Should You Hire Expats? Pros and Cons of Hiring One!

April 10, 201711:37 am16967 views

Are you planning to expand your business internationally? When you want to start a new company or open new branch overseas, it is crucial to designate who will take charge of your business’ foreign operations. Then here comes the real question, should you hire expats to work for your company, or focus on hiring locals?

Sometimes, finding certain business skillsets could be difficult in a given foreign location, which is why companies prefer hiring expats over locals for a particular job role. Talent shortage is often one critical area of concern for businesses to arrive at a decision on relocating foreign talent to work as expats or focus on hiring locals to improve business sustainability.

The new offices overseas might find it difficult to source the right talent with skills, experience and qualifications required for the job role. Even if individuals with these competences exist, they often demand higher payments. Not to mention, the company has to provide in-depth onboarding and training before the talents can really function.

Therefore, when a company is progressing globally, they often choose to relocate their current employees to new offices abroad. For most companies, sending expats for crucial role in the company is seen as more fulfilling than employing local people. Yes, sending your employees overseas might cost you more than hiring locally skilled professionals.

For businesses are required to consider the cost of immigration requirements, allowances, insurance, tax equalisation, and other payments. However, hiring expats offers you the comfort of having people you trust for running your business in foreign countries.

If you are still wondering whether you should hire expats or not, take a look at the following pros and cons of hiring one:

See: Singapore Ranks One of the Most Expensive Destination for Expats in 2017


They uphold same practices. When you relocate your employees to international location, you can save up on time to train them about the company’s rules and regulations. Expats who have worked years for your business, will uphold the same company values and practices even when they are positioned abroad in new foreign markets. Therefore, when you relocate talent you can be assured that high standards are always maintained.

They have better knowledge. Expats who have spent some time working for your company, will have better knowledge, information, and experience about the business. Owing to the familiarity of working and company culture, ethics, they can be trusted for seamless flow of operation and smooth functioning of business in new foreign lands.

They are motivated. Only the best performers will be trusted to relocate to new international markets. Therefore, when such best talent are chosen to relocate and head foreign operations, they showcase great motivation to rebuild their lives and thrive in a new environment.


They are expensive. As stated previously, hiring expats might cost you two to three times higher than local talents. For example, when you move your marketing manager from Singapore to Jakarta, they would likely demand higher salary than the local candidates. You also have to take care of the relocation costs, taxes, immigration documents, accommodation, etc. Not to mention, you are required to consider additional expenses, when they choose to bring in their family.

They have high burnout rate. Running new business in foreign countries is demanding and an exhausting exercise. If they are unable to cope with pressures of working in a foreign work culture, then this impacts employee well being to suffer from severe stress and fatigue. No wonder, expats have high burnout rate caused by isolation from family and friends, cultural shock, language barriers or even internal politics.

It can seem problematic and risky. Dealing with all legal documents is risky. When you are not careful enough in following the required immigration and permit obligations, your company could be fined or even banned from operating in foreign markets. Hence, before hiring expats, you should ensure that all costs and complexities are considered.

Every company has their own circumstances, situations and business vision. If you are on an urgent need for skilled labour and prefer working with individuals, who are already familiar with your business workings, then hiring expats can seem to be in your favour will be a great trusted option.

However, working as an expat in foreign lands is not easy either. Therefore, you should pick and choose exceptionally talented employees with comprehensive business knowledge and superior management skills, who can easily mingle and assimilate in new workplace culture.

Read also: Who Will Succeed in Expatriate Roles?

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