Four Immigration and Mobility Insights for The Next Generation of HR Professionals

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

Debbie Convery and Rina Montalvo discuss the evolving mobility landscape in the latest installment of Envoy Conversations 

Envoy CEO Dick Burke recently joined Debbie Convery, Director of Global Mobility at Peloton, and Rina Montalvo, Director, Special Projects, Global Mobility/Immigration at NewsCorp, for the latest session of our Envoy Conversations Virtual Global Talent Series. The three discussed the changing mobility function, advice for human resources professionals starting their careers and Convery and Montalvo’s recent work with universities to adapt HR curriculum.

Four takeaways from Envoy Conversations with Convery and Montalvo

On understanding the nuances of immigration

Convery explained that when starting her career, she wished she had fully understood the depth of expertise required to manage an immigration program.

“Employment law, corporate tax—there are so many different aspects. It's what excites me. But it's also what creates the biggest challenge,” Convery said. “There's no way you can be an expert in all of those different fields, but we definitely have to appreciate the complexity of what we're doing and make sure we're engaging with the right people.”

Montalvo added that the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the need to understand these nuances.

“When COVID hit, my position was elevated to reporting to the VP of NewsCorp HR, due to the knowledge I had in taxation, corporate tax and immigration,” Montalvo said, highlighting the importance that her understanding of these areas played during a period of complex travel and immigration restrictions.

On rebranding the global mobility function

Both panelists discussed the continuing misperception that global mobility is more than just moving people from one location to another.

“We need to position mobility as a strategic enabler of an organization’s talent strategy,” Convery said. “I really think it's about rebranding and educating the stakeholders that we work with.”

The two also pointed to managing remote workers and the related compliance and immigration issues as an example of the increasingly complex nature of the mobility function.

“I think there was a prior perception that we’re the policy police,” Montalvo said. “While we absolutely need to be thinking about those guard rails and the risks, we need to figure out what the solutions are.”

On the need for more formalized training

Montalvo described her work with leading universities (including Harvard, Yale and New York University) to share her experiences working in global mobility and inform students about the role it plays within the larger HR function.

“When I started explaining what global mobility is and what falls under it, that's when the universities began realizing it was more complicated than they thought,” Montalvo said, explaining that it led some to begin thinking about how they can incorporate mobility into their HR curriculum.

“I really think there are a couple of different avenues for universities to take when integrating mobility into their curriculums,” Convery added. “One is to provide increased capabilities to future managers and leaders that may eventually work for multinational companies that operate globally or that have distributed workforces. The second is to provide programs for students to learn about mobility as a viable career.”

On their advice to new HR and mobility professionals

The two panelists both advised professionals starting their career to seek out mobility industry events and resources, and search for skilled mentors.

“I think we're in a really unique period right now, with everything being available virtually,” Convery said. “There are so many opportunities out there right now that are free and accessible.” 

The two pointed to organizations such as Worldwide ERC and the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) as places where professionals can learn about the mobility function and earn accreditations.

In addition to gaining basic knowledge around relocation, immigration and tax, Montalvo highlighted the importance of being prepared, flexible and able to proactively manage risk.

“There is a level of risk that we all have to take in whatever company and position you're in, but to be successful, you have to have the knowledge to be able to give all options and to manage that risk,” she said.

For more insights on managing immigration and mobility programs, listen to the full panel discussion, and be sure to subscribe to the Envoy Immigration Blog for more articles like this, delivered to your inbox.

Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an Envoy-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.