As work becomes increasingly global and employees are more likely than ever to relocate, mobility managers are most concerned about controlling costs (77%) while also meeting business needs.

Those in charge of international relocation are also worried about housing (47%) and compliance-related issues (45%), Cartus' 2014 Trends in Global Relocation study found.

Although these were the main issues keeping them awake at night, the study of 164 global mobility managers also found "stealth expats" and visa and immigration issues a critical risk when relocating staff.

As visa regulations increasingly become more complex, 83% of managers say they see more of a need than ever for upfront planning due to the length of time it takes to get visas.

"Government concerns for full employment for nationals are also putting pressure on visa and immigration regulations," the study stated.

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Additionally, as certain countries become more focused on capturing tax revenue, they are becoming more diligent in pursuing taxes owed by assignees.

"This can be a particular issue for employees on temporary or short term-assignments, who may not always be tracked or reported on with regularity, giving rise to 'stealth expats'."

Among the temporary assignment types frequently used by companies are commuter and extended business travel, both of which have tax compliance as their number one challenge.

Around 64% of mobility managers said they were putting increased focus on better internal tracking of assignees' days in country.

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In terms of location, North America remained the most critical region for business success for 51% of respondents, with Greater China (41%) taking second place, followed by Europe in third (35%).

However, China was also ranked by 53% as the most challenging global region in respect to controlling costs, followed by Africa and Central America/South America, tied in second (49%). The Middle East followed in third place (47%).

North America is also the region which saw the biggest rise in relocation volume at 53%, up from 44% in 2014. China, in second place last year, fell to third place.

"The decrease in activity into China is in line with the country's slower economic growth as well as the increase in assignee concerns over environmental conditions," said Ian Payne, Cartus' executive vice president and managing director, EMEA and APAC.

"Meanwhile in Europe, economic growth remains uncertain, creating concerns about corporate investment despite the region's continued importance to world trading."

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