Survey Finds Foreign Assignees at Ease the Most Living in America  

Foreign assignees in the United States have given some of the most positive satisfaction ratings in terms of their ease of settling in, when compared to those in the other featured countries in a survey published in The Expat Insider Business Edition Country Focus. Their response is also based on the InterNations Expat Insider survey of thousands of expats, with 18,135 participants in 2018. 

Nine countries were selected based on their data sample (31 or more of each expat type in a specific country). These countries were China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  

Foreign assignees ranked the US first when it comes to feeling at home in the local lifestyle (at 59 percent) and making local friends (46 percent agree it’s that easy). Forming long-lasting friendships turned out to be quite challenging, though– as Americans are perceived to be polite and courteous, just not warm or friendly. 

However, this aspect doesn’t seem to bother foreign assignees who rated their happiness with life in the US in general at 83 percent. While that indicates a high rating, Netherlands (at 86 percent) and France (83 percent) are the happiest overall.

Adjusting to the local culture is not a problem for foreign hires. About 63 percent of foreign assignees agree that it’s easy to settle in the US. California Corporate Housing makes them feel at home by customizing their apartments, sometimes according to their ethnic culture.

Employers are doing a better job in supporting foreign hires and providing them access to socializing options — 20 percent of them noted this, which is equal to the global average. 

Employers sending foreign assignees to the US reportedly support them well with practical assistance, such as organizing their move and offering a lump-sum payment. The shares of foreign assignees that received these benefits are above the global averages — 77 percent of foreign assignees in the US had their move arranged, which is two percentage points higher than the global average (75 percent). Again, in the US, 71 percent received the lump-sum payment, six percentage points higher than the global average at 65 percent.

The survey was broken down as follows: Relocation Support, Ease of Settling ln, and Happiness. The survey questions for the Relocation Support chapter were structured around discussions with and feedback from employers regarding the kind of relocation support that companies offer.  As for the Ease of Settling In and Happiness sections, the response was based on the five years of expertise of the Expat Insider’s team in its survey of expats and their life in the US.  

The methodology used a 1 to 7 scale: 1 = don’t agree at all / not satisfied at all;  2 and 3 = negative rating; 4 = neutral; 5 and 6 = positive rating; 7 = agree completely / completely satisfied). In the report, both the negative ratings (1-3) and the positive ones (5-7) have been combined, while the neutral results (4) were on their own.

In this survey, respondents that moved abroad were asked questions about the types of relocation support they received as well as their relationship status (66 percent were in one).

Respondents chose “Yes, the companies offered it (and we accepted);”  “No, but we would have liked it (wanted)” and “No, they didn’t need it. 

They rated the usefulness of any support they were offered on a scale of one to five. The ratings process emphasizes the respondent’s personal satisfaction with these factors.

The survey should encourage global mobility managers to craft their own survey methodology.