5 Trends to Watch Out For in Global Mobility

Global mobility programs are confronting strict immigration policies that make placing workers on assignment more difficult and expensive. In an effort to preserve job opportunities for their own citizens, some countries have placed quotas on work permits, or inter-company limits on the number or percentage of foreign workers that can be hired.

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Jan 19, 2017
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Even simple assignments can now carry unexpected host country compliance issues and increased reliance on remote teams may offer one way to bypass immigration rules. For all workers abroad there is a higher expectation for ongoing two-way mobile communication, and reporting mobility data to senior management is now becoming a priority. In response to these trends, innovative employment and compliance solutions such as GEO services are gaining in acceptance and use in any foreign market.

1. Harder Immigration Compliance: Visas and Work Permits

Global mobility programs are confronting strict immigration policies that make placing workers on assignment more difficult and expensive. In an effort to preserve job opportunities for their own citizens, some countries have placed quotas on work permits, or inter-company limits on the number or percentage of foreign workers that can be hired.

5 Trends to Watch Out for in Global Mobility

The US and UK: examples of the new protectionism

One good example is the Brexit vote in the UK which removes that country from relaxed EU immigration rules, and will change the work visa rules for assignments in the UK. Likewise, in the US, there is a growing opposition to the H1B and L-1 visa programs that allow foreign workers to replace US citizens in technical and specialty occupations. There are likely to be changes to US work visa programs under the new Trump administration, tightening requirements for foreign workers.

This trend places the onus on global mobility professionals to stay current with the immigration policies of destination countries, and makes the use of local resources and experts more important than ever.

2. Remote Teams: Setting up a Global Talent Network

Remote teams are expanding in every industry, and this is becoming a core strategy for global companies who can implement the necessary recruitment, management and communication tools. There are challenges in managing remote teams across multiple time zones and borders, and it is important to maintain a sense of inclusion and accountability.

The benefit of remote teams to a company lies in the flexibility in hiring based on talent rather than location, as well as reducing in-office management costs. Recruitment no longer is limited by geography, and hiring can occur in any global location to fill open positions.

3. Mobile Phones: Recruitment, Management and Communication

The use of technology in global mobility is now the norm, with a host of software, apps and online platforms that can support international assignments. Because almost every employee has a mobile phone with internet connectivity, it is easier than ever to manage time, projects, communication and integration of assignees or remote team members. The key is establishing consistent and focused methods for individual and team participation.

Mobile recruitment, training and management apps

Even recruitment has shifted to mobile apps, allowing candidates to review positions at any time, as they are posted. Once hired, an employee can receive ongoing training, management updates and project guidelines all via mobile communication. This is invaluable for workers who do not sit at a desk, such as sales people or on-site customer service personnel. Naturally, there is a downside to 24/7 mobile access, and there needs to be some way for workers to go ‘offline’ periodically to avoid ‘technology burnout’

4. Reporting of Mobility Data: Establishing a Baseline for Planning and Measurement

There is a new demand for access to accurate data in global mobility, that can be reported to management and used to make sound decision making. The challenge lies in selecting the right metrics and then compiling the data in a meaningful way.

ROI is becoming the measure of global mobility programs

As more companies rely on the use of ROI metrics to evaluate the global mobility program, this data becomes essential to measure the value of assignments, and seeking methods to become more efficient. Although many assignments are still ‘reactive’ due to business demands, even last minute assignments can be structured to meet ROI benchmarks.

Reporting this information is a crucial step, so that organizational leadership has the “mobility data to make policy and deployment decisions, create financial forecasts and formulate projections about possible organisational and programme outcomes.”

5. The GEO Local Employer of Record

Any size company entering a foreign market on its own, will find it both costly and time consuming to meet all of the immigration, employment and labor requirements unique to that country. Even the initial step of setting up a local branch office or subsidiary can take months, and this is a requirement prior to employing any worker in the country. An innovative solution to this challenge is the Global Employment Organization (GEO) which acts as the employer of record in the host country.

An alternative to the DIY approach

This service allows a company to avoid the DIY approach to local compliance, incorporation and registration, as the GEO enlists the assistance of partners in the host country to handle every aspect of an assignment. Even the risk of using independent contractors can be minimized, as those workers can also be legally employed at the local level.

Given the rapidly changing regulatory environment for international business, it has become almost essential to have some form of local resource in place to handle employment, payroll and tax requirements. The GEO is the most comprehensive solution available to employ workers abroad, allowing global mobility professionals to focus on employee management, morale and skill development while on assignment.

About Shield GEO

Shield GEO makes international employment simple. Our customers use Shield GEO to employ and payroll hundreds of workers in over fifty countries. To find out more about us, please get in touch.

Go to the profile of Tim Burgess

Tim Burgess

Director, Shield GEO Services Ltd

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