Are you considering pre-assignment health screening for expatriates?

Laura Cardy, August 21, 2018

Sending staff on assignment can be very expensive, therefore companies want to ensure they are providing the best chance of assignment success. Unfortunately, international assignments regularly fail due to several common factors including a lack of support, health concerns and culture shock. Focusing on health concerns, companies are establishing ways to combat this problem…One solution could be a pre-assignment health check.

Pre-assignment health check

Offering your expatriates (and their families) a full health check prior to departure will allow investigations into existing or new health issues. Companies may also want to consider assessing employees’ mental health – accessing suitable mental health care and expertise may be more challenging overseas reducing the chance of a successful assignment, hence the company may find it advisable to be aware of any issues prior to employee departure in order to offer appropriate support. It is also worth noting that for some locations medical screenings and vaccinations are a perquisite for visa applications.

What are the benefits?

A thorough pre-trip health screening programme will highlight any preventable and treatable health issues experienced by the assignee, which if undetected could affect them while on assignment. More serious health issues may even rule out some candidate’s eligibility for assignment which could result in major cost savings to the business, as well as providing potentially lifesaving information to the assignee, allowing them to seek appropriate treatment at the earliest opportunity.  

Any minor or manageable medical ailments can be treated prior to the assignee’s departure. Remember that when your expatriate is on assignment in a remote location there may be a lack of appropriate local medical facilities available to them. Medical screening will also highlight whether there is a need for ongoing medication which can be prescribed before the trip. If medication is required, employers must ensure the medication required by the assignee (or their family members) is legal and easily obtainable in the destination country.

The importance of appropriate insurance! 

I recently read that some organisations had been sending staff abroad with no health cover for cost-cutting purposes. Results from a recent survey discovered that some Managers assumed travel insurance would adequately cover their employee’s health overseas, however, unfortunately this type of insurance is not always appropriate and may be considered void by the insurer. If your organisation does not have specific insurance cover for expatriates on assignment this matter certainly warrants your further investigation.

Health and medical facilities differ hugely around the world; therefore, employers should offer their staff international health insurance plans to help them remain safe and to encourage success in some of the world’s most remote or challenging locations, some insurance companies specialise in providing such services worldwide. Looking after your employees’ health before, during and after an international assignment will increase the chances of a productive assignment, helping your organisation to save money and ultimately succeed in the long-run.

Written by Laura Cardy - Senior Recruitment Consultant – Relocation and Mobility Services at Alchemy Recruitment Ltd

Posted in categories: Global Mobilty, Health, International
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