A Closer Look at Prevalent Alternatives to Long-term International Assignments

The Alternative International Assignments Policies and Practices Survey (AIA) offers an in-depth look into policies and practices governing alternative types of international assignments. In 2018, we looked at:

  • Permanent / One-way Transfers
  • Talent Development
  • Short-term
  • Commuter

Data Analyzed

For each assignment type, the survey examines:

  • Recent trends
  • Policy and administration
  • Compensation approach
  • Living costs
  • Tax
  • Housing and utilities policies
  • Mobility incentives and Hardship
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Travel and home leave
  • Flexible benefits and lump sums
  • Other support
  • Benefits

Notable Trends in 2018

Most reported challenge by assignment type:

  • Permanent transfers – Salary and benefits package in host location          
  • Short-term – Cost containment
  • Commuters – Tax and social security compliance
  • Talent development – Return on investment
  • International business travelers - Immigration and tax and social security compliance

More than 60% allow families to visit short-term assignees in lieu of home leave. A majority of respondents do not allow assignees to spend home leave in a location other than the ‘home location.’

On the rise, compared with previous survey results, more companies:

  • Have a formal policy for permanent transfers (up 8%) and plan to develop a formal commuting policy
  • Provide a home-finding trip to permanent transfers (up to 10%)
  • Consider governmental tax-free per diem limits when setting their per diem/daily allowance for commuters

Consider governmental tax-free per diem limits when setting their per diem/daily allowance for commuters (65%).

Flexible benefits are (still) rarely used in policies for alternative assignments. 20% offer them to one-way transfers, but less than 5% to commuters.

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