What Lingers in the Minds of Most Expats and How Global Mobility Pros Can Help

Is it ok to move to or stay long in the United States as an expatriate? This question probably lingers in the minds of most foreign talents who still plan to make the move after the pandemic and even those who have called, say, Silicon Valley home for sometime now. The question hits Asian American talents hard because of the current Asian hate crimes. 

At no other time perhaps has families thought of the family dynamic in expat living in an existential manner as much as now when COVID-19 is still out there and the volatile political environment can make foreigners feel unwelcome. Already, some wonder whether they should accept that job offer outside of their home country or stay put in northern California.  

Expats typically have their spouse and kids join them after moving to the US. In some cases, they stay for good. It was always an easy decision. But a survey reveals that there’s not a “one-size-fits-all” approach to navigating international working and close relationships now. 

Doubt has pestered. It turns out there’s an even split between keeping the immediate family unit together in the working country or leaving the family at home for greener pastures, even in this pandemic. One can’t blame those who still want to work abroad, even in the current crisis, especially if their home country has suffered a lot in the past year. 

Enticements still await talents who are ready to move once the crisis is over. With venture capital pouring money to new startups, Silicon Valley will need all the help it can get — remotely for now, but on-site later, to fast-track its traction.

Enticements aplenty

This has compelled HR and global mobility professionals to offer a bevy of services that are crucial in bringing in talents these days, wherever they may be: immigration assistance, international health insurance, day-to-day guidance, relocation support and even travel incentives back to travel back to their home country for the holidays, among others. For those with kids, helping them find a good school or nursery is important as well. 

With immigration matters, half of organizations surveyed by AXA Healthcare say they will help ensure that the processing of their expat’s immigrant papers will run smoothly even after arriving in the United States. However, one has to be prepared for long waits as there is a massive backlog in US immigration processing due to the pandemic and office closures aimed at protecting government staff.

Global mobility professionals will need to take this time to think of offering some kind of cultural preparation for these foreign talents, especially in light of the current situation in the US. Those with kids will need to find out if they will bring them over or let their loved ones back home take care of them. 

Observing how loved ones cope

In past studies, spouses who bring a high education level and some language proficiency of their host country are said to be good barometers when determining how they can adjust to an American way of life. Day to day, it’s easy to spot those who can acclimate faster. If they enjoy trying new foods, beginning new activities and exploring new places, they’ll be fine but new studies have to be conducted, factoring in how recent events will make adjusting harder.

The best way to find out is to learn as much as one can about their designated location. If coming in in 2022, think of ways to be more culturally prepared, digging deep into what is happening in a community, or ask a global mobility manager.

If coming for the first time, an expat may want to take that trip alone without the family first and then later bring them in when the situation has improved. It’s definitely not a time for bringing an entire family for a great adventure. 

For those who are already in the US, there’s nothing like looking after their safety and comfort. California Corporate Housing’s staff has worked tirelessly to provide the best housing accommodation for expats in safe areas around northern California. It also offers safety measures and technological accessories for protection.

For Asian Americans and other foreigners wary of their safety, a bill introduced by California legislators would create a toll-free hotline and online reporting system for reporting hate crimes and hate incidents. Having other emergency numbers — from an ambulance, police station or hospital, is also good to keep to prepare for untoward incidents. (Dennis Clemente)