Moving into a foreign country is never easy since it takes time for the cultural shock to wear off and for the new environment to start making sense. The length of this period depends on several factors, including personal affinity for change and existence of support infrastructure on the ground. In some countries, the process usually runs smoothly while others aren’t well suited to support global mobility.
It may be true that we are all living in a global village, at least those who reside in the big cities with access to communication infrastructure might feel so. Still, regional differences in terms of lifestyle, economy, business culture, and numerous other factors remain too great to ignore. This is one of the reasons why employee relocation can be tricky to execute without extensive knowledge about the local market. Here is a brief overview of the conditions for secondment of employees in some of the most lucrative global markets:
It’s often said that the United States is a country built by immigrants, but those who wish to work there today must be prepared for rigorous procedures before they can secure a business visa. Of course, America remains business friendly as always, so large multinational companies generally enjoy favourable conditions when attempting to open a branch office there or organise short-term secondment. Another big advantage is relative open-mindedness of locals towards most foreigners, which makes it easier to meet new friends and establish business connections.
Europe is experiencing strong economic growth, but it’s also facing some internal problems lately that might affect the perception of foreign workers in some EU countries. Most member nations have well-regulated markets and effective judiciary, as well as high living standards. Employee mobility within the block is fully supported and doesn’t require any additional administrative procedures, although language remains a barrier. Non-residents can also travel freely between countries with a single entry visa but could need permits before they can be legally employed in any of the member states.
Formerly regarded merely as a source of human labour, China is increasingly becoming an attractive retail market, while large cities such as Shanghai are legitimate business hubs that provide a lot of opportunity for expansion. Despite its single-party government, the world’s largest nation pursues an open-door policy when it comes to Western capital and experts. However, the cultural gap might be too large for some workers to withstand, even if access to modern goods and foreign-language media is far better than it used to be just a decade or two ago. As far as international assignments go, China might be one of the more exotic and more intriguing destinations.
As an English-speaking country with excellent infrastructure and well-developed trade networks, Australia seems to be among the less challenging places for employee relocation. This is not entirely true, as extremely long travel, large time zone difference, and harsh climates can make the transition difficult for some. On the positive side, dealing with the government typically runs smoothly while most business dealings are fair and transparent. In many cases, people who move Down Under discover a new home and become attached to the unique nature and lifestyle typical for Australia.