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Employers urged to prepare before sending staff abroad

Understanding different healthcare systems is crucial, says broker

Businesses who are expanding into new territories are being encouraged to support employees who are travelling or relocating.

Towergate Health & Protection said there can be sizeable challenges involved in relocating and for assignments to be successful it’s important that employees are supported and well looked after.

Before sending staff abroad, employers should brief them on where they will be living and working to help them prepare for any possible cultural challenges. 

Employers also need to understand how different healthcare systems operate so they can let employees know what to expect and ensure appropriate cover is in place beforehand.

Towergate pointed out that healthcare costs differ between countries, so employers need to look at exactly what is needed to ensure cover is appropriate before sending staff abroad. In some regions, such as Dubai, having private medical care arranged prior to travel is mandatory before a visa can be granted to work there.

Sarah Dennis, head of international at Towergate Health & Protection, said: “Having appropriate health cover in place before travel to some regions isn’t a nice-to-have it’s a must, or a work visa won’t be granted.”

Other suggestions include ensuring vaccinations are up to date, checking for political unrest or potentially violent areas and offering access to a global employee assistance programmes (EAP).

“It’s not just the business opportunities that need to be researched before sending employees overseas, it’s vital that many other areas are considered too so that the health and wellbeing of staff is appropriately supported,” said Dennis. “Failure to understand how health and wellbeing differs across the world can put both staff and the success of a business venture at risk. It’s crucial that planning is carried out beforehand and expert advice is sought if needed.”