Risks to expats working abroad are on the increase

Risks to expats working abroad are on the increase

Risks to expats working abroad are on the increase

Recent research by an international relocation company shows the risks of working overseas are rising.

The results of a recent global mobility survey reveal almost 25 per cent of expats on overseas assignments have been involved in a critical incident some time in the past year. In addition, over the past five years, the number of expatriate professionals affected totalled just under 66 per cent. Medical issues, heavy fines, prison sentences and deportations for breaches of immigration laws, severe penalties for ignoring local tax laws and the ever-present threat of terrorism in many countries have made working overseas on secondment or assignment far less safe than in earlier times.

At the present time, estimates state some 57 million expats are working in countries across the world, with 75 per cent either on assignments or living overseas as individuals running their own businesses. Overseas entrepreneurship has risen along with the rise of the internet as a business tool, along with the number of digital nomads found in many exotic locations worldwide. The last two sectors are most at risk of violating immigration and tax rules, with many simply moving to the next country on the list before they are caught.

For expats on assignments and those recruited for professional positions in overseas companies, the risks may well start with their recruitment or original company. It’s a worrying fact that, in the past, very few HR and global mobility firms took the trouble to monitor and manage the risks and environmental factors in destination countries on behalf of their clients. A few international companies are known to have outsourced risk management to designated providers or internal security teams, and the trend towards ensuring employees are safe and the business is rule-compliant across the board is now on the increase.

One of the most dangerous sectors as regards risk to employees is the oil and gas industry, now recovering from several years of comparative stagnation. Threats to health and safety from unstable political locations as well as from the dangers of the job itself make the industry a magnet for those wanting the highest salaries and prepared to accept the chance of everything from occupational health hazards to terrorist attacks. Nowadays, oil companies are hot on the need to provide adequate risk management strategies, and are employing experts in the field as a result.

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