The process of employment-based immigration is complicated and ever changing. Each country has differing rules, regulations and processes for employers and employees to follow in order to temporarily work legally in that country, making it difficult to focus on compliance.
China, for example, changed its immigration program in 2013, and today, only four years later, it’s being overhauled again. Or, perhaps closer to home for many, the near constant discussions around reforming the H-1B visa.
With business continuously becoming more global, employers are simultaneously thinking more strategically about mobilizing and deploying their talent across borders. According to a survey conducted by Harris Poll, 59 percent of employers expect their demand for non-U.S. work authorization and/or business visas to increase during the next year.
However, there is generally a disconnect between the way business sees the world and the way the law does – with the law often lagging behind. Nuances between immigration and business travel can be tricky, and, if not properly understood and managed, can quickly result in non-compliance.
Here are three challenges that can arise while managing a global immigration program and a few tips and technology tricks to help your organization along the way.
Knowledge of foreign policies
Many businesses are challenged with maintaining accurate records and dealing with differing regulations in destination countries. These are difficulties that often inadvertently lead to compliance issues, and the worst case scenario, has an employee ending up in jail. Other possible consequences include fines, bans on the company doing business in that country for an extended period of time or just a one-way ticket to get the employee home the quickest way possible.
Pro-tip: Good immigration attorneys and online resources can help you understand each country’s unique policies as well as tracking project details and employee data.
Tracking employee’s immigration status
For organizations both small and large, knowing where each employee is and what their immigration status is at all times is essential. Keeping all of the paperwork up to date for both inbound and outbound immigration is critical. It could mean the difference between a successful business transaction and a damaged foreign relationship.
Pro-tip: Use technology or software that can track immigration status and send both employers and employees notifications about the upcoming deadlines and expiration of authorization documentation.
Protecting personal information
The information exchanged between employers and personnel – social security numbers, personal pay information – is sensitive. With differing and often quite strict privacy regulations across the globe, businesses need highly secure technology to protect that information.
Pro-tip: Top security measures including multi-factor authentication and a centralized data exchange can keep information and documents safe and in compliance.
The state of global immigration law is complex and changes from month to month. It takes the right expertise to stay compliant, which is becoming increasingly more challenging – and more critical – in today’s shifting world. Most companies simply can’t handle it all on their own. They have to focus on projects that need to get done, and they need experts who have their fingers on the pulse of changing laws. Technology is a solution that will allow businesses to remain compliant while staying up-to-date with new immigration policies and trends. Knowing how to navigate complex immigration laws and when to call for backup can help keep businesses operating safely and successfully.