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Expat Investor : December 2008
EXPAT LOCATIONS Equalising the relocation equation International SOS provides medical risk assessment advice to travellers and expatriates. Medical Director Dr. Robert Willcox explains how expatriates and their employers can avoid costly relocation assignment failures. often lead to feelings of intense isolation for both the employee and their family. In addition to mental health Expat assignments are seen by many as a golden ticket for expanding horizons and personal growth. But to some, an overseas assignment is the start of serious personal and professional challenge, fraught with difficulty. In reality however, redeployment can, in some cases, place a great strain on individuals both physically and mentally, particularly in remote or volatile regions. It is not surprising, then, to discover failure is common, costing businesses a great investment of time and money and putting significant strain on expats’ family life and personal wellbeing. Whether based in a bustling inner city of an emerging economy or in a remote inhospitable location, how can expats adapt to ensure they see a venture through to the end? Expatriate failure is often down to businesses choosing the wrong person for the job. When employees express interest as a candidate for redeployment, they must ask themselves if they are truly prepared for what is a life-changing decision. This is never an easy choice to make and is becoming increasingly problematic as the profile of successful candidates shifts to younger employees with families. This decision not only affects the individual, but may also require their partner and children to relocate. This brings with it the stress of settling family in a new environment. Employees must be advised of these and other potential mental health problems linked to expatriation before they depart and must be provided with a clear line of communication to an HR team or manager back home, should they feel the need to discuss sensitive issues. The individual must ask him or herself if they have the ability to adjust to this new way of life and tackle these problems, should they arise. The nature of these challenges is dependent on the region of relocation, for example, expatriates often work long hours and may need to adjust to the bustling nature of inner city living. Life in rural areas also presents potential issues, as local residents are less likely to speak the same language as the expatriate worker than in the city. This can factors, a risk strategy must be devised at the outset, outlining potential occupational health risks inherent in the proposed region of redeployment. The expatriate worker is likely to encounter unfamiliar diseases and different systems of health provision, which are far removed from anything they have experienced at home. Differing qualities of health care and a lack of readily available Western branded medicine may trigger culture shock in an employee, particularly in rural areas. If sick, individuals may feel wary of using foreign medicine or under-use local health resources. They may also feel reluctant to trust local healthcare, waiting until they are next in a larger city before seeking treatment. This can have a negative impact on productivity and health. These issues can be tackled at risk assessment stage, by highlighting reputable and easily obtainable remedies for common ailments in the specific region. Sexually transmitted diseases are also a cause for concern, given the increasingly young age of expatriates. Furthermore, while diseases such as Hepatitis B are not as large an issue in the West, it is verymuch an ongoing problem in China and India. Employees must be made aware of any disease found in the region of redeployment at the briefing stage as ailments such as cholera and typhoid still pose a problem in several countries. Risk assessments should highlight the necessary inoculations a worker and their family will require before a venture begins and outline the necessary steps should a person fall ill. Expatriate candidates must also express any reluctance to travel to a location with prevalent disease or health issues at the screening stage. Prolonged exposure to pollution can also have an impact on the health of expatriate workers. In particular, air quality can affect an employee or a family member who has a history of allergies or respiratory problems. Travellers must, therefore, ensure they have a good supply of treatment for these ailments and identify a provider who can provide replenishment when required. Successfully overseeing an expatriate venture can present employers with many benefits, such as improved relations in foreign markets and greater global prominence. Added to this is the benefit to the personal development of an employee, who can bring this newfound expertise back home with them should they wish to return. Redeployment must not be viewed as a holiday, or a diversion from work. It is crucial for all parties involved to recognise their place in ensuring an expatriate venture succeeds. This can only be achieved through regular communication, commonsense planning and a strong and effective risk strategy. Find out more from International SOS through the fast facts number below. Fast Facts 10180 10 reasons to buy in Canada Over 600,000 British expats live in Canada. Here, Undiscoveredproperties.com presents 10 good reasons to consider buying a property in this increasingly sought after expat location. Canada is growing in reputation as one of the world’s premiere tourist and relocation destinations; people flock to Canada for its wide open spaces, friendly people and stunning landscape. With 2007 seeing a record number of people choosing Canada as their home, what attracts so many to purchase in this vast country? 18 EXPAT INVESTOR ? 1. The Four Seasons Canada is the second largest country in the world and is the genuine four-season destination with 'snow-sure' winters, blooming spring, balmy summer with temperatures reaching lazily above 30 degrees centigrade. Canada experiences a spectacular Autumn which is December 2008 renowned across the world, Fall (Autumn) is many people’s favourite time of year, bringing its unique mix of colour and foliage, many people make the trip just to see this beautiful changing of the seasons. 2. Good Living Canada is regularly listed by the expatinvestor.com United Nations (UN) as one of the 10 best places in the world to live. With low population density, abundance of fresh water, universal healthcare, excellent education and low tuition fees it is no wonder that Canada is regularly placed so highly on the UN list. Rankings are compiled by using 42 factors covering political and economic stability, crime, pollution, health, environment, education, infrastructure and leisure facilities. 3. Colourful Canadians Canada is one of the most culturally diverse nations on the planet, with a welcoming policy for people looking to relocate. Canada received a record number of immigrants in
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