Role of Repatriate, Challenges faced by Repatriates

02/12/2021 0 By indiafreenotes

Repatriation refers to the return of an employee to their own country. In this lesson, we’ll explore a human resource manager’s process as she plans for an employee’s re-entry into the United States and the discussion upon his return.

Repatriation encompasses the phase in which individuals return from an international work experience. Regardless of whether the transition takes place within one organization or across organizations, returning home after working abroad constitutes a critical step for an individual’s future career.

Cultural artifacts

Cultural or art repatriation is the return of cultural objects or works of art to their country of origin (usually referring to ancient art), or (for looted material) its former owners (or their heirs).

Economic repatriation

Economic repatriation refers to the process of a company getting its profits back into their own country. There are four main methods of repatriation: Dividends and Profits, Royalties, Management Service Fees and Intercompany Loans.

Role of Repatriate


By ensuring at the start of the assignment that all of the assignment-related compensation is broken out, it will be easier to avoid compensation issues upon return to the home location and helpful in avoiding discontent from the expat. That said, a short-term repatriation allowance can help ease the transition as well. In addition, management should consider offering a retention bonus for staying with the company for an additional two years after the assignment. Continuing tax support is essential for trailing tax liabilities in the host and home countries. Through this benefit, management may also find opportunities to bring cash back to the company and reduce some of the tax costs of the assignment.

Educate and engage others

It sounds simple, but a personal thank you and meeting with senior leadership at the company can go a long way to making the expat feel valued and welcomed back home. Further, companies should encourage and help the expat provide colleagues and prospective expats with a realistic picture of what they achieved, how they developed professionally, what they had to give up or put on hold to participate, and the cultural experience of the assignment location. Involve family members where possible and appropriate to fill in the picture.

Career Development

According to the Brookfield survey, the best method for retaining expats after they return to their home locations is to offer opportunities to use their international experience. A good repatriation program will ensure the expat comes back to an available position that is considered an advancement from pre-assignment; offering a greater choice of positions is effective as well. In any event, career discussions should start in earnest six to 12 months before return to the home location.


It can be difficult to overstate the impact of the expat’s family members’ opinions of the repatriation on the returning expat. After all, family members living with the expat (and, to some extent, those who stay behind in the home country) made a commitment to the sponsoring firm as well. Immediate family members may be asked to put their own careers on hold or raise families in a foreign location. Extended family members may not see their loved ones for months or years at a time. The impact that families have on the expat’s future can be significant, and the importance of seeing the return home as positive experience should not be underestimated.

Ongoing Support

Regular business trips back to the home country throughout the assignment can ensure the expat does not return to an unfamiliar and isolating environment. If the return is not to the original location of departure, continued logistical support can help ease this transition. For example, connecting expats with mentors who are based in the home (or eventual) location can help keep expats in the loop and in the minds of their home-country colleagues throughout their assignments. Transition counseling can help counter the negative culture shock that a return home can often have on expats and their families.

Continuous improvement

Candidly ask the expat for feedback on the assignment and how it can be improved, then engage the expat in helping to implement those changes. Involve the expat (and, where appropriate, the expat’s family) in shaping and supporting the next group of expats.

Challenges faced by Repatriates

Many people face both work-related and personal repatriation challenges:


  • Loss of visibility and isolation
  • Changes in the home workplace
  • Adjusting to the re-entry position
  • Others devaluing the international experience


  • Making assumptions of how quickly you will fit back in
  • Unrealistic expectations of life at home and how it has changed
  • Social readjustment as friend and family relationships have changed
  • Difficulty supporting family members experiencing reverse culture shock