Security concerns make US tough for relocations

The US has been named as one of the world’s three most
challenging countries for relocating employees, due to the threat of terrorism
and the measures put in place to prevent it.


The annual Global Relocation Trends Survey, produced by GMAC
Global Relocation Services, the US National Foreign Trade Council and the
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), placed the US third in posing the
greatest challenges to relocating employees in terms of language, culture and
other obstacles. China topped the list with Japan second.


The US was cited as being particularly challenging by the
employees relocating, as well as for the HR professionals who handle the


Chief among the complaints were delays in obtaining social
security numbers and visas, immigration restrictions, and dissatisfaction with
the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


"This year’s survey captures some of the business
repercussions involving mobility to the US in an environment of increased
security," said Brian Glade, vice-president of international programs for


"Much of this burden appears to be falling to HR
professionals to balance the new security policies with the needs of their
business," he said.


The survey reflects responses from 134 multinational
organisations representing almost 7,500 offices around the world.


It also uncovered other major shifts in the way
international transfers are being managed compared with last year’s study.


Companies surveyed said up to 70 per cent of their
transferring employees would have an assignment length of one year or less.
This represents a major shift from the past historical average, the survey
said, with just 13 per cent of all assignments being for a year or less.


Two-thirds of respondents indicated their companies were
attempting to reduce international assignment expenses in response to current
economic conditions, with more than half seeking alternatives.


The report said companies are increasingly relying on local
hiring as a substitute for sending expatriates on assignments.


By Mike Berry

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