What Is a Real VIP Relocation Program?

Damien O'Farrell
4 min readAug 13, 2021

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Let’s face it — you would not expect to walk into Hermes and purchase a bag for €200. Why Not? Because it is a high-end brand specializing in exquisitely crafted luxury products. If this is the case, then it stands to reason that if you are looking to relocate one of your most valuable VIP employees, this cannot or should not be done on a regular or low-cost program. A true VIP program must be priced higher because you need to absolutely consider the following:

Junior Vs. Senior staff: A valued VIP employee needs to be followed by the most experienced Global Mobility Specialist that the Destination Service Provider (DSP) has, as this person will have the experience, qualifications, and knowhow to deal with such high-touch assignees. Normally, these professionals are some of the highest paid within a DSP and are assigned to the most important VIP assignees. Therefore, if you are looking to relocate a VIP assignee on a low-cost program, they may end up in the hands of an inexperienced or junior staff member due to cost constraints, and this can only be a recipe for problems and issues caused by the staff member’s lack of experience in dealing with such high-level professionals.

Access Outside of Office Hours: In markets that have strict labor laws and/or high-cost employment contracts, access to a Global Mobility Specialist outside of office hours can cost the DSP dearly; therefore, this type of VIP 24/7 service comes at a premium, but it worth it in the peace of mind that it gives to the VIP assignee.

Taking the Time That It Needs: VIP assignees should not be rushed or held to a time-sensitive program. Such assignees need to be given as many hours as they require, or as their spouse or partner requires, to settle successfully into the new destination. Such additional hours or open-ended assistance have a cost to the DSP and cannot be provided within a regular program; therefore, a real VIP program needs to be purchased without looking at the price tag. When I have provided such VIP programs, without cost being a major factor, the assignments have been more successful, particularly with the family members, as they really got the support they needed, which made all the difference with regards to their settling into the new destination through their enthusiasm and eagerness that the extra support brought.

Immigration and Compliance: Just like the relocation program, this is not a service that you should skimp on. Compliance in the new destination is vital and needs to be carried out by the most experienced and qualified Destination Service Provider in the market — again, due to the quality of their staff members, this will not always be the cheapest. I have heard many horror stories regarding immigration and compliance when the services were put into the hands of dilettantes because of “competitive pricing”.

When relocating some of your most valuable VIP assignees, it will certainly behoove you to assess the relocation program they will receive, and if it will be enough for their needs and requirements, as well as their expectations. In today’s work market, it is extremely challenging to find rockstar talent, and once found, it needs to be invested in from every point of view — this includes how much assistance they get when they relocate and if it really reflects their value and position within the company. As they say, the devil is in the detail, so make sure that your VIP assignees are relocated, taking into account that genuine high-end and high-touch service comes at a premium price.

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Damien O'Farrell

Global Mobility Specialist and Expat Coach with thirty plus years’ experience in providing high-touch immigration, destination, & coaching services in Italy.