Potentially moving from Europe to US for a job
I am currently involved in a discussion about an internal job opportunity that would require me to replocate with my family from Northern Europe to the Silicon Valley area in the US. Assuming that HR helps organize all the necessary paperwork, what are the things that I as someone without experience of the US job market need to think about and for example ensure are written into my agreement?
Hi PG. It would be a great place to relocate to -- there's a generally high quality of life in that region, but the cost of living is outrageous. So make sure that you are covered there. Transportation is difficult in the region -- housing costs, etc. If you are going under an ex-pat package it may be doable.
Dave Jensen, Founder and Moderator
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A few points for your contract:
1. Negotiate holidays. You will let far less than what you get in Northern Europe. I"m North of the Alps myself, I have 35 days of holiday (not including public holidays). In the US, at best expect 15 days, maybe 20 with the public holidays. If you plan to travel to Europe on vacation, you'll see how fast your 15 to 20 days will be eroded.
2. Notice of Termination: In Europe you get 3 to 6 months, maybe a year notificaiton period. That you may know can be a good or bad thing. If you want some form of "stablity" its a good thing. If you want to be mobile and have ability to quit and walk away..a bad thing. In the US, we are generally AT WILL. Means you can quit today, and never show up tomorrow. Some companys, will even escort you out the door same day you quit at certain levels of management. So negotiate that if that's something you want.
3. You will have some payments given to you that your contart will stipulate you pay back if you leave under a ceratin time - monitor that and negotiate it.
4. Besure you negotiate having a job waiting for you when you want to return. Many expats make this mistake when taking an assignment, there is nothing in the contract stipulating there is a job parked for them when they return. So they go - and well, there's nothing for them when they want to comeback, so basically it's like they're an external candidate, which means..well, start looking outside your expatting company for jobs if you want to return home. Very important this one.
5. watch your title and rank, can be different from country to say international HQ - make sure you're at the same level per se if not higher.
Dave covered your housing costs - i had expat contract for a bit - I had an apartment rent covered in my case for a period of time (negotiate that), plus all my utilities. Also ask for a Tax Consultant for at least 2 years. You will know what your salary is. BEFORE you sign your contract, Ask the tax firm to calculate your Gross down to your projected NET (it will be considered advise) but they should come pretty close. This way you're not surprised when you see your salary and your taxes. They should be able to give you the calculated tax you will need to pay at end of tax filing season. Strongly recommend this. This way, if you see something off based on your calculated cost of living, you can negotate that.
All visa cost as well (if you leave under a certain time you'll have to pay a piece of that back, see my point above, unless fired). Your company should have a consultant firm that will help you with integration (help you with bank account, take you to see apartments, set up utilitise) etc. Some, companys will pay for you to visit say 4 to 6 apartments only. I would negotiate up on that, 10 maybe. Work well with this agency, try to research as much as you can about the places you'll visit, try to discard those "online" before visiting, if you visit them, they will count against your 4 to 6 visits. Dave hinted to it, try to get a company car. You'll pay the taxes on it as a piece of it will be considered income, but no big deal (it's not much). I assume your moving costs will be covered.
Hope all this helps,
Ah yes, that means probably a bit more work on your end if you want it to happen, but it may not be necessialy too bad.
For all of your non-contract stuff, i.e. visa and logistics of moving, most companys work with agencies that offer services that specialize in coordinating your move. One is PwC (pricewaterhouse). One that my company used was Cartus International. Your company can contract with them. They will coordinate everything from visa processing, house finding, utility set-up etc, tax services (for example they would give you the sample salary pay stub and calulated tax burden, and file your taxes too). So you have a one stop shop for your moving/relocation needs. So I recommend you try to get your company to contract with such firm. Obviously big firms who do expatting already have these relationships (usually by HR).
Beyond that its your agreement/contract negotiation - and for that you line item everything as i've noted above (plus all them agency fees). So may be a bit more work on your end, but can be done if you want to pioneer that for you company (there will be days of fustration, even when I had an agency taking care of everything, you do have to dig up alot of paper work etc. etc.)
So its doable. One ohter point I forgot to mention to you, think about your "at home" tax situation and obligation even if you're an expat. I have many ex-colleague friends from Denmark and Sweden, most if not all sold their homes when taking expat posts due to tax situation. It was something they accepted and of those who moved back, bought again. So take look at your situation and country.
Glad i was able to provide helpful advise.
I'm am currenlty an Expat....Expat (complicated story)..but all good.