'Accidental' Expats Can be a High Risk

October 27, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com - Some 42% of responding organizations in a recent Ernst & Young LLP survey identified "accidental" expatriates as a high-risk area.

According to an Ernst & Young news release, accidental expats are employees who travel cross border without formally notifying HR or other managers in charge of global mobility programs.

The survey found:

  • 65% of responding organizations have not communicated to their short-term business travelers what it means to be an accidental expat.
  • 55% of responding organizations have not developed a system to track short-term business travelers.
  • 54% of respondents do not have a policy addressing accidental expats or short-term business travelers in their organization

In a time of budget cuts the risks associated with accidental expatriates can increase due to regulatory changes and increased audits by tax and immigration authorities.

Ernst & Young said these risks can include:

  • permanent establishment risk,
  • regulatory compliance,
  • business reputation risk,
  • employment law risk,
  • budgetary risk,
  • risk of prosecution, and
  • an unhappy employee population.