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  • Writer's pictureMatilda

How to Negotiate an Expat Package: The Beginner's Guide

Becoming an expat is a great adventure. But the fact is that it comes with unique challenges. One of these is negotiating an expat package. It's a critical step to ensure you're well compensated for your willingness and commitment to relocate for work. But where do you start? How to negotiate an expat package? What should you consider? This guide will walk you through the process, giving you the tools you need to get the best possible deal.

Before we dig deeper, remember that negotiating an expat package isn't just about the salary. It includes housing, cost of living, healthcare, and other essential benefits. You might feel overwhelmed at first but don't worry. This ultimate guide will give you all the information you need to make the best decision and secure a package that supports your expat journey.

With the right information, you can navigate your way to a package that's fair and beneficial. It's all about understanding your worth, knowing what benefits to ask for, and having the confidence to make your case.

So, let's dive in and learn how to negotiate an expat package that meets your needs.


What is an Expat Package?

First things first: let’s explore the basics, benefits, and inclusions of an expat package. Whether you're considering becoming an expatriate or already have a job offer at hand, we've got you covered.

Understanding the Basics

An expat package, short for expatriate package, is a comprehensive employment agreement offered to individuals who are relocating to work in a foreign country.

It's designed to provide support and compensation to help employees transition smoothly into their new surroundings.

Expatriate packages often include various allowances and benefits tailored to the needs of the employee and the specific circumstances of the assignment. These packages are typically offered by multinational companies and may vary in terms of duration and scope.


Expat packages come with a range of financial and non-financial benefits that aim to make the transition and living abroad easier and more enjoyable.

Some common benefits include:

  • Accommodation: Many companies provide housing or housing allowances to ensure expats have a comfortable place to live.

  • Transportation: Some packages include transportation allowances or company-provided vehicles for commuting or exploring the new location.

  • Healthcare: Access to quality healthcare is crucial, and expat packages often include provisions for medical insurance.

  • Education: If you have dependents, the package may cover school fees or provide assistance in finding suitable educational institutions.

  • Relocation Expenses: Reimbursement or coverage of costs associated with moving to a foreign country, such as visa fees, shipping, temporary accommodation, or pet relocation.

  • Tax Assistance: To navigate the complexities of international tax systems, companies may provide tax-related services or reimbursements.

  • Home Leave: Periodic trips back to the home country to visit family or for personal reasons.

These are just a few examples of the benefits you may find in an expat package. (Want to see the full list? Head to the expat package 101 guide.)

By the way, remember that even as an expat, you can also negotiate your base salary. Find out how to get the salary you deserve in this salary negotiation guide for expats.

Moving abroad? Don't leave money on the table.

Get the salary you deserve with this salary negotiation guide.

Now that you have a better understanding of what an expat package entails, let's dive deeper into the art of negotiating the best expat package.


How to Prepare for Negotiation

Before entering a negotiation for an expat package, it is essential to properly prepare to maximize your chances of success.

This section will guide you through the 3 key steps to take before starting the negotiation process.

#1: Set Clear Goals

Begin by setting clear and specific goals for your negotiation. Determine what you hope to get in the expat package and outline your priorities.

  • Are you primarily seeking financial benefits, such as salary, bonuses, or relocation assistance?

  • Are other factors like housing, education, or healthcare equally important to you?

  • Do you need any special support, like moving your pets or your furniture from one country to another?

By establishing your goals in advance, you will be better equipped to communicate your needs effectively during the negotiation. By the way, remember that you're making a significant life change. So, think carefully about what would make this move more comfortable for you and ask the company how they can support you.

#2: Gather Supporting Documents

Collect and organize all the supporting documents that can strengthen your negotiation position. This may include your resume, relevant certifications, performance reviews, and any other evidence of your skills and qualifications.

Additionally, research industry standards, salary ranges, and cost of living in the destination country to have a factual basis for your negotiation. Being well-prepared with supporting documents will give you confidence and credibility during the negotiation process.

#3: Familiarize Yourself with Company Policies

It's crucial to understand your employer's policies regarding expat packages. Review your company's guidelines, contracts, and policies related to international assignments. Familiarize yourself with the benefits typically offered to expatriates and any eligibility criteria that may apply.

This knowledge will enable you to negotiate within the framework of existing policies and understand where there may be flexibility for customization. Having a clear understanding of company policies will help you navigate the negotiation process more effectively.

Remember that these policies can significantly vary. Some industries and countries are more welcoming toward expats, so companies there typically offer more generous expat packages.


How to Build Your Negotiation Strategy

When it comes to negotiating an expat package, having a well-structured strategy can greatly increase your chances of success.

Do these 3 simple things to build an effective negotiation strategy:

  1. prioritize your requests,

  2. anticipate potential objections,

  3. develop win-win solutions.

Prioritize Your Requests

Before entering into any negotiation, determine which aspects of the expat package are most important to you. In this process, consider what aspects of the package would have the most significant impact on your expat experience. Is it the salary, housing allowance, healthcare benefits, or something else?

By prioritizing your requests, you can focus your energy on negotiating for the things that truly matter and increase your chances of achieving your desired outcome.

Anticipate Potential Objections

When negotiating an expat package, it's crucial to anticipate potential objections that the other party may raise. By doing so, you can come prepared with well-thought-out responses that address these objections effectively.

Put yourself in the shoes of the company or employer and answer these questions:

  • What concerns or objections might they have about your requests?

  • Are you aware of any potential budget constraints or organizational policies that could limit their flexibility?

Try to understand their perspective to proactively address these objections and find mutually beneficial solutions.

Develop Win-Win Solutions

In any negotiation, the goal is always to reach a win-win outcome where both parties feel satisfied. Instead of viewing the negotiation as a zero-sum game where one side must lose for the other to win, look for creative solutions that can benefit both you and the company. This could involve exploring alternatives, such as additional vacation time instead of a higher salary or a flexible work schedule instead of certain benefits.

By developing win-win solutions, you can foster a positive and cooperative environment that is more likely to result in a successful negotiation. Want to take a step further? Check out this dos and don'ts for successfully negotiating an expat package.


How to Negotiate an Expat Package

Now that you know how to build an effective negotiation strategy, your next stop is: effective communication techniques that will help you successfully negotiation your expat package.

Time Your Approach

When it comes to negotiating your expat package, timing is crucial. You need to carefully choose the right moment to approach your employer or potential employer with your requests. Consider waiting until after you have received an offer or when you have established your value within the company. By timing your approach strategically, you can increase your chances of a successful negotiation.

Effective Communication Techniques

Good communication is key to a successful negotiation. Use clear and concise language to express your needs and expectations. Listen actively to understand the other party's perspective and address any concerns or objections they may have. Use assertive communication techniques to convey your points effectively without being aggressive.

Need to negotiate over email? Steal these negotiation templates.

Manage Emotions

Negotiations can sometimes become emotionally charged. Whatever happens, remember to manage your emotions and stay calm throughout the process. Take a deep breath and focus on the facts and objectives. Avoid getting defensive or taking things personally. Maintaining emotional control helps you make rational decisions and maintain a professional demeanor during negotiations.

Maintain Professionalism

Professionalism is crucial during the negotiation process. Wondering how to achieve and maintain it? First, dress appropriately and present yourself in a manner that reflects your seriousness and commitment. And second, be respectful and courteous in your interactions, even if disagreements arise. Keep the focus on the issue at hand and avoid personal attacks. By maintaining professionalism, you can build trust and credibility, increasing the likelihood of a successful negotiation.


Closing the Deal

You're nearly there! Let's go through the final steps of securing your agreement.

Finalizing the Agreement

Before you finalize the agreement, ensure that all the terms and conditions are clearly stated and agreed upon by both parties. Take the time to carefully review the contract and address any concerns or ambiguities. Remember, this is your opportunity to make sure everything is in order before you sign on the dotted line.

Reviewing the Offer

Reviewing the offer in detail is essential to ensure that it aligns with your expectations and requirements. Analyze the compensation package, including salary, bonuses, and incentives, to determine if it matches the market standards and your skills. Assess the relocation package, housing arrangements, and any other additional benefits provided. This thorough evaluation will help you make an informed decision.

Negotiating Additional Benefits

Don't be afraid to negotiate additional benefits that are important to you. Consider what would enhance your expat experience, such as language training, education allowances for your children, or professional development opportunities. Present your case confidently, highlighting the value these benefits would bring to both you and the company. Negotiating strategically can result in a more comprehensive expat package tailored to your needs.


TL;DR - How to Negotiate an Expat Package

Armed with the right knowledge and strategies, you can easily navigate the negotiations and get an expat package that will make your move comfortable.

  • Consider aspects of an expat package that are important to you, from housing to education or healthcare costs.

  • Don't be afraid to ask for what you deserve and be willing to compromise when necessary.

By following the tips and techniques outlined in this ultimate guide, you'll be well-equipped to secure a favorable expat package that meets your needs and ensures a smooth transition to your new life abroad.

Btw, after you sign your job offer, your move will be closer than ever! Start preparing for your first day at work to make a great impression and kick off your career journey in a new country on the right foot.

Matilda Patsou & Ana Colak-Fustin

Hi there! We're Matilda and Ana — founders of MoreThanCareers, expats, international corporate recruiters, and HR professionals with 18+ years of combined HR experience. Since 2018, our career-building techniques, tools, and resources have helped over 500 coaching clients and 8,000 individuals worldwide land new, more fulfilling, higher-paying, and career-changing jobs. Now it's your turn. And MoreThanCareers is here to help!

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