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Spain - Expatriation offers cannot really be refused

11 October 2011

In the current economic climate, the offer of expatriation made by an employer to an employee, is increasingly becoming an order rather than an option, according to new research carried out by the IESE Business School and Ernst & Young Lawyers.

The research reveals that an attractive remuneration package is usually the major incentive for an employee to live and work abroad on behalf of his Spanish employer. However, 36.9% of Spanish expatriates believe that the package they ended up with is not consistent with what they had agreed with their employers before taking on the foreign assignment.

This is mainly because many such expatriation packages are agreed upon on a gross basis, therefore not taking into account differences in taxation between Spain and the country of assignment.

Most professionals surveyed are convinced that expatriation will facilitate their promotion within the organisation but many are concerned about what happens to them when they return home, since politics within the company will have moved on without them. 25% of expatriates said that they had been given no information about their future role in the organisation after their return.

Uncertainty about their professional future after the assignment abroad combined with the implications an expatriation will have on their families are the major reasons for rejecting a foreign assignment.

In this context, 40% of expatriates said that rejecting the offer of working abroad would have made no impact on their career development. However, 21.9% said that such a rejection would have had a negative impact on their careers, a figure which rises to 38% when combined with those who said "not sure".

Sandalio Gómez, Professor for Labour Relations at IESE, commented "it is very risky to over-interpret how much between-the-lines fear lies behind the 'not sure' answer. What is clear is that expatriation meets a business need and in many cases there are no alternatives but to accept the international assignment."

"One must not forget that geographical mobility is a necessity in today's globalised world and it is certainly a way to escape the economic crisis at home."

To read the full report, in Spanish language, please click here


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