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Corporations large and small, domestic and international, turn to relocation specialists when transferring employees from one location to another. Many international companies move employees every few years to give them exposure to markets in other countries. This expands their knowledge of local customs and trends, allows them to tap into different mindsets and benefits the company. Domestic transfers also offer similar benefits in addition to moving a specialist to another division instead of training a local employee. Both moves involve employing a Certified Relocation Specialist to give hand-on assistance to the transferee and his family, smoothing the way toward a successful transfer and allowing the employee to settle in quickly and seamlessly.
Working as a CRP
The Certified Relocation Specialist, known as a Certified Relocation Professional in the industry, handles the logistics of moving and settling into a new location. Domestic transfers are less complicated than an international transfer, but still involve a myriad of details, such as home finding, setting up school interviews, and disclosing local taxation laws and customs.
An international transfer is more complicated, with a visa, social security, work permits for the spouse, buying a home as a foreign national all part of the moving package. A CRP must be knowledgeable in all the above, and most corporations turn to CRPs to fulfill these requirements.
Becoming a Licensed CRP
Training is the backbone of becoming a licensed CRP. Working for a relocation company and becoming familiar with the intricacies of a domestic and/or international move are the initial steps and are required for certification.
Other career paths feed into becoming a Certified Career Specialist, such as working as a real estate agent, mortgage lender, an insurance broker or logistics expert. Regardless of your background, a CRP must pass an examination administered by the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council and maintain their designation via re-certification every three years.
Passing the Exam
Few applicants pass the CRP exam on their first try as it covers a wide range of issues, including tax and legal issues pertinent to the new location, real estate norms, mortgage lending, appraising and trends in relocation. According to CapRelo, a Global Relocation Management company, only about 65 percent of CRP candidates pass the exam.
Hitting the Ground Running
Transferees often arrive in the relocation company’s inbox and expect to be taken in hand immediately. This means being available at the drop of a hat. Area tours, home-finding expeditions, school interviews, setting up bank accounts and utility services, finding a car and an insurance company that’ll insure a foreign transferee must be accomplished within the time frame of a few days.
When international transferees arrive with their visas and completed I-94 forms, a trip to the local social security office is the first order of business. Without a social security number, the transferee cannot work in the United States.
As you work in the field, you’ll collect all the information you’ll need to become a valued CRP. And, you’ll also learn how to say “no.”
Knowing What You Can’t Do
As you train in the CRP field, you’ll learn what you can and cannot do. Most transferees are grateful for your help and appreciate all you do for them. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a CRP to become the first friend the transferee has in the new location, and invitations to dinner and family events follow when everyone is settled in.
You can advise and consult, but your job is not to do the grunt work. Point the transferee to job and career counseling for his spouse. Know the locations of the local language schools and tutors and how to contact them. Give them the telephone number for local taxi services, and never lend your car or money. Knowing the boundaries will make your career flourish and your employer appreciative of your expertise.
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