Local Employment Contract Vs. Expat Employment Contract

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When it comes to ex-pat or local employment contracts, they can be as varied as the ex-pats themselves. Different companies can look at these contracts differently.

A local contract usually refers to a foreigner hired by a company while visiting, working, or living overseas. An ex-pat employment contract is generally for an ex-pat whose company asks them to work abroad; the employee has specific skills that the company needs for their overseas operations. Not all ex-pat employment contracts are precisely the same, and there can be some unique differences. Read on to discover more.

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Podcast – Expat Employment Contracts – Why Not All Types Are Equal

Expat – Local Employment Contracts Explained

The expatriate local employment contract usually refers to a foreigner hired to work for a company while working, living, or visiting overseas. The foreigner applied for the job and received it.

A local hire can also be considered an ex-pat, but usually, they are on a local contract and not an ex-pat employment contract.

When a company agrees to hire a foreigner while you are overseas, the company will usually help handle your local working permits and residency requirements for you and your family.

Key Elements of Local Expat Employment Contracts: What Companies Include

When companies draft employment contracts for expatriates in local settings, they often incorporate specific elements tailored to the unique needs of these international workers. These contracts are designed to address expats’ distinct challenges and opportunities, ensuring a smooth transition and successful tenure in the host country.

From housing allowances to cultural training, these contracts often go beyond standard employment terms to include provisions that cater to the expatriate lifestyle. Understanding these elements is crucial for companies and potential expat employees, as they lay the foundation for a mutually beneficial and effective working relationship in a foreign environment.

Companies May Include These Things In A Local Expat Employment Contract:

Employment Laws

The local employment contract is usually subject to local employment laws. Depending on the laws of the country you are in, as a foreigner, not all employment arbitration and other laws may apply to you. In other words, if you get fired, you may not have the same recourse as a citizen of the country where you work.


Usually, your salary is paid into a local bank; some companies will agree to pay you into an overseas bank account.


Some companies will agree to help you pay double taxation if you need to pay tax in your home country and the country you are now working in.


Many local employment contracts will include health and some other insurance for you and your family. If the country you live in offers excellent medical care to all residents, this may not be included.

A local employment contract can also include many things that an ex-pat employment contract has. Some companies may add a repatriation clause in that you must go home if you do not work for them. This could be related to the country’s legal requirement or your working permit.

What is in the contract will depend a lot upon your position, the country where you work, the country’s legal requirements, and the employment policy of your company. Before you sign a local employment contract, check all this out carefully.

In Asia, I have seen some very high-level people negotiate into their contracts for the company not to pay their housing but instead to pay an extra salary; they wanted to buy a house and have the company help pay for their housing payment in the country they were living in.

Expat Employment Contract Explained

The Expat employment contract is exactly as the name implies; it is a contract for an ex-pat who has been asked to live and work overseas for a period of time.

Not always, but generally speaking, the ex-pat who has been asked to live and work overseas has been in the company or industry for a while, and they have a specific skill that the company needs overseas. These skills can be as varied as the companies but usually include language, leadership, or technical skills.

In an ex-pat employment contract, the company views the ex-pat as essential to help the company’s overseas operations. Because they view the ex-pat as essential, they are usually willing to move their family overseas and pay all the other fees.

Some companies may hire an ex-pat already in the country as they look to fill a position. Others may recruit those working for a competitor or a similar company to fill the needed position.

Essential Components of an Expat Employment Contract: What Companies Include

Companies crafting employment contracts for expatriates typically include several key elements to accommodate the unique circumstances of working abroad. These contracts are tailored to meet the specific needs of expatriates, ensuring that their transition to and experience in a new country is as seamless as possible.

These provisions range from relocation assistance and housing allowances to cultural adaptation support and language training. Such comprehensive contracts aim to address the myriad of challenges ex-pats may face, balancing professional responsibilities with the nuances of living in a foreign environment.

For expatriates, understanding these contract elements is crucial, as they significantly impact their overseas work and life experience.

Companies include some of these things in An Expat Employment Contract:

Employment Laws

The contract could state that the ex-pat is subject to the employment laws of their home country. This can be because they were hired in their home country and then sent overseas to work. The company may include a repatriation clause that requires the employee to return to his home country once the contract is finished.


The company may pay salary in the US or another country’s bank account or where the ex-pat lives and works. They will often pay a combination of salary payments overseas and in the understanding of the country you are living and working.


Some countries have double taxation agreements, meaning that ex-pats do not need to pay double taxes to live and work in their country. If the country does not have this agreement – as the United States does not – many times, an ex-pat employment contract will consider this.

Home Leave

Usually, an ex-pat employment contract has some home leave for the ex-pat and their family included in the package.

School Fees

International school fees can be costly; in an ex-pat contract, the school fees for the children are usually included.


An ex-pat package also usually includes some housing allowance. Some of the packages have a limit, and others do not limit the housing fees.

Car and Driver

Many ex-pat packages, especially those in 3rd world countries, include a car and driver. Sometimes, the vehicle and driver are part of the company, meaning the ex-pat needs to travel frequently and use the car to go to a factory or out-of-town locations.

Other times it is a car for the family to use. The roads are dangerous in some places, so the company does not want the ex-pat or their family to drive or take local transportation.


Most ex-pat packages include insurance. The insurance can range from excellent health and evacuation insurance to other things such as kidnappings, security, etc. This will depend on the company, where the ex-pat is working, and how dangerous it is.

Moving expense

The company usually has a moving expense allowance to allow the family to ship over their belongings. Some companies allow ex-pats to bring over all their furniture and other household items. Other companies will give the ex-pat furnished apartments or houses and only want them to ship over clothing and other personal items.

Not all ex-pat packages will include these things; many will include extras besides those I have listed. An ex-pat’s contract can be as varied as the ex-pat, company, and country they work in.

The package will usually take into account the level of the ex-pat. Some ex-pats are a company’s top managers, so they will have a package, housing, home leave, and other things to reflect this. Others may be more mid-level and usually have the package to reflect this.

Many ex-pat packages have a time limit or a clause that the ex-pat can not stay in the country once the contract is completed and must come home to the parent company. Or it could also have a non-compete clause that they cannot leave and work with a competitor.

Local Vs. Expat Employment Contract Differences Explained

There are differences between a local employment contract and an ex-pat employment contract.

Many contracts are a hybrid between these two contracts. For example, a local employment contract could include paid home leave and school fees.

The contract will depend on what you negotiate and how much the company needs you to help them with their overseas operations.

The higher your position’s level, the more chance you will get extra benefits in your contract; if you just graduated from college, the company may not give you all the extra employment benefits.

For a company to hire and bring in an ex-pat is very expensive. This is why I have seen a trend in Asia over the last ten years: fewer ex-pats come with a full package. In many countries, companies can now find qualified local staff; many of these local staff have a US or foreign education, so they are hiring as many ex-pats as they once did.

11 Reasons Why Living and Working Overseas is a Transformative Experience

Having lived and worked overseas for over 30 years, I’ve gathered a wealth of experiences and insights that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Even if someone is on a local contract in a foreign country, like I was, the journey of living abroad offers invaluable lessons and growth opportunities.

Here are 11 reasons, based on my own journey, that showcase why working and living overseas can be a phenomenal experience:

  1. Skill Acquisition: Living in a foreign land invariably hones skills you might never develop elsewhere. The learning curve is immense and rewarding, from adaptability to understanding cross-cultural nuances.
  2. Unmatched Experiences: Every day can be an adventure. Whether it’s navigating local markets or understanding local work etiquettes, the experiences are unique and often unforgettable.
  3. Cultural Immersion: More than just visiting as a tourist, living in a country allows for deep cultural immersion. It’s a chance to participate in local traditions, festivals, and customs firsthand.
  4. Language Proficiency: One of the most tangible benefits is the ability to learn and master a new language. It’s not just about the words but also understanding the context, idioms, and the heart of the language.
  5. Travel Opportunities: Residing overseas, especially in a region different from your home, presents a plethora of travel opportunities. For me, weekend getaways or short trips to neighboring regions or countries became both feasible and frequent.
  6. Global Friendships: Over the years, I’ve built friendships with people from all corners of the world. These relationships offer diverse perspectives and enrich one’s life in countless ways.
  7. Personal Growth: The challenges and joys of living abroad contribute significantly to personal growth. From developing resilience to fostering empathy, the personal transformation is profound.
  8. Professional Development: Working in a different country exposes you to global work practices, diverse professional environments, and often a different work ethic. This can be a great boost to one’s professional trajectory.
  9. Broadened Horizons: Living abroad broadens your worldview, making you more open-minded and tolerant. It instills a deeper understanding of global dynamics and interconnectedness.
  10. Financial Benefits: There can be economic advantages depending on where you live and work. Some countries offer lucrative packages to expatriates, or the cost of living might be lower than in your home country, allowing for savings.
  11. Stories for a Lifetime: The anecdotes, stories, and memories gathered while living and working overseas become treasures. They are tales of adventure, learning, challenges, and triumphs that can be shared for years to come.

While there might be challenges in living and working overseas, the benefits far outweigh them. From personal growth to professional development and from cultural experiences to lifelong friendships, the journey of living abroad is enriching in ways one might never have imagined.

For me, these three decades overseas have been a tapestry of experiences, each thread adding depth, color, and meaning to the grand picture of life.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a local employment contract?

A local employment contract typically involves hiring a foreigner while they are already present in the country for reasons such as visiting, working, or residing. It is a common practice for companies to hire individuals who are already within the local jurisdiction.

How does an ex-pat employment contract differ from a local contract?

An ex-pat employment contract is generally designed for individuals whose companies require them to work abroad. These employees possess specific skills crucial for the company’s overseas operations, making their employment different from locals.

What are the key considerations in a local employment contract?

Local contracts often involve compliance with local labor laws, taxation regulations, and other legal requirements in the host country. Terms and conditions may vary based on local practices and standards.

What distinguishes an ex-pat employment contract?

Ex-pat contracts may include provisions for housing, education, healthcare, and other allowances, reflecting the additional challenges and adjustments that come with working in a foreign country.

Are all ex-pat employment contracts the same?

No, ex-pat contracts can vary significantly. They may differ in terms of benefits, duration, repatriation policies, and other considerations based on the employer’s policies and the unique needs of the employee.

How do local and ex-pat contracts address cultural differences?

Ex-pat contracts may include provisions for cultural orientation, language training, and support to help employees adapt to the local culture. Local contracts may assume that the employee is already familiar with the local customs.

What role do legal considerations play in these contracts?

Both local and ex-pat contracts must adhere to local labor laws, but ex-pat contracts often involve additional legal complexities such as work permits, visas, and compliance with international employment laws.

Do local contracts have specific requirements for language proficiency?

Depending on the nature of the job and local regulations, some local contracts may require proficiency in the local language. Ex-pat contracts may provide language training to facilitate effective communication.

How are taxation and financial arrangements handled in these contracts?

Local contracts typically follow the tax regulations of the host country, while ex-pat contracts may involve tax equalization or tax protection policies to address potential double taxation issues.

What considerations should employees weigh when deciding between local and ex-pat contracts?

Employees should consider factors such as career development, cultural adaptation, family support, and the overall package offered in both local and ex-pat contracts to make an informed decision that aligns with their personal and professional goals.

What Is The Difference Between A Foreigner, Immigrant, and Ex-pat?

A foreigner is born in or from a country other than their own. An immigrant is someone from another country who plans to live in a country other than their own country permanently. An ex-pat or expatriate lives and works in a country other than their own. Both an immigrant and an ex-pat are usually considered foreigners.

You can learn more by reading What Is The Difference Between A Foreigner, Immigrant, and Ex-pat? by clicking here.

Why Become An Ex-pat And Live Overseas?

The main 8 reasons to become an ex-pat are 1) a sense of adventure, 2) experience other cultures, 3) it is a fun lifestyle. 4) open your eyes to the world. 5) can find a great community, 6) can help develop your career, 7) there will be opportunities you will not get otherwise, and 8) it has become easier to be an ex-pat.

You can discover more by reading 8 Main Reasons To Become An Ex-pat And Live Overseas by clicking here.

Anita L Hummel
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