"Alternative" international assignment (AIA) policies and practices survey

2023 reports now available!

In recent years, international organizations looking to move talent around the globe have increasingly turned to solutions that are more flexible, fit for purpose and cost-efficient than long-term expatriate assignments.

Our AIA survey uncovers the latest market trends in managing short-term international assignments, permanent transfers/one way moves and internationally hired foreigners. The study also explores how the relative policies and practices have evolved since the last survey edition in 2021.

The 2023 AIA survey edition consists of two questionnaires focusing on:

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Short-term assignments

  • Trends and demographics
  • Policy framework
  • Compensation approaches
  • Cost-of-living/daily living costs
  • Tax
  • Housing and utilities
  • Mobility and hardship premiums
  • Education and childcare
  • Transportation
  • Travel and home leave
  • Additional support
  • Benefits
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Permanent moves/one-way transfers and internationally hired foreigners

  • Trends and management
  • Compensation approaches
  • "Plus" allowances, benefits in kind and relocation support — eligibility, delivery, tax and recurrence
  • Benefits
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Commuter Assignments

Also available, from the 2021 edition of the AIA, is our report on Commuter Assignments:

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Key AIA report highlights

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Short-term assignments report

  • Numbers are increasing again post pandemic: Nearly half of the participants reported an increase in the number of STAs during the last two years (2021–2022, and more than half expect further growth in the next two years (2023–2024)
  • Cost containment resurged as the foremost concern for managing STAs, after having dropped to the sixth position in the previous survey
  • Just above a third of the surveyed companies have accompanied (non-single) STAs, while half do not, and 14% stated that such arrangements would not be deemed the company’s responsibility.
  • Nearly 60% of the surveyed companies allow family members to visit short-term assignees at the assignment location in lieu of a home leave trip, and one-third allow short-term assignees to spend their home leave in a different location than their home country.
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Permanent moves/one-way transfers report

  • The most frequent reason for employers to relocate employees internationally permanently remains providing career opportunities for employees. Of the surveyed companies, 71% rated this as 3 or 4 on a scale from 1: Not a reason to 4: A key reason.
  • Similar to the previous edition, tax filing, tax and social security briefing assistance, language training, and cross-cultural training remain the most common “plus” allowances or benefits provided to permanently transferred employees, provided by more than half of respondents. The fifth most prevalent benefit in the current edition is a lump sum, moving up from eighth in the 2021 survey.
  • Most participants apply the same approach or policy to one-way transfers and internationally hired foreigners even though internationally hired foreigners are less often managed by the global mobility team.
  • Most survey respondents indicated that they provide the same allowances/benefits (61%) and relocation support items (71%) to internationally hired foreigners as to one-way transfers.
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Commuter assignments report (2021 edition)

  • Close to 70% of companies track the number of days commuters spend outside their home countries, a noticeable increase from the 56% in the previous edition.
  • Fifty-seven percent of companies, a 22-percentage-point increase from the 2018 edition, have a formal commuting policy.
  • Global mobility is more involved in commuter management than in the previous edition (61% in 2020-2021 versus 55% in 2018). Likewise, a higher proportion of respondents in this edition (34% versus 19% in 2018) indicate that global mobility is the function qualified to offer the commuter policy or practice rather than other actors, such as home-country HR or business unit.

Participation remains open

The survey remains open. You may participate at your convenience to receive discounted access to the full reports and benefit from participant-only benchmarking opportunities. Survey participants can also order custom cut benchmarking reports for tailored insights and company positioning.

Good to know:



Highlights webcast 18 October

Join our live webinar for practical insights and highlights of our 2023 AIA research.

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