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The majority of foreign assignees were happy with their life in Hong Kong, with only 11% indicated the opposite. However, when asked whether they feel at home in the local culture, less than half were satisfied while 26% experienced dissatisfaction. This could be explained by the fact that half of them expressed that making local friends in Hong Kong was not an easy task.
In terms of relocation support, most foreign assignees received a lump-sum payment for expatriation-related expenses (74%), slightly higher than the global level. A total of 63% of the respondents’ employers also organised move or service providers for the assignees, 12% lower than the global employers.
Information on local life (47%), additional spouse support (34%), language classes (24%) and intercultural training (21%) were other benefits foreign assignees in Hong Kong received. The least common supports were providing access to local networking opportunities (13%), local socialising opportunities (11%) and memberships in an expat organisation (3%).
From foreign assignees’ perspectives, they appreciated the memberships in an expat organisation (79%) the most, followed by access to local networking opportunities (68%), local socialising opportunities (50%), language classes (47%), intercultural training (47%) – indicating that they wish for better communication with the locals.
When foreign assignees were asked which relocation support could be ruled out, half of them pointed at additional spouse support. Access to local socialising opportunities (39%) and intercultural training (32%) were considered unnecessary.
Globally, foreign assignees were usually offered more benefits than international hires and relocating spouses but lack personal support such as networking and socialising opportunities.
In contrast to international hires who find a job abroad on their own or are recruited by a local company, foreign assignees are sent abroad by their employer.
Foreign assignees in the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, and Germany are some of the worst supported in terms of the relocation assistance, while those in the Netherlands and Switzerland are among the best.
“People can no longer just be moved from point A to point B because of an organisation’s need. Employees moving abroad for work desire personalised offers that suit their personal needs — as well as the needs of their families. Global mobility teams need to better support skilled professionals in order to stay competitive and optimise foreign assignments,” said Theresa Häfner, head of business solutions at InterNations and director of the study.
Based on nine different types of relocation support that global employees and their partners receive from companies, InterNations Business Solutions’ Expat Insider Business Edition Country Focus report looks at the situation of expats who have moved abroad for work and live in China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UAE, the UK and the US.