A ‘To Do List’ for Relocation Assignments :

Insurance, visas, social security, spouse employment and even television fee: all the important topics to arrange before departure on a relocation, to ensure a smooth and free of unnecessary worries transitionnote_pad_pencil2_hires

Relocation is usually accompanied by a rise in anxiety among employees and their family, for fear of dealing with a different culture, adaptability to a different language, integrating in a foreign education system, spouse employment, new workplace and more. With a large part of the issues the family will have to cope after the move, but it is also very important to prepare appropriately before the relocation. So what is it important to take care of? Here is the full list:

  • Visa – is usually the bottleneck of the relocation preparation process, as it is a complex process and in many cases can take months. It is recommended to wait with significant steps of the relocation process while the level of certainty for the appropriate visa is low. You must make sure ahead of time that each of the family members has a valid passport, according to the requirements of immigration in the destination country.
  • Health – you must plan health care and health insurance before, during and after the relocation. You should contact your family doctor, dentist, etc. for advice. In most cases it is recommended to finish the treatment in Israel before departure. In any case, you should get the medical records of all family members from the doctors who treat you and have them translated into the language of the destination country.

Check the health insurance you’ll have during the relocation and understand what coverage it gives in the destination country, in Israel (during visits home) and after the relocation (keep in mind that a waiting period of several months might be required before you are able to get medical services under the National Health Law). You should ask the attending physicians for prescriptions for required drugs and take at least a month’s supply of these drugs with you when you leave (to buy yourself some time until you identify the appropriate local drugs at the destination country).

You should get the vaccinations required for children in the destination country and take up-to-date vaccination records with you.

  • Insurances – three basic insurance policies for every employee are health insurance, life insurance and disability insurance. Check the existence of such insurance policies during the relocation, but more importantly, ensure the continuity of these policies so you don’t find yourself without insurance coverage at the end of relocation.

Health insurance is regulated in Israel under the National Health Insurance Law by the National Insurance Institute of Israel. If there is discontinuity of residency disconnection as defined by the National Insurance Institute of Israel, a waiting period of one month will be required for each year of the discontinuityof residency when you return to Israel. It is therefore advisable to act in one of two ways:

A. Continue to pay  National Insurance contributions during relocation.

B.  Obtain an international medical insurance policy guaranteeing coverage for the waiting period when you return to Israel.  If you have supplementary medical insurance, it is recommended to continue the payments for them in consultation with the relevant insurance agent.

Life insurance and disability insurance are usually included, in the directors insurance plan / pension fund in Israel. You should meet with an insurance agent in charge of these plans and examine the possibility of continuing the risk part throughout the relocation period.

  • Tax advice – the relocation period has many implications on tax payment in Israel and in the destination country. It is recommended to get suitable advice that will cover the applicable tax laws in both countries, several months before the relocation. Appropriate tax planning can save unnecessary tax payments during and after the relocation period.
  • Will – prepare a will that covers custody of the children. In most countries, if there isn’t a will to appoint a guardian for such a case, the state takes the child of deceased parents into its custody, until the conclusion of the legal proceedings regarding the situation.
  • Studies – you should examine the relevant academic institutions for children as early as possible. In many educational institutions, enrollment ends months before the start of the school year. It is recommended to prepare a translation of school certificates in Israel (even if the school required no certificate for registration, perhaps the next school abroad will require them).
  • Residential – proper planning of the relocation process allows renting a home before the move itself. This issue is of immense importance in the case of a family with children (especially young children). Home rental in advance allows the move to a new home directly from Israel without an interim stay in a temporary residence. Temporary residence makes the children’s adjustment process more difficult and may bring them to a state of “learned helplessness” (“No matter what we do – home will always be destroyed”).
  • Employment of spouses – many families tend to delay dealing with this issue until after the move. Since all data shows that lack of employment of the spouses is the number one reason for relocation failures, we recommend not to postpone this issue and to start addressing it a few months before the move.
  • Preliminary visit – you may want the employee and his/her spouse to make a preliminary visit of a month or two before the move. Such a visit helps with the initial organizing, enables them to start the search for a home (with appropriate planning, you can also sign a lease during the preliminary visit) and is also required in many cases for school registration.
  • Cargo – cargo delivery (door to door) can take a long time (more than ten weeks in some cases). Consult with the shipping company about the cargo shipping plan and set yourself up for that period of time. It is recommended to rent furniture and electrical appliances, both for the time the cargo is in transit and for the entire period of relocation (as an alternative to shipping of the cargo). It is also recommended to divide up the cargo into marine cargo (furniture, appliances) and air cargo (books, clothes, toys). It is very important (especially for children) for familiar objects to greet them in the new home overseas.
  • Pets – licensing procedures, vaccination and quarantine (as required) may take several months, so prepare accordingly.
  • Credit cards – in many cases you can not get a credit card abroad without a satisfactory “credit history”. Continuation of Israeli credit card usage is not recommended due to currency conversion costs and fees involved. International credit card companies are willing, in some cases, to recognize credit history and therefore you should examine the issue at least six months before the move. You might also want to ask for a letter (in English) from your bank indicating your credibility.
  • Authorities – following authorities must be notified of the move:

1. The National Insurance Institute of Israel: If the decision is to continue paying social security contributions during the period of relocation, you should go to the National Insurance Institute of Israel office to get vouchers. Even if there is no intention to continue to pay social security contributions during this period, you must notify the National Insurance Institute of Israel. This is to avoid social security declaring a search for you after a few months of no payments and to avoid penalties later in the case of payments of social security benefits (such as child allowances).

2. Mail: divert the mail to another address.

3. Military: In the case of an affiliation to a reserve unit you must notify your unit of the date and anticipated travel time. In the case of registered weapons- the weapons must be deposited for the period of absence. If there are children at an eligible age for an induction order, their departure from Israel should be coordinated with the recruiting office or Israeli consul in the destination area.

4. Broadcasting fee payment – should be informed about the trip to stop the charges.

  • Vehicle / driving – in many countries an international drivers license is required, it is available at the Memsi offices. In addition, get a no-claims letter (if that is the case) from your car insurance agent. Such a letter may help reduce the car insurance payment abroad.
  • Power of attorney – you should consider arranging for a power of attorney to handle bank accounts, current payments, car, home maintenance etc.

Arranging these issues several months before the trip helps the move to the destination country run smoothly and provides peace of mind, for both the employee and his/her family.