WORKING ABROAD / JUN. 01, 2014
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How To Negotiate a Relocation Package

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When negotiating a relocation package with your employer, ensure you make good use of all bargaining tools at your disposal. Use all available options to guarantee that you will be in the best situation you could land yourself in.

Step 1: Negotiate a location you would love to live in

Many companies provide help with accommodation, when offering packages to relocate. When negotiating the exact location where you will be living, ensure surrounding amenities within the area accommodate your needs. You may have several places in mind near to your new office; try to find out exactly which area would be best for you. Do you enjoy spending time on the beach? Would you rather be in the city center amidst bars and restaurants to socialise? If you find the new house to be in an area which you are less interested in, try to push for the location which feels right for you. Conduct your own research on the new local area near your office, to decide on a preferred region. The important characteristics of living and working in a country can often be determined by what your local city, has to offer you.

Step 2: Negotiate the package benefits

If you have not yet secured the job this will always be a prime place for you to negotiate, should you already have the job, go back and ask. Use your key strengths as leverage; never before has the urge to position yourself as so desirable, played such an important role in your application. Address your real needs before limiting your requests for support when relocating. The criteria may be different for every applicant, however, below are some of the points to consider in negotiating your relocation, should they affect you:

  • A higher cost-of-living subsidy
  • A higher mortgage cost allowance  
  • A bridge loan, if you encounter problems when selling your house before relocating
  • Assistance in choosing a good local school for children

Step 3: Research all benefits available to you

Your preparation for this negotiation should include the following:

  • Ask your new employer’s HR department if the company has a written relocation policy; vital.
  • Find out who at the company has recently moved, and ask about other relocation packages.  
  • Ask your friends or other contacts in similar companies about their experiences and/or their companies’ policies.
  • If you are using a recruitment agency, request as much guidance as they can offer.

Step 4: Stay organised

The stress of moving can be the worst part of the relocation process, seek support from your employer to find out how much they can help in terms of registering utility bills (water, electric, internet), visa/immigration documents and transport. Essentially, the more help you can ascertain from your employer, the smoother this will feel when you arrive. This area of relocating can normally be the most grueling and tiresome, if you are doing this alone; you may find that some registration can be done on the internet before you move.

Step 5: Network as much as you can

To state simply, networking can prove imperative to your relocation. Network with the new office and see if you can negotiate there. Network with colleagues, find out what benefits they receive, which you can then use to negotiate with the department organising your package.

It is a good idea to message new colleagues before you arrive if possible. Search for possibilities to meet co-workers informally for a coffee, or message them to introduce yourself and get answers to your questions in an informal and friendly style. Research networking options for the chosen destination you are negotiating for, try to find forums from people living there, possibly others who have relocated in the same country and gain a feel for what others have experienced.

Finally, once boxes on your how-to-haggle-a-new-job sheet are ticked, ensure you position yourself well and have an exit strategy. Never leave a workplace on bad terms.

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