HR Glossary  >   Expatriate


Let’s understand the meaning of expatriate. In Human Resource Management (HRM), an expatriate is an employee sent by his or her organization to work in another country for a prolonged period. Emigrants can originate from any business level and be moved abroad for various reasons, including skill transfer, subsidiary management, or gaining foreign experience.

Expat assignments are widely seen as high-cost and high-risk ventures for organizations, mainly if the expatriates are not well prepared for the transition or if the mission fails to accomplish its objectives. Many people confuse expatriates and migrants, but they are very different. According to an article by BBC, there are differences between expatriates and migrants.

This article will discuss expat meaning and related concepts in detail.

Meaning and Definition of Expatriate

Expatriates are temporary or permanently assigned employees who work in a foreign country. They may be sent abroad by their employer or government to gain job experience, learn a new language, or immerse themselves in a foreign culture.

Expats typically make more than local workers and more than people at home. In addition to compensation, organizations may provide expat staff with advantages such as relocation aid and housing allowance. The expat must create a local bank account in their new residence.

Living as an expat can be exciting and provide tremendous opportunities for career progress and worldwide business exposure. Still, it can also be an emotionally challenging shift that entails leaving friends and family and adjusting to a new culture and work environment. This is why migrant workers get paid more.

Why does a person want to become an expat?

While numerous reasons exist to become an Expatriate, some are particularly drawn to making money through economic arbitrage.

Employers frequently pay expatriates higher wages than they would if they stayed home. They'll often be able to save more money for retirement or earn more money than locals, resulting in a very comfortable existence. Emigrants may also discover that their new location has a lower cost of living than their previous home, delivering a good lifestyle or savings boost.

Some countries have easier access to beaches, skiing, hiking, and other outdoor activities that may appeal to expats. Some have lower-cost or more accessible healthcare systems. Sometimes, people just want to enjoy living in another country’s culture.

Why would you require an Expatriate Program?

To be successful in today's global workplace, organizations must be able to function in different nations. To accomplish this, they must have workers who can work in multiple cultures and traverse various business situations. An expatriate program identifies and recruits employees with the essential abilities and cultural knowledge to work in a foreign country. It also allows firms to support their employees when they relocate to a new country and help them acclimate to their new environment.

What are the types of Expatriates?

The following can be the types of expats commonly seen:

The Foreign Assignee

These people move abroad at the request of their existing employer, frequently for professional growth or specialized job assignments. The majority are males in committed partnerships.

The Explorer

Driven by the temptation of living in different nations and seeking new adventures and challenges, this group has a balanced gender distribution and few children.

The Optimizer

Those who relocate to foreign countries for a better quality of life, lower living costs, or for reasons related to politics, religion, or safety.

The Travelling Spouse

A group of people who accompany their partners to new host countries, primarily women.

The Romantic

Those who relocate to their partner's native land are primarily women in committed relationships with many men.

It is critical to note that each type of expat has unique objectives and aspirations, as well as benefits and cons.

Conditions for Becoming an Expatriate

There are a few requirements for becoming an expatriate. The first need is that the individual be a citizen of at least one country other than their home country. One can accomplish this by being born in another nation, registering in another country, or marrying a citizen of a different country.

The second requirement is that the individual resides in a country other than their own for at least one year. This is typically for employment, although it can also be for retirement, schooling, or immigration.

The final criterion is that the person intends to stay in their host country for a period exceeding one year. If an individual does not match all three criteria, they are not called expatriates.

Emigrants frequently confront numerous problems when they initially relocate to a new nation. They may not know the language, the customs, or anyone in their new home. This might make it challenging to find work, develop relationships, or even do simple tasks like grocery shopping. Fortunately, numerous options are available to help those living abroad adapt to their new life.

Numerous groups and organizations for expatriates can offer assistance and advice.

Understanding Expat Taxation

Individuals who have abandoned their citizenship to live in another nation are subject to the expatriate tax. This tax form is typically larger than taxes placed on resident citizens and can be applied retrospectively.

This is one of several financial factors to consider when becoming an expat. Other expenses related to expatriation may include transportation expenses, visa fees, and the cost of establishing a new home in a different nation.

Individuals considering relinquishing their citizenship should speak with a tax professional. They will assist in determining if they are responsible for expatriation tax. In some situations, tax treaties or other laws may allow you to reduce or avoid paying this tax.

Someone migrating from a high-tax country to a low-tax country may discover they can keep a significant portion of their earnings. However, they may have to resign from their citizenship because many countries will tax citizens based on their total income rather than granting credit for foreign taxes paid.

For example, the United States excludes foreign-earned income from its overseas citizens. The law permits US expats to deduct a specific amount of income from their US taxable income if they meet specific residence requirements. This can give them huge tax benefits.

The United States also provides a foreign tax credit, which can be used to offset US taxes. Although the credit cannot marginalize foreign-earned income, it saves citizens from paying taxes twice on the same income.

How can you do Expatriate Management in HRM?

Managing expatriates is a complex undertaking that includes a variety of functions ranging from selection and recruiting to training, compensation, and return. Here's the breakdown:

Selection and Recruitment

The first stage in expat management is identifying the best candidate for the abroad assignment. In India, HR professionals frequently seek individuals with the necessary skill set, cultural flexibility, emotional intelligence, and the capacity to deal with stress.

Pre-departure Expatriate Training

Once chosen, the individual may get pre-departure training, including cultural awareness, language training, and other skill-building exercises.

Compensation and other Benefits

An emigrant compensation package is a complex combination that comprises basic salary pay, other allowances (such as housing, travel, etc.), and additional benefits (which include insurance, retirement, etc.).

On-premises Support

Once on assignment, relocating abroad frequently requires continuous assistance, such as career development guidance, mentorship, and feedback systems.

Performance Supervision

The international employees' performance should be carefully reviewed to satisfy the assignment's objectives.


This is the process of sending the expat back to their home country once the assignment is finished. Unhappiness and attrition might result from poorly managed repatriation.

What are the Types of Expatriate Training in HRM

Training is an essential component of expatriate management. The following are some common types of expat training in the Indian HR context:

Cultural Awareness Training

This comprises educating the expat about the host country's cultural norms, beliefs, and traditions. This is especially crucial in a country as diverse as India.

Language Training

While English is commonly spoken in the Indian corporate sector, learning a local language might help communication in everyday situations.

Preparation for Pragmatic Matters

This includes learning about the mechanics of migrating, from finding a place to live to comprehend how regional amenities like healthcare and banking work.

Compliance and Law Training

International assignees are educated on their legal obligations and rights in the host country. This is critical to ensuring compliance with home and host country rules.

Role-specific Training

it focuses on the specific abilities required to execute their profession in a new setting that may differ significantly from their native country.

Virtual Training

This type of training is commonly utilized for teams scattered across multiple locations and time zones. It is gaining popularity due to technological advancements and the global epidemic.

Psychological and Mental Preparation

Preparing expats for the psychological aspects of settling in a new country can help reduce culture shock and stress.

Benefits of becoming an Expat

When most people think of expatriates, they envision affluent individuals living in opulent apartments in distant countries.

While some people meet that description, the vast majority of overseas assignees are ordinary folks. They've simply decided to live overseas. There are several reasons why someone may become an expat. Some see it as a means to escape the rat race and live a simpler life.

Others view it as an opportunity to immerse oneself in a new culture or learn a new language. Many people simply want to be closer to family or friends who live overseas. There are several advantages to becoming an expat in terms of taxation. In some situations, relocating to a nation with more straightforward tax rules may allow you to decrease your tax liabilities. You can benefit from special tax treaties between specific countries in other circumstances.

So, if you're considering moving abroad, here are a few things to consider. But don't be intimidated by the possibility of becoming a foreign worker. With some forethought and preparation, it can be a gratifying experience.

Disadvantages of becoming an Expat

Certain drawbacks to becoming an expat exist. First, you may need to give up the right to reside in your country. This can be a difficult decision, and you might not be able to return to your native nation as readily as in the past. You may also have to deal with cultural and language hurdles. These can be difficult to overcome and may require some time to adapt.

Finally, you may face some discrimination or hostility in your new country. This is particularly true if you relocate to a country with a different culture or religion. It is critical to plan for this and have a support structure.

How can you create an Expat Program?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this topic because the ideal technique to design an expat program will differ according to the company's objectives and goals. However, some tips for developing an expat program include:

  • Create a clear goal for the program. Before launching an expat program, it is critical to define a precise aim. What are the company's objectives for the program? What do they intend to achieve by moving personnel abroad?
  • Define your target audience. Who will this initiative be directed at? Is it solely for senior executives, or will it involve lower-level employees? Defining the target audience will assist in determining the particular criteria that employees must meet to be considered for the program.
  • Establish eligibility requirements. Employees must meet specific criteria before being eligible for an expat program. Establishing explicit eligibility criteria will help to ensure that only the best candidates are chosen for the program.
  • Create an integrated selection process. The selection process for an expat program should be comprehensive. It should include evaluating the candidate's skills, experiences, and personal and professional goals.
  • Create a comprehensive training program. Employees chosen for an expat program must receive enough training for their new roles. The training program should include information on the organization's culture, business practices, and the country where the employee will work.
  • Develop a help group. A strong support network is essential for a successful expat program. This includes a network of mentors and advisers that may help the individual adjust to their new environment.

How can HR Professionals help Expatriates?

Human resources (HR) executives can help expatriates transition to a new nation and culture. Because they communicate with employees daily, they are well-positioned to offer assistance and support. This includes assisting personnel in navigating their international assignments' social, economic, and legal aspects.

  1. Educating them about the local economy, such as the cost of living.
  2. Explaining local regulations that apply to expatriate personnel, such as tax and labor legislation.
  3. Explaining how to move from one location to another via public transportation.


When knowing who is an expatriate it is a person who resides in a different country than their own. The term can also apply to someone who gives up their citizenship to live elsewhere.

Expatriates typically relocate to another country for employment or educational purposes. Some people, however, want to retire abroad. Many variables can influence the decision to become an expat, but it all boils down to a desire for change or adventure.

Some advantages to the expat lifestyle include tax breaks, but there may also be disadvantages. These include culture shock, isolation, and difficulty adapting to a new way of life

Whether the experience is favorable or adverse, expats typically find living abroad transformational. It broadens their horizons and teaches them fresh information about themselves and everything around them.


Why do some employers prefer to expatriate their employees?

Expats have moved abroad for various reasons, including firm closures, profit reduction, and restructuring. In such circumstances, firms are forced to relocate their staff overseas. In other instances, a person may request a transfer because they believe working abroad will advance their career. Sometimes it is a combination of both sides agreeing that the new modification will assist them in bettering their standing within their company.

How long is an expatriate employee's duration?

An expatriate employee's tenure might be as long as the organization requires. While the average duration of an overseas assignee’s stay in another country is three years, some employees want to stay longer. Several factors can influence the length of the term, including if the individual has family back home and how well they adjust to their new circumstances. If a corporation decides not to extend an employee's contract, it must find a new one to replace him.

Where should you advertise your expat jobs?

There are several places to list expat jobs. You can also publish directly to company websites or employment boards. Another alternative is hiring a hiring firm specializing in locating individuals for foreign jobs. You can also choose your existing employees for expat jobs.

Do expatriates pay taxes?

Yes, expats must pay taxes in the country they live in. However, they may be qualified for some tax breaks. For example, consider the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. This exemption permits them to exclude a portion of their income from US taxes.

What is an expatriate salary?

Expatriate pay refers to the income and benefits that an employer offers to an employee who lives in a foreign nation. The wage may be more than what the person would receive in their own country to assist cover the costs of living in a foreign country. Benefits may include accommodation, transportation, and health insurance.

What constitutes an expatriate assignment?

An expatriate assignment requires an employee to reside in a foreign country. Company-assigned expats may be required to work in the country for a set time or indefinitely.

What's the distinction between an immigrant and an expat?

An immigrant is forced to leave their native nation for political, economic, or social reasons. An expatriate is someone who has willingly decided to leave their own country. There are numerous motivations for ex-pats. However, it is most commonly used for work or study. Others do it for love, retirement, or to avoid harsh political or economic circumstances at home.

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