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Secondment and expatriate: a definition of terms

When companies deploy employees outside their home country for a temporary period, it is referred to as international assignment or overseas employment. This can take various forms, such as the secondment of expatriates, who temporarily work in another country, or the hiring of local workers to fulfill on-site requirements.

For instance, companies and organizations may employ personnel in foreign branches, subsidiaries, or for projects abroad.

Definition of Expat

In common language usage, the employees deployed abroad are generally referred to as expatriates, or simply, expats. An expatriate is a person who temporarily lives and works outside their home country. The term is often used to describe professionals who are sent by their companies to work in other countries for a specific period. The goal of international assignments is to provide specific expertise, leadership qualities, or technical know-how.

Deploying employees abroad poses various challenges for companies, such as legal and tax regulations, labor laws, logistical requirements, language barriers, and cultural differences. The successful execution of an international assignment requires careful planning and the application of expertise in international residence, labor, tax, and social security law. These four legal areas are interdependent and cannot be considered separately.

Definition of Secondment

The term "posting" is a social law term (section 4 of the Fourth Social Code (§ 4 SGB IV)). A posting is understood to be a change of location, limited in time in advance, of employees with residence or habitual abode in Germany to a foreign country on the instructions of a domestic employer. The time limit does not play a primary role.

EXPATRIATES Typischer Ablauf Entsendungen

This article is from the 3/2023 issue of the magazine "Life Abroad".

The magazine is published four times a year free of charge with many informative articles on foreign topics.

It is published by the BDAE, the expert for protection abroad.