Process of returning back

Introduction of Repatriation

Repatriation is a process of returning back from a international assignment to a home country after completing the assignment or some other issues. Repatriation is the last step in the expatriation cycle and it involves readjustment and re-entry of international managers and their families back to their home country. Expatriation and repatriation are not two separated processes, rather the former is a beginning and the latter the closure. The term may also refer to the process of converting a foreign currency into the currency of one’s own country.

The Importance of Repatriates

The employee of any organization who adjust well in a HCN in an international assignment and performed effectively there would be highly imported.

The repatriate perspective, here are some of the reasons why repatriated employees are important:

  • There are a many successful international assignments which are very important to the employee career as well as for the company’s growth. So many companies send expatriate to other countries for doing business internationally.
  • The employees who are send to abroad for international assignment are expatriates those employees who learned many things that would be useful to those who will be sent to that same country if some means could be identified as to how they might be mentors to future expatriate employees.
  • Expatriates can bring new and unusual approaches to cultural environment, information gathering, analysis of data, and problem-solving as a result of having work cross-culturally in an effective manner.
  • Expatriates may have been more flexible, or less rigid, in changing circumstances. In that different approaches have been tried in other contexts, they may be able to bring insights and innovation to the planning process that may not have been considered previously.
  • The repatriate who have performed at a high level in a HCN may bring a dimension of confidence and competence that will enhance his or her value to the company as it competes in a changing world market.
  • Expatriates who are work outside the culture of the company and the country, the repatriated employee may well have insights that can effect needed change. That perspective ought to be valued and given a voice within the company.
  • The repatriated employees would likely to bring motivated by some factors to encourage them for the sharing of their experience.
  • The effective international employees may well have gained insights in how to affect a more coordinated group effort than encouraging individual achievement.

Repatriation Process

1. Preparation: before 3-4 months of expatriate return

  • Developing plans for future and info about new position
  • Checklist of items before leaving (closure of bank a/c, bills etc.)

2. Physical Relocation

  • Removal of personal belongings , breaking ties with friends, colleagues before returning
  • Re-entry training for home country’s update, socio-cultural contrast orientation, psychological aspects etc.

3. Transition:

  • Finding accommodations, school for children, opening bank A/c etc. for comfortable living.
  • Relocation consultants used.

4. Readjustment

  • Coping with aspects as company changes , reverse culture shock and career demands
  • Eg. Repatriate returning from country where power distance is large as Thailand may experience stress on returning to small power distance countries like Denmark.

Repatriation of Expatriates

  • Repatriation
  • Return to one’s home country from an overseas management assignment
  • Reasons for returning
  • Formally agreed-on tour of duty is over
  • Expats want their children educated in the home country
  • Unhappiness with foreign assignment
  • Failure to perform well
  • Major concerns of expatriates
  • Cultural Re-entry
  • Financial Implications
  • Nature of job assignment

Multinational responses to repatriation

1. Staff availability: current and future needs

  • If repatriate promoted ,International assignments as a positive career move
  • If repatriate demoted or given pink slips so vice versa.

2. Return on investment (ROI)

  • Expatriates are expensive
  • Accomplishing assignment objectives at the expected cost

3. Knowledge Transfer

  • Cross-fertilization of ideas and practices that assist in developing competitive advantage.
  • Build upon international experience of repatriates

Designing a Repatriation Program

1. Mentor programs (Pairing expat with a member of home office senior mgmt):

  • Maintaining contact with the expatriate throughout the assignment
  • Ensuring that expatriates are kept up- to-date with developments in home country
  • Assisting expatriates in repatriation process

2. Inviting repatriates in developing repatriation program

  • Steps suggested for smooth transition
  • Arrange an event to welcome & recognize the employee & family
  • Establish support to facilitate family reintegration
  • Offer repatriation counseling or workshops to ease the adjustment
  • Assist the spouse with job counseling, resume writing & interviewing techniques
  • Provide educational counseling for the children
  • Provide employees with thorough debriefing to identify new knowledge, insights & skills to provide a forum to showcase new competencies
  • Offer international outplacement to the employee if no positions are possible
  • Arrange an interview with the expatriate & spouse to review their view of the assignment & address any repatriation issues

Review of Literature

Article no.1

(Managing employee repatriation)

This article is related with the support practices that HR employees can consider helping managers develop realistic expectations about their work and non-work lives before repatriation, making the experience more positive and rewarding for all. In this they define that there are variety of ways to make contact with them.

By defining an individual’s repatriation job status early, they are less likely to worry about their situation and more likely to concentrate on the job in hand. As a result, they can better prepare for the repatriation when it eventually occurs.

In this they also consider the impact on work and personal relationships. The change in interpersonal relationships between repatriates, their colleagues and friends must also be a significant consideration. Family members and dependants also have a huge impact on the success of the repatriation. So the company has to decide it is worth to doing it or not. They have to analyse the each factor before taking a decision regarding repatriation.

In this article they talk about that repatriation woes can be overcome or not. Companies invest heavily in sending employees for the international assignment when quit within months and return they are facing a reverse culture shock and unable to adjust in this environment. Before the international placement they have to look after the factors of their family.

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So when people returning home after a long stint on an international assignment often find it difficult to adjust to the changes back home. Re-entry can bring on a certain amount alienation, restlessness, and dissatisfaction akin to an employee’s experience when working in a foreign land. So at the end the organisations could give positive push to readjust in the company.

Article no.2

Repatriation is the unexpected encounter with the familiar.

In this article they talk about that when the family of assignee is coming back in the home country then company has to provide a PCN service culminating and and one-day “COMINGBACK” coaching workshop. This service is of several months’ duration because PCN contacts the family well before its departure from the host country. A Self-Study Guide is sent to family members, and a questionnaire is e-mailed for the family to complete and return. These items help the family prepare mentally and emotionally for a type of life event that many others have quite unexpectedly found emotionally disorienting. The one-day “Comingback” coaching workshop itself usually occurs about a month after the family’s return to its home country. When services end about a month after the workshop, the coach phones the family and offers follow-up coaching assistance and a final measure of encouragement. This will help the assignee and family to prepare before returning for the unexpected adjustment hurdles affecting returnees and to deal with the issues common to returning employees, spouses, teenagers, and children this will also help to rapidly regain the assignee’s usual high level of performance on behalf of the firm and to create a personal/family action plan for seizing the opportunities of repatriation.

So both the comingback workshop and PCN service provider helps the assignee and family to adjust after coming back from the international assignment to their home country.

Article no.3

International Assignments: From Here to There and Back Again

In this article they are talking about the cross cultural programs and orientation and assistance that are offered to the expatriate and then the international relocation looks fairly comprehensive. A process for communication of policy has been put into place and everyone understands their role. In this article they said that the company has organized compensation benefits, allowances, tax planning, the immigration process and has even addressed language training. Finally, home disposal or rental management has been initiated and an experienced destination services company has to wait for the expatriate’s arrival. After this the transferred employee and their families to another country may experienced many problems like assignment failure, Early return , Poor productivity during the assignment, Poor productivity after return and Repatriate attrition. Company has look after all these factor.

The international assignment management program described above does not necessarily address these potential problems. The company has to providing a comprehensive support program and planning the family’s re-entry from the outset–creates a more satisfying experience for the employee and family and a more productive investment for the organization.

Before sending expatriate to another country the company has to select the candidate and make his/her evaluation which is best and why. Then the company has to provide a cross cultural program and orientation for the support to learn about the culture of another country. The company has to be preparing with the repatriation process and help the assignee and their family.

The employee’s repatriation should be planned along with all the other components of the relocation at the outset, before the employee has even departed for the assignment in the first place. At the last make them strategies for the support of repatriation.

Article no.4

Just when you think it’s over…. The challenges of repatriation

In this article they are talking about the challenges face by the employee after repatriation.

They are talking about the most expensive element of the international assignment. All things considered, the answer is likely to be losing employees after repatriation. All too often, the difficulties of repatriation are underestimated and lead to the departure of key employees, and with them, a serious loss to companies.

The cost ofreturnee departuresof significant number of employees sent on expatriate assignment are high-level managers, with expertise or potential that their companies expect to retain for a long period of time. The risk to future assignments is Poorly managed repatriations can affect the morale of other employees or set a bad example for other international assignees. There is a impact of international assignment on employee’s career. “The purpose of repatriation is to reintegrate the employee into the home structure.” Reverse culture shock is very much a reality, and the longer the expatriate has been abroad, the stronger it becomes. There is no such thing as an easy repatriation.

Many HR employees are concerned that the skills of a good local manager might not be the same as those needed by a successful expatriate in a specific country. There is no such thing as easy and simple repatriation

Article no.5

(Repatriate Cultural Adjustment)

This article is related with the cultural adjustment after coming back from the international assignment from another country. So this has been one aspect of the expatriate cultural adjustment process for a long time among persons working with those outbound to an expatriate assignment.

In working with persons passing through the coming home process identified as repatriation, the author identified four stages experienced typically by those persons. Repatriates usually expect to come home to things as they were when they departed on an international assignment. It usually does not take long for a repatriate to become acutely aware. Cultural adjustment to one’s home culture at re-entry is often more demanding than adjusting to a host culture.

The employees have experienced inbound cultural adjustment after an expatriate assignment, so they comments on the four steps suggested for the repatriation process would be welcomed. If you have a corporate responsibility for expatriates and have not shared their experience, it is hoped these steps will equip you better for helping meet the needs of those employees when they go through the coming home experience in repatriation.

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Article no.6

Repatriating Families: At Risk of Neglect

This article is related with the risk of neglect the repatriate and repatriating families. The author found that in working with families returning from international assignments that large numbers of former expatriates go through experiences when readjusting to their culture of origin.

So this article they said that Repatriation Services is ready to visit with you about how you can do at least two things that How you can lessen or eliminate the period of trauma, or lessen its intensity, among those of your employee families when going through the repatriation experiences and Reduce the risk of forfeiting your considerable investment on expatriate employees by conveying to them and their families this vital message as you provide them resources for repatriation. You are valued and appreciated by this company.

Research Methodology


  • To check out the variables which affect the Repatriate performance and family.
  • What is the Repatriation Process.
  • Values and Strategies of Repatriation.


The main purpose of the study was to investigate regarding the issues that affect the performance of Repatriate. Data used for this is secondary data which is collected through internet. For this articles, case studies, Book- International human resource management-Peter j. Dowling is referred.

Findings of Study:-

  • Adjusting to life back home
  • No job waiting for returning expatriates
  • Lack opportunity to use skills learned abroad upon return
  • Salary & benefits may decrease upon return
  • Permanent position upon return constitutes a demotion
  • Lost authority, autonomy in decision making
  • Lost promotional opportunities (out of sight, out of mind)

Repatriation Problems

  • Adjusting to life back home:- This very difficult for employee adjust back in the parent country after coming back for international assignment.
  • No job waiting for returning expatriates:- There is job is wait for the employee so he has to suffer from this dilemma.
  • Lack opportunity to use skills learned abroad upon return
  • Salary & benefits may decrease upon return
  • Permanent position upon return constitutes a demotion
  • Lost authority, autonomy in decision making
  • Lost promotional opportunities (out of sight, out of mind)
  • Result
  • High rate of repatriate attrition
  • Almost $ 2,50,000 for the loss & replacement of an employee leaving the company after return from international assignment (Murray & Murray, 1986)

Multinational responses to repatriation

1. Staff availability: Current and Future needs

  • If repatriate promoted ,International assignments as a positive career move
  • If repatriate demoted or given pink slips so vice versa.

2. Return on investment (ROI)

  • Expatriates are expensive
  • Accomplishing assignment objectives at the expected cost

3. Knowledge Transfer

  • Cross-fertilization of ideas and practices that assist in developing competitive advantage.
  • Build upon international experience of repatriates

Case Study of Repatriation:- Going Home(U.S.)

Back home and yet Katrina had felt more like she had just left. It had been six long years and India had proved to be more to her. She prepared herself for the 1st international assignment out of the USA.

A technical trainer by profession and she had worked for a leading medical transcription company for 4yrs before the international assignment. The Pre- departure training involved personal readings and browsing of India and Indian cultural differences and the Indian customs.

When she back to USA she remembered the first week in Mysore, exploring the city, unfamiliar with the local language and figuring out what were appropriate questions one could ask in an interview. She found that the Indian team is very helpful and supportive. The task was very easy as she assumed. The Indian team was eager to help and assist and even do things for her. On the work front the task was challenging, hiring was easy and training was tougher and she surprised to discover a whole new dimension in the Indian corporate setup. Self learning sessions are replaced with the classrooms and well supervised training sessions, with detailed time schedule to ensure that the employees climb the learning curve faster.

A year into the assignment, she married Rob her fiancée of 12yrs, her college mate who was himself a globe-trotting sales executive for an oil company based out of the UAE. Katrina was pregnant and was excited to have a baby in India. Andrew was raised in a montessori school and a English speaking baby sitter take care of him. Katrina had trained a team of 5 trainers.

After 3 yrs of stay in India, she was asked to stay for another 3 yrs and train more people. India operations were booming and the Indian BPO was making huge profits, Katrina never wanted to miss this huge event. Suddenly she was repatriated to US headquarters. After joining the US office Katrina felt out of place and wasn’t happy to join back the same team and office. She was not given any assignment and no tasks were given, she was not asked what she was doing and to tell her what she was expected to do. Even Andrew was not feeling good after coming back home, at the day care centre, his friends would laugh at his strange accent. This all added up to Katrina’s misery. Rob used to call her daily from his busy schedule because he was in the middle of a huge oil contract, which was important for his promotion.

Katrina was under a huge stress as she had some issues in office and she could even sense the problems of Andrew and even Rob was not there to support her, so she used to cry after Andrew went to bed. This will help her to manage the stress. Rob’s parents moved in and asked Katrina to let Andrew go with them, so that she could focus on her carrier and they can take care of Andrew for a while. Rob’s father suggest Katrina to look for a new job as the skill set she had was a premium one and many company’s were looking for such employees who had International exposure specially from some developing country. Katrina felt really bad in moving away from the company, as she has been with this company from last 10 yrs and she felt connected with the company. She never wanted to leave the company and she never wanted the hard work of 6 yrs to be a part of files and forgotten. She wanted to make a difference.

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Result:- Readjustment part was missing in relocating Katrina back to US. Readjustment involves coping with such aspects as company changes, reverse cultural shock and carrier demands. In this case we can see that Katrina got reverse cultural shock because there she was not able to adjust in the US when she was back from India. She felt ignored by the Company and irrelevant to the team back at the US headquarters. She also had no work to do and no work was assign to her and no one ask her what she had done. She did not know who to blame.

How can the company best retain repatriated employees? Example

According to the study conducted in 2005 by the Cranfield university school of Management More than 25 percent of repatriated employees leave the company within one year after an international assignment ends, The costs of this turnover can be overwhelming because, in addition to the expenses involved in supporting the international assignment and the costs occasioned by the employee’s return to the United States, the organization now must pay the costs of replacing the employee and bear the loss of intellectual capital and a potential future global leader.

Employers can lower this turnover by communicating repatriation plans with the employee before the assignment begins and including repatriation matters in the international assignment agreement. When employers know they need to send an employee to another country for a period of time, most are not thinking about what it will take to repatriate the employee in two to five years.

It’s equally important to communicate with the employee throughout the international assignment by listening to the employee’s career goals and remembering the employee in succession plans. Give at least six months of notice to the expatriate about when the assignment will end.

In addition to providing relocation services, time off to move, and financial support, employers should continue communicating with the employee on his or her return by:

  • Providing re-entry training programs and reverse culture shock support or counselling services for the employee as well as the employee’s family.
  • Recognizing the employee in internal company newsletters.
  • Making opportunities available for the employee to share his or her international assignment experiences.
  • Showing appreciation for the employee during company events. This will also help create a company culture that supports cultural diversity and international assignments.

Mentoring relationships can also facilitate lower repatriated employee turnover. A mentor who has had international assignment experience can offer the expatriate advice and support, act as a role model, and share an understanding about the company and the country. Mentors can be a great way to help the expatriate adjust to the new country and readjust to the home country on return.

They can also help the employee feel connected to the overall business. And, a good mentoring experience could pave the way for the repatriated employee to become a mentor to an expatriate in the future.

Lastly, when the employee has completed the international assignment, the employer should find a position in the organization that will best utilize the employee’s unique knowledge, skills and abilities, gained from the international assignment.

If a promotion isn’t possible, try to assign the employee to a job that gives at least the same amount of responsibility and autonomy offered during the international assignment. It’s also advisable to provide an outplacement service to assist the employee’s spouse in finding a job.


  • Companies should provide re-entry training programs and reverse culture shock support or counselling services for the employee as well as the employee’s family.
  • Companies should make opportunities available for the employee to share his or her international assignment experiences.
  • Companies should support employee career, if a promotion isn’t possible, try to assign the employee to a job that gives at least the same amount of responsibility and autonomy offered during the international assignment.
  • Companies should use the ability of an employee, when the employer should find a position in the organization that will best utilize the employee’s unique knowledge, skills and abilities, gained from the international assignment.


The competition is increasing internationally so many companies are sent their employees for international assignment as a competitive advantage to keep pace with the international environment. Repatriation is a one phase of international assignment, which has been identified as the most difficult phase of the international assignment.

The employees are best utilizing their international experiences. So It is important for the companies to support the repatriate through the re-entry process in order to develop the individual as well as growth of the organization.

My findings through articles show that the repatriation process is more important for the repatriate than for the organization where social factors, such as family adjustment and cultural adjustment are very important for the repatriate.

The repatriation process also tends to be more informal within the organizations. Companies should support and utilize the repatriate and the individual’s experiences through a well developed repatriation program, the main benefits are that it is possible to reduce inaccurate expectations and thereby the re-entry phase will become easier for all parties involved.


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