Our Understanding Overseas 2021 survey asked families to share their views about the benefits and challenges of overseas assignments.
We heard from families on range of assignments, including individual, Defence engagement, loan service and unit moves from 24 countries around the world.
The survey found that:
- Families do not receive enough accurate information about their overseas assignment.
Families told us that there is no one, clear source of up-to-date information, meaning they had to find out information from multiple and potentially inaccurate sources.
One family told us, “We thought we had received sufficient information until we arrived here and nothing was correct. We had to figure out everything for ourselves from buying groceries to enrolling kids at school and medical care.”
- Families are unable to access clear information on spousal employment overseas.
A large majority of families (85%) said the spouse or partner did not receive enough information to make a decision about maintaining their employment overseas.
One family commented: “There is no information on how one can continue to work as a freelance or remote worker regarding tax, insurance, visa etc. No one seems to know the answers and three people I know had to quit jobs when they moved over.”
- Families had difficulty accessing appropriate childcare.
Only 31% of families were satisfied with being able to access appropriate childcare overseas. Issues included opening hours that did not cover dual serving couples’ duty hours and waiting lists.
One family said: “The childcare was very good but the limited hours made it difficult to consider certain types of work.”
- Families felt uninformed on issues related to Brexit.
A total of 81% of families stated that Brexit had had a significantly negative or negative impact on their family’s life overseas.
Despite these challenges, however, 73% of families said they would undertake another overseas assignment.
AFF is working with the chain of command and the MOD to ensure they understand the evidence and views from Army families.
POSTED ON 31 JANUARY 2022