The 3RD Event of the Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM)
By Idan Neev/Relocation Coordinator
On Monday, December 19th 2011, United States – Israel educational foundation hosted the third conference of the FEM in Israel.
This time, due to the holiday season and year’s end financial and budgetary obligations of many companies/members of the forum, we held a relatively small conference focusing on American matters.
The event was opened by Doron Neev, the forum chapter leader in Israel and CRG- global Human Resources management General Manager. Doron summarized the forum activity for 2011 which began in the first conference hosted by Motorola Solutions and its Human Resources VP-Yehuda Porath. The second event was hosted by Mrs. Or Arieli, Osem-Nestle Human Resources VP.
According to Doron, there are around 100 forum members. During 2012 the forum will hold 2-3 bigger event or with wider common denominator as well as focused groups (which will be smaller naturally) on special issues chosen by the steering committee or by members' request. Doron has asked the members to come up with some new topics and ideas so the forum could serve its members in the best possible way. Likewise, Doron mentioned to his colleagues, Human Resources Managers presented in the event that in order to be a part of today's global world, there is a necessity to participate in surveys or other international activities and for example he chose to mention the last survey by Permits organization that deals with the attempt to obtain work permits from governments in order to employ expatriates' spouses whilst living in another country.
Mrs. Arona Maskil, Director at the US-Israel educational foundation, introduced the foundation activity which aids Israeli students to obtain scholarships and to get accepted into M.A, B.A, and doctorate studies in American universities.
The guest speaker at this conference was Mr. Jonathan Heimer, Senior Commercial Officer at U.S. Embassy in Israel who talked about: 'Thoughts on the Israeli Natural Gas Sector'.
CPA and taxation consultant Philip Stein, an expert for American taxation described the issues every expat has to face before heading for a long term stay in the U.S. Philip addressed issues such as tax planning in preparation for a move to the U.S, employee's options and how to deal with them, issues and duties of Israeli citizens living in the U.S versus the Israeli and American authorities as well as the retirement savings account also well-known to quite a few Israelis - 401K.
After Philip's lecture, Doron and Arona came back on stage but this time as cross cultural trainers. They both stressed the importance of cross-cultural preparation before exiting abroad and to the U.S in particular. Doron, as CRG General Manager, represents Dean Foster Associates (DFA of New York) in Israel, one of the world's leading companies for Cross cultural training and strategic training toward a move between countries and cultures. Arona who works with Doron on intercultural training (mostly specified to the U.S) has displayed a presentation based on DFA sources and explained to the audience the great importance of preparing the employee and his family toward the intercultural move to another country. There is a huge difference between being a temporary visitor in any country and between living and working in a foreign country. In order to reduce the stress and concern of deep crisis in family life and daily life, it's better to invest in preparing the employee and the family for the move. In any case, the required investment for the training would be very small compared with the damages which may be caused to the employee and family who left unprepared.
The American seminar ended with a discussion on Visas and work permits available to Israelis who leave for the U.S.
This presentation was given by Advocate Kobi Ne'eman of Derdik, Gross and Co. Kobi introduced to the audience a number of optional Visas to the Israeli public, advantages and disadvantages, technical options for speeding up the application or alternatively employing the spouse in the U.S – yes, there's clearly a possibility of this kind. Like many other countries in the world the United States has hardened the work permit process, in the last few years and continues to do so. Therefore, the subject should be planned well in advance so as not to "get stuck" with the process.
The next FEM conference will take place during the first quarter of 2012 and notifications will be sent accordingly.