FAQ for employers and employees

FAQ for employers

Moving an employee, a new recruit, trainee or an intern to a new location – national or international – for business purposes is referred to as ‘relocation’. Companies usually cover only part or all relocation expenses to ease the employees’ decision to move.
This can be realized through an internal mobility team or by partnering with an external relocation company like Local-Worldwide.

  • Basically it comes down to four essential activities:
    • moving the employee to the new location
    • moving the employees belongings to the new location
    • finding a new home for the employee
    • helping the employee and his*her family to settle in the new area
    Of course there are almost endless sub-activities before a relocation is fully complete and surely while the home finding process is key – the acclimation process can be the most challenging of all.

Typical relocation expenses include coverage for all the services and benefits mentioned above, plus applicable taxes. Depending on an employer’s relocation program, these may be paid for by the employer or employee—or, through some form of cost sharing. 
In addition, employers must pay for the expense of administering their employee relocation program, whether covering the salaries of an in-house mobility team or paying fees to a third-party relocation management partner. 

International relocation is more expensive and complicated than national relocations. In addition to the greater distances you have to add potential language barriers and other unique issues, including:
Including the successful application of visas, handling customs regulations and navigate tax implications. International relocations require more mobility support. 
Length of assignment
Unlike domestic relocations, which may be open-ended or permanent, most global relocations are undertaken for a fixed length of time, which is specified upfront in a letter of assignment. The length of the assignment impacts many aspects of the relocation package, including what benefits the employer chooses to cover. 
Higher risk of failure to acclimate 
Assimilating to a new culture is one of the most difficult challenges employees face, and failure can be very costly to employers. For this reason, some global employee relocation policies offer assistance from a “destination service provider” like Local-Worldwide that specializes in helping employees acclimate.

Of course, this varies by employer (and employee). But a good relocation policy is flexible enough to meet each employee’s unique needs, yet is also cost-effective for the employer—not to mention relatively easy to manage. We would always advise on flexible service parts rather than stiff agreements.
In the end it comes down to: did the employee have a positive relocation experience?  Did he/she arrive and is ready to get to work? And did they employer feel the relocation was worth the expense?

Employee relocation can get incredibly complex, and misunderstandings can cost employers both money and goodwill, our advice on best practices for employers include:
• Offering different tiers of benefits to different levels of employees.
• Communicating clearly and specifically regarding relocation benefits and expectations—i.e., how long it should take an employee to relocate, what is and isn’t covered, etc.
• Continuously looking for ways to improve the program and keep costs under control.

There are a number of different ways to characterize the various “types” of employee relocations. For example, for many employers, relocating current employees vs. new hires are two different types of relocations. Similarly, relocating single employees vs. those with families are two different relocation arrangements
And of course, moving a trainee or entry-level employee is typically a very different type of relocation than that of mid-level and high ranking employees. 
Often “types” of employee relocations come down to different degrees of complexity and their corresponding costs. The good news is employers can structure different relocation benefits to apply to different types of employee relocations however they see fit.

If your company only manages a handful of relocations every year — say, around 5 — and you have the capacity and expertise to handle them in-house, you may prefer to do it internally. On the other hand, you may find it preferable to outsource functions like relocation and immigration, so your colleagues can better focus on your core business concerns.
If you choose to work with a relocation management company, you can rely on the professional knowledge from their day to day business and the structured effective processes to deliver on point.

FAQ for employees

That is okay. Local-Worldwide can help you to find a temporary home and anything else you need.
Relocation infrastructure like administrative services, bank account opening, etc. is also possible on a temporary address.

If you plan to rent, we can support the search with one of our relocation Specialist who will work with you to give you an orientation of the city, find a rental property and assist with settling in services. Local-Worldwide has great service and information packages available that can be tailored to your needs if you prefer to get support only on selected topics.

It is common for the employee to move forward earlier than the family as the position start date is often in advance of the belongings of your home being packed and shipped and it might not always be a convenient time to take children out of schools.

School attendance starts from the age of 6 (grade 1). Most German children attend public schools – in comparison to some other countries, it’s not so common for German children to attend private schools. The school year starts mid to end of August. You can find a more detailed overview of the German school systemhere.
Our advice as to where to place your child would vary depending on the city you choose to live in, their age and whether they speak German or not. However, there is a system in place in all cities to help children to integrate into the school and kindergarten system, so no need to worry!

Especially in lager cities, finding child care is very difficult. There are more children in need of day care than there are spaces available. Application time for the new Kindergarten year is in February. Being supported by a Local-Worldwide area consultant who has knowledge of the process is advisable.

In our experience, children tend to learn German quicker than adults and immersion in the German school system is a great way to speed up the learning process! How quickly your particular child will learn German will of course depend on a variety of factors, including the age of the child and the stage they’re at in their school journey.

International Schools
Depending on the age of your children and the stage they’re at in their studies you may also wish to consider an international school. We can help you to check in advance if an international school at your destination has available spaces.

Generally Local-Worldwide provides guidance and prepares all needed documents together with you throughout the visa process in your current location and we also book an appointment and accompany you to the local foreigner’s office once you are in Germany. But it is also always helpful to familiarise yourself with the process as well.
The length of the process depends on the embassy. On average (excluding during the current pandemic) it takes around 3-4 weeks to get an appointment and to produce the visa the embassy takes about another 2-3 weeks.
We will provide you with guidelines around the most important steps to follow throughout the visa process and obtaining a work permit and we will remain your point of contact along the way.

The Blue Card makes it easier for highly specialized non-EU citizens to obtain a work permit and a residence permit.
The EU Blue Card is a temporary residence permit that highly qualified applicants can apply for.
Requirements are:
• German university degree
• recognized foreign university degree
• Foreign university degree that is comparable to a German university degree
• In addition, an annual salary of currently EUR 47,600 or EUR 37,128 must be proven in shortage occupations
• Shortage occupations: natural scientist, mathematician, architect, spatial, urban and transport planner
• Designer, engineer, human doctor

There is no question that leaving loved ones behind and understanding the new Culture and embracing new customs and language is difficult, particularly when different from what you are accustomed to. We suggest you learn as much as you can ahead of time, of the country, its people, and culture and keep an open mind when situations arise out of your normal comfort zone. Cross Cultural Training is the most advantageous in preparing you for much of what will take months to become accustomed to on your own. Local-Worldwide can help you to prepare for your new destination and ease the culture shock

This will depend on your company’s Expatriate Policy. They may allow a certain volume of goods to be freighted by air or sea, and either they or Local-Worldwide will arrange for the appropriate moving company to visit your home to discuss. You will become aware it’s likely not all your goods will fit into the allowable amount for transit or even in the new home at your destination. Quality rental furniture is generally available in most countries, or alternatively renting a fully furnished home is also a possibility.

If moving internationally, legislation pertaining to vehicle importation differs in all countries; however it is generally an expensive, detailed and rigorous process with extensive paperwork and procedures. We suggest you check the on-line Customs regulations of your destination country, and consider also the left and right hand drive circumstances. Local-Worldwide can help with all administrative arrangements in your destination city.

If you decide your beloved pets must become expats too, it is important to discuss the process with Local-Worldwide early in the process as pets from certain countries have stringent importation and quarantine rules, and require a good deal of pre-departure preparation.
Local-Worldwide can assist with your pet’s transportation arrangements and any quarantine boarding or kennelling that may be required upon arrival. We suggest you also research the regulations for importing pets in the new destination and understand any requirements for inoculations and quarantine both at destination, and upon repatriation.

Moving to a new location ranks amongst the Top 10 on the global scale of personal stress, so it’s important to leverage as much knowledgeable support as available to you.
The extensive preparation that is required for departure and the inevitable arrival, coupled with the unknown of your new location can be daunting. Local-Worldwide’s understanding and assistance to find home, school, and connectivity will contribute significantly to your relocation becoming a positive experience for the whole family. We take care of the multitude of essential factors involved so that you can concentrate on your assignment and starting smooth in your new surroundings.

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