Financial Questions to ask HR before taking an expat role overseas

May 12, 2020
This is an important question to ask early on. In the past, expatriate roles often came with generous salaries and benefit packages. However as living and working abroad has become more commonplace, businesses are no longer able to be as generous. Get clarity on exactly what your expat package offers: cost of moving? accommodation for some or all of your assignment? Expat health insurance? contribution towards your children's education? 
This is a very important question to ask, particularly if you are moving to or from a country with a self-assessment tax system. Do you still have to file taxes while you pay tax somewhere else? The answer will vary by country, but your employer should be able to help you.
You may be surprised that accessing credit in your new home is more difficult than you expect. You will not have any credit history so credit card companies or banks can be nervous about lending money. 
If you are planning for your future with a pension plan, make sure you are clear about what will happen to it while you are working overseas. Can you still contribute while based in another country? In many cases you can but you may not get the same level of tax relief on contributions as you do in your home country. 
This is an important question if you plan on leaving some of your finances in a bank or institution in your home country. Ask how or if you can access them while you are away. Although you may ultimately have to ask the financial institution holding the funds for you, your employer may have some useful advice. 

Your people department may be able to provide you with information on costs you may not be familiar with in your destination country. These could vary from car tax to council tax and housing tax. There may also be duties to pay when shipping your belongings to or from your destination. Some general points to consider when it comes to unexpected costs include:

  • school fees
  • management fees
  • public transport
  • council tax

While working out your finances might be challenging, with the help of your employer, it shouldn’t be a barrier to a successful overseas move.