Overseas assignments see reports of critical incidents rise

Global mobility teams around the world have seen an increase in the number of reported critical incidents for those on international assignment, suggested a new report by Santa Fe Relocation.

Safety on international assignment
Medical issues, severe penalties for breaching local laws (such as immigration and tax regulations) and terrorism related events are the most common risks facing businesses that send workers overseas, according to new research by global mobility specialists Santa Fe Relocation.

International assignment facing increasing risk

The findings from the Santa Fe 2017 Global Mobility Survey– which surveyed nearly 1,000 global mobility teams and business leaders in 56 countries ­­– revealed that nearly a nearly a quarter (22 per cent) of those managing overseas secondments or assignments have faced a ‘critical incident’ in the last year and nearly two thirds (65 per cent) in the last five.Rather worryingly, more than 1 in 10 (12 per cent) of global mobility and HR teams stated their business does not monitor or manage risk and host country environmental factors at all.Despite the risks associated with working abroad; enthusiasm for international placements has not diminished.Santa Fe’s findings show that nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of businesses surveyed regularly send employees on long and short-term work placements, with five out of the top seven global locations seeing an increase in overseas workers.Figures by financial consultancy firm, Finaccord, suggest there are now 56.8 million expatriates working abroad, with nearly 75 per cent of them being individual workers and corporate transferees. In the past 5 years there has been an annual growth rate of 2.4 per cent.Biggest risks facing organisations sending workers abroad
Staff or family medical issue40 per cent
Severe penalties for breaching local laws or regulations37 per cent
Terrorism34 per cent
Political corruption29 per cent
Disease25 per cent
Death on assignment19 per cent
War19 per cent
Kidnap17 per cent
While the responsibility for managing risk and country environmental factors typically falls to internal security or risk teams – or is outsourced to a designated external provider – global mobility and HR professionals are increasingly ensuring they have policies and programmes in place to manage their organisation’s risk profile by ensuring staff are safe on secondment and the business is compliant.
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Global mobility risk mitigaing policies

Over two thirds (68 per cent) of global mobility professionals report they now have a policy to better mitigate risk, in place, which has risen from 55 per cent in 2016.With the need to comply with local laws and regulations, especially when it comes to immigration and tax, these measures are critical and must be in place ahead of the expatriation or business travel.Martin Thaysen, Group CEO of Santa Fe Relocation, said, “Businesses continue to become more and more global, providing great opportunity for markets and personal development – but also increased risk.“The significant growth in business travel along with tightened regulations and strengthened controls, has significantly increased the exposure businesses and employees have with regards to immigration and tax compliance.“Many companies have some process in place, but mostly not effectively managing to the specifics requirements of immigration of tax.“Companies often don’t realise their risk and responsibility and employees don’t realise their exposure”.For related news and features, visit our International Assignments section.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory