How to Hire Expats and Increase Global Potential in 2024

How to Expertly Hire Expats in 2024

How to Expertly Hire Expats in 2024

November 30, 2023


Picture of INS Global



Picture of INS Global



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Key Takeaways

  1. Expatriates often possess skills that may be scarce or not available locally, providing companies with a competitive advantage
  2. Expatriates may face a wide variety of challenges when adapting to a new culture
  3. Make sure to implement programs that help expatriates assimilate into both the local culture and your workplace


As the global marketplace continues to evolve, companies are increasingly recognizing the value of a workforce spread around the world. However, In this pursuit of talent, when it’s time to hire expats—professionals living and working abroad—there’s a lot that has to be done to make sure that legal compliance is maintained and worker satisfaction or efficiency aren’t put at risk.

This is because the right employee being transferred or hired abroad can make a huge difference to the success of a project during a period of expansion.

In this guide, we’ll explore the best ways to hire expats in 2024 by understanding the factors that go into the choice like why companies use them. We’ll also present the benefits, challenges, and crucial strategies necessary for ensuring a successful expat placement.


What is an Expat?


An expatriate, commonly referred to as an expat, is an individual residing in a country different from their home country due to employment or other professional opportunities. Typically, this is a temporary situation but can go on for many years.

While there aren’t many ways to accurately judge the total number of expats in 2023, it’s clear according to some studies that the number must range in the hundreds of millions, even when removing non-working expats that live abroad for retirement reasons.

These individuals bring a wealth of cultural understanding, diverse perspectives, and specialized skills to the workplace.

The target country or the different length of time that an expat spends abroad may necessitate different systems to be used when organizing payroll because of the variety of regulations that concern expats and their tax or legal statuses.


Why Do Companies Hire Expats or Use Expatriate Employees?


Companies opt for using expatriate employees for various reasons, usually depending on the needs of their global expansion strategy. The primary motivations include accessing specialized or sought-after skills, fostering cultural diversity within the organization, and expanding global market presence.

Moreover, expatriates often serve as valuable points of communication and knowledge transfer between different branches or local teams. In particular, transferring workers from the head office to work with an overseas team can be a great way to maintain the same level of quality or consistent practices between teams spread across multiple countries.

At the same time, making the decision to hire an expat where you are establishing overseas operations can be a great way to ensure you’re working with a local employee you share similar values or perspectives with, despite the distance.

This practice might be temporary while global mobility operations are in a period of transition, or permanent in order to provide the chance of advancement while still remaining within the larger organization.



Top 5 Reasons to Hire Expatriates


Access to Skills on a Global Scale


Expatriates often possess skills that may be scarce or not available locally, providing companies with a competitive advantage. Hiring new expats can bring highly sought-after skills into an organization, whereas sending employees overseas can be a great way to retain their skills while putting them to use in a target market.


Cultural Insight and Adaptive Ideas


Expats bring cultural diversity, helping to merge both the perspectives of their home country with a foreign market. This is great for aiding in the adaptation and integration of local customer or best practices with overall company values.


Knowledge Transfer


The decision to transfer or hire expats is often made to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and best practices across different regions. This is seen as a secure way of fostering a more cohesive global strategy.


International Networking


Expats contribute to a broader network of professionals and informal associates. They’re often well-travelled if they have already been expats for some time, opening up opportunities for collaboration and business development in the international market.


Leadership Development


Assigning employees to international roles helps to encourage leadership development by challenging individuals to adapt to different environments and manage diverse teams. It can also be a way to open leadership opportunities to the best employees if these positions aren’t available back home.


Hire Where the Talent is and Where You Need It, Don’t Be Limited to Your Office


To stay competitive, companies are shifting their plans towards a talent-centric approach that goes beyond national borders. Instead of limiting recruitment efforts to their own areas, organizations can now embrace the idea of a truly global talent pool.

With access to the best, no matter where they are, your company can focus on finding team member with the right skills, expertise, and new perspectives.


The Top 5 Challenges You Might Face When You Hire Expats


While making the decision to hire expats brings a lot of benefits, there are still challenges that require specific support or strategies to overcome.


Cultural Adjustment


Expatriates may face a wide variety of challenges when adapting to a new culture. Problems in the early stages of a move can then affect their overall performance and job satisfaction.


Legal and Compliance Issues


Navigating through different legal and compliance frameworks can be complex. While this is always a part of the global expansion process, making a choice to hire expats requiring a lot of planning in terms of visas and taxes to avoid issues.


Communication Barriers


When working with diverse teams of employees, language differences and time zone variations can hinder effective communication. Problems here can quickly negate many of the advantages of hiring expats if not dealt with.


Employee Retention


Retaining expatriate talent in the long term can be particularly challenging due to factors like cultural isolation, homesickness, and family-related issues, along with an increasingly competitive job market.


Dual Careers and Family Concerns


Employing expats will always come with the question of family concerns as making the decision to become an expat is a choice made by the entire family. As a result, taking steps to accommodate the needs of employees’ families and addressing dual-career challenges can be a significant hurdle when you hire expats.


How to Ensure Your Expats Are Satisfied: Top Tips for Improving Expat Retention Rates


  • Cultural Integration Programs

Make sure to implement programs that help expatriates assimilate into both the local culture and your workplace. These can be both in-person or online, depending on the situation.


  • Family Support Services

Expats will typically require that their company provide assistance for their families. This will include education for their children or possibly even jobs for their partners. All of these requirements will go towards addressing their concerns and ensuring a smoother transition.


  • Regular Check-ins and Feedback

Regular communication and feedback sessions beyond standard work meetings can help identify and address any specific challenges expatriates may face.


  • Career Development Opportunities

Offer the same clear career development paths to expats as to your office workers to keep expatriates motivated. This may mean accepting that when you hire expats it will possibly end with them joining or even rejoining other offices, thus continuing to share their skills and knowledge.


  • Community Building

Networking and community-building activities not only help expatriates connect with each other and create a support system in the local market, but can be useful for accessing wider talent networks in the future.