HR Glossary  >   Expatriate


What is Expatriate?

Expatriate is the term used for employees transferred to foreign countries by the company solely for work-related purposes. It can be for a temporary period or a long-term job assignment. The ex-pat employee is assigned to handle the overseas business of the organization, and manage a new branch setup or gain experience.

Here is an example for your better understanding :

  • A global company operates in over 4 countries, India, U.S., Germany, and Switzerland.
  • The company planned a new project launch in Germany as per the market demand.
  • In the planning and forecasting stage of the project, it was found that they lack an employee that has similar experience and leadership qualities.
  • Working at the U.S. office, John had 6 years of experience and successfully led the team.
  • Superiors decided to send John to Germany at least for two years to handle the new project.
  • Here, John is an expatriate employee.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do all companies need an expatriate program?

No, the companies operating, dealing, or working only in a single country do not need an expatriate program. Organizations with no relation to foreign countries do not need to send employees out of the country. Although, this can change only if the company expands and sets up branches in foreign countries.

Is expatriate beneficial for the organization?

It can be beneficial for organizations when they plan and manage the expatriate program effectively. The benefits are:

  • Development in the knowledge and skills of the employees.
  • Offering global exposure to employees
  • Building of global network
  • Retention of experienced employees
  • Cost-effectiveness and tax benefits

On what basis are ex-pats selected?

The criteria for choosing the ex-pat employee may differ as per the organization. Here are some of the factors to keep in mind while selecting the ex-pat employee:

  • Having required abilities and skills
  • Willingness to relocate
  • Possessing cultural adaptability
  • Leadership and interpersonal skills


Are ex-pat employees given special allowances and benefits?

Yes, the ex-pat employees are given special allowances related to housing, travel, automobile, child education, and other miscellaneous benefits.

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