For expatriates worldwide, employment and job opportunities are often the reason for moving abroad. For many expats this leads to a trailing spouse or partner that must displace themselves. Contrary to what your company may say, the experience of moving to a new country, sometimes using a new language, is certainly at first, a very daunting experience.
This has prompted companies to start schemes and programmes to make sure their relocating employee’s family are happy in their new location. Danish companies are now beginning to budget for accompanying families in their expatriate integration programmes.
Expatriates are often very skilled workers that require a high income and attractive assignments. Therefore it is understandable that expatriate employees are provided with integration packages to make sure their move goes smoothly. Nonetheless, the reports show that while conditions may be perfect for the expat employee, if their spouse is not content the assignment has a high chance of failure.
The “trailing spouse” can often be left dissatisfied and experience a huge loss of identity. This will only make the situation of moving to a new country more difficult. While the working spouse will become increasingly integrated through work connections and networks, the trailing spouse will have trouble looking for work in a foreign country and it will be difficult to establish friend networks if the language is unknown.
Therefore, there has been an increase in the focus given to expat spouses to ensure the whole family is happy in their new surroundings. Companies can then benefit from the positives that come with foreign employees. There have also been an increase in independent companies that provide immersion and integration programmes for expat families, such as Café Vivant in Switzerland and t&a relocation in the Netherlands.
If you are a new or recently displaced ‘trailing spouse’ there are now more possibilities than ever for you to integrate, socially and professionally into your new surroundings.
Please let us know how you are dealing with relocation due to your spouse’s career below