Global HR Hot Topic - Structuring Expatriate Postings

White & Case LLP

Multinationals that send expatriates abroad too often either ignore the issue of how best to structure the assignment, or struggle with expat structuring problems. The reflexive or default approach is easy—grab whatever assignment package got used for the last expat posting, change the names, make some tweaks, and move on. Unfortunately, this quick-and-dirty approach is risky.

It might seem that there must be one single best way to structure an intracompany expatriate posting. But there is not. Even within a single multinational, different expat assignments need to get structured in different ways, because small differences among expat postings can compel different assignment structures: Your last expat may have gone to a country where you have an up-and-running affiliate but your next expat may be off to a jurisdiction where you have no on-the-ground infrastructure. Or your last expat may have participated in your company expat program but your next expat may instigate a transfer for personal reasons that make him ineligible for a company package. Because differences like these can compel different structures, a form expat assignment agreement lifted from your last expat posting might be inappropriate, even as a starting point, for documenting your next expat arrangement.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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