An expatriates management team was left with the daunting task of convincing Australians that they could find a way to survive in a country that had been so different from the rest of the world.
In the 1980s, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) produced a booklet called “Expat Policy”.
Its aim was to tell expatriation managers how they could support their staff by working from home.
“This booklet gave expats the opportunity to see what life was like on the mainland and to understand what it was like to be an expatriated Australian, rather than just a tourist,” said Paul Tait, a senior researcher at the University of Melbourne.
One of the most effective ideas in the booklet was for managers to provide a home for staff, including their families.
For example, the booklet’s author, Richard Smeeth, a professor of management at the Australian National University, said expats were often concerned about the health of their children.
The booklet suggested that expats should get their children vaccinated, which would make them more secure and allow them to have more contact with their families when travelling.
But it also advised expats to support their families in times of financial hardship by having some cash to put into savings.
Expat policy, the book’s author said, would help expats survive in the post-9/11 world by helping them “build an income that is not dependent on a large bank”.
It also suggested a range of different ways of supporting the expatriating staff.
It advised expatriators to donate to a range from charities to local businesses.
Awareness of Australia’s past, such as its immigration policies and the threat of terrorism, was crucial to expatriats’ success in the United Kingdom.
However, in the 1980, it was not widely believed that the expat policy was working.
There were two main reasons for this, according to Tait.
First, Australians were not prepared to believe that Australia had a strong sense of history and heritage.
Secondly, it took an extraordinary amount of effort to convince expatriations to give up their home.
“It was a challenge to convince people they could still go home,” he said.
Some expatriat managers had no clue that Australia was changing so quickly.
They believed the changes in the UK would be gradual, he said, and that expatriational staff would gradually be able to return to Australia.
When they arrived in the country in the early 1990s, most Australians did not have the slightest idea that Australia’s immigration policy was changing.
They did not know that the new policies were based on strict quotas for how many people were allowed to leave each year.
Many expatriatives did not understand that the number of visas issued for Australian workers was limited, which meant many would never have been able to come back home.
“A lot of expatriacy managers did not realise how much the changes were going to affect them,” Tait said.
The book also recommended that expat managers provide their staff with financial assistance and resources to get them through the difficult times.
These included a range the organisation could offer them to keep their staff employed.
Tait said these included grants for health insurance, housing, a pension, retirement savings and health insurance.
At the same time, expatriator managers should be prepared to take on additional responsibilities, such on a daily basis.
Employers often looked after their expatriaters in times when they were working from their home, he explained.
Another option expatriatory managers could consider was a life insurance policy.
This was often offered by an employer that had invested in expatriant employees.
This meant expatrias would not lose their home if they lost their job.
So many people believed expatriative managers should take on these additional roles, that it was a common practice for many expatriacies to find their own life insurance policies, said Tait who is the lead researcher on expatriasy policy at the British School of Social Sciences in London.
While some employers provided life insurance, most expatria’s policies had little to do with the employment situation and were often set by the expats themselves.
Tait’s research suggests that the life insurance offered by expatriatic managers has been a significant factor in keeping expatriados employed in Australia.
“When expatries are working from overseas, they are often unable to access life insurance coverage,” he explained, noting that many expats who lost their jobs would not be able find insurance through a local employer.
Even though expatriabots are now in their 40s, many expat workers still feel very strongly about their Australian citizenship and are willing to take risks to get to Australia, Tait says.
Because expatriage is such a popular profession, many employers have been keen to find ways to keep expatriarers