In the Spotlight: Global Business Immigration

As talent needs and pressures continue to intensify, companies are increasingly seeing immigration trends impact corporate goals and talent management objectives and in turn, global mobility programs. BGRS’s Manpreet Dhami-Magne, Vice President, Supplier Networks, shares her insight into the role of immigration within global mobility In the Spotlight.

Similar to today’s global business landscape, regional immigration trends are continuously changing. How are these trends impacting organizations’ mobility programs?

Manpreet Dhami-Magne: Managing the movement of professionals, trainees, and business visitors from short trips to long-term assignments has become ever more complex for mobility managers. Whilst continuous growth in emerging markets is driving demand for multinational companies to move more workers across the globe, we’ve largely seen regulations around immigration and foreign workers tighten over the years as countries seek to protect their borders and their native workforces. Proper documents and identification have always been key, but the penalties for non-compliance, both for individuals and companies, are rising thereby driving the evolution of a previously largely administrative function into a multi-faceted high-risk compliance concern. Simultaneously, technology advancements, such as electronic passports and biometric gates, have enabled governments to become more proficient at tracking and reporting individual travellers globally. Travellers entering a country numerous times, within a specific period of time, even if each entry is only for a short period, can raise red flags as technology assists border officials with identifying immigration and tax compliance risks.

In contrast to a tightening immigration environment, there is an increasing focus on using mobility for employee development or leadership development purposes.

Employees – younger employees in particular – are seeking to gain exposure to business operations and markets in multiple countries, and companies long ago established how desirable and useful it is for their future leaders to have a global mind set. These types of competing trends will put pressure on mobility managers to develop new and innovative solutions to meet their organization’s talent and business goals.

What are some challenges organizations are facing when building international programs to mobilize and develop their talent?

Manpreet: The evolving immigration environment poses a wide variety of challenges for companies’ talent programs. Let’s talk about just a few.

While discussions continue on the final parameters of Brexit, foreign workers will clearly feel some effects. Currently, EU residents living and working in the UK need only to provide their passport or national ID card for identification. But in a country where many aspects of life—including employment, renting a home, visiting a doctor’s office, and opening a bank account — requires proof of legal status in the country, what will be required to enable employees to legally work post Brexit? While the British government is committed to delivering solutions, currently the status is unclear. For U.S. citizens working in the UK, the direct effect on documentation may not be severe, but travellers and workers will potentially face delays in immigration application processing and longer waits for entry at British immigration ports.

In the United States and United Kingdom alike, immigration will play a key role in the continued growth of workforce and overall economy. For example, if the U.S. relied only on native-born workers, its labor force would shrink. Yet employers seeking to bring talent into the U.S. from other countries are challenged on several fronts. The change to a lottery system for H1B workers – primarily workers in computer or technical areas – has caused challenges for many companies who need the workers and who now must follow additional requirements to document that they have attempted to get U.S. workers to fill the slots. On the other hand, countries like Japan and Canada have adjusted their regulations to make it easier for foreign workers.

Keeping abreast of these evolving trends will be key for mobility managers as they work to support their companies’ talent strategies and goals.

How does BGRS support its clients when developing an immigration process to meet the needs of an organizations’ mobility program?

Manpreet: Managing tax and immigration risks associated with business travel has been an ongoing need in the industry and for BGRS’s clients. We partner with our clients, adopting a consultative approach and recommending various immigration models aimed at optimizing service delivery and effectively managing compliance risks and costs. BGRS’s solution for business travel, TripWise, helps companies manage business travel and mitigate these types of risks through a consolidated information source that aggregates business traveller compliance risk status across the globe. TripWise offers flexible tiers of support and removes administrative work from internal Human Resources and Mobility teams by supporting them with the start-up and implementation work – critical foundations for immigration programs. Meanwhile, BGRS’s immigration support service provides clients with access to a network of global suppliers vetted through a rigorous selection process, including service testing. BGRS’s unique immigration offering guarantees a standardized work scope for global service consistency and a fixed fee-pricing model with goal-oriented fees tying payment to actual achievements vs. transactional accomplishments.