Cross border travelers are often overlooked by companies as they do not formally sit on a structured mobility program and as such most follow their company’s business travel policy. However, as the world gets smaller, border agencies interface more with tax authorities are we doing enough to combat risks and meet compliance in the ever changing world of mobility?
Many companies look at the risk and the costs and come to the conclusion that until someone is “caught/ named and shamed” it is best to push it under the carpet and deal with the growing population at a later date.
Are companies overlooking this large bank of travelers due to resourcing issues, due to the lack of ability to fully know where their population is at a given time/ having the technology to fully track the employees – it is probably a combination of all of the above along with the alignment of who should really be responsible for them. In short it seems to be an argument of where does the responsibility sit, HR, Mobility, Legal, Tax or the Business Line. In reality the responsibility falls on all and companies must look to put in place processes and procedures to fully track and account for their employees.
Tax, payroll, immigration are all real risks that pose to the business if their business travelers are not accounted for and if businesses do not adapt formal processes for their business travelers. Are companies sure that their people won’t get turned away at the borders?
Mobility is ever changing and evolving. As we move into a world were borders are seemingly more invisible, are risks really being properly accounted for?
In an example, if you have a person working on a project in Switzerland and they are there for over 8 working days in a one year period, they should have a work permit in order to be compliant. When you obtain the work permit, tax obligations also become mandatory. The risks to the individual and the exposure to the business become a reality and can be damaging. If the individual goes back and forth into Switzerland eventually the intelligence of the border controls infrastructure will catch up with the traveler.
Companies need to move with the times and understand the risks and put in process the ability to track, monitor and understand the costs in regards to the way the world is shaping. Cross border travelers inevitably account for a far greater population compared with formal mobility, with that fact they bring far greater risks.
By Nicole Milman