Best Practices for Supporting Expatriate Safety in Hazardous Locations

September 30, 2016


Global companies often must place employees on long-term assignments in hazardous locations. Employees that choose to accept these opportunities deserve special levels of support related to safety and security measures.

Enhancing Expatriate Safety

Many global companies have their own internal security teams, supplemented by external risk management specialists such as G4S International or Andrews International. These types of companies provide detailed threat assessments, security planning, training and on-site manpower support.

Additionally, global companies can implement many policies and procedures to protect their expatriates:

  • Provide destination-specific security awareness training prior to the relocation
  • Provide localized support for assignees such as identifying safe schools and transportation options
  • Provide access to reliable threat assessment information—many corporations include this information on their intranet sites for the benefit not only of assigned employees but also those on shorter-term travel status
  • Offer an international medical insurance plan and ensure that employees know how to find clinics, hospitals, and other medical assistance while in the host location
  • Develop crisis management and evacuation strategies whereby managers at headquarters and foreign locations have contingency plans for a variety of individual emergencies (e.g., arrest, auto accidents, violent crimes and kidnapping) and circumstances that could affect the entire local work force (e.g., sudden political unrest or a natural disaster)
  • Maintain full dossiers on every assignee and their accompanying family members along with updated lists pinpointing the location of all expatriates and employees on short-term or extended business travel
  • House expatriates in gated, secure neighborhoods and conduct regular safety inspections of those properties, providing guards, drivers and cars as appropriate
  • Ensure that all expatriates register with their with home country embassy upon arrival

Key Takeaways:

  • The increasing incidence of terrorism and violent political unrest around the world isn’t going away – it’s critical to have evacuation plans, crisis management policies, and safety protocols in place
  • Employers of choice provide assignees a range of locally-relevant, preventive and responsive protective services during international assignments 
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