Re:locate F O R H R , G LO B A L M A N A G E R S & R E LO C AT I O N P R O F E S S I O N A L S Spring 2012
Olympics opportunity Relocation rises to the challenge
International assignments setting the pace
Education Choices for success
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CONTENTS 4 Re:editor's letter Fiona Murchie looks at what's in store this issue. 6 Re:news & views Key industry happenings, personalities and comment. 8 Re:international Permits Foundation's drive to create inclusive partner work visa regimes. 10 Re:hot topic Making the most of the Olympics opportunity. 15 Re:family support New directions for expat support organisation FOCUS. 16 Re:country profile Why up-and-coming Brazil is one to watch. 24 Re:financial How to make your intern programme run more smoothly. 26 Re:Europe and Nordics Assessing the trends that are shaping relocation. 34 Re:awards Announcing the shortlists for the 2011/12 Re:locate Awards, plus our special celebrity guest speaker. 37 Re:technology New developments that benefit employers and assignees. 39 Re:serviced apartments Are providers meeting the demand in global relocation hotspots? 42 Re:immigration Results of the 2012 Chambers USA and global rankings. 44 Re:careers Profiling a new partner support service. 45 Re:education International developments and trends, plus how to interpret the new-style performance tables.
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his year should be a fantastic showcase for Britain as we host three world-class events – the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and, earlier in the summer, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, as well as a raft of cultural occasions. As we look forward to welcoming so many visitors to the country, we examine the impact the Olympics will have on relocation, with a roundup of tips from experts, to help you plan ahead. Our country profile this issue is Brazil, which is going from strength to strength. We examine mobility in the context of its phenomenal growth, bringing you expert analysis of the complexities of payroll and immigration, advice on cultural differences, plus the inside track on relocation trends and points assignees need to be aware of, from a Brazilian relocation company. To reflect the various conferences in the region, including WERC, in London, and Mondissimo, in Paris, we also focus on Europe, and assess the relocation trends emerging there. As Sweden is the venue for this year's EuRA Congress (25–27 April), we revisit the Nordic countries. For more information on international destinations, plus news and comment, see our website. Our technology features explore the latest innovations supporting relocation and international assignments. Following the Business Travel Show, we report on whether the serviced apartments industry is meeting demand in global relocation hotspots. Our education features analyse international developments and trends, and explain how to interpret the new-style school performance tables. As employee support is high on the business agenda, we report on the work of the Permits Foundation and a new careers service for accompanying partners, and celebrate the 30th anniversary of expat support organisation FOCUS. This has been our best year yet for entries to the Re:locate Awards, the shortlists for which are announced in this issue. Book your tickets now for our fabulous Gala Awards Dinner on Thursday 10 May, with special celebrity host and guest speaker Adrian Mills. Keep in touch through our website at www.relocatemagazine.com and daily RSS news feeds. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, and keep us informed of your news and views by emailing email@example.com Fiona Murchie Managing Editor
Thursday 10 May 2012
Coming in the SUMMER 2012 issue of Re:locate magazine • AWARDS © 2012. Re:locate is published by Profile Locations, Spray Hill, Hastings Road, Lamberhurst, Kent TN3 8JB. All rights reserved. This publication (or any part thereof) may not be reproduced in any form without the prior written permission of Profile Locations. Profile Locations accepts no liability for the accuracy of the contents or any opinions expressed herein. ISSN 1743-9566.
Our winners – and the stories behind their success
• REGIONAL PROFILE
Relocation in the Middle East
Underpinning successful companies
: NEWS & VIEWS
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CITIES to support jobs and growth A new report on how economic upheaval is affecting Britain's cities may have implications for relocation. Cities Outlook 2012, from the Centre for Cities, found that, as public-sector job losses continue into 2012, those cities that will see the largest public-sector job cuts will find it most difficult to generate net new employment in the short term.
Based on these factors, some cities, such as London, Aberdeen and Milton Keynes, are well placed to support the creation of the jobs and growth that will address the challenge of unemployment. This is because of their large numbers of business start-ups, high percentage of knowledge workers, and innovative economies. Other cities, including Doncaster, Newport and Hull, are likely to find the
immediate future more difficult. Owing to their weaker private sectors, low number of business start-ups, poorer skills profiles, and greater exposure to publicsector job cuts, these cities will remain more vulnerable to external economic conditions, and will find it more difficult to reduce their unemployment levels without additional support. Cities with the strongest pools of skilled labour are likely, the report says, to be more attractive to incoming businesses, and the availability of skilled labour is likely to be an important consideration in the expansion of businesses currently based in cities. For the latest on UK relocation destinations, make sure you visit www.relocatemagazine.com
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The GREAT BRITISH character Inspired by Danny Boyle's comments about choreographing the Olympics opening ceremony, we asked David Crawford, partner at Fragomen LLP, for his views on the British character.
iving in the UK, I am struck by the friendly informality of people more than clichéd stuffiness. The sellers at local markets, cab drivers, publicans and B&B hosts all share a warmth I have enjoyed equally at business meetings and luncheons. As an outsider, I don't pretend to understand all of Britain. I am not sure why there may not be a fully representative football team at the Olympic Games, how such self-effacing people built such a massive Empire, or why 'everyone' loves the English countryside but seems to prefer a holiday on a beach. And the Barmy Army (a group of cricket supporters to you and me) defies all understanding. Living in the UK, you could be forgiven for thinking that all is not well: the Human Rights Act, the financial sector, manufacturing, the economic state of the North, and so on, are trotted out as signs of Britain's struggle. But Britain remains very strong in many ways. For those looking from the
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NEWS & VIEWS :
outside, the UK remains a very prominent country in history and a major contributor to our present reality. The UK has the world's largest financial centre, it is a leader in international investment flows, it retains a major role in the aerospace and pharmaceutical industries, and it is a major investor in R&D. It sits with the grown-ups in the EU, the G8, the G20, the IMF, the OECD, the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation and the UN. The end of Empire did not mean the end of the links. The parliamentary and judicial infrastructure Britain sent out to the world, along with a few convicts, resulted in a continuing connection – and more goodwill than some Brits might expect. And Britain still has an enormous impact on popular culture through things like music, sport and fashion. Of course, those things will not impress the young unemployed and those struggling in the present economic climate. My view, however, is that, while the bad news exists and all those issues need to be addressed, Britain still stands for much that is good. David Crawford relocated from Australia to London in 2009. Please email editorial@ relocatemagazine.com with your views! We will include a selection in our Summer 2012 issue. Our Olympics coverage (p10) includes tips to ensure your organisation is prepared.
Partner work visas: a global change agenda? Sue Shortland reports on Permits Foundation's drive to create inclusive partner work visa regimes to support expatriate mobility.
he changing nature of the global workforce presents immense complexity and challenges. Consumer spending power and aspirations are changing, opening up new markets and demands. Operating within such dynamic environments is resulting in pressures on governments and industries to think differently, to consider new resourcing and talent management strategies, and to respond both to business case and moral and social justice arguments in their employment practices. Set against this backdrop, employers need to continue to manage their mobility requirements on the global stage. To maximise the opportunity for a successful assignment for employees, employers need to consider whole families â€“ and, in particular, working partners. For some ten years, Permits Foundation (a lobbying group supported by industry) has campaigned for spouses' and partners' rights to work, and over this time has achieved considerable success in persuading governments to open up work-permit regimes to provide more favourable work-visa status for accompanying spouses. While it is notable that the business case for this remains widely and strongly championed by some of the industry big hitters, such as Shell, Unilever and Schlumberger, it is apparent that a subtle shift is taking place: the human rights argument is beginning to gain momentum.
The business case To examine the movement to promote inclusion of spouses and partners in more detail, it is first worth reviewing the business case argument for their employment rights upon expatriation. Employees who are seconded or posted abroad are the very best, and they and their spouses/partners bring a considerable skills resource to the receiving country. By attracting such skills, newly emerging economies can become more quickly integrated into the global economy; employed spouses also create wealth to be invested locally, boosting economic growth. Although it is a clichĂŠ, happy
expatriates are more productive than those who are unhappy, bringing their employers greater return on investment from their expatriate assignments. Organisations need to move staff internationally, and if both partners can work this reduces couples' likelihood of turning down assignments through loss of income/career opportunities, aiding retention of key skills. Countries such as Brazil, India, Russia and China, as well as emerging locations such as Ghana, Indonesia and Kazakhstan, present major economic opportunities to employers, and, as such, are targets for lobbying for work rights for expatriate spouses. A case in point concerns recent success to gain a more favourable work-permit regime for accompanying spouses relocated to India. Progress to open up working visas for spouses here was reported at the recent Permits Foundation tenth anniversary conference, and, interestingly, the lobbying activity centred on the human rights angle: if an employee was able to work in India, it was not supportive of human rights for spouses to have to leave the country for several months to live apart from their families while they applied for visas to work there in their own right. Lobbying activity could not follow established process because there was none to follow, and local action had to create a process within, and between, various government ministries before change allowing in-country spousal visa applications could be effected. This shows just how creative, flexible and responsive action to promote inclusion needs to be, and, given an open-minded and responsive audience, how victory can be achieved.
Challenges ahead Permits Foundation has had considerable success over the years in influencing almost two dozen countries to allow spouses to work, and it has a number of new targets for the immediate future. However, it faces a number of challenges. Its aim is to achieve 'open permission' for accompanying spouses and partners to work, rather than work permits tied to partners' employers, with no labour-market test or requirements to meet skills and full labour-market checks. Further challenges include host governments seeking reciprocity; to go down this route would result in an overly complex system and inequity between expatriates of different nationalities working in the same location. The Permits Foundation's line, therefore, rests on reciprocity operating on a broad sense of inclusion, rather than on a bilateral basis. Work visas for accompanying spouses help expatriates and their employers, and Re:locate wishes their endeavours every success.
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: HOT TOPIC
Best of British Make the most of the fabulous opportunity the London 2012 Olympics offers to showcase your company to an international audience, whether you are a corporate ensuring business as usual or a supplier supporting any aspect of relocation or managing international assignments. We bring you hints and tips to ensure your organisation is prepared.
f you haven't already thought how the Olympics will impact your company, there is still time to plan. We've pulled together a selection of expert advice from various sectors, and you can keep on top of latest developments by visiting the special Relocate 2012 section on our website, with special round-up every month in our online newsletter, Relocate Extra. So join the Re:locate community via the website, share your knowledge, be creative, work out solutions with the help of fellow professionals, and enjoy a spectacular summer. In February, we invited international delegates to the Worldwide ERC (WERC) symposium to enjoy a spectacular view of London with a night flight on the London Eye. This was not only a chance to network, but a fabulous opportunity to showcase London. Taking on board the very positive feedback from those who attended, and remembering the huge interest in the Royal Wedding last year from international readers, we will be taking the opportunity to connect with the Re:locate readership around the world over the coming months and share the highlights of the year, including the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and Paralympics, the other great British social and sporting occasions which take on a special twist this year, and the wealth of cultural events, from
the Cultural Olympiad to the Shakespeare festival. Celebrate the best of British with Re:locate magazine in 2012! As media partner for WERC, Re:locate was asked to contribute a profile of London to Mobility magazine. We share this wealth of information with you, to assist with international assignments to London and the UK. Visit the website at www.relocatemagazine.com. You can also encourage your employees to keep informed and make the most of being in the UK this summer via www.smartmoverelocate.com
Businesses operating in London There is lots of helpful advice out there on keeping your business running smoothly, from organisations ranging from London 2012 to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the Institute of Directors, and the Confederation of British Industry, to the various professional and membership organisations. See our websites for a selection. Things to consider include staff, technology, transport, the supply chain, and the workplace. Staff implications can include everything from annual leave requests to increased sickness, changes in working hours, impact on productivity, and time off for Olympics volunteers. If you are on the HR
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or corporate side, you need to think about the numbers of people you will be bringing in over the Olympics period and afterwards, and the logistics of doing so, and contacting your various suppliers to make sure things run smoothly. Technology issues to plan for can cover anything from bandwidth sufficiency and security to IT support. Make sure you are prepared; in a fast-moving technological world, it is a good exercise to review your IT risks, responsibilities and procedures anyway. With 800,000 people expected to use public transport on the busiest dates of the Games, there will be an impact on transport in the London area and within the M25 and the various Olympics venues outside London. And, with 660,000 people forecast to visit Britain for the Olympics, plus 700 additional commercial flights, airport queuing times are bound to increase.
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Think about the Olympic Route Network, Paralympic Network, any restricted or no-access areas and how you will work round them, and how transport and logistics issues will affect your staff, clients and suppliers. Study the Olympic Delivery Authority map, because this really highlights the Olympics venues and likely transport congestion hotspots. Download Tfl's excellent pdf. During the Games period, Transport for London (TfL) advises that 65 per cent of the network should be unaffected, but boarding times may increase from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. The busiest time will be between 5 pm and 7 pm, obviously coinciding with commuter times, so it is advisable to stagger journey times if possible. The general advice is to avoid London Bridge. Major tube stations affected are: • Westminster • Bank • London Bridge • Canary Wharf • Covent Garden • Bond Street • North Greenwich • Stratford
Useful travel and transport links www.london2012.com/business Travel information: www.london2012.com/get-involved/businessnetwork/travel-advice-for-business/ www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/london2012
: HOT TOPIC
Apart from your relocation providers, how will your supply chain be affected? Are you likely to have more or less business, will there be an effect on the workload of your various suppliers, and are your customers likely to increase or reduce their work with you? What are the potential opportunities for your organisation? Think about your workplace. Is working outside normal hours appropriate? You will find that many suppliers in the relocation industry already have this sorted, and you can see examples of removals and rented furniture delivery below. Consider access for staff and deliveries. What are your plans for keeping staff motivated and productive during the Olympics? Have you thought about a TV in the office, or perhaps breakfast meetings with refreshments, and using the whole Olympics experience as a means of raising team spirit?
Keeping relocation moving The removals industry is intent on keeping the show on the road throughout the summer. Hosted by the British Association of Removers, in conjunction with TfL, a recent one-day Olympic Freight Planning workshop provided practical advice for those relocating to the London area this summer. It advised businesses to take note of the traffic management measures that will be in force during the Olympics period, as these will have a direct impact on deliveries of household goods. The measures will affect anyone wishing to move to, or around, London between 25 July and 14 August, and between 27 August and 11 September. Some of the factors that may affect relocations are delivery delays caused by road restrictions, out-of-hours deliveries necessitated by loading and unloading restrictions, a limited choice of delivery and pick-up dates, rescheduling of deliveries and pick-ups because of road closures, and temporary traffic and parking restrictions around the 37 venues and Olympic Route Network. “From an international removals point of view, we're planning for business as usual,” says Tim Daniells, of Londonbased DT Moving. “We are not taking plans lightly, and there is no doubt that the Olympic Route Network will impact some journeys in Central London. We know from our research that there will also be road closures in key areas, and increased parking restrictions and no-stopping zones around Olympic venues. However, it's important that we put these restrictions into perspective and plan around them. “We will be adjusting working patterns so that packing and delivery crews are travelling during off-peak hours where possible. Our drivers will use smaller vehicles to improve accessibility, and our co-ordinators and crews will use daily traffic hotspot data to plan and map routes.” Bear in mind that the removal costs may increase during the Olympics period. Taking into account rent and demurrage for household goods held at a port, out-of-hours delivery costs, and additional charges to non-London ports, Pricoa Relocation estimates that transporting a standard 40-foot container may attract additional costs of £3,200.
Rental issues Dee Clair, of PainSmith Solicitors, advises an assignee who is concerned about the security of his tenancy during the Olympics. Q. How can I avoid having my agreement terminated to make way for an alternative let to Olympics visitors? A. It may be too late now; it really depends on what stage you are in with your tenancy. You should look closely at the break clauses and activate the options to renew in good time. The conditions of the break clauses and the renewal options should be adhered to. Specifically, we often see options to renew where the clause states that any option to renew should be served by the tenant, addressed to the landlord, and sent to the landlord's agent. This means that if a notice is sent by a relocation agent on behalf of the tenant to the landlord at the landlord's address, this is invalid, because the conditions have not been adhered to. There is, however, case law which supports the view that, if the option to renew is served incorrectly but is acknowledged by the landlord or his agent, then there has been a waiver of the procedural errors, and so the tenant has, by default, obtained a renewal. So this could be something to consider if, having read this article, you discover that you have not adhered to the conditions! If the above is not an option and you are facing being pushed out, try negotiating with the landlord, on the basis that you could make arrangements to vacate for a month to allow the let, but on the condition that you get the property back afterwards, preferably with some compensation. It is always worth reminding the landlord that the Olympics is only for a month, but that you will be here afterwards.
Relocation during the Olympics period Many organisations have been preparing well ahead for the potential disruption the 2012 Olympics may bring. Pricoa Relocation (see p14) and PainSmith (see box) offer useful advice on relocation issues relating to property, and there is more on our website. For some organisations, it is inevitable that they will have to bring assignees into London during the peak period. Speaking at the WERC summit, Caroline Fyfe, global mobility manager at BNP Paribas, outlined a number of ways in which her company is preparing for the Games. Given likely disruptions to transport services and border controls, she said, the bank is trying to ensure that only essential international assignments go ahead during the Olympics period. Firms must be realistic about what they can offer assignees in 2012, noted Ms Fyfe. With demand likely to outstrip supply in the London housing market, global mobility programmes must be flexible, and assignees must consider living further afield, and even working from home during Games time.
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A spectacular summer It will be a busy summer, and, during the 14-week period of 2 June to 9 September, there will be some fantastic events showcasing the best of Britain, including: • The Queen's Diamond Jubilee • Euro 2012 • Henley Regatta • Cowes Week • Wimbledon tennis championships • Local carnivals and festivals • Olympic Torch Relay • Olympics opening and closing ceremonies • Paralympic Torch Relay • Paralympic Games • Cultural Olympiad • World Shakespeare Festival Keep informed: www.tourism2012games.org www.london2012.com www.tourismsoutheast.com www.visitsoutheastengland.com
Serviced apartments With pressure on London for accommodation over the Olympics and Paralympics period, those who do have to move may be considering the serviced apartment option. Think Apartments is partnering the London Olympics through a partnership with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG). Says business development manager James Sykes-Hagen, “Through LOCOG, we wanted to give clients the opportunity to book accommodation at a fair rate, in addition to providing real accommodation support and stability for Olympics
Immigration solutions Potential problems • Consular delays (Border Agency advises it has things in hand, with temporary staff and redeployment) • Arrival delays (e.g. queues at passport control, red channel, etc) • Olympic provisions (special lanes at airport for Olympics Family, accreditation) Solutions • Plan in advance • Arrive in UK ahead of schedule • Advise assignees of delays • No planned delays to points-based applications • Additional staff at border • 'Smart' technology (e.g. e-gates)
organisers. Throughout this period, we have also especially considered our corporate clients by providing availability and very reasonable pricing on all bookings. One of the key goals within all of our Olympic strategy was to maintain and respect the relationships that we have built up. “We believe that the serviced apartment industry is becoming recognised as a more appealing accommodation solution for both business and pleasure in London than the traditional hotel offering.” SilverDoor's Samantha Fox says, “Serviced apartments are less likely than hotel rooms to get fully booked during the Olympics period, because they are more geared towards longer stays: operators are more likely to accept longer, corporate stays than short-term Olympics stays which might fetch a slightly higher nightly rate. Going through an agent experienced at negotiating better deals for longer stays will make the process easier.” Most of the serviced apartment providers are of the same opinion; they are keen to keep their long-term clients, and are working to provide them with the best-possible solution, even for last-minute bookings. The advice is to talk to your trusted supplier and work out a solution together. Is Stratford set to become the new serviced accommodation hotspot? Several providers think so. Staybridge Suites, for example, will open 162 apartments in the Westfield Stratford City complex in July, and House of Modern Living is also opening there. For information on managing your relocations throughout the buildup and the Olympics period, plus practical advice on keeping your business functioning effectively, sharing with colleagues and enjoying the celebrations, see the London 2012 section of www.relocatemagazine.com, plus Re:locate Extra.
: HOT TOPIC
Meeting the property challenge The Olympics is providing unique challenges for corporate customers seeking accommodation of various kinds this summer. David Brady, Olympics project lead at Pricoa Relocation, considers the longer-term prospects for London's rental market, and describes how his company is working with clients to come up with creative solutions. ensure that they find the right property with a reduction in disruption caused by road closures. For the long-term rental market, the Olympics is likely to offer a fantastic legacy in the development of the area around the Olympic Park, which will see areas such as Stratford become more sophisticated, and more attractive to the corporate tenant. The provision of new, cost-effective rental property, coupled with great transport links to the city and Canary Wharf, plus new additions to the infrastructure, will make the eastern side of the city a more attractive location, and increase choice after the Games. The shorter-term market is where we are likely to see the greatest challenges, as landlords, agents and accommodation providers look to gain financial advantage from the Games. Stories abound of properties being offered for eye-watering sums, and the increase in costs itself is certainly an area of concern for our clients.
he summer is always the busiest time of year for the property market, with assignees needing homes for the start of the academic year or new opportunities such as graduate training programmes. Add to the mix the increase in tourism, visitors and spectators for the Olympics, and summer 2012 will certainly be an interesting time to move to the UK. The market for long-term accommodation is likely to remain fairly consistent. Reputable estate agents are reminding landlords of the continuing benefits of a longterm corporate tenant, and encouraging them to retain relationships, rather than taking the chance that they may be able to make a short-term gain by serving notice and letting their property out during the Games. We have seen comparatively few assignees asked to leave their property for this reason. It is the search for long-term property, rather than any disruption to the market itself, that is likely to be the problem. Home searches may have to be done on foot, or by public transport, rather than in a car, especially on days when road closures are likely. Estate agents are responding to the challenge by opening at different times and operating longer hours. We are advising assignees to choose their top five properties to view, focusing much more on the expectationsetting and research elements of a home search in order to
Pricoa has been advising clients to think creatively about the options on offer, and to plan ahead. They are definitely rising to the Olympics challenge by pioneering new ideas. One client has booked an entire hotel in advance, on fixed rates, others have taken advantage of block-booking options made available by the temporary accommodation providers, and others are looking at more creative approaches to housing their employees. One client has rented a cruise ship, to be docked on the Thames, and another is asking if colleagues would be willing to house share or offer a spare room to a colleague. There are other creative solutions, such as rotating assignees into, and out of, a managed portfolio, and maximising the flexibility of corporate leases to allow them to do this effectively. The key message is that, despite increased costs and logistical challenges, there are always alternatives, even if they are not immediately obvious. By planning ahead, leveraging existing relationships, and having strong contingency plans, there is no reason why relocations to London cannot still be successful during the Olympics, which is likely to be a brilliant time to move if you are an assignee coming to the city during the summer. Post-2012, the capital should definitely start to reap some of the rewards of its hard work, provided that businesses act sensibly and are not seen to be profiteering from the Games to the detriment of genuine business opportunities.
FAMILY SUPPORT :
New directions In 2012, international expatriate support organisation FOCUS celebrates an important milestone. Louise Whitson reports on its first 30 years – and its plans for the future.
n these hard economic times, savvy employers are realising that, as a powerful means of persuading their talent to relocate and reducing the risk of assignment failure, providing support not only to relocating employees but also to their families can be a wise investment. An organisation with a long and successful track record of helping relocatees to adjust to their new environment is FOCUS, which, at the 2010/11 Re:locate Awards, became the first winner of the Excellence in Employee & Family Support category. In 2012, it celebrates its 30th year of working with expatriates and their families to ensure smooth transitions.
The story so far FOCUS was founded in 1982 as a not-for-profit association for US expats and their families living in London, providing information to help them settle in their new surroundings Today, it describes itself as a community rather than just a source of information, and has extended its reach to serve all international professionals living in the UK. Its catchment area is mainly London and the South East, but also extends north of London to another magnet for international assignees, Cambridge. In 2010, FOCUS served more than 2,000 members through a combination of resources, including events and careers seminars to enhance their international experience and enable them to meet people from all over the world who were in similar circumstances. The importance of this kind of ready-made network can hardly be overestimated as a means of helping expatriates to settle in their new location. Web-based resources are another important part of the support offered. As well as a wealth of information on everything from banking and insurance to children's holiday activities, they include a database of recommended products and services, plus a classified advertising section that enables members to post items or services directly. One of the secrets of FOCUS's success is its enthusiastic and knowledgeable team. Says executive director Alessandra Gnudi – an Italian who has lived in London for some years, and, before that, was based in the USA – “The FOCUS team all have experience of expat life, both in the UK and in other countries, which helps them to relate to members' needs.” Personal service has not been sacrificed with the organisation's expansion. Says Eva Stock, director of sponsor
relations, “Our competitors are really online companies, and they don't offer the sort of personal touch that we do. You can call us on the telephone; you can come into the office. We try to make the service as human and personal as we can.”
The HR connection FOCUS is an invaluable resource for hard-pressed HR professionals. Its team understands the pressures HR is under, and does all it can to help. “We work closely with global mobility departments,” explains Eva Stock. “They are continually asked to decrease their expenses while managing these very complicated international moves within a more and more demanding environment. In many cases, the line managers who are asking for people to be moved don't understand the complexities involved in the transfer of an employee, so the scope of the services that global mobility specialists are asked to provide, often in very short timeframes, is expanding.”
The next 30 years? Winning a Re:locate Award, particularly on the eve of such a milestone anniversary, has been a great achievement for the FOCUS team. Says Alessandra Gnudi, “While we have been around for 30 years, we are a relatively small organisation, so the recognition of winning such an industry-wide award has been tremendous.” There are big plans going forward. “We have moved this year from focusing on settling in to being more of a community for international professionals and their families,” Ms Gnudi explains. “People who are in the country for longer than a year can continue to benefit from our services – seminars, networking, the magazine.” This evolution of the service has come about because, as Eva Stock says, “Some needs occur later on, not in the first six months, during which assignees and families are often shellshocked. Also, people are keener to take part in seminars and events once they are acclimatised.” To mark the anniversary, a cocktail reception and private view for members and sponsors is being held at Christie's, South Kensington, in May. This, says Alessandra Gnudi, will be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate past achievements and look forward to the future.
Brazil: land of opportunity Having overtaken the UK to become the world's sixth-largest economy, Brazil – the country that put the 'B' into 'BRICS' – is now a key player on the global stage. Jack Lang examines mobility in the context of its phenomenal growth, with contributions from leading experts and relocation practioners.
country blessed with abundant natural resources and one of the most diverse populations on the globe, Brazil is finally beginning to flex its muscles on the international stage. With a GDP of over $1 trillion and a steady rate of growth, it has overtaken the UK to become the world's sixthlargest economy. Previously hindered by political instability – between 1964 and 1985, the country was run by a military dictatorship – Brazil's success has been built on a series of economic reforms in the 1990s. The launch of a new currency (the Real), in addition to widespread privatisation and fiscal caution, helped boost confidence in South America's most populous nation, sewing the seeds for the successes of the last decade. Brazil is now an external creditor, and emerged relatively unscathed from the recent financial crisis. Given its size, it is unsurprising that Brazil boasts a strong agricultural sector. A traditional producer of sugar cane, coffee, corn, and soybeans, Brazil is one of the world's major exporters of food, and recent rises in the prices of such commodities have aided its growth enormously. Industry is also well developed, representing around a third of Brazil's economy. As well as consumer goods and cars, the country's output includes steel, petrochemicals, and aircraft components. And Brazil is now attracting
unprecedented levels of foreign investment, with multinationals hoping to benefit from its growth. Major firms, such as GlaxoSmithKline, Microsoft and Coca-Cola, have a significant presence there, as do a number of banking groups. Significant investment in areas such as renewable energy, environmental management and consultancy, meanwhile, means that demand for non-Brazilian workers – 2010 saw a 30 per cent increase in foreign new hires, according to Forbes – is likely to remain high. Investment opportunities will also be boosted by the advent of the 2014 football World Cup and the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games two years later. Many firms have already begun to benefit from Brazil's preparations: groups from France and South Africa are among those to have invested in three major airports that were privatised in early 2012. With the country's infrastructure believed to be in need of an overhaul before the two major sporting events, more foreign involvement is likely. The potential for foreign investment into Brazil has not been lost on the UK government. Foreign Secretary William Hague has predicted a boom in trade between the UK and Brazil, stating that possibilities for growth are “almost limitless.” Speaking on the BBC's The World Tonight show, Mr Hague spoke of the potential for growth in the Brazil economy. “There are huge opportunities in Brazil. Our target is to double our trade
within five years, from 2010 to 2015, and there has been a strong increase.” Mr Hague noted that the increase in trade had occurred in many sectors, from manufacturing to pharmaceuticals. He also highlighted the demand in Brazil for British-built military vehicles, and the potential for cooperation in the run-up to the 2016 Olympic Games. The Foreign Secretary admitted that competition between foreign businesses was becoming stiffer in Brazil, with the USA and China expanding their investments in the country. He underlined the vital role of the British Government in “opening opportunities and drawing attention to these opportunities”.
Relocation booming Laura Ganon, of Brazilian firm Transportes Fink, says that Brazil is attracting assignees from a wide range of industries, mainly oil, pharmaceuticals, automotives and telecoms. She also notes a surge in investment in hotels, with firms such as Marriott, Hyatt and InterContinental seeking to increase their presence in Brazil ahead of the 2014 World Cup. According to Ms Ganon, the vast majority – up to 80 per cent – of assignees are based in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo or Brasília. Rio is one of Brazil's key ports, São Paulo is the commercial hub of the country, and huge numbers of diplomats head to Brasília. Of the country's other major cities, two have particular potential for further growth in the coming years. Curitiba, the largest city in southern Brazil, boasts a Renault factory and other automotive firms. On Brazil's northeast coast, Salvador stands to benefit from significant investment by the petrochemical industry in the local area.
Challenges: immigration and housing Laura Ganon highlights two major difficulties for assignees relocating to Brazil. “The first is the complexity of the visa application system. It can take up to 60 days to work through the bureaucracy and secure the right to stay and work in Brazil. “The process is further complicated by Brazilian employment law, which requires that a certain number of
Brazilian nationals are hired for every foreign employee who is recruited. “The second is housing. In the last two or three years, prices have increased enormously. Supply is also an issue: many Brazilians rent their properties in the long term, which has caused shortages as cities grow more populous. In Rio, for instance, new apartment complexes are always being developed in areas such as Barra da Tijuca, but demand easily outstrips supply in neighbourhoods like Ipanema and Leblon. “Serviced apartments, by contrast, are in relatively good supply, offering assignees peace of mind whilst they apply for visas and arrange a permanent place of residence.” Brazil is an up-and-coming market for serviced apartment company Oakwood. Says managing director T J Spencer, “We are currently working with our global solutions partner network to service several customers with housing needs in this region. In 2011, we placed over 100 guests in Brazil.” Skyline Worldwide, too, is expanding its presence in Brazil, where it has apartments in five major cities.
Schooling and culture According to Laura Ganon, despite the priority given to overseas children in international schools, securing places is beginning to become an issue due to the increase in demand which is still growing. Security has ceased to be an issue for most incoming employees. “Two or three years ago, that was a major concern. But today, most people feel safe when they come to Brazil.” Ms Ganon also spoke of the cultural differences that assignees are likely to experience. “Brazil is very informal. This has its downsides: our infrastructure is often disorganised, and our cities messy. It does, though, mean that Brazilians are very receptive to overseas visitors, and are always very keen to help or provide advice.”
Work authorisation for expat partners Permits Foundation, the not-for-profit organisation that lobbies globally for access to employment for expatriate partners (see p8), held its first meeting in Brazil last year. The objective was to assess whether companies with operations there were interested in taking part in a local chapter to promote change. Gill Gordon, chair of the Permits Foundation board, and an HR director with Schlumberger, hosted the meeting while on business in the region. The event attracted 25 organisations that wanted to learn more about the work of the foundation. Delegates confirmed the importance of the initiative in the Brazilian context, and that the economic, social and legal climate was favourable to starting to promote regulations allowing partners to work. A small steering committee has been formed to develop plans in more detail. Members include BT, Gemalto, Schlumberger, Statoil, and legal experts EMDOC and Loeser e Portela. Said Gill Gordon, “As business in Brazil is expanding, the demand for highly skilled professionals is growing, and small numbers of international staff are necessary to support operations and transfer skills. We hope we can persuade the authorities to amend the work-permit regulations to allow accompanying partners to work, in line with international best practice.”
Re:locate : BRAZIL
Immigration: avoid the quick fix For organisations sending employees to Brazil on business travel, it's essential to make the right immigration choice, says Andrea Elliott, senior counsel (foreign) at immigration service provider Pro-Link GLOBAL.
he business traveller presents itself as a 'special', and often difficult, category of employee for companies to manage and maintain compliant outside their home country, for a broad range of reasons – most often because business travellers are engaged in extended business travel that may cross the line with employment activities, or their nationality may permit them entry into the country on a passport only for tourism, but not for business, or when their destination country does not offer clear guides as to what constitute legitimate business activities on a business visa and what are work activities requiring work authorisation. This means that, for the HR or global mobility manager, this population may require a case-by-case/region and/or country-by-country approach. As a general rule, foreign citizens travelling to do business (but not to seek employment) in Brazil are generally required to have a business visa. Their first entry into Brazil must be within 90 days from the date the visa is issued. The original visa may allow for a stay of up to 90 days, although one single extension of up to 90 additional days is possible, at the discretion of the Brazilian immigration authorities. While Brazil has an expansive visa waiver agreement with a number of countries (including the UK), there are still a number of countries whose citizens are required to obtain a Brazil visa before they enter the country. This list includes nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia and the USA, as well as a number of other countries. Therefore, it is vital that travellers have a good understanding of the Brazil visa requirements and timing considerations they are subject to before they depart. The processing time for a Brazil visa can be as long as ten working days, but this is subject to change. It depends very much on the type of visa, the nationality of the person applying, the time of year, the consular location the visa is filed in, and other variables. Therefore, it is advised that travellers start the application process well in advance of their scheduled trip.
Business travellers to Brazil Brazil is a perfect example of the variety of issues facing business travellers.
• Industry-specific – Travellers employed by specific IT, engineering or electronic industries who are required to perform technical services are faced with a general consular approach to take a strict and rigid position and to presume that the employee intends to work. This places a heavy burden on the employer and employee of having to rebut the presumption of 'work' when requesting a business visa • Different consulate, different result – Depending on the consular location where the traveller is filing for their Brazil business visa, the outcome may vary. As an example, the Brazilian Consulates in India are notorious for rejecting business visa applications made for business travel by software engineers, even when they are engaging in legitimate business traveller activities • Business visas do not generally allow change of status from business visa to a work visa in country
Suggested solutions Our advice to companies is: • Have a centralised Business Visa Traveller programme • Partner with a global immigration provider who can train and advise HR on a case-by-case basis on whether a business visa is the correct type of visa for the specific business case/employee • When in doubt, err on the side of caution, and do not assume that the business visa will cover all activities • Ensure that all travellers to Brazil know that the Brazilian Government does not have overly-detailed descriptions of what is considered allowable business activity on a business visa, such as outlined below: M eetings to discuss sales or purchases of goods and services; close export or import deals; meetings to evaluate ongoing operations or existent contracts; explore investment opportunities, relocation, outsourcing. As a basic rule, business visitors admitted to Brazil should limit their activities to only discussion-style meetings and observing operations. These activities are designed to keep visitors either in conference rooms or out in the field doing a site visit for short, one-off periods of time. With Brazil taking centre stage as one of the BRICS countries, global immigration is booming. However this has brought challenges as companies face the pressure of moving employees with the necessary expertise to Brazil quickly. Unfortunately, a 'quick' business visa is often the wrong immigration choice, leading to harsh financial and long-term immigration consequences for the company and its employees.
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Navigating a mobility minefield Brazil's payroll, labour law, and compensation practices differ markedly from those common in Western Europe and the USA. Scott McCormick, of Deloitte LLP, explores the issues that those managing assignments to this popular destination need to be aware of.
f there is one concept all compensation and payroll professionals would believe exists on a global level, it would be an employee's annual, or base, salary. In the case of Brazil (and some other parts of Latin America), however, the idea of an annual salary for payroll purposes is rather alien. Monthly salary is the norm, and it influences everything from visa applications through to calculation of allowances and benefits. This one cultural difference in payroll practices between Brazil and the 'rest of the world' is a starting point to understand the significant traps and risks involved in managing international assignee populations involving Brazil as a home or destination country. This article will concentrate on the principal Brazilian compliance obligations through payroll for inbound assignees.
Assignees to Brazil It is important to understand that the working visa granted to an assignee coming to Brazil has a fundamental impact upon that assignee's compensation and payroll arrangements. For any visa categories which require a local labour contract to be concluded with the assignee (broadly, the non-statutory director Permanent Visa and the non-technical Temporary Visa categories), there is a requirement under Brazilian labour law for the monthly salary quoted on that application to be paid to the assignee in Brazil. Historically, compliance with this requirement has been low amongst multinationals, given the historical trend towards home-based pay structures for assignees; however, the Brazilian labour and immigration authorities are becoming more focused in their audit approach in this area, and, therefore, any company with a significant population of inbound assignees to Brazil should revisit its assignment policy, to be sure it is compliant. The finer point of debate is around which elements of compensation delivered in Brazil can count towards the monthly local salary payment requirement. Is it sufficient to count the local housing benefit against this value, or only cash items? Certainly, the requirement can be met with items other than salary, but it is considered aggressive only to include non-cash items. Most multinationals achieve a balance here, with an element of cash delivery via Brazilian payroll (grossed-up for Brazilian taxes if tax equalisation is operated). Brazil permits relatively free movement of foreign currency; therefore, any Brazilian-paid net income can usually be remitted back to the assignee's home country if desired. Any items paid to an assignee in Brazil also become subject to a further requirement to pay 'vacation' and 'Christmas bonus' instalments to the individual. These cannot
be reclaimed under the company's mobility policy and do represent additional wages due to the employee. Broadly, the individual is entitled to have one third of his or her monthly salary delivered in advance of two vacation periods per year (in strict terms, Brazilian employees are only supposed to take two vacation periods per year, and all employees, including assignees, are entitled to 30 days' vacation), whilst a further month's bonus is paid at Christmas. Employees have the right to sell back up to ten days' vacation for a cash payment via payroll. From a taxation point of view, anyone resident in Brazil and receiving payments via payroll is subject to Brazilian withholding taxes at progressive rates (these can be grossedup at source if tax equalisation is operated). As Brazil has very few social-security agreements with other countries (which would impose social security only in the home country, typically, during the period of work in Brazil), it is likely that INSS (Brazilian social-security contributions) will also be due both from the assignee and the employer. The employer contributions alone carry a cost of up to 28 per cent of income. Brazil also requires assignees to contribute to the employee termination fund, or FGTS. The scheme mandates contributions of 8 per cent of 'regular' income delivered in Brazil, which helps to build up a fund for the employee, which can be accessed upon termination of employment (either voluntary, involuntary, or through redundancy). On termination for involuntary cause, the employee has the right to a cash payment from the employer out of this fund, which can be substantial. This is very important, as it also applies to local labour contracts which are terminated on conclusion of an international assignment, meaning that a returning assignee could, potentially, receive a windfall on repatriation. Under Brazilian law, this cannot be claimed back from the employee, either onshore or via the overseas payroll. The final principal requirement in Brazil is for employees to file a monthly tax return (known as the Carne Leao) reporting the income paid to them overseas (including any personal income). The filing and payment deadline for this is tight, so organisations operating tax equalisation must ensure the data flow and support exists for the employee to have the correct data to hand, so that they (or a tax adviser) are able to file and pay taxes on time. Finally, an annual tax return must also be filed by the employee to report all global income. It is clear that, to avoid costly surprises, assignments into Brazil must be planned with care. Read the full version of this article in the Brazil section of www.relocatemagazine.com
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Celebrate Brazil's diverse culture Despite the fact that its major cities appear little different from those of other countries around the world, Brazil is a place with its own distinctive and very diverse culture, which assignees should embrace if they are to get the most from their assignment, says Bob Robertson, of Robertson Languages International.
hanks to its large population and immense natural resources, Brazil is one of the world's largest and fastestgrowing economies. However, the fact that its major cities look superficially the same as anywhere and your contacts are sophisticated international travellers does not mean that Brazil is not different from Europe or significantly different from the UK. For a start, Brazilians speak Portuguese, and only the most educated speak English beyond a few words. You will make little headway in developing relationships with business partners, or in settling in on an assignment, if you do not show that you are learning, and using, Portuguese. Brazilian Portuguese is different from European Portuguese in pronunciation, a few words, and the occasional verb form. As a foreigner, you can study with a European teacher, but, to become familiar with the pronunciation and occasional point of difference, it is better to learn from a Brazilian. Brazilians are proud that their country has absorbed the races and cultures of its past more completely and peacefully than many modern states. This may explain their fascination with Carnival, which celebrates variety, diversity, and all things different. In Brazil, European (primarily Portuguese, of
course) immigrants and African slaves intermarried with the indigenous peoples to a greater extent than in neighbouring countries. The word for a person of Portuguese and native descent is mestizo and of Portuguese and African is mulatto. Brazilians expect to receive and give considerable help within the family, by which they mean a more extended family than the nuclear one of parents and immediate children. This has an important effect on civil and work life. For instance, a UK person might consider it morally wrong to treat someone differently just because they are part of your family. A Brazilian might consider it morally wrong not to do so. When making a new appointment or simply choosing a colleague to work with on a project, a Brazilian may prefer to find someone he gets on with, rather than the person with the best experience and qualifications. It is important to be aware of these different starting points, so that you are ready for the occasions when different moral priorities give rise to different decisions. In marked contrast to the USA or most West European countries, where we are happy to sign contracts with people we have never met, and feel little need to socialise with work colleagues, Brazil is one of those countries where people want to know each before they do business. This means they prefer face-to-face meetings to email, and they expect to socialise and exchange small talk. If you do not do so, expect to miss out. For this reason, it is essential to learn Portuguese if you have any desire to be taken seriously. Brazilians are polite and anxious to avoid embarrassment, but not all meetings and social encounters will unfold as you would expect in the UK. For instance, Brazilians like to dress and behave more formally than we do now in the UK. Do not think they are being stuffy, and do not dress less formally than them: you will do yourself no favours. Be prepared to give Brazilians time to get to know you, and do not forget to show a genuine interest in them. In both business and social settings, Brazilians tend to interrupt each other more than UK speakers do. Try not to express surprise and irritation, as this will look impolite, which in Brazil, as everywhere, is not a good thing. This article cannot do justice to the fascinating topic of cultural norms. If you get the chance to visit Brazil, do make the most of your assignment by learning about the language and culture. See the Brazil section of www.relocatemagazine.com for ongoing developments. HR case studies to follow in our summer issue.
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Making your intern programme run more smoothly Internship programmes can bring huge benefits, both to individuals and to the companies employing them. However, interns arriving in the UK from overseas face major challenges in making everyday living and working arrangements, such as setting up a bank account. Neil Barsby, Head of NatWest Global Employee Banking, explains how his company can help.
nternship programmes are an effective way of attracting the best new talent from around the world, and often form part of a wider international assignment programme for your organisation. But it is important to make sure interns coming to your company from overseas are focusing on the job in hand, and not wasting their energy sorting financial and living arrangements. If you are to be in a position to assess interns' potential as future employees, it is important they devote their attention to the challenges you have lined up for them. A successful internship programme needs its interns to be as effective as possible as quickly as possible â€“ not wasting time figuring out how to open a bank account or trying to find the most costeffective way to transfer cash from back home.
Coping with challenges Interns arriving in this country can face a host of challenges. Many will rely on the money you pay them to meet their dayto-day living expenses. Without an account for you to pay it into, their stay in the UK can soon become very complicated. Arranging accommodation will be more difficult without a
UK bank account, and travel, cash withdrawals and day-to-day living costs will work out painfully expensive if overseas debit or credit cards are used. Yet unlike permanent international assignees, who typically benefit from a comprehensive relocation service when they work abroad, interns often have to deal all by themselves with many of the complexities of moving to a new country. Factor in the fact that, for many, it will be their first time in a foreign country, let alone an office environment, and it is easy to see they need all the help they can get. Unless an employer helps them to set one up, many will struggle on without the benefits of a UK account. Even if interns do find a spare moment in their packed programmes to attempt to set up a UK bank account on their own, most are destined to fail. A foreign intern walking into a high-street branch will struggle to fit into the normal accountopening process to satisfy branch account-opening procedures. Whilst a passport will satisfy ID requirements, interns and permanent assignees alike will find it virtually impossible to give satisfactory evidence of an address in the UK through something like a utility bill, and will, of course, have no UK credit history.
Help is at hand Fortunately, there is a solution that brings benefits to interns and employers alike. We at NatWest Global Employee Banking offer a service that sets up bank accounts for employees coming to work in the UK before they even set foot in this country. From chief executives to interns, this free service allows employers to furnish inpat employees of all levels with a smooth transition and welcome into the UK banking system. We help by actively working with the assignees and their employer to ensure we have all the information we need to help them open an account as soon as possible. NatWest Global Employee Banking always looks to assist those companies who have global mobility programmes with their intern programmes, as an additional service to the corporate entity. Alternatively, we can arrange for accounts to be opened quickly once staff have arrived. Our dedicated Corporate Relationship Officers can talk interns and regular assignees through the paperwork on the telephone, or, for companies in the London area, we can arrange face-to-face group enrolment sessions with our Client Manager on an induction day. We are also happy to assist with presentations to groups of interns on how the UK banking system works, as part of our service. Overseas interns and permanent international assignees are often pleasantly surprised at what they learn about the UK banking system. Not only are they relieved their new cards will avoid the exchange and transaction fees their overseas cards would have incurred, but many interns also find the ability to withdraw cash from other banks' ATMs without charge a novel freedom that is not always available to them at home. Interns are also often very pleased to discover they can withdraw cash before their cards arrive by simply going into a branch with their passport, account number and sort code. The majority of interns are likely to want everyday banking services such as those offered by our Current Plus account, which is available to both onshore and offshore customers. Once an account is open, inpat employees can be sure they will not be excluded from access to the products they need just because they do not have the UK credit history normally
demanded by banking providers. It is a service that has been used by many of the more than 45,000 inpat employees who have joined us in the last five years.
Reinforcing the employer brand You invite interns into your company to assess their performance at close quarters in authentic work situations. But it is worth remembering that your interns are also having a good look at you. Integrating interns into the UK banking system will make them feel you care about their wellbeing, and help your organisation forge lasting bonds with them. As many as 61 per cent of companies responding to the Brookfield GRS Global Relocation Trends Survey 2011 expect an increase in international assignees this year â€“ well above the historical average. And we know that demand for quality middle managers is growing. Against such a backdrop, it is reasonable to expect that intern numbers will also grow in the next few years. But as we emerge from recession, the battle for talent can only become more competitive. As the successful business professionals of tomorrow become increasingly demanding in what they expect from an internship, arranging a comprehensive banking service is a cost-effective way for your organisation to position itself as an employer of choice. To find out more about the service NatWest offers, visit www.natwestglobal.com
The Royal Bank of Scotland International Limited trading as NatWest (NatWest). Registered Office: P.O. Box 64, Royal Bank House, 71 Bath Street, St. Helier, Jersey JE4 8PJ. Regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission. Business address: PO Box 11, 16 Library Place, St. Helier, Jersey JE4 8NH. Our services are not offered to any person in any jurisdiction where their advertisement, offer or sale is restricted or prohibited by law or regulation or where we are not appropriately licensed. National Westminster Bank Plc. Registered in England No. 929027. 135 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 3UR. National Westminster Bank Plc. is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. National Westminster Bank Plc is a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) established under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme, set up under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, covers your account. For money held in a bank or building society in the UK, the scheme will cover up to ÂŁ50,000 of your claim. Most people who make deposits, including individuals and small firms, are covered. Deposits in all currencies are treated the same. For more information on the conditions of the scheme, please contact the FSCS at www.fscs.org.uk
: EUROPE AND NORDIC REGION
Europe – taking the temperature All eyes are on Europe this spring, with continuing economic turbulence and political change. As major mobility-related events – including the EuRA Congress, in Stockholm (25–27 April) – are held across the continent, Fiona Murchie considers some pan-European trends influencing relocation.
n February, Worldwide ERC (WERC) held its Global Workforce Summit in London, for which Re:locate was delighted to act as mobility media partner. The conference focused on talent mobility in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Some of the key threads reflected what is at the forefront of the minds of those managing mobility in Europe and beyond. Taking the temperature of Europe, one needs to reflect on the economic situation, which is pivotal for any move. Hamish McRae, chief economic commentator of The Independent, offered some powerful insights. Reflecting on the world economy, he saw two huge stories dominating the agenda. The first is globalisation. Speaking to an audience that makes globalisation happen and that is immersed in the complexities
and the evolving picture of doing business in international destinations, whether as a springboard to success in new regions and emerging markets or partnering in local regions, he said that this is a profession to be admired. As we know, it is also one that will have an ever-more-strategic impact on decision-making as the world shrinks. The second big story is that the economic recovery is going to be difficult. We are experiencing the shift of power from Europe and North America to Asia. Even 20 years ago, it would have been hard to imagine that Tata, an Indian company, would be Britain's biggest manufacturer, reviving British brand Jaguar Land Rover. In the background are big issues, such as Europe's ageing population. The average age across the continent is rising,
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EUROPE AND NORDIC REGION :
and those involved in moving people need to be aware of this, from policy to practicalities. Though employers' focus often tends to be on younger professionals as the workforce of the future, older people – the 'Sandwich Generation' – are also on the move, with their different needs.
The green agenda As the economy picks up, energy, especially oil, will be in short supply. This will have particular implications for Europe. The fossil-fuel economy is likely to continue for the next 20 to 30 years, but oil will come mostly from the Middle East and the former Soviet Union, areas that are not wholly stable. This makes the crisis-management strategy a must-have in the policy toolbox. Green initiatives, and nuclear and wind-farm initiatives, are not, so far, impacting on the bigger picture. However, green credentials do bring huge benefits for global companies. A greener reputation protects against bad PR, and helps build the employer brand and attract the best recruits. This is an area in which the Scandinavian countries are far ahead of us in the UK and some other parts of Western Europe. The raw energy producers will continue to be mobility hotspots, and this includes Russia, with all its complexities.
Sharing knowledge Hamish McRae felt that the Eurozone bailout wouldn't work, but that the breakup of the Eurozone was still some way off. By 2030, China will be the world's biggest economy, overtaking the USA. This raises some enormous questions about how we in the West think of ourselves. Europe will be important, but we need to learn from Asian countries. Mr McRae was less worried in economic terms, because of humankind's resourcefulness and adaptability. His hope for the future is that there will be a huge demand for 'thoughtful' staff to move around the world. In Europe, we must apply what we have learnt to other markets, taking on board other cultures and influences, adapting and changing, and adding value and expertise where we can.
Political picture Across Europe, new leaders are taking the reigns, and immigration, competitiveness and jobs are at the heart of the economic recovery and the ability of global companies to thrive and grow while governments walk the protectionist tightrope. In France, where an election is to be held on 22 April, polls have socialist candidate François Hollande as
favourite, ahead of the incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy. The third big candidate, Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front, has been working to broaden her campaign from the narrow issue of immigration and its effect on jobs and the euro. Ms Le Pen is drawing support away from the Communist Party, playing on fears of job losses and factory closures. Carmaker Renault, for example, has opened a new factory in Morocco. With Marine Le Pen in the picture, Mr Sarkozy cannot but take a tough stance on security and immigration, and all the candidates are forced to address, head on, the euro, the economy, and jobs. Changes to France's electoral system mean that, for the first time, the 2.5 million French expats will be able to vote for their own MPs in overseas constituencies. The new MP for northern Europe will represent French people in the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia, and the Baltic states. Spain, too, has a new government. Mariano Rajoy, of the centre-right People's Party, replaced the Socialist government in December 2011. Spain is battling to meet budgetdeficit targets and convince its partners that it can rein in overspending. Early in March, there were hints that it is to rebel against the austerity measures, with fighting talk from Mr Rajoy against EU interference. Closer to home, the results of the proposed referendum on Scottish independence may affect where companies decide to locate themselves. We'll be covering this topic further in future issues, and on our website.
The changing business agenda The under-representation of women at board level is an issue throughout Europe, and one that Re:locate covers regularly. In a report comparing data from the Organisation for Economic
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: EUROPE AND NORDIC REGION
Co-operation and Development (OECD) group of developed countries plus Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, and South Africa, Norway emerged as the country with the lowest level of gender disparity, with an average of 40 per cent women on each board. In Sweden, France, the Slovak Republic and Finland, the proportion of women on boards is between 15 per cent and 20 per cent, but Germany, Japan and the Netherlands all scored less than 5 per cent. Said European Commission vice president Viviane Reding, â€œThe lack of women in top jobs in the business world harms Europe's competitiveness and hampers economic growth. This is why several EU member states â€“ notably Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain â€“ have started to address the situation by adopting legislation that introduces gender quotas for company boards.â€? Troika Relocations provides home-finding, school search, preview trips and associated destination services for expatriate executives and their families who are relocating to Russia. Troika Relocations Myasnitskaya, 24/7, Building 3-4, Entrance 4, 5th Floor Contact: David Gilmartin T: +7 903 7998592 E: email@example.com W: www.troikarelocations.com
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Sweden meets China In a case study presented at the WERC summit in London, Catarina Enes and Camilla Kopp, of the Volvo Car Corporation, revealed the European, and particularly Swedish, perspective on managing international mobility now that the company is Chinese owned. Headquartered in Sweden, Volvo has 22,000 employees. It was founded in 1927 and has a strong culture, with an emphasis on safety and the value of its people. Environmental concerns are also part of the ethos, with new products, such as the V60 Plug-in Hybrid, central to development. Acquired by Chinese car manufacturer Zhejiang Geely Holding Group in 2010, Volvo has operated a global relocation policy since May 2010. As the HR specialists were keen to point out, there are cultural differences between Sweden and China. Doing business in the two countries is quite different, as is leadership behaviour. Having bought into the Volvo ethos, the Chinese owners were keen to learn Swedish ways. Equally, the Swedish and European arms of the business needed to understand Chinese business protocol and practices, so they could work effectively with the new manufacturing plants in China. 'Shadowing' was used at every level. At the start of an assignment, employees and their partners are sent on a five-day trip covering schools, health, and accommodation. This is a more cost-efficient way of weeding out people who don't really want to move than bringing them back when the assignment fails. Volvo knows through experience what can be transmitted through group visits, and how expectations can be managed, relying heavily on partner Interdean Relocation Services for this. Interdean, of course, is part of Santa Fe, with an established track record across Asia Pacific and even more local resources to draw on. Volvo sets great store by shaping expectations through providing group and individual briefings and offering cultural training to all employees and their families. Now, it faces new challenges, such as repatriating expatriates well, so that the company retains talent and utilises overseas experience. Having the right supplier partner is all-important. Volvo is opening manufacturing plants in tier 3 and 4 cities, and this will continue to be replicated by other companies expanding across China, from telecoms providers to soft-drinks and food manufacturers. Accommodating families in tier 3 and 4 locations is not an option for most companies; therefore, they adopt the commuter model, as Volvo has done, with project teams housed in basic accommodation during the week and returning to their families, in cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, at the weekend. For Volvo, this is a 'knowledge transfer' phase in the tier 3 and 4 cities. Long term, the factories will be staffed by local employees. A Swedish company, Chinese owner, and relocation partner with experience in both cultures could lead to the perfect smorgasbord.
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: EUROPE AND NORDIC REGION
Switzerland embraces crossborder workers Bordered by Austria, France, Germany and Italy, as well as Liechtenstein, Switzerland – one of the world's wealthiest countries and a magnet for international business – is welcoming growing numbers of cross-border workers.
ncreasing numbers of people are crossing the border 49, and almost two-thirds were men. Around a third of the daily to work in Switzerland, according to data from the workers were employed in the Lake Geneva area. country's Federal Statistics Office. While, with the Eurozone Speaking to SwissInfo.ch, George Sheldon, a professor crisis, other European nations have seen unemployment soar, of labour economics at Basel University, said that crossborder workers were an easy solution to the problem of the Swiss jobs market remains relatively stable. filling job vacancies. “Recruitment of foreign workers is The number of workers commuting from France, Germany, Italy and Austria has risen by a third over the definitely demand-driven here in Switzerland. You can't get past five years. In 2011 alone, the number of cross-border a work permit if there isn't an opening. In that sense, I don't think it can have a negative effect.” workers grew by 11.5 per cent to 259,000 – around 5 per cent It's worth remembering that, even with commuter of the total workforce in Switzerland. (The figures refer only assignments or the shortest cross-border business trip, there are to foreign nationals, not to Swiss citizens who live on the HR risks to be considered. Potentially, these include immigration, other side of the border and commute across it every day.) EURA Directory_Mise en were pageaged 1 14.02.12 12:39 Page1 personal income tax, corporate income tax, and social security. The majority of these commuters between 25 and
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EUROPE AND NORDIC REGION :
Organisations pulling out
Relocation viewpoint Re:locate asked Dominique Mundia and Didier Zemp, of Swiss international removals company Harsch, for their company's take on trends in relocation to Switzerland. “We are definitely seeing an increase in local hires, and fewer expatriates, as seems to have been the trend worldwide, with companies trying to control costs,” says Mr Zemp, who is relocation department manager. “The biotech and medical industries remain top of the list of employers seeking specialised staff whose technical expertise has to be sourced from outside Switzerland.” What are the key issues currently facing companies bringing expatriates into Switzerland? Says Ms Mundia, “In Geneva and the Canton of Vaud, probably the main problem is a lack of houses and apartments available at a reasonable rent.” Those seeking short-term accommodation will find serviced apartments hard to come by. Says Patrick Hegan, of booking agent SilverDoor, “A recent tour of one of the
Keep up with the latest on cross-border working and HR risks via the International Assignments section of our website.
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world's wealthiest countries, with huge financial might and a near-perfect infrastructure, exposed a staggering dearth of the very type of short- to mid-term accommodation most suited to this advanced business environment.” Schooling is another major concern. Says Dominique Mundia, “Places in international schools are limited and expensive. We recommend, where possible, that a family apply for admission as early as possible in order to secure a place or be as high as possible on the waiting list. Our relocation department sees parents registering with two or three different schools, hoping to be successful with one. “That being said, as most companies are transferring local hires, they encourage their employees to enrol their children in the Swiss schooling system, which is excellent and allows the children to pick up the local language quickly and interact with the many other multicultural children.” For those moving to Switzerland, Ms Mundia says, customs regulations are quite straightforward. “There are no major restrictions as far as import of goods is concerned, except for the usual declaration of certain items. Switzerland is one of the few countries allowing large quantities of alcohol (up to 200 litres of wine and 12 litres of spirits) to be brought in duty free as part of a household goods move, so wine connoisseurs and collectors are usually pleasantly surprised when arriving here!”
As was confirmed by a recent Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, Switzerland's cost of living is very expensive. As reported in the press, the country continues to attract super-rich individuals and companies in the financial sector, including a number of hedge funds. High costs are forcing some organisations to leave Switzerland altogether and relocate to other, cheaper, regions.
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: EUROPE AND NORDIC REGION
Denmark's key to expansion With a population of just 5.5 million, Denmark, the smallest of the Scandinavian countries, must recruit overseas talent if the expansion of its international trade and investment is to continue. Alan Bentley, MD of global mobility specialist IPM, gives Re:locate readers the inside track on living, and working, in this fascinating country.
enmark lacks skilled manpower. Whenever there is a need for specialist labour, the focus is to find the required resources from overseas in order to gain and maintain competitive advantage. By way of illustration, a study undertaken in December 2010 by Oxford Research A/S, in conjunction with the Copenhagen Post, revealed that the expatriate population had increased from 33,000 to 41,500 between 2008 and 2010. Denmark's overseas trade and investment continues to expand globally, particularly with China and increasingly with African countries.
Working in Denmark: pros – and cons Denmark has a successful track record in attracting the required skills from overseas, but it has been less successful in retaining them. Retention is high on the political agenda, and there are many initiatives to reverse the trend. So what are the issues? On the positive side: • Danish work culture is attractive and provides the opportunity to enjoy a good work-life balance. Overseas workers value the culture • Danes work fewer hours than citizens in nearly all other EU countries. Employees start to leave work at 3.30 pm;
however, many high-skilled employees and managers continue work from home in the evening, having taken care of the family • The cost of living is relatively high, and taxes are high – but salaries are competitive • Most Danish people speak excellent English • Education is of a high standard On the other hand: • Most Danish families rely on dual incomes, which can make it very difficult for the non-working spouse or partner to build a social network • While Danish people speak excellent English, it is important that the expatriate employee and family all learn to speak Danish, to facilitate integration • Much of the central bureaucracy is still written in Danish, although the authorities are working hard to address this Of course, these challenges can be surmounted. Various government initiatives have been put in place – for example, mentor and buddying programmes, the Consortium for Global Talent [a joint initiative between 18 of the largest Danish and international companies based in Denmark, the aim of which is to attract and retain skilled global professionals
by improving conditions for foreign professionals and their families], and partner support. However, it is of paramount importance that all expatriates, whether they are moving as individuals or on inter-company transfers, gain access to specialist relocation services, cross-cultural training, language training, and partner support.
Other points to consider 1. Social relations at work There appears to be a clear division between work and social life. Danish employees do not normally socialise after work, as they have commitments elsewhere with family friends, sports and leisure, and so on. Family is usually the top priority. The easiest way to acquire Danish friends is if you have children, or a dog! With children, you meet their parents through play dates; with dogs, you simply start talking when out walking the dog. Another very efficient way to meet is through sports and hobby clubs and associations. You can find a club for nearly every topic you can think of, and meet people who share this interest. You can profit from hiring a Danish door-opener to make sure that the club you're interested in actually meets your needs as regards meeting dates, ambitions, language skills, and general openness. 2. Partner support Despite the huge costs associated with expatriations, companies have hesitated to ensure that the right measures have been taken to protect their investments. These measures are necessary, as shown in the Ernst & Young study Global Mobility Effectiveness (2011), which reported, “... in 2011, family- and spouse-related issues have overtaken compensation issues as the number-one topic addressed by international assignees.” The key advantages of providing services to expatriate partners, such as job counselling and professional or social networking, highlight the fact that there is nothing 'soft' about these services. They include: • Employees who are well-adjusted, engaged, and perform better at work because they are not mentally occupied with the welfare of their families, and hence are more likely to deliver optimal work performance and complete their contract period • Better global talent development for the company, as employees are more attracted towards international assignments when they know that their family will be provided with support • Strengthening of the employer's brand and reputation as a workplace that takes the individual seriously • Protecting the company's investment in the employee's expatriation The benefits gained by providing these services far outweigh their costs, and, in a small country like Denmark, where the climate may be cold and dark for some, or the taxes may seem difficult to understand for others, taking the spouse/partner seriously makes a big difference. With thanks to Mette Rønning Steffensen, of Supporting People, Copenhagen, for her contribution to this article.
EUROPE AND NORDIC REGION :
Case study: moving to Denmark One inbound assignee, who moved from Germany, describes her experiences of living and working in Denmark. When I moved to Denmark, I had the help of a destination service provider. The way their services had been set up by my new employer and the way they actually provided service, however, showed some flaws – for example, with respect to coordination, communication and standardised processes. Nevertheless, all administrative requirements were processed quickly and efficiently. The Danish emphasis on having a proper work-life balance is, at first glance, very apparent. However, even though a lot of colleagues would leave work early to pick up their children, they also worked from home late in the evenings. Even coming from a neighbouring state, cultural differences were obvious. Danes are nice and friendly, but not really outgoing, and not very sociable with foreigners. There are, however, a lot of expat groups which are very active and initiate regular get-togethers and cultural and sporting activities. Making friends with Danes presented a challenge, as most tend to stay at home with friends they have known from their schooldays. But once you meet them, they are open and friendly, quite direct, with a certain kind of sense of humour. The fact that most speak English at a decent level makes communication quite easy from the beginning. TV programmes are usually shown in their original language, with Danish subtitles. Understanding, and especially speaking, Danish is a lifelong challenge for most. The Danes' patience with people speaking their language with an accent also seems to be limited. Denmark is a nice country, and the capital, in particular, offers a wide range of cultural events and opportunities for day trips throughout the country, or to Sweden. Many continental and global flight connections make travelling fast and convenient. What I particularly like is the opportunity to commute and do day trips using public transport or my bicycle. Cities are designed to allow bike and public transport easily and efficiently, and employers usually offer lockers and showers for people commuting using bikes, or even running. You might not like the fact that Denmark has high taxes. However, the way it administers them is impressive. Even in my first year, it took me six times longer to complete my home-country return than the Danish one, even though my language skills were still pretty limited at that time. Reviewing the return based on the information already provided from your payroll, which is accessible online, is relatively easy. The fact that hardly any deductions are available makes filing your taxes a relatively straightforward task. And if you are a fan of strong flavours, like capers, herring, liquorice and onions, Denmark might be your number-one choice when picking your next assignment!
Celebrate success! Yet again, the Re:locate Awards have attracted a record number of entries. It's time to announce the judging team, reveal their shortlist, and prepare for the 2011/12 Gala Awards Dinner – and our special celebrity guest speaker.
he closing date has passed, the submissions have been counted, and it's official: this has been the best year yet for entries to the Re:locate Awards, which have become the ultimate accolade for everyone working in relocation, whether on the HR or the supplier side. We can now reveal the shortlist for most of the categories (see p36). During the next few weeks, the judging panel will have the difficult task of choosing an overall winner from each category.
Gala Awards Dinner The winners will be announced and presented with their trophies at the annual black-tie Gala Awards Dinner – the highlight of the relocation calendar – which this year takes place at the Institute of Directors, in London's Pall Mall, on Thursday 10 May. The evening begins at 7 pm with a champagne reception and live music, followed by a three-course dinner with fine wines. This is the perfect opportunity for everyone involved in relocation to network, socialise and celebrate success.
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Celebrity speaker We are thrilled to announce that our special celebrity host and guest speaker will be popular broadcaster Adrian Mills, who first caught the public eye as part of the team presenting BBC1 consumer programme That's Life! Adrian currently presents Sky Travel, and contributes to numerous shows on LBC radio. He has worked for six years on the Travel Shop and two series of Getaways for ITV, as well as hosting his own weekly show about buying property abroad. Adrian also enjoys the distinction of having appeared for Robbie Williams in the world's first-ever interactive pop video.
Book now! Places for the Gala Awards Dinner are selling fast, so reserve yours today. You can book and pay online via PayPal,
download a booking form from www.relocatemagazine.com, or call +44 (0)1892 891334. We offer a discount for tables of ten.
New sponsor and supporter Since our Winter 2011/12 issue, two more high-profile companies have signed up to support the Re:locate Awards. Weichert Relocation Resources, which is sponsoring the Excellence in Employee & Support category, believes strongly in the ethos of these awards. Says Tim McCarney, “This category is particularly important to us, as it focuses on the most critical aspect of any relocation: the successful assimilation of the valued employee and his or her family into the new location.” Paragon Relocation becomes an awards supporter. Says Liam Brennan, “Within its 25-year history, Paragon has witnessed tremendous change and substantial growth. This type of reward and recognition forum promotes the exchange of innovative ideas and practices that, in turn, elevates all who practice global mobility. We wish the best of luck to all this year's nominees.”
Our judges Our team of independent judges reflects the diversity of those working in the world of relocation and international assignments, and we are very grateful to them for helping to make this year's awards such a success. For details, visit the Awards section of www.relocatemagazine.com
Keep up to date For the latest Re:locate Awards news, see www.relocatemagazine.com, and subscribe online to our free monthly e-newsletter, Re:locate Extra. The Summer 2012 issue of Re:locate will include a fullcolour supplement on this year's awards, with case studies, photographs and comments from our judges. Find out what makes a winner – and be inspired to enter next year!
Read on for this year's fabulous shortlist!
Our clients rely on Stewart to guide them through the financial complexities of global relocation. So while they’re focused on growing their businesses, Stewart and his team are handling the details, tracking and auditing expenses, managing multi-currency payrolls and ensuring compliance with international tax regulations. Stewart gives our clients the confidence and freedom to deploy talent wherever opportunity calls. And he’d welcome the chance to earn your trust, too.
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Awards shortlist Best Relocation Strategy/Policy Sponsored by Interdean International Relocation To be announced April 2012
echnological Innovation T in Relocation Sponsored by MoveAssist International Cabforce Cartus Crown Relocations (UK) Move One Inc
PricewaterhouseCoopers SIRVA Think Apartments
Inspirational HR Team of the Year Sponsored by Cartus To be announced April 2012
elocation Service Provider or R Team of the Year Connells Relocation Services
Interdean Relocation Services
Crown Relocation (UK)/ Unilver GMS Team
International Personnel Management
HSG Relocation/Curzon Home Search & Inv Prop
Paragon Relocation Robinsons
Best Property Provider or Solution Boutique London Lets BridgeStreet Go Native HCR London Relocation
SACO Serviced Apartments SilverDoor Think Apartments
J oin us at the Re:locate Awards Thursday 10 May @ 7 pm
Rising Star in Relocation Beatriz Carro de Prada, BRS Relocation Julian Grose-Hodge Robinsons Relocation James Hooper, Oceanair International
Natalie Langdon, Cambridge Relocation Bettina Zboray, Interdean Relocation Services
Relocation Personality of the Year Sponsored by SIRVA Relocation Paul Evans, Interdean Relocation Services Robert Fletcher, Interdean Relocation Services Margaret Moes, Clearview Relocations
Joseph Morabito, Paragon Global Resources James Moss, HSG Relocation/Curzon HS&IP
Green Achievement Sponsored by Pro-Link GLOBAL The Ascott Limited HCR Group
xcellence in Employee E & Family Support Sponsored by Weichert Relocation Resources FOCUS Impact NatWest Global Employee Banking
Robertson Languages International Smith Stone Walters
est International Destination B Services Provider Sponsored by NatWest Global Employee Banking BRS Relocation Services County Homesearch International The Relocation Bureau Ireland
The Re:locate Awards have become a showcase for all that is best about the relocation industry.
The self-service model of managing global mobility can benefit employers and assignees, says Robby Wogan, of relocation software developer MoveAssist International.
he way we live has changed dramatically over the last 30 years, and, increasingly, we are becoming a self-service society. Everyday manual processes are replaced by self-service facilities, and we adapt very quickly to the new rĂŠgime. What is novel today soon becomes the norm. In my native Dublin, the original ATMs were called Bank Link. They were quickly renamed 'Drink Link', as the new technology was wholeheartedly embraced by the locals, although probably for all the wrong reasons. The driver behind any self-service facility, of course, is cost; if the customer does some of the work, the service provider can reduce its costs. Whether it passes this saving on to the customer or not is another matter; whoever thought of charging passengers for the 'privilege' of checking in online is obviously a genius. So, can self-service principles be applied to global mobility? As a software provider to relocation management companies, destination service providers and HR departments, we get to see the mobility business from all angles, and this allows us to see new trends emerging. Lately, we are seeing some moves towards self-service. It is still early days, but some large corporations are taking the first steps towards allowing their assignees to be more self-sufficient, and, in doing so, they are bypassing some of the functions traditionally performed by the HR department. Originally, the assignee had little, if any, input into the setup and progression of an assignment. This was all handled by HR, who communicated with the relocation management company or service provider. The HR department initiated the assignment, provided all the assignee's details, and monitored progress on behalf of the assignee.
the HR department only involved on a need-to-know basis. Will we get to the stage where HR is not involved at all in the process? Perhaps for domestic or short-term international moves, but it's unlikely for more-complex assignments. And, of course, it is technology (in particular, the internet), and, more importantly, the fact that most people are now comfortable using technology, that makes all this possible. In the good old days, we had to train people to use computer systems; now, as more and more business is transacted online, people are very used to navigating their way around web-based forms. So an assignee can be asked to fill out a needs assessment form online, without assistance from the HR or IT department. Most people now have access to laptops and mobile devices, so they are not reliant on their desktop PC to connect to the internet. This wasn't always the case. As recently as 2000, we produced an all-singing, all-dancing tracking system for assignees that was a monumental flop. We hadn't taken into account that, at that time, most people only had a desktop PC, and, if they were moving, the PC was usually packed away in a container. Not much use for tracking, then. Now, employees can get online wherever they are, and they are used to instant updates on their mobile devices. So the challenge for relocation managers now is to provide assigneecentric systems (try saying that after a visit to the Drink Link) Assignee
Assignees centre stage Over time, the assignee has been brought more and more into the process. Now, we are seeing more communication between the assignee and the relocation coordinator than between HR and the coordinator. At some of our client companies, employees initiate their own assignments, complete needs assessment forms, provide their personal and family details, and upload visa applications and other documents â€“ all online, via a web portal. Once the assignment is in progress, they can communicate with their coordinator via the portal, download forms and documents, update travel calendars, post expenses claims, track the status of each service, and eventually complete their quality survey. Some services are even paid for online by the employee with a credit card. The employee's HR department will be notified at various stages, but, eventually, we may see
that provide assignees with the information they need, when they need it, to ensure a smooth transition to their new environment. The payback for corporations is reduced costs in the HR department, as assignees become more self-sufficient. The payback for relocation managers can also be significant, through streamlined processes and closer contact with the ultimate customer, the assignee. And assignees will feel more involved and more in control of their own assignments. With so many positives, we can expect to see significant uptake of the self-service model. More technology developments to follow in future issues. Let us have your insights and sector news.
Flying starts For those managing assignments, new technology can do much to ease the stress of shorter lead-in times, explains Malcolm Johnson, of software developer Approach.
hile some assignments are still planned well in advance, global assignment management teams are now often confronted with much shorter lead-in times. This is driven by a globalised business model, lean and mean staffing, mergers and acquisitions, skills gaps, and the need for rapidly constituted international project teams. Many of the new mobility policies are designed around the short assignment, often on unaccompanied status. But almost as much work is needed to set up a short-term assignment as a longer assignment, and global-mobility teams are confronted with populations perhaps of the same size but involving a lot more actual moves, and thus higher workload. Technology allows companies to share assignment process steps with stakeholders instantly: HR and line managers, benefits and destination service providers â€“ and the assignee. A secure web platform means approvals can be quickly, obtained and information provided, and processes can be fast. Technology can be a real benefit to business here, in terms both of providing better service to the business and of controlling staffing requirements in global mobility. Using a specially designed database, global-mobility teams can use highly automated processes to manage assignment
communications, documents and calculations. Data can be drawn from existing human-resource information systems, and workflow quickly gathers specific assignment-required data and documents from assignees and other stakeholders. Reminders, diversions and alerts keep the process moving quickly, and workflow means no one is missed out or forgotten. Cost projections for business-case approval can be available immediately, even prior to having detailed information about an assignee. Linking an assignee to any one of, perhaps, ten or more specific assignment policies instantly calculates assignment compensation plans and generates all other assignmentrelated statements, reports and documents. Detailed cost projections, and even far-flung host-country tax estimates, are available instantly through web services. In the meantime, providers will have been alerted through workflow and swung into action. They can even be given strictly limited access to the database using high-security links. Time to move is decreased, and compliance is strengthened. The business is happy, and so is HR management, as cost savings alone ensure that return on investment is both rapid and compelling.
SERVICED APARTMENTS :
Going global FRASERS HOSPITALITY
Following on from Re:locate's Winter 2011/12 issue, in which she analysed the continuing growth of serviced apartments in the UK, Fiona Murchie explores the international serviced accommodation scene, and asks whether the industry is meeting demand in global relocation hotspots.
Fraser Suites, Guangzhou, China
lobalisation is on the increase. The need for the mobility industry is growing, and so is the requirement for large global companies, and, increasingly, small and medium-sized ones, to have in-house expertise. As we have said before, you can't move people without accommodation, and serviced apartments fit the bill for business travellers and those on project moves and short-term assignments. But how is serviced accommodation coping with the demand for its product in far-flung places and emerging markets? In particular, is there a serviced accommodation solution in tier 3 and 4 tier locations in countries such as China, India, and even Africa? In February, I attended the Business Travel Show. This huge conference and exhibition reflected the diversity of the regions international business travellers are visiting. It was also good to see increased UK regional coverage, which is so desperately needed. Hotels, airlines and travel-industry software providers were the predominant exhibitors, but the UK's popular serviced accommodation brands were well represented, and the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers' pavilion housed a record number of companies, reflecting its strides in representing the industry and quality standards, and its growth as an association.
Tracking global trends A further check on whether growth is tracking the trends in relocation destinations was via February's Worldwide ERC summit in London. I asked some of the major providers
exhibiting at the summit where they were going next, and why. Singapore-based Frasers Hospitality currently manages more than 46 properties across 28 cities. By the end of 2013, this will increase to 67 properties and more than 11,000 residences. India and China are very much in its sights. Frasers currently operates in key first-tier Chinese cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen, with a total of 12 properties (including Hong Kong). In 2012, it will add another five properties to its China portfolio, Fraser Place Beijing, Fraser Place Shanghai, Fraser Suites Guangzhou, Modena Wuxi and Modena Wuhan. The group sees great growth potential in China's second- and third-tier cities, in both its Frasers and Modena brands. The latter is the company's fourstar serviced apartment offering. Says Jastina Balen, Frasers' director of group branding and communications, “We entered India with the recent opening of Fraser Suites New Delhi, located in Mayur Vihar. In the next two years, we hope to open Fraser Place Gurgaon, then Fraser Suites Chennai and Fraser Suites Bangalore. Over in Australia, we recently opened Fraser Place Melbourne, and, in September this year, we will be opening our third Australian property, Fraser Suites Perth.” Oakwood – which continues its worldwide expansion, and, to date, has placed guests in over 56 countries – will be opening a new Oakwood Premier in Guangzhou in April, and an Oakwood Residence in Qatar later this year. India is an import market for Oakwood. Says T J Spencer, managing director, global, “We currently have 24 properties in 14 cities in Asia., and we service over 30 additional cities
: SERVICED APARTMENTS
throughout Asia through our global solutions partner programme. We have four serviced apartment buildings in India, one in Bangalore, one in Mumbai, and two in Pune. We also service Hyderabad and Dehli through the global solutions partner programme.” Like other serviced apartment providers, Oakwood is looking to emerging markets for future success. Says T J Spencer, “We work with customers from a wide range of industries in our emerging markets, although we have seen a recent rise in mining and energy in several parts of the world.” The Ascott Ltd is another serviced apartment provider with an eye to expansion in key relocation hotspots. By 2015, it will have around 40 new residences across Europe and Asia, with 40,000 apartments worldwide. China is a major focus, new residences having opened in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Macau, and Hangzhou. In Asia Pacific, Ascott is also developing in India, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines. In Europe, it plans to open two residences in Germany, Hamburg in 2013, and Frankfurt in 2014. Why has Ascott chosen to invest in these locations? Says Rebecca Hollants van Loocke, regional general manager for the UK, Germany and Georgia, “Because the economy is holding up in these destinations, particularly China, this is attracting many industries, and, as a consequence, a high proportion of individuals and families either relocating or requiring accommodation for a number of weeks or months.” In India, Ascott opened Citadines Richmond Bangalore and Somerset Greenways Chennai – the first Citadines- and Somerset-branded residences in the country – in 2011. It currently has five properties (more than 1,100 apartments)
under development: one in Ahmadabad, one in Chennai, one in Hyderabad, and two in Bangalore. These are scheduled to open over the next three years. Of Ascott's strategy for emerging markets around the world, Rebecca Hollants van Loocke says, “Currently, Citadines operates in Georgia – one of Europe's emerging markets in recent years. However, Europe is not our key focus as far as emerging markets are concerned; efforts are concentrated on China, Malaysia, India and Indonesia, as we feel these are more secure markets for our immediate future development and success.”
The agent's view Giving the serviced apartment booking agent's viewpoint is Patrick Hegan, of SilverDoor. Of Hong Kong, he says,
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“A clear, if slowly fading, British influence and relative lack of red tape, combined with a highly competitive shipping industry and the absence of Japan's strict tradition of hierarchy, allow businesses to thrive everywhere. The serviced apartment sector is no exception. With locations dotted around both Hong Kong island and neighbouring Kowloon, operated by largely independent companies such as CHI, The V, Harbour Plaza and Ovolo, properties here are generally operated (as one residence manager told me) in much the same way as a fishmarket, with prices fluctuating on a daily basis. “To add to this accountant's nightmare, a 30-night minimum stay is the norm, guests must sign a rental contract, and the payment of hefty security deposits is often mandatory. None of this sits well with the target market of the flexibility-loving international business traveller. In spite of these atypical obstacles, serviced apartment residences in Hong Kong maintain very healthy occupancy throughout the year.” As far as emerging markets are concerned, says Patrick Hegan, “It's a brave, and often financially secure, operator which dips the first toe in a new location, especially one with little track record of the presence of its ideal clients. Recent examples include Bogotá, in Colombia, Tbilisi, in Georgia, and Kiev, in Ukraine. Remote Chinese cities are also experiencing a sudden burst of corporate housing options – choices are still limited, but the early footprints are visible, and the outlook is positive.” It is clear that the serviced apartment industry is tracking relocation hotspots around the world, but there is room for enterprising providers to do more.
Fraser Suites, Suzhou, China
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All change for global immigration As Chambers & Partners publishes its latest worldwide and USA immigration rankings, Re:locate asked some leading international immigration practitioners for their views on current global immigration challenges for those managing international assignments.
ost of those working in global mobility and managing international assignments will be aware of the Chambers listings, which rank the best law firms and lawyers around the world. From offices in London and Hong Kong, 130 researchers conduct a rigorous assessment via in-depth interviews in 25 languages. Criteria include technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial astuteness, diligence, and commitment. The publication of the 2012 USA and global rankings prompted Re:locate to ask three immigration experts to comment on current global immigration concerns and challenges for those managing international assignments, and on any trends and patterns that may be emerging in this constantly changing landscape.
Global mobility: no going back Fragomen's David Crawford points out that, despite the present tough economic climate in many countries, international mobility is set to grow. “At the time that the international economy weakened in 2008, many more people were being sent on assignment
by their employers than in any period previously. The internationalisation of business, the demand for particular skill sets, and new human-resource approaches meant that business was still moving people as local labour markets weakened. This resulted in a tension between the needs of business and the political sensitivities of domestic political situations. “Governments have thus had to respond to the real needs of their domestic labour markets, but have tried not to compromise the needs of businesses requiring skills sets from outside the country. The result has seen increased attention to regulation – on new laws, stricter application of existing laws, and enforcement of immigration compliance obligations. The UK government's introduction of a quota and increased audit requirements are typical of what is happening in many countries. “While the international economy will ultimately improve, and the demand for labour at home and abroad will increase, in most cases the regulatory requirements governing the international movement of skilled labour will remain in place. More than ever, businesses are thus required to think not only about a visa process to enable staff to work in another country, but about their obligations to confirm they have complied with immigration requirements, not least to ensure that the migrant workers are paid at the required rate. “There would be few businesses sending staff abroad which would not be aware of these general points, but, to make it work, internal systems will need to ensure they get the necessary attention.”
A changing world Says Stephan Judge, of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), “The spread of technology has made our world ever smaller. Whilst global business embraces a flat world, politicians are concerned over the increasing ability of migrants to move around the world. Immigration is often seen as a toxic topic. Immigration reform is now regarded as a political battleground, where politicians must be seen to embrace growth and progress by attracting the best talent the globe has to offer, but, on the other hand, be seen to protect their labour market and workforce. “Businesses must navigate the minefield of changing immigration rules and regulations; in our post-9/11 and post-financial-crisis world, the last few years saw a further tightening of immigration rules across the globe, and we fully expect more, and deeper, changes across virtually all 121 countries in which PwC operates as an immigration adviser.
“The current problems in the European Union (EU), including the slow unfolding of the Greek débacle, have brought about a change in the rhetoric about the usefulness of free movement of people even within the EU – long seen as one of its most cherished accomplishments. These changes will, however, affect not only Europe and the USA, but every country you may operate in. “We are also seeing changing attitudes at border control, where even business travellers are frequently questioned as to their intended stay in the country they wish to enter, and face an increasing array of penalties should their planned activities not be in line with the local business-entry rules. A breach of rules can lead to severe penalties for the individual, as well as financial penalties for the business, at home and abroad. “Businesses, when planning overseas moves short or long term, must make immigration a priority factor in their planning processes if they are to stay ahead of the game. Immigration is likely to remain a toxic topic, and, in our turbulent times, the uncertainty over immigration rules and regulations makes relevant, timely and correct legal advice ever-more important. Business should look to a trusted adviser, who can be with them at every step in every corner of the globe; only then will they be sure to continue to move and grow in the years ahead.”
UK moves towards selective immigration UK Immigration Minister Damian Green said recently, “We have talked in the past about a Points Based System; in the future, it will be more accurate to talk about a Contribution Based System. Whether you come here to work, study or get married, we, as a country, are entitled to check that you will add to the quality of life in Britain.” Comments David Hugkulstone, of Smith Stone Walters, “The detail of the selection criteria and policy of the new Contribution Based System is still being worked through. Nonetheless, in recent UK Border Agency-led consultation exercises, and in Damian Green's speech, a clear message has been sent regarding the need for migrants to demonstrate financial independence. It is, therefore, clear that designated minimum salary levels will play a key part in determining whether family members (including spouses) are allowed to Global immigration rankings, Chambers & Partners Leading Firms Band 1 Baker & McKenzie LLP ✳ Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP
Band 2 PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP
Band 3 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
Band 4 Greenberg Traurig, LLP ✳ Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP ✳ Laura Devine Solicitors Magrath LLP ✳
Indicates firm with profile.
Alphabetical order within each band. Band 1 is the highest.
USA immigration rankings, Chambers & Partners Leading Firms Band 1 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP ✳ Greenberg Traurig, LLP ✳ Klasko Rulon Stock & Seltzer Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP ✳
Band 2 Baker & McKenzie LLP ✳ Foster Quan, LLP Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP ✳ Seyfarth Shaw LLP Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group Zulkie Partners LLC
Band 3 Barst Mukamal & Kleiner LLP Chin & Curtis LLP Duane Morris LLP Ivener & Fullmer LLP Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger, Tetzeli & Pratt Pearl Law Group
Indicates firm with profile. Alphabetical order within each band. Band 1 is the highest. ✳
enter the UK or skilled workers will be able to acquire UK settlement following a period of residence. “In respect of spouses seeking to be reunited in the UK with their immediate family, a minimum salary requirement between £18,600 and £25,700 is likely to be set on the sponsor's income. Considering recent Human Rights legal clashes, it takes a bold, or foolish, government to now effectively decree that a lawful resident of this country is only entitled to live in the UK with his/her spouse so long as their income is above a certain level. “Whilst Mr Green stated 'top-of-the-range' professionals from overseas would be welcomed, he said that middle managers were not the type of migrant workers needed in the UK. As expected, a definition of what constitutes a middle manager was not forthcoming. However, this does suggest a rise in the Tier 2 qualifying criteria is imminent, as well as a greater emphasis being placed on employers justifying the recruitment of qualified overseas staff. “The Government continues to maintain a vision of attracting just the 'brightest and the best' migrants. Whilst this rhetoric clearly gains support from the man in the street, such a policy should not become too exclusive. Since the introduction of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa route last April, only a handful of overseas nationals have sought to gain entry via this particular visa category. The planned restrictions on residency and family admission will also deter or prevent migrants from making the UK their home. “We, therefore, welcome the contrasting introduction of new provisions for graduates under Tier 2 (General). The Coalition would be wise to consider announcing other such policies, to ensure UK businesses' ability to employ talented skilled labour is not squeezed dry, in the UK or abroad.”
New service for Re:locate readers Re:locate provides a wealth of information across a wide range of topics via our website for our 40,000+ unique users. Over the years, we have been asked for a range of support in specialist areas. We have always been committed to employee support, as it underpins a successful relocation, and domestic moves and international assignments are equally important to our readers.
artner support is one of those areas where companies know they need to make provision in their policy but struggle to find appropriate support. The realities of the current economic climate make it even more essential to ensure that dual-career couples can afford to move. Managing talent continues to be high on the agenda, and, if a partner is dissatisfied with an international assignment because they can't retain their career, it is all too easy to lose top performers because the move doesn't make sense for the whole family. Equally, handling repatriation well, and looking after the employee's career development while they are on international assignment, both aid retention and help to ensure return on investment.
We are now able to offer our readers access to a powerful new careers website resource and accompanying careerscoaching service that is affordable and provides 24/7 support â€“ ideal for relocating partners, outplacement and career development for those on international assignment. Access is via our website at www.relocatemagazine.com In our Summer 2012 issue, we'll be revealing more professional services to fill the gaps for overstretched HR looking for bite-sized solutions to their policy and strategy problems. For further information, contact Fiona Murchie, firstname.lastname@example.org
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A global education Despite the toughest economic climate the UK has seen in decades, British independent schools are thriving, both in the UK and overseas. Rebecca Marriage finds out why the British and international school experience is becoming so popular with globally mobile families. brands and British school groups are expanding aggressively into a growing international market. But, while British education has long stood for academic excellence, and its reputation across the globe shows little sign of diminishing, it often goes hand in hand with a slightly 'starchy' image. To add to this, over the last year some social commentators have levied criticism specifically at the boarding-school system, which is likely to make uncomfortable reading for families considering the education choices for their child in the midst of a major move. However, some schools would argue that, with their increasingly global outlook and commitment to excellence in pastoral care, they are, in fact, evolving to become a smart choice for relocating families.
K boarding schools have experienced a sharp rise in numbers, British schools are hitting the headlines for advert March 2012.pdf 3/6/12 2:33 PM pupils, and top school their activeRelocate recruitment of 1overseas
Boarding schools thriving Boarding schools carry some of the highest costs of the
entire UK independent education sector, with average yearly tuition fees reaching just over ÂŁ25,000. In these desperate economic times, it is hard to believe that such schools could have experienced significant growth, and yet that is exactly what has happened. These may be hard times, but boarding is thriving. A recent survey by the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) has found that the number of children attending boarding schools has increased by 5.8 per cent in the last year. Figures also show a sharp increase in the number of girls attending boarding school, with an 18 per cent increase from 2010. Over 68,000 boarding pupils now attend UK independent schools. â€œIndependent schools are showing remarkable resilience against a difficult economic background,â€? says former Independent Schools Council (ISC) chief executive David Lyscom. â€œInternational comparisons continue to indicate that UK independent schools offer some of the best educational outcomes available.â€? But, in the midst of this fanfare, boarding schools took a sharp blow last year, when an academic paper reported on the potential for emotional problems later in life for former boarding-school pupils. Hilary Moriarty, national director of the Boarding School Association (BSA), responded to the study by claiming that the research â€œis based on historical models that are unrecognisable today. There has been a revolution in boarding, and talking to people who went to boarding school 20 or 30 years ago is not the same as talking to boys who go now.â€? Years ago, it would not have been uncommon for boarders to spend entire terms with little or no contact with their
parents, but, says Richard Harman, headmaster of Uppingham School, in Rutland, and chair of the BSA, today's picture is very different. â€œNowadays, modern communications make the partnership between UK boarding-school parents and pupils genuinely close,â€? he says. Larry Crouch, headmaster of Stonyhurst St Mary's Hall preparatory school, in Lancashire, understands only too well the importance of communicating the day-to-day ups and downs of young boarders to parents, and is using innovative methods to both record and report the details of pupils' lives while they are away from their families. At Stonyhurst, the welfare of each individual child is recorded in a detailed, colour-coded database, and parents receive a weekly email newsletter running to several pages, packed with photographs and information about the activities of the week, both academic and social. â€œThe anxious parent might hear a tired and emotional child's voice at the end of the phone in the evening and worry about how their child is coping,â€? explains Mr Crouch, â€œWith this constant communication, we are able to show parents exactly how they have been doing each week.â€?
Expanding curriculum choices One of the reasons for this commitment to pastoral care might be the significant rise in overseas pupils in UK independent schools and the need for schools to attract families from international destinations. The ISC census indicated that overseas pupil numbers are up by 5.5 per cent from 2010. This has also resulted in a broadening of the curriculum choices on offer, with many independent
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schools offering the internationally recognised International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma programme alongside the English National Curriculum. Clearly, marketing to families based overseas will be partly a financial decision for schools, but Dr William Richardson, general secretary of the prestigious group of schools the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC), observes that the growing international mix is beneficial to all students. Says Dr Richardson, “British independent schools are becoming more internationally and culturally open-minded, because, like high-aspiring relocating families, they are predisposed to think outside the narrow, nationalistic frames of reference. During a worldwide recession, when it becomes even more important to prepare people for the working environments they are likely to face, this flexibility and internationally minded approach creates a strong personal outlook for prosperity and wellbeing.” Andrew Gillespie, head of business studies at d'Overbroeck's College, a coeducational independent school in Oxford, supports this view. “There is a massive global interest in A-levels as a route to top universities. We are experiencing very high demand from many areas, because we are seen as an effective route to university and an opportunity to study in the UK alongside UK students. It's great for UK students to work with international colleagues rather than just those in the local area, and this fits the needs of a global economy.” St Clare's, Oxford, an international residential college offering the IB diploma, has evidence to support this. The college received the best sixth-form results in Oxfordshire this year, according to government performance tables. College
principal Paula Holloway says, “It is heart-warming to see how well the students perform. That they work hard is clear, but there is something about the St Clare's way of educating these young people which is rather special. “Our results are particularly noteworthy because many of our students speak English as a second language. We put down our success to a combination of factors: small class sizes, students who are serious about their work, the stimulating experience provided by the IB curriculum, excellent teachers, and a supportive environment where young adults are able to flourish.” So, for UK and overseas families alike, the appeal of a British-based education appears to be increasingly attractive. Considering the affect that this has had on the dramatically improved pastoral care and communication offered in a British boarding school, this option might offer the continuity, stability and quality of education to children whose families are in flux. “Whilst boarding may not be for every child,” says Richard Harman, “if yours is suited to it and ready for it, boarding can offer so much: a warm, happy family atmosphere and a stable home-from-home environment; excellent pastoral care from deeply committed and well-trained people; a wealth of stimulating activities to keep children busy and stretch them to their full potential; the space and time to learn how to live and get on with others; and, of course, the bedrock of a strong academic British curriculum. “All this may well make it a much better option than the uncertain one of a local or international school, wherever you are relocating. Expat communities can be transient, and the
local schools sometimes reflect this. Every family will weigh up what is best for their particular child and circumstances, but a high-quality boarding school provides an excellent option for relocating families.”
Dramatic growth of international schools But the last few years have also seen major developments in the provision of international schools. There are now more options than ever for relocating families looking for the quality and reputation that a British education has to offer. According to a recent report from ISC Research, an organisation which researches and analyses developments in international schools, the international schools' market is experiencing dramatic growth – the sector ended the 2010/11 academic year with its highest-ever number of schools and greatest-ever number of students. This development has not gone unnoticed by the UK's top private schools. Among others, Wellington, Dulwich, Harrow, Repton, Epsom and Brighton College have all taken steps to expand their school networks in major global financial and cultural capitals in Asia and the Middle East. Andrew Wigford, director of Teachers International Consultancy, explains, “There are a growing number of private schools from Britain now establishing sister international schools in a variety of regions worldwide. These schools have very quickly established a strong reputation within the international arena, and offer the traditional, exclusive schooling, and, in many cases, boarding facilities that some families are looking for. It is this very established reputation that is bringing a new, high-end option into the international school arena, and one which has been very clearly welcomed by a significant number of expatriates.” Harrow, in Thailand and China (with another in Hong Kong opening next year), was among the earliest of the UK private schools to lead the move into international territory. Contrary to its staid image, Dr Mark Hensman, director of schools and chief operating officer for Harrow International
Management Services, emphasises the importance of offering a warm, supportive and nurturing environment for families here, too. “Boarding is a very important part of the Harrow philosophy, because of the importance Harrow School places on top-quality pastoral care.”
A growing market Although many relocating families may not be able to afford the top fees that such prestigious British overseas sister schools will charge, ISC Research believes that this coming year will continue to be dominated by the race to keep up with demand, helping to build the market from its present value of £16.8 million (based on fee income alone) to £22.7 million by 2016, and £30.6 million by 2021, offering increased choice in international education provision. There are a number of British school groups which are likely to be contributing to this figure and are looking to offer increased provision in new territories across the globe. The Nord Anglia group, which offers a largely Britishbased education, and COGNITA, a group of schools led by former chief inspector of schools Chris Woodhead, are both expanding rapidly. As Anne Keeling, of ISC Research, says, “The one thing that nearly all these groups have in common is that they are expanding aggressively; either by buying existing schools, expanding existing operations, or starting new schools.” Alongside the surge in new British international schools, there are also many well-established international schools offering a British curriculum for relocating families. Like their counterparts in the UK, they believe that choosing an international school can bring cultural benefits. “Students entering an international school abroad join a melting pot of nationalities,” says Sue Dunnachie, of Mougins School, an international school offering the British curriculum situated on France's Côte d'Azur. “An international education cultivates self confidence and an acceptance and appreciation of our differences. It enhances
students' cultural development and prepares them for the multinational workforce of today.” However, Ms Dunnachie also recognises the advantages of being able to continue following a British curriculum. “It allows for rapid integration into the school system, and eases the adaptation of living in a new country.” All this amounts to a wealth of choice for the globally mobile family making important education decisions. With the significant growth of a variety of international schools offering choice and diversity of education provision abroad, and the renewed confidence in the role of boarding schools in the UK and their modern global outlook, it seems that it is no longer a black-and-white choice between a local international school and a British boarding school back home.
Now, parents are able to take advantage of the British school experience both 'over here' and 'over there'. In addition, if they choose an independent school in the UK, they can be confident that, through an increasingly global outlook and wider cultural perspectives, a British independent school can help to prepare their children for the world stage.
Choosing a school overseas While the education system in England has its established system of school inspections and published measures of student performance, parents looking at schooling options in other European countries might question how they can make the same judgments in the absence of such standardised information. Much to the surprise of many relocating families, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, having dropped the publication of performance data in the early 2000s, are also separate from England when it comes to standardised school inspections and the yearly published performance tables. So, what systems do other countries have in place, and what can parents use when it comes to comparing schools? The UK government has introduced a system of inspection for British schools overseas by a number of approved providers. It is a voluntary scheme, and looks in detail at similar aspects of education and welfare as those scrutinised by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) in England. These include the quality of the curriculum and teaching, the welfare of pupils, health and safety, and the suitability of the school premises. Reports can be found on the Department for Education website. Another option for parents when making their shortlist of international schools is to use one of the published schools guides, such as the John Catt Guide to International Schools 2011/12. Lloyds TSB has recently developed an interactive online tool offering information on schools around the world. It can be found at www. lloydstsbexpat.com Although Scotland abandoned performance tables in 2003, it still publishes the data on exam performance online, although not in an easy-to-use format. Some UK national newspapers rank schools according to performance, and offer parents an at-a-glance view of how schools compare. For example, Albyn School, in Aberdeen, one of the few cities outside London and the South East catering for large numbers of relocating families owing to its long-established oil industry, has been ranked by The Sunday Times as the top independent school in the city for its examination results in 2011.
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Decoding school performance tables Performance tables can be a useful tool for families relocating within, or to, England, but skill is needed if they are to be interpreted effectively. Rebecca Marriage explains the information the recently published new-style secondary-school performance tables contain, and how to use it.
ow do parents usually judge which school is best for their child? Word of mouth, local reputation and school visits are often cited by parents and prospective pupils as the most powerful routes to finding out what a school is really like and how well its students perform. But, as relocating families are likely to have to make these judgements with very little local knowledge, this is where they are at a real disadvantage. So, the official facts and figures from school inspection reports and performance tables become vital tools when creating their shortlist. However, performance tables can be complicated to decipher, and also come with a health warning from many education experts when it comes to using them as a realistic and reliable performance measure for prospective schools.
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This year sees the publication of the newly reformed and much-trumpeted secondary-school performance tables, including new measures of performance. But, although the latest performance tables offer a wealth of useful information in a more accessible form, parents will still need help when unpicking the complexities and navigating the facts and figures to make school choices.
Changes for 2011 Secondary-school performance tables have been published by the Government in January each year since the mid-1990s. This year, the Coalition launched a newly reformed set of data. As before, the performance tables provide information
on the achievements of pupils in secondary and 16–18 provision in schools and colleges, and how they compare with other schools in the local-authority area and in England as a whole. All this information can be found on the Department for Education (DfE) website, www.education.gov.uk. Using the DfE's search tool, parents are able to select schools by postcode, local area or name of school, and then compare results directly. The 2011 tables present a much wider range of key performance measures, and the highly confusing 'contextual value added' score has been abandoned. Among newly included material is information on finance, absence, school workforce, and the most recent Ofsted reports. But, more importantly, the tables now track the progress pupils have made from the end of primary school to GCSE. One of the major criticisms of the tables in previous years was the opportunity for schools to 'play' the system and concentrate on pushing students to reach minimum targets, to improve their overall perceived results. Until now, the tables reflected the proportion of students who attained five or more GCSEs, including maths and English, at grades A* to C. This year sees a very significant change in the way that the data is reflected. The new tables offer parents the opportunity to see the progress pupils have made from the end of primary school to GCSE. Pupils are broken down into 'low attainers' (those who failed to reach Level 4 – the standard expected at the end of primary school), 'medium attainers' (those who reached Level 4) and 'high attainers' (those who exceeded Level 4). “We want to show how well secondary schools educate those children who left primary school still struggling in the
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3Rs,” said Nick Gibb. “We can then compare schools to see which are better at helping children who started from this low base. Similarly, we will highlight how well a secondary school educates those pupils who joined them as high achievers.” Besides the potential for schools to distort the results by focusing attention on ensuring that the majority of their pupils reach the minimum standards, the previous measure was not very informative about how one specific pupil would be likely to get on at any given school. It reflected the ability of the pupil intake, and not the effectiveness of the school.
Opposing views Academics Dr Rebecca Allen, of London University's Institute of Education, and Professor Simon Burgess, of Bristol University, who have studied the effectiveness of using the performance tables when choosing a school, welcome the publication of the new tables. “Parents are now provided with better information on the likely academic attainment of their child in a range of schools,” they say. “Parents will be able to see whether there are worthwhile differences in attainment within the ability group of their child.” Speaking for the majority of dissenting voices, Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Headteachers, claims that the quality of a school cannot be fully captured in any league table. But Dr Allen and Professor Burgess take an opposite view. In their paper Evaluating the provision of school performance information for school choice, they studied the entire cohort of half a million children who had to choose their school in 2003, and used the extensive data available to find out how they
actually did in their GCSE exams in 2009. They compared each child with similar local children who chose a different school. This enabled them to evaluate whether picking the school at the top of the local league table in 2003 was likely to have been a good choice for children who took their GCSEs in 2009. They found that league tables were most useful for students who have to choose among schools with very different levels of performance. “Parents should use GCSE performance information to choose schools,” they conclude. “We find that using performance tables is better than choosing a local school at random.” Clearly, care should be taken when using the tables as a useful guide for parents who are making a shortlist of schools. Tables should never be used in isolation, but there is evidence to support their usefulness when narrowing down their options. Further measures in the new tables might prove to be useful indicators of performance. The tables now reflect the percentage of pupils with GCSE passes in the 'English Baccalaureate' (EBacc). This measure was introduced in 2010 and shows the proportion of pupils achieving A*–C passes in English, maths, two science subjects, a language, and either history or geography. According to the Government, these are the “core academic subjects that provide pupils with a solid foundation to get on in life.”
Latest changes The Government went even further in February this year, when it announced that only the highest-quality non-GCSE
and vocational courses would be included in the performance tables from 2014. Education Secretary Michael Gove said that only qualifications which had “demonstrated rigour” and “track records of taking young people into good jobs or university” would count in the future. The announcement follows recommendations made last year in a report by Professor Alison Wolf, of King's College, London. She suggested that the current performance-table system creates “perverse incentives” for some schools to put pupils on courses which might boost their performance-table positions, but which are not qualifications which benefit pupils' prospects. So, from the 2014 performance tables, just over 3,000 qualifications will be whittled down to around 125 as a reflection of equivalent GCSE passes. For families looking to move schools, this change, with the new information provided by this year's performance tables, could prove to be a useful indicator of quality when making difficult school choices. There is agreement that the tables appear to be much more informative to parents about the likely outcome for their own children than a simple average. And, while it's important to remember that exam results are only part of the story, it looks as if the tables will indeed go some way to breaking down the real differences between schools, offering relocating parents a clearer picture of whether a new school in a new location will be right for their child. For the latest education news, articles and blogs, see www.relocatemagazine.com and www.smartmoverelocate.com
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Contact: Simon Richardson Tel: +44 (0)1732 783817 Email: email@example.com Website: www.totalrewardsolutions.com Area: National & International
IPM (Global Mobility Specialists) Profile Locations Contact: Fiona Murchie Tel: +44 (0)1892 891334 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.profilelocations.co.uk Area: London, South East, Aberdeen
Contact: Tad Zurlinden Tel: +44 (0)8700 737 475 Email: email@example.com Website: www.arp-relocation.com Area: National
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Tel: +44 (0)20 8612 6200 Website: www.cipd.co.uk Area: National
European Association of Relocation Professionals (EuRA) Contact: Tad Zurlinden Tel: +44 (0)8700 726 727 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.eura-relocation.com Area: International
FOCUS Contact: Alessandra Gnudi Tel: +44 (0)20 7937 7799 Email: email@example.com Website: www.focus-info.org Area: London, South East
Tel: +44 (0)1923 235360 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Association of Relocation Professionals (ARP)
DESTINATION SERVICES PROVIDERS
The Relocation Network Contact: Kay Withell Tel: +61 (0)4271 33309 Email: email@example.com Website: www.relocationdirectory.com.au Area: Australasia
RECRUITMENT Red Recruit Contact: Caroline Frostick Tel: +44 (0)1621 840600 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.redrecruit.com Area: Worldwide
Tel: +44 (0)845 458 5643
RELOCATION MANAGEMENT COMPANIES
Contact: Nigel Passingham Tel: +44 (0)1793 756000 Email: email@example.com Website: www.cartus.com Area: National & International
Contact: Alan Bentley
Area: National & International
Quintessential Relocation Consultants
Contact: Jo Stoddart
Contact: Martin Brown
Tel: +44 (0)1481 257200
Tel: +44 (0)1753 685571
Area: Channel Islands (Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney)
Connells Relocation Services Contact: Simon Robins Tel: +44 (0)1635 271271 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.connellsrelocation.co.uk Area: National & International
Industry jobs at: http://jobs.relocatemagazine.com
Interdean International Relocation
Contact: Rob Lucas
Contact: Tim Daniells
Tel: +44 (0)20 8961 4141
Tel: +44 (0)20 7622 4393
The Apartment Service
Contact: Melanie Degand
Tel: +44 (0)870 080 2303
White & Co
Contact: Liam Brennan
Contact: Louis Spies
Tel: +44 (0)20 7559 3412
Tel: +44 (0)1489 774907
Pricoa Real Estate and Relocation Services
Contact: Keiran Ward
ACS International Schools
Tel: +44 (0)20 8996 1200
Contact: Fergus Rose
Tel: +44 (0)1932 867251
House of Fisher
Contact: Kelly Goff
Tel: +44 (0)118 951 4151
Area: London, South East
Website: www.apartmentservice.com Area: UK & Worldwide
Frasers Hospitality UK Contact: Sin-Han Thiede Tel: +44 (0)20 7341 5586 Email: email@example.com
Website: www.frasershospitality.com Area: Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific
Contact: Erika Toomer
International School of London
Tel: +44 (0)1793 606538
Contact: Yoel Gordon
Tel: +44 (0)20 8992 5823
Area: National & International
Website: www.islondon.com Area: London
Area: Thames Valley, Berkshire, Hampshire, Surrey
Hyde Park Residence Contact: Jacqui Parker Tel: +44 (0)20 7409 9000 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
TEAM Relocations Contact: John Sammon
International School of London in Surrey
Tel: +44 (0)121 329 5058
Contact: Marco Damhuis
Tel: +44 (0)1483 750409
Website: www.islsurrey.com Area: Surrey
Weichert Relocation Resources
Knightly Apartments Contact: Solly Godsi Tel: +44 (0)7976 713139 Email: email@example.com
Contact: Andreas von Strachwitz
The North London International School
Tel: +44 (0)1293 813838
Contact: Alison Miley
Tel: +44 (0)20 8920 0634
Area: North London
Contact: Giles Walker
REMOVALS AND STORAGE 360 Relocations
Website: www.knightlyapartments.com Area: Central London
Tel: +44 (0)845 055 6352
SABIS International School UK Contact: Deborah McAllister
Contact: Tony Squire
Tel: + 44 (0) 1225 891841
Tel: +44 (0)1923 235360
Area: Bath, UK
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.selectapartments.co.uk Area: London, UK
SPOUSAL ASSISTANCE/ CAREERS
TASIS The American School in England
Contact: Richard Hohler
Contact: Karen House
Tel: +44 (0)800 616 425
Tel: +44 (0)1932 582316
Area: West London, Berkshire, Surrey
Area: National & International
Profile Locations Contact: Fiona Murchie Tel: +44 (0)1892 891334
To advertise here please call: 01892 891334
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Published on Mar 28, 2012
Re:locate - For HR, Global Managers & Relocation Professionals - We cover every aspect of the domestic and international relocation scene, f...