International mobility encompasses the selection and relocation of employees for international assignments, as well as the logistics, activities and events that occur before, during and after these assignments. International moves can provide development opportunities, enhance corporate culture and allow the transfer of expertise and sharing of knowledge between colleagues from different countries.

This factsheet outlines considerations for both the employer and the employee in preparing and planning for an international assignment, such as impact on family and career aspirations, documents required, legal and security risks and duration of the assignment. It also looks at the different elements of remuneration and the benefits that might be included in an international assignment package. The factsheet concludes by offering a helpful checklist of steps to follow in order to facilitate a successful move abroad, focusing on aspects of talent, reward, process and technology.

This factsheet was last updated by Dr Liz Houldsworth, one of the co-authors of the 4th edition of CIPD’s textbook International human resource management.

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