Given the nature of life-changing career relocations, it isn’t surprising that international job assignments can still fail. After all, it is not that easy for people to make adjustments in a totally different country.

A skilled migration consultant can help you get the global career of your dreams. But it is also crucial that you learn to adjust to a new environment.

Before you travel abroad for a job, take a look at these reasons why some international work assignments fail. This way, you’ll know what to challenges to expect and find ways for you to easily adapt overseas and successfully accomplish your assignment.

1. Direct and indirect costs

An international job assignment may not work out due to direct costs, including:

  • Travel and relocation expenditures
  • Work permit and visa costs
  • Taxes
  • Payroll expenses
  • Compliance issues
  • Training for the position

Indirect costs include lost time on the project, preparation for replacement, and the need to recruit to fill a post.

Expat worker failure does not only affect the employee but also triggers loss of sales, disruption of operations, and customer dissatisfaction. To save yourself from direct or indirect costs, make sure you have a “buffer fund” prepared for working abroad. This means you’ll have money to spend on such things while waiting to get reimbursed.

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2. Family issues

International job assignments are already hard for the person concerned, but for the family, it can even be harder. Moreover, housing needs and language barriers are even more complicated as not only one person needs to adjust – it’s the entire family.

A worker clings to his family for support. And when a family member is having a hard time adjusting, it can also affect the worker’s attitude towards his job assignment.

If you are in the same situation and your family will also be relocated with you, make time for a proper family discussion to ensure everyone is aware, understands and will be adequately prepared for the big move. Consider yourself lucky for having the opportunity to take your family with you, and be sure to convey this especially to your kids.

3. Culture shock

Culture shock is the most common reason why an overseas job assignment can fail.

When a candidate isn’t completely prepared to embrace a new culture, he will easily succumb to stress. But if he is able to adequately prepare for life abroad and gets sufficient information about the role, culture shock would be easier to deal with.

It’s important for a candidate to be culturally flexible for his international job assignment to be greatly rewarding.

It all boils down to the worker’s personality and dedication to fulfill the assignment given to him. This is the reason why individual attributes are an important consideration as one can no longer do without cultural intelligence in a job market that is now markedly globalized.

4. Overload of responsibilities

Other than adjusting to a new work environment and culture, the employee also has to handle responsibilities in the new job. An overload of responsibilities can lead to stress which will then cause frustration, anxiety, and even anger.

If you’re in such a position, it’s best to unwind from time to time and ready yourself for all possible challenges you may encounter. This way, you won’t suffer the consequences of bearing too many responsibilities on your shoulders.

5. Employee inexperience

When an employee is unsuitable for the role, he may be given tasks which he can’t handle. As a result, he will fail in accomplishing his assignments.

Inadequate preparation and employee inexperience combined with culture shock is not a good formula, and it will make working overseas difficult and almost impossible to handle.

6. Health problems

The stress that comes with working and living in a new environment can trigger health problems beyond a person’s control.

This can become even more difficult when the climate is the exact opposite of your home country. For instance, if you come from a place with a tropical climate and end up working in a country like the UK, you may have a hard time adjusting to colder temperatures and rather extended rainy and snowy days.

Doing a bit of research on your host country and mentally preparing for the changes should help you cope much easier in your new job and workplace.

7. Inadequate support from the global mobility team

A well-organized global mobility team is the key to the success of an international job assignment.

Since the team is responsible for organizing all support for the candidate, if the team fails, the candidate may end up signing for an assignment different from what he is expecting. This will cost the company thousands in relocation only to find out that the candidate isn’t suitable for his position.

The consequences of failing an international job assignment can go beyond the loss of a great opportunity.

It may damage your self-esteem and professional status, or worse, it can leave you unemployed for a longer period of time.

To avoid failure, ask questions, clarify and do all that you can to prepare for your role to ensure that you are 100% ready for whatever challenges you may have to face once you get there.

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Bevan Berning is an Immigration professional and owner of Pathway Visas, an Immigration Agency dealing mostly with skilled immigration to Canada and Australia. Bevan’s enthusiasm for the industry has kept in the Immigration field for the past seven years. Bevan is South African by birth and has been residing in Dubai for the past eight years.

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