It can be exciting to hear that you’ve been chosen for an international assignment by your company, but before you pack your bags and head for the airport, there are a number of things you’ll need to know and want to sort out. Although we’re specifically in the business of relocation to London, our tips will help anyone considering accepting a new position in a different country.
An international relocation, to London or anywhere else for that matter, can be a challenging and even stressful process. The process of change management must be handled carefully for both the employee and his or her family and the company. Human Resources plays a critical role in a successful relocation implementation, especially in a world where globalisation is becoming the norm rather than just a trend.
While HR carries the ultimate responsibility of successful relocation within a company, the job of a successful international relocation often falls to one of more third party service providers. International assignments and relocation are multi-faceted and multi-dimensional. Even when moving to a well known international centre of business like London, there are many cross-cultural aspects to consider to ensure success.
You can’t just rely on your HR department to help make your international assignment a success though. There are a number of things that you can do to help make your new location more than just a transfer.
Visas/Passports and Paperwork: Ensure that your passport is valid, and that you won’t have any problems entering a foreign country. Make sure you understand the visa requirements for the destination country, especially if you are traveling with a spouse or partner who may be looking for work.
Medical Requirements: Even though you won’t need vaccinations against tropical diseases when moving to London(!), it’s well worth getting to grips with the medical system in the UK before you arrive. Also if you have any regular and ongoing medical needs – now is the time to discuss them with your HR Manager.
Moving Companies: Decide on what you will be moving – furniture, assets etc and decide on a removal company that understands international relocation.
Housing: Choosing a new home is going to be one of the biggest aspects of your international relocation. It’ll take up most of your planning time and if you’re not careful, and don’t manage your relocation allowance carefully, it can be the most stressful.
Finance and Tax: Make sure that you have a good understanding about the financial implications of your move with regards to tax, your relocation allowance, salary and other compensation amounts.
Culture Shock: An often overlooked aspect of an international relocation. We relocate hundreds of Canadians and Americans to London each year and, despite the fact that the countries speak the same language, families suffer from being in a different culture. Use a settling service to help you and your family adjust to your new lives.
Just a bit of advice and insight into the above factors will go a long way to wards minimizing the risk of an unsuccessful relocation. It’s an exciting time for anyone to be moving around the world right now – but remember that there is no substitute for being prepared!