and your family
    • Car Insurance/Gas/Repairs & maintenance
    • Will you need a second car (if yes, same questions above are applicable)
  • Family
    • For non-married couples is your partner eligible for a visa of residence
    • Will your spouse be able to work?
      • If yes, are there limits to their work?
    • Education for children
      • Choice of system: Public school/private school
      • Choice of language
      • Corresponding school year and level & programs
      • Finding a spot in a local or international school for your child
    • Local language schools to adjust to new residence
    • Eventual club membership fees for you and family
  • Leave & Holiday Entitlement
    • What are the country’s holidays?
    • What is your vacation entitlement?
    • Family Home leave – Paid by the company
      • Flights included/not included; business class or economy class
      • If included, how many are included
    • Paid sick days
    • What are the guidelines with regards to maternity/paternity leave

 Compensation and Tax liability:

  • Find out the cost of living – i.e. petrol, food, housing, healthcare etc. to establish your local purchasing power (check Expat Network Salary Survey)
  • What fixed remuneration are they offering (make sure to have a look at your salary benchmark)
  • Detailed package – any special allowances IE Education, Uniform, Hardship Allowance
  • What currency will salary be paid & frequency (an account back ‘home’ could be your best option in countries with poor/non-exchangeable currency)
  • Salary reviews and frequency
  • If being paid locally but in a different currency check the exchange rate (Fixed/variable)
  • Taxes – directly paid by you or withdrawn from your salary
  • Double taxation – UK/US tax resident
  • What will be the governing law applicable– the law of the local country or the law of the country your head office resides
  • Will they still be paying pension, at what percentage and in which country

Escape Clause/Termination or Dismissal:

  • Notice period
  • Cost of repatriation incase of termination/dismissal – how will it effect the relocation?
  • Impact on bonus and/or allowances in case of termination/dismissal
  • Bridge time in insurance (Still cover you for X amount of days)

Conditional Agreement:

  • Clause that states the appointment is conditional to a passed medical examination

This checklist is merely a guideline with things to consider when negotiating an assignment abroad, written by an expat who recently relocated with her husband’s job. Some items may not pertain to your particular situation. This checklist does not represent any actual contract or agreement the author’s family entered into with their company. Consult with your own attorney or representative before agreeing to any contractual agreement.


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