Risks Of Working Abroad Are On The Rise

Medical issues, severe penalties for breaching local laws such as immigration and tax regulations and terrorism are the most common risks facing businesses who send workers overseas.

This is according to new research by global mobility firm Santa Fe Relocation. The findings from its 2017 Global Mobility Survey revealed that nearly a nearly a quarter of those managing overseas secondments or assignments have faced a ‘critical incident’ in the last year and nearly two thirds in the last five.

Rather worryingly, more than one in ten global mobility and HR teams stated their business does not monitor or manage risk and host country environmental factors at all.

Despite the risks associated with working abroad, enthusiasm for international placements has not diminished. Santa Fe’s findings show that nearly two thirds of businesses surveyed regularly send employees on long- and short-term work placements, with five out of the top seven global locations seeing an increase in overseas workers. Figures by financial consultancy firm, Finaccord, suggest there are now 56.8 million expats working abroad, with nearly 75% of them being individual workers and corporate transferees. In the past five years there has been an annual growth rate of 2.4%.

While the responsibility for managing risk and country environmental factors typically falls to internal security or risk teams – or is outsourced to a designated external provider – global mobility and HR professionals are increasingly ensuring they have policies and programmes in place to manage their organisation’s risk profile by ensuring staff are safe on secondment and the business is compliant.

Over two-thirds of global mobility professionals report they now have a policy in place better to mitigate risk, which has risen from 55% in 2016. With the need to comply with local laws and regulations, especially when it comes to immigration and tax, these measures are critical and must be in place ahead of the expatriation or business travel.