Are work permits the only barrier to partners working?
Accompanying partners face a number of challenges.
Whereas employees usually transfer within their company as part of a career plan, their partners have to uproot themselves from their current job and company at a time they may not have chosen. They may have no professional network in the new country and the market for their skills may be completely different. They may face language and cultural barriers and their qualifications may not be recognised. Salary levels and other benefits may be less than they are accustomed to. And as the accompanying partner, they often have to manage the practical aspects of establishing the family in a new location.
Companies that employ expatriate staff increasingly try to help partners in practical ways. However, where work permit barriers do exist, they represent a real structural hurdle both to the partners themselves and to companies that might otherwise be prepared to employ them.