When you are relocating talent with children, advance planning is key and this is where the power of working with an RMC comes into play. Along with all the hustle and bustle through visa and immigration, the debate between selling and buying or renting, and all the other moving parts (no pun attended) to a relocation…schooling is often something expats wait to think about until they arrive in their host country.
Devon Kors, Team Lead – Relocation in our Newport Beach office suggests otherwise. “Most schools do their registration early in the year or spring at the latest, so at this point it’s really too late if they’re trying to get into a specific, highly-competitive school,” says Devon.
This is even more important during the summer months, Clare Owens, Relocation Consultant in our UK office explains because schools are closed.
So where do your mobile employees begin, who do they talk to?
Carly Fliegler, Senior Workforce Mobility Counselor in our Newport Beach office suggests having them talk with their Destination Service Provider (DSP) to gather as much information as they can in their first conversation. An experienced DSP will understand the unique schooling challenges in the area, and will appreciate an early and open discussion with the relocating family about their needs.
Schooling challenges face families moving into the United States as well those moving from the U.S. overseas.
“The U.S. school system is generally different, so as a counselor, we want to ensure that they get that process started and get them prepared early,” says Carly.
Another reason to plan ahead of time is seen with what Clare calls, “catchment areas.” –say what?
In certain areas, relocating employees would need to have permanent residence within the catchment area of a school before they can even apply for the school. This can be incredible stressful for families and can often present a dilemma for families – if they move to a specific area in hopes of getting into a specific school, what happens if they don’t get into the school?
“This definitely a challenge for families: just because they are in a catchment area doesn’t guarantee them that specific school, so they also need to have a second and third choice,” says Clare.
Bonnie Tuen, Client Services Director in our Hong Kong office emphasizes the importance of this in Hong Kong, where living near school is a plus and something important to consider when finding a home.
We make sure our providers do a thorough review of the school places available in the area to help guide them as best, and as early, as possible, so waiting lists are in place for the best availability of good schools.Bonnie Tuen
Bonnie talks about how schooling is the top concern for employees relocating with their children and something that they think about even before accepting their offer. Bonnie explains that in Hong Kong and Singapore regions there are two key locations with relatively more reputable International Schools for expats to consider.
“Getting to know the quality of the schooling in the host countries is crucial,” says Bonnie.
As you can see globally, the requirements and challenges can vary significantly by country from catchment areas to knowing key locations. Here are some other recommendations and reminders from our Workforce Mobility Counselors around the world when relocating employees with children.