International HR Adviser The Leading Magazine For International HR Professionals Worldwide
Features include: London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games: Helping You To Overcome The Hurdles Employment: To Boldly Go Where No Employee Has Gone Before Relocation: What Wal-Mart Has Taught Us About Expansion Into Europe Global Mobility Strategy: It Is Time To Treat Mobility Like A Business Imperative Retaining Expatriate Staff: How To Keep Expatriates From Leaving Global Immigration • Global Tax Update Advisory Panel for this issue:
In This Issue Page 2
How To Keep Expatriates From Leaving Linda Lange, BDO LLP
London 2012 Olympic And Paralympic Games: Helping You To Overcome The Hurdles Lucy Cacchiò, SIRVA Relocation
Global Mobility Strategy - It Is Time To Treat Mobility Like A Business Imperative Rob Hodkinson, Global Mobility Transformation, Deloitte LLP
Emergency Evacuations - Scenarios You And Your Employees Would Rather Avoid... Dr Sneh Khemka, Bupa International
Commuter Assignments Barry Rodin, ECA International
Employment: To Boldly Go Where No Employee Has Gone Before Juliet Carp, Speechly Bircham LLP
Dire Straits In International Waters: Navigating Compliant Business Travel In The 21st Century Charlotte Slocombe, Fragomen LLP
Specialist Markets See Global Fight For Talent Mark Znowski, Eurostaff Group
Spoil The Ship For A Hap’orth Of Tar: What Wal-Mart Has Taught Us About Expansion Into Europe Dominic Tidey, EuRA
All Change - Where To Be Paid & Foreign Currency Issues Andrew Bailey, BDO LLP
Global Taxation Update Andrew Bailey, BDO LLP
Remote Working: Examining Current Trends And Organisational Practices Bradford Bell, ILR School, Cornell University
Case Study: Setting Up A School In Doha Fergus Rose, ACS
Global Immigration Update Fragomen LLP
International HR Adviser, PO Box 921, Sutton, SM1 2WB, United Kingdom Publisher • Helen Elliott +44 (0) 20 8661 0186 • Email: email@example.com Publishing Director • Damian Porter +44 (0) 1737 551506 www.internationalhradviser.com In Loving Memory of Assunta Mondello While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of information contained in this issue of “International HR Adviser”, the publishers and Directors of Inkspell Ltd cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions. Neither the publishers of “International HR Adviser” nor any third parties who provide information for “Expatriate Adviser” magazine, shall have any responsibility for or be liable in respect of the content or the accuracy of the information so provided, or for any errors or omissions therein. “International HR Adviser” does not endorse any products, services or company listings featured in this issue.
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retaining expatriate staff
How To Keep Expatriates From Leaving The growing globalisation of industries forces organisations to employ a mobile population for the purpose of competing in overseas markets and to maintain multinational knowledge and expertise. Companies invest great amounts of money in sending their employees on assignment to foreign locations. However, the high turnover of expatriates and repatriates creates large losses to the organisation that needs to be addressed from a strategic point of view. Increasing amounts of research are being undertaken into the retention of mobile employees. Research covers various support activities an organisation can provide to the expatriate and the accompanying family but the link to the organisational strategy is, for the most part, absent. This article addresses the lack of procedures organisations have in place from a home country perspective. Research suggests on several occasions the phenomenon of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ which usually happens to the home country once the employee has moved abroad. The lack of support for the career development of the expatriate can lead to the problems companies have when the expatriate returns home and is positioned into an unsuitable role. Ten Global Mobility Professionals (GMPs) working for multinationals were interviewed to understand their organisational procedures dealing with outbound expatriates and why some of these organisations might not consider implementing such processes to avoid employees leaving the organisation. Through the input of these professionals, this research will present a framework that will support the expatriate through the home country while on assignment and will uphold the psychological contract between both parties. It is of great importance that organisations start to be aware of the damage they can do to themselves when not spending enough attention on their mobile employees. The outcome proposed by this study is a formal procedure embedded into the Human Resources strategy of an organisation.
Findings on processes in GM functions One aspect of the general processes in companies is the responsibility of each International HR Adviser Spring
global team to kick-start a new assignment which can be done by the home or the host country. Three of the ten GMPs described that their organisation operate the procedure that the receiving country (host country) manages the complete process of a new assignment which includes calculating the costing, creating the contract or assignment letter, and making sure that the internal approval process for the assignment was followed. The other seven organisations have the opposite procedure in place where the costing, contract and approval process is managed by the home country HR and might involve support from the host country HR department as the receiving country. Two of the interviewees who described that their host country HR departments are solely managing the process of a new assignment, expressed their concerns that they are not involved or even informed about this new assignment and therefore do not have the possibility or time to support the leaving employee in this process enough. The next question in the interview identified if the GMPs organisation has a formal procedure in place to stay in contact with their expats who are leaving their home country while they are on assignment. The interviewees were asked to answer from the perspective of the home country HR responsible. Seven of the GMPs said that there is currently nothing in place at their organisation to stay in contact with the expatriate outbound. Two of the GMPs have a more informal way to stay in contact with the expatriates through sending regular emails and to check on their progress while abroad. However, it was clarified that this informal way of supporting the expatriate does not have any mechanism in place and therefore is not an official procedure. Just one organisation out of ten has a formal process in place to stay in regular contact with their expatriates when they leave the country. The GMP working for this organisation expressed that this formal process is ‘an absolute necessary part of our assignments’. To stay in contact with their expatriates while on assignment, a relationship manager based in the Global Mobility function is assigned to a certain business line and has the responsibility to ‘touch base’ with every expat outbound from this business on a
regular basis. Throughout the assignment the expatriates have a named ‘go – to’ person if they have problems or questions in their professional or private life. Just at the point of repatriation, the relationship manager will give over the responsibility to the local HR Manager who will manage the process of finding a new position for the returning expatriate. In addition to having an assigned relationship manager, each expatriate at this organisation has a sponsor while on assignment who is responsible to manage the expatriate’s career progression during the assignment and at the moment of repatriation. This sponsor is allocated at the beginning of the assignment and is usually the Head of the business line and therefore very senior. The most important function of the sponsor is at the time of repatriation, when the sponsor will be asked to place the expatriate into a suitable position in the business line which takes into consideration newly acquired skills and experiences.
Line management involvement The GMPs were asked to comment on the relationship between the expatriate and the home or host line management. Nine out of ten organisations responded that the home line manager does not have any involvement in the career progression of the expatriates while based in the host location. “If the headcount were not on their cost centre, some of our managers would not know that these employees actually belong to their team,” was observed by one interviewee. The only organisation that has the home line management be involved in the career development, has a very UK based company structure, and while the expatriate is based in a foreign country on assignment, they will still report into the same manager as before. That means there is no host line manager in this structure and therefore the only possible manager is the line management based in the home country. Eight out of ten organisations stated that their home and host line manager will never work together or share information on the development of the expatriate. The other two organisations have a procedure in place through the annual performance review in which the home and host line
retaining expatriate staff manager should enter into a dialogue on the current performance of the expatriate.
Formal process - necessary or not? All the interviewees were asked to comment if, as a Global Mobility Professional, they think that a formalised procedure to stay in contact with their expatriate outbounds on a regular basis would be beneficial. Nine out of ten interviewees answered that a formal process built into the company procedures and culture would be beneficial for the company and the expatriate. Two of these interviewees wish that the line management would take more responsibility in this process and that HR would be able to provide them with support and written guidelines on how to manage their expatriates outbound. Three individuals believed that the responsibility should lie more with the talent management division of the HR department, or that the mobility team would need to work more closely with the talent management team together. Most of the interviewees agreed that a formalised plan on how to stay more in touch with the expatriate and their career progression would be beneficial first of all for the expatriate, but it has the knock on effect that decreases turnover of expatriates while on assignment, and most importantly after their repatriation. Just one interviewee said that a formalised plan would be unnecessary. The business and the company would change so rapidly that it would be impossible to prepare the repatriation of an expatriate so far in advance. The interviewee believes that an informal way of keeping in touch is sufficient enough to build a relationship with the employee abroad.
Reason for missing process In comparison to this strong theme of agreement between all of the interviewees, to understand why nine out of ten organisations do not have a formal process in place to manage the support of the expatriate population was a far more complicated matter. Three GMPs out of nine were thinking about creating some kind of support system in their organisation but a defined plan of implementation was missing. No actual time frames were given when the ideas would be implemented. The other six GMPs knew that their organisations were not considering implementing any kind of formal procedure for their expatriate population. The reason given
by one GMP was that the company culture was not in line with the idea to give more importance to support systems for their mobility services. This seems like a contradiction as organisations want to use mobility as a human resources strategy for various reasons, and invest in many cases, huge amounts of money into their mobile employees. It is difficult to understand why the same organisation do not want to adjust their culture and processes to support this strategy to receive the best return on investment as possible. The other reason mentioned by two GMPs was that business changes so rapidly in today’s environment that it is nearly impossible to plan ahead for the purpose of repatriation. These comments were given where the company business is similar to the one of the GMP who has formal structures in place to plan for the repatriation of the expatriate. It was confirmed by an interviewee that this company is successful with their formal process to plan for the career development of the expatriates even with a fast paced business to manage. It seems that every company would be able to improve their repatriation processes if they would spend the time and resources on it. The nine interviewed GMPs would like their organisations to appreciate the importance of tackling the issue of high turnover of expatriates but it seems that this might take some more time. This research was able to find some indications through the GMPs opinions, but the real reasons of the company leaders for not addressing this issue might not be even visible to them.
Career development One noticeable pattern arises out of the findings that indicates the seriousness of career development for expatriates. Several GMPs mentioned the importance for organisations to improve their services in career building of their mobile population. Most companies have a regional or even global system of career development built into their performance reviews and appraisals. Expatriates would be included in these procedures but the system does not take into consideration of the unusualness of their situation. Kreng and Huang (2009) clarify that a talent management team is responsible for the career development of the home country population and don’t feel responsible for employees working in a foreign country. At the same time, the person responsible for
international human resources or global mobility, will not have the capacity or knowledge for developing the expatriate’s career. That means that both HR functions need to work together to tackle this issue. The danger in not giving serious thought to this matter can be the expatriate commitment decreasing until he or she decides to resign and look for a better career and better progression in another organisation. Further research claims that the expectations of the expatriate for his or her career development through the assignment can significantly affect the job performance during the assignment (Yan et al, 2002). Additionally, meeting of these expectations by the organisation will influence the success of the repatriation and future performance of the expatriate.
Recommendations for Management Practice Through the findings, the message seems to be very strong that organisations still don’t take the high turnover rates of expatriates and the associated loss on their investment seriously. Given the globalisation of business markets in most industries these days, numbers of expatriates and secondees increase steadily, which result in higher losses for companies if retaining expatriates is not on the agenda as discussed in this paper(Scullion and Collings, 2006). It would be recommended for management dealing with expatriates to raise the awareness of this gap with the leadership of an organisation (McNulty et al, 2009). Discussed by McNulty and other researchers, there is a great difficulty for managers to determine what represents an acceptable return on investment for expatriates. To simplify the process of presenting losses in numbers and cost to a leadership team, data available in the HR department can be helpful. Costs for hiring and training an employee to replace an expatriate can be taken into consideration. Less tangible, but still important, are the loss of business and revenue a resigned expatriate might create through leaving a gap or taking valuable knowledge away from the company when leaving (Krell, 2005). All the mentioned costs would usually create a significant amount of money lost to the business. If this could be instead invested to improve procedures and services for expatriation management, retention should increase and long-term losses and costs are reduced. This justification for process improvement could clearly be presented with a satisfactory ROI. Spring International HR Adviser
retaining expatriate staff For management in Human Resources to implement support systems or formal procedures, buy-in from the leadership team of the organisation needs to have been given. It is imperative that the company on a global level agrees to improve services and would adhere to new procedures otherwise implemented processes will have gaps and fairness and consistency throughout the expatriate population cannot be provided. When analysing the responses of the GMPs in regards to their ideas of support processes for expatriates, differences can be recognised. It appears that the interviewees have several ideas of what could work for their organisation or even in general to keep in touch with their expatriates and support their development. These findings give the impression that managers need to undergo a needs assessment for their own organisations and based on their professional knowledge decide what kind support functions would benefit the company and the expatriate population the most. Here is a list of all the ideas provided through the interviews which could be implemented to improve expatriate support: • Guidelines for line managers on how to manage and develop their expatriates while on assignment • Informal process of sending an email every couple of months • Implementing a tracking system to record expatriates skills and experience data for the purpose of building a pipeline and succession planning • Creating a formal talent programme for expatriates together with the talent management team • Implementing a sponsor scheme by which the sponsor is defined in the assignment contract • Changing expatriate offerings to an international pay scheme and benefits scheme to support the idea of mobile employees. One analysis which was mentioned by several GMPs and discussed earlier is the involvement of line management in the career development of the expatriate. It seems that more responsibility should be taken by the sending manager in the home country to stay in touch with the employee and build their career on an ongoing basis. Additionally the interviewees would wish for the business line managers to set objectives and targets for the assignment. It is recommended that these assignment objectives should be followed up upon International HR Adviser Spring
during the assignment and might need adjustment or even significant change. The most effective way to do this would be if the home line manager would be included in the annual appraisal, or, arranges a separate appraisal with the expatriate. The synchronised formalised process resulting out of this research will be beneficial for the home country office because the responsibilities are clarified and each stakeholder has to give their contribution. Due to it being one process, each stakeholder group will be able to remind the other group of their responsibility, and disjointed engagement and lack of support from one stakeholder group, will be picked up and challenged by the one of the other groups. For the expatriate this process will be beneficial for the obvious reasons of support from the home country and the ongoing career development involvement which will show commitment of the organisation and will help the repatriation process significantly. Less obvious benefit to this one formalised process is that the expatriate will be able to use one point of contact to address concerns and problems with all other stakeholder groups. It is not necessary for the expatriate to stay in contact with three different contacts to make sure everything is looked after. This will give the expatriate the feeling of being
looked after and give him assurance of commitment of the home country office throughout the assignment.
Conclusions The conclusion of this research demonstrates that tighter procedures for the support of their employees abroad would be beneficial for the organisation and their employees. The losses described demonstrate the significance it can have on the company’s reputation as an employer. The created framework shows what this could look like based on the feedback of the ten GMPs’ opinions. To take this research to the next step the implementation of such a formal process should be introduced to an organisation and the changes in retention and satisfaction levels of expatriation analysed. Linda Lange is currently the UK Secondment Manager for BDO LLP. Linda completed her Masters of HRM this year with this article summarising her dissertation findings. To contact Linda Lange, please email Linda.Lange@bdo.co.uk
Engagement between Home Country, Host Country and Expatriate based on Findings
Autumnâ€‚ International HR Adviser
London 2012 Olympic And Paralympic Games: Helping You To Overcome The Hurdles On your mark, get set, GO. With the London 2012 Olympic Games around the corner, it is important to begin putting contingency plans in place to ensure that your relocation programme keeps running smoothly. With an estimated 660,000 international visitors descending on London for the Olympic Games (27 July - 12 August), and Paralympic Games (29 August 9 September), the city will be extremely busy. In addition, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (2 June - 5 June) and the annual Wimbledon Tennis Tournament (25 June - 8 July) will also contribute to the disruption that is expected this summer. Many of the games and competitions will take place outside of London, and the Olympic Torch Relay, beginning on 19 May, will visit over 1,000 places on the way to the stadium. In light of this, it is expected that relocations into and across various locations throughout the UK will be affected as well. The founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, once said “…the essential thing in life is not conquering, but fighting well.” The Olympic season is an exciting time, and we want it to stay that way. The comprehensive information below will help ensure you are prepared to overcome any challenges that the Games pose for your relocation programme. The following recommendations should be considered for any relocation
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programme: • Reduce non-essential assignments during the Games period. Only move assignees if it is critical or necessary for business reasons or an assignee’s individual needs • Effectively communicate challenges to any of your foreign offices, to ensure they prepare for the changes the Olympics will bring • Introduce temporary policy measures. For example, include additional days for a home finding trip to ensure that travel delays do not reduce home search time. A temporary policy will also provide the flexibility to address exceptions that may occur during the Games period.
Visa and Immigration Challenge: Delays in visa processing times for assignees moving into the UK. The Home Office is expecting more than 380,000 athletes, officials, workers and media to require accreditation. This will include immigration, criminal record and security checks to help ensure the safety and security of the 2012 Games. Recommendation: Apply for visas well in advance, as soon as it is possible for an assignee to do so.
Travel Challenge: As a non-Olympic traveller, it is likely that an assignee will experience significant airport delays as they arrive into London’s airports, particularly London Heathrow. Athletes, officials, broadcasters, and support staff etc., also known as the Games Family Members (GFM), will add to the UK’s inbound airport traffic. To address this, the UK Border Agency will set up specific Olympic lanes for the GFM, as well as training additional staff to carry out identification checks which will take around 60 seconds per person. Recommendation: If possible, assignees should avoid London Heathrow Airport and use other UK airports. Should an assignee need to fly into Heathrow or London’s surrounding airports, they should accommodate for delays in their travel plans. As an example, an assignee
booking their home finding trip during this busy period should build in extra time. Additionally, there will be a high demand on car rental, so make your reservations well in advance.
Temporary Accommodation Challenge: The reduced availability of accommodations and the increase in cost stay during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The cost of temporary accommodation and hotels will rise due to the high demand and limited supply. For example, the London Organisation Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has been allocated 56,000 rooms in the city. The cost of serviced apartments has increased and the typical terms and conditions on length of stay have been adapted. The minimum stay in serviced apartments is typically three-, seven-, or 30 nights, however, during the Games the minimum stay period is around 90 nights. Providers may also request advanced payments for accommodations. Recommendation: Set expectations relating to the availability of accommodation, particularly in Central and East London, where most spectators will be staying. Consider turnkey properties (assignees moving into temporary accommodation on a rotational basis), although providers may charge fees for each clean turn, it does give the assignee options. In addition, block booking of accommodations may reduce costs and will help ensure the availability of accommodation for assignees moving to the UK.
Logistics and Transportation Challenge: Furniture rental, household goods shipments and general transportation will be affected throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games. To accommodate road events such as marathons, whilst maintaining London’s traffic flow and ensuring pedestrian safety, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has implemented the following initiatives: • The creation of an Olympic Route Network (ORN) and a Paralympic Route Network (PRN) to provide athletes and
olympics officials easy access to the venues • Road management restrictions including changes to traffic signal timing, restricted turns, side road closures and suspension of parking and loading bays • To encourage the use of public transportation, each ticketholder will receive a free public transport pass for travel within London (zones 1-9) on the day of the event. On the busiest day of the Games, 800,000 people are expected to use public transportation. Recommendation: Ensure assignees are aware of the upcoming logistics and transportation disruptions. Due to congestion on the UK’s transport system, avoid travel when possible, especially for assignees new to the UK. For deliveries in and around London, SIRVA has been working with their suppliers to help support assignees. A few of these initiatives include: • Supplementary shifts on van lines as required, providing out-of-hour deliveries to avoid any disruption caused by the Games. The Transport for London (TfL) will be conducting test trials to identify best practice for out-of-hours deliveries and we will take note of their findings • Ensuring additional resources are in
place; for example, increased furniture inventory for furniture rental if temporary accommodation availability is reduced and an assignee has already found their home but has not yet received their shipment • Obtaining exemptions from particular operating restrictions to help avoid disruption to deliveries and / or collections of goods • Delivering goods to a nearby delivery location where loading restrictions are not affected by the Games.
Useful Resources SIRVA will post regular updates on any changes and developments on http://blog. sirva.com/ as we get nearer to the event! For further detail on travel in and around London during the Olympics, visit www.tfl.gov.uk. Find out more about the Olympic and Paralympic Games on the official Website, www.london2012.com.
Any Questions? Please contact Erika Toomer, on +44 (0) 1793 606538 or by email, erika.toomer@ sirva.com.
Lucy Cacchiò SIRVA Relocation SIRVA is a leading worldwide provider of relocation and moving solutions, SIRVA Worldwide, Inc. (www.sirva. com) provides more than 230,000 relocations per year to corporations, government employees, and individual consumers through its family of companies. The Company delivers the best mobility experience at the lowest total cost to relocate through complete management of the global supply chain, the world’s leading global operations, industry-leading risk management processes, and full accountability and transparency of costs. SIRVA’s family of companies includes Allied, Allied International, Allied Pickfords, Allied Special Products, DJK Residential, Global, northAmerican, northAmerican International, SIRVA Mortgage, SIRVA Relocation, SIRVA Move Management, SIRVA Global Relocation, Inc. and SIRVA Settlement.
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International HR Strategy
Global Mobility Strategy - It Is Time To Treat Mobility Like A Business Imperative Today’s business leaders are searching for ways to cope with two inter connected challenges: the drive to globalisation and the need for global talent management. As businesses need to act more globally, companies are looking for ways to improve their ability to build and manage their global workforce often in places they have not operated before. Many companies are seeing their global footprint shift from west to east as they pursue opportunities for accelerated growth in emerging markets. This trend was recently highlighted in Deloitte’s Strategic moves survey. As you can see from the chart below, there has been a significant increase in focus on expanding into global and new markets – from 12% indicating this as a top strategic priority in February 2009 to 33% in January 2012. In addition to this business shift, by 2050, the global population is expected to grow by 50 percent - primarily driven by India and China. Yet 70 percent of the world’s corporate management is currently located in Europe and North America. Just as manufacturing companies have
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had to learn how to manage it’s global supply chain for products, today’s businesses require a fundamental shift to consider developing new capabilities for managing a global supply chain for talent. Demographic shifts at both ends of the age spectrum are also having a big impact on talent. Many companies continue to face a mass exodus of retiring baby boomers, even as they struggle to deal with an influx of young workers who have different needs, skills, and expectations than their elders. This changing workforce requires new mobility management capabilities in areas such as leadership development, workforce planning, strategy alignment, and workforce diversity. To thrive in this new environment, companies need to develop a Global Mobility strategy that can enable them to effectively realign their workforces with their changing global footprint.
The next frontier of mobility management: Global Mobility Transformation Putting these insights into action however can be a significant challenge.
Given the critical nature of these issues, organisations have responded with a broad array of global mobility initiatives that have focused on mobility polices, technology and mobility management models. While organisations have had varied outcomes addressing these top mobility priorities, many organisations are now sorting through a patchwork of their various mobility approaches, programmes, and initiatives. The near-term result is an operational headache that should be rationalised and made manageable for the long term. A common response to mobility gaps has been to conceive of and execute various “programmes” - such as new polices, strengthened mobility teams, enhanced technology, or modified processes. Unfortunately, these approaches have typically focused on what to do, not how to do it. That can place insufficient focus on the resources it will take to implement and then sustain these initiatives over the long run. Even mobility-oriented organisations tend to address their mobility issues topic by topic, not within the context of an integrated mobility strategy or framework. Because different elements in the mobility lifecycle are closely related, this lack of a holistic view can stand in the way of achieving strategic mobility objectives. In addition, the people, processes, and technology supporting these activities often operate with minimal coordination or integration. Organisations have invested in mobility programmes based largely on intuition. Some of these investments have yielded benefits, but few organisations can quantity them. Many organisations focus on the investment required to implement a programme but fail to account for or monitor the effort to manage it over the long term. Based on these types of challenges, even organisations that have deployed satisfactory mobility management programmes have found difficulty controlling the infrastructure - people, processes, and technology - to sustain them. Many are also finding they need to plan, implement, and manage mobility initiatives with an operational mindset that more closely resembles the way they address other business challenges. This heightened focus on
International HR Strategy Deloitte UK screen 4:3 (19.05 cm x 25.40 cm)
Deloitte’s point of view on global mobility transformation
Drivers and challenges to the business are transitioning global mobility's core efforts toward providing a competitive advantage. Organisations are transforming global mobility to effectively manage their global workforce and drive their business strategies .This typically occurs in four Phases: Functional Maturity
• • • • •
• • • • •
Service Delivery Model Streamlined Processes Defined Roles Vendor Services Management Technology Enablers
• Core Policies Aligned to Business Needs • Advanced Business Advisory Services • Tailored Policies/Packages for Mass Relocations
• Global Talent Alignment with Policies • Global Talent Pool Identification and Tracking • Global Compensation/Rewards • Post-Assignment Retention Strategies
Integration with Talent Strategies
Policy Review/Business Alignment
Policy Review/Business Alignment
Operational Stabilisation / Excellence
Operational Stabilisation / Excellence
Risk and Liability Containment
Core Service Efficiency and Effectiveness
Meeting Business Objectives and Needs
Global Talent Management
Global Tax Preparation Compensation Compliance Data Security Core Service Provision Population Awareness
Global Mobility Strategy Mobility Data Analytics to Identify Transformation Opportunities
Global Rewards and Policy Act
Enhance Expatriate Global Compensation Management
Stakeholder Engagement & Current State Analysis
Global Mobility Technology Service Delivery Model and Process © 2012 Deloitte LLP. Private and confidential.
the operational aspects of mobility strategies can be referred to as “mobility-led HR Transformation” - or Global Mobility Transformation. Getting the execution of mobility “right” has been identified as a top priority, as indicated in the recent Deloitte Strategic Moves survey where three quarters of organisations rated their mobility function as no better than adequate. While HR Transformation has typically focused on the more administrative aspects of HR - such as payroll, benefits, compensation, employee relations, and other high-volume transactions - organisations are now finding it is time to bring these same transformation principles to the realm of mobility management. Global Mobility Transformation is the application of traditional HR Transformation principles beyond the administrative aspects of HR and into the critical realm of global mobility.
Service delivery strategy: Mobility is not a HR discipline in itself, but a fusion of many interrelated disciplines - e.g., Workforce planning, Recruitment,
Performance management, Learning and development, Succession planning, Diversity, Incentives and Rewards. Historically, mobility programmes have evolved separately, as have the processes and departments that support them. Achieving a more coherent and streamlined approach to mobility begins with establishing the service delivery framework across the entire mobility lifecycle. Typically, the first step is to understand how these programmes are supported today, then identify the critical interdependencies and possible redundancies that present opportunities for improvement. It can also be revealing and beneficial to examine these areas from a customer perspective - as many of these processes touch the same internal customers consistently. A service delivery strategy defines the mobility programmes that HR will deliver to the organisation, and how they will be delivered. As a start, the strategy includes: • How mobility leadership and “work” will be organised within the organisation • Roles and responsibilities, including across: – Mobility lifecycle components
– HR, operations, managers, and employees – Regions, countries, and sites • The type and number of resources that will support mobility programmes • Which programmes will be driven globally, regionally, or locally.
Process redesign: When reviewing the processes required to support mobility programmes, many organisations find significant opportunity for simplification and streamlining often within specific mobility disciplines, but especially when examined across the mobility lifecycle. A process-based approach can also uncover gaps between mobility processes that can diminish the benefit of these programmes. One common gap is “candidate selection” - clarifying the processes and ownership for selecting new assignees for the organisation from a 360-degree perspective. Other gaps include connection points between mobility and performance management (how do outcomes from performance management processes tie into global mobility strategies?) and mobility and Spring International HR Adviser
International HR Strategy succession planning (how does mobility become an input into leadership development and succession planning?). Process redesign should account for which aspects of mobility management will be driven by global processes and which will be managed regionally or locally. For global programme areas, processes should clearly articulate the required steps and the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders from end to end. Where such process clarity does not exist, defining it can often require significant input and consensus. Even processes that will remain regional or local often require more clarity in their expectations. Leaders must understand how local processes may tie to global ones. For example, how do intra regional mobility programmes tie to a global succession planning programmes? In short, a process-based approach can identify opportunities for streamlining and greater efficiency, as well as opportunities for greater impact of mobility programmes through clarified interdependencies across the mobility and talent lifecycle.
Outsourcing: Historically considered only for administrative HR activities, companies are increasingly finding that outsourcing may present a better and more cost-effective mobility solution. For example, expatriate Global Compensation Management (GCM) outsourcing is rapidly growing both for traditional long-term assignees and for all assignment types supported by mobility programmes. As demand for such services has grown, the vendor marketplace has expanded and leading firms can deliver broad service offerings. Beyond cost and quality, clients find that expatriate GCM outsourcing can provide faster solutions to emerging business needs, like total cost reporting by business line, employee or function than having to build such capabilities internally. As with more traditional HR outsourcing, it is critical for the client organisation to keep its focus on requirements for their “retained organisations” — a clear plan for what activities will remain internal, who will perform them, and how such processes will interface with those that have been outsourced.
Shared services: As with outsourcing, companies have typically applied the shared services approach to administrative HR processes. In more strategic areas, such as International HR Adviser Spring
for mobility activities, they’ve organised around Centres of Expertise. But in the process view, many activities within the mobility lifecycle have characteristics more consistent with those in shared services: high-volume, standardised, and administrative transactions. Numerous examples apply across virtually all aspects of the mobility lifecycle, including assignment letter generation, execution of incentive compensation decisions, relocation vendor coordination, or maintenance of home country benefits. For organisations with HR shared services operations in place, performing a close review of mobility processes for potential integration into shared services can allow the organisation to perform these activities more efficiently while freeing centre of excellence professionals to focus on more value-added mobility strategy activities.
Technology: Within the past five years, mobilityspecific technology solutions have taken off. This movement has been largely the result of improved capabilities provided by leading vendors - both from traditional International Human Resource ERP solutions, as well as from emerging Software as a Service (SaaS) players. New and improved solutions exist across the entire mobility lifecycle, with particular attention focused on cost projections, workflow management and cross border share/incentive income tax withholding technologies. The result is that organisations have more tools at their disposal than ever to carry out the mobility strategies their organisations require. Given recent market attention, technology is clearly a highly visible component of Global Mobility Transformation. However, it is important to maintain a focus on the organisation’s business requirements, business processes, and intended service delivery model before investing in new software applications. This is particularly true in the world of SaaS. While these systems can offer numerous advantages, including reduced financial investment and faster time to deploy, the standardised nature of SaaS solutions means customers have less flexibility to tailor these solutions to meet their needs. Other considerations for global mobility technology include: Integration: Increasingly, organisations are finding that mobility processes are interrelated, and that the data associated
with mobility processes can have greater value when it is integrated across the entire mobility and HR lifecycle. Organisations should carefully assess potential solutions to realise this high degree of integration - if not provided within a single solution, then at minimum with solutions that are easily integrated with other tools and systems. Analytics: Meaningful mobility data can directly improve the quality of mobility strategies. Unfortunately, while most mobility technology providers claim to deliver meaningful analytics, many fall short of expectations. These deliverables tend to be historically focused “reports” as opposed to insightful data that can be used for go-forward planning and decision making. Companies exploring these solutions should place particular scrutiny in this area. To drive integration and cost benefits, companies should thoughtfully assess the available mobility technology providers and build a strategy that matches their business requirements today and those expected for tomorrow. While new SaaS solutions can make it easier for organisations to follow a “best-of-breed” approach, selecting the right solution for each different element within the mobility lifecycle, it is important for companies to weigh the benefits of greater functionality against the additional effort required to integrate across mobility modules.
Keys to Global Mobility Transformation As organisations seek to transform their approach to mobility management through an increased focus on operations and technology, several considerations can help companies accelerate their progress: • Clarifying governance over mobility management planning and operations is a critical early step in transformation Moving away from ad hoc approaches to managing the mobility lifecycle means organisations will need greater day-to-day coordination, as well as more integrated decision-making over mobility priorities and investments. For most organisations, this will require not only new organisational structures, but also new ways of evaluating overall mobility priorities and programmes and selecting where to make investments. This likely means new governance processes within HR, as well as clear channels to get input and assess
International HR Strategy these decisions through direct business leadership input. As organisations seek greater global approaches to mobility management, this governance will also need to account for global input and alignment. • Transforming mobility functions includes considering the skill sets needed in the new environment As mobility management processes become less siloed, less administrative, and more data-driven, organisations will find that certain practitioners in their mobility centres of excellence today may not possess the strategic or analytical skills needed for the future. Likewise, mobility strategists will be expected to bring not only innovative concepts, but also more management understanding. Mobility professionals in general need greater skills in quantitative analysis, process design, and operations. • Organisations need a clear mobility technology strategy aligned to their mobility management strategy With the attention the mobility technology market and leading vendors are receiving at present, too many organisations are deploying such solutions without clear requirements. More importantly, many organisations have unrealistic expectations for the impact these solutions will have. Organisations will find, as is the case with any technology, that these solutions are just tools — they won’t resolve broader mobility management objectives without requisite attention on other critical dimensions, such as service delivery design, process design, change management, and governance. • Change management is a critical prerequisite to Global Mobility Transformation This can be especially true for an area, such as mobility management, which typically touches very senior employees in the organisation. New approaches to mobility management, whether in service delivery design, processes, or new technology, can require a high degree of stakeholder engagement, communication, and education — both for the mobility professionals who drive these processes and the employees and managers who will use them. Organisations that
transform the operational infrastructure supporting their mobility strategies have the potential to see significant efficiency gains from clarified service delivery models, streamlined processes, and the greater automation gained from mobility technology. Better allocation of mobility resources, selective use of outsourcing, and greater use of shared services for mobility-related activities can yield further efficiency and cost improvements. While these efficiencies will please some, the real benefit of this transformation will actually be improved effectiveness of the mobility programmes themselves. Activities such as improving connections between components of the mobility lifecycle, clarifying global versus regional versus local approaches to mobility, and improved integration and use of data will not only improve mobility operations, but will also enhance the organisation’s ability to execute its mobility strategies and, in turn, address business needs for growth, globalisation, and global talent management.
Deloitte EMEA Global Employer Services Client Conference Wednesday 27 June – Friday 29 June 2012, Budapest
The annual Deloitte EMEA Global Employer Services Client Conference will be held on 27-29 June 2012 in Budapest. The conference will address the global mobility and share scheme challenges faced by companies today, as
Rob Hodkinson Global Mobility Transformation Practice Leader Deloitte LLP, United Kingdom +44 20 7007 1832 firstname.lastname@example.org
increasingly companies are “turning the compass” and managing the implications of increased focus on emerging markets in the South and East. For further information on this event please contact Ashleigh Gatward at email@example.com.
Andrew Robb Global Mobility Transformation Director Deloitte LLP, United Kingdom +44 20 7303 3237 firstname.lastname@example.org Spring International HR Adviser
Emergency Evacuations - Scenarios You And Your Employees Would Rather Avoid... Picture the scene, the sun is shining, not a cloud in the sky. There’s a slight nip in the air as you paraglide over a beautiful, crystal-clear lake. All you can hear is the gentle ruffle of the glider's wings above you, and all you can feel is the clean, sweet air in your face. Idyllic. But for one of our member’s, this scene of tranquillity quickly descended into a nightmare when, due to the effects of the altitude, she plunged into the lake below. This isn’t the type of emergency situation many people ever have to deal with. But if it was you, what would you do? Or if she were an employee under your care working abroad, what would you do? Luckily, she had our Worldwide Medical Assistance (WMA) in her insurance policy, and one phone call to the WMA Medical Centre in Copenhagen and a series of events were put into action that ensured the customer was first transported by air ambulance to a suitable hospital in the area, and later repatriated home to fully recover. As companies grow and diversify, more and more people are working in far-flung corners of the world. Unfortunately, the healthcare systems in many places, such as Africa and parts of Asia, haven’t yet evolved to cope with these new demands and expectations. This is where WMA comes in as WMA provides access to multilingual health professionals who are able to coordinate medical evacuations and repatriation. Unlike the tale above, evacuations are not always carried out in true
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emergency situations. Some are for treatment planned in advance. After having surgery, another customer living and working in Botswana was told that he had liver cancer. If the diagnosis was correct, he would only have months to live. The customer’s wife contacted WMA and spoke to a cancer specialist. He was able to evaluate the medical information provided by the hospital and decided that, from the tests that had been carried out, it was impossible to say whether or not he had cancer. The customer and his wife were evacuated to South Africa where more appropriate facilities were available to confirm the diagnosis. The resulting tests showed that he did not have cancer. WMA was able to offer expert medical advice, quick access to appropriate medical facilities and support throughout their ordeal. Needless to say, they were both hugely relieved and extremely grateful for the care provided by WMA. Our WMA team is made up of medical evacuation specialists and doctors. They deal with all the different parties involved in evacuations and repatriations from air ambulances to commercial flights, hospitals and doctors, families and employers. Using telemedicine, WMA consultants are able to discuss cases and access vital medical information from almost any location. The team are dedicated to making all medical evacuations run as comfortably and smoothly as possible, and to make a difference in people’s lives when they need it most. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
So how does it work? “Hello, I’m calling from Zimbabwe, my son is very sick, there is no treatment available locally and he needs to be evacuated as soon as possible. We need your help!” This is a typical scenario for WMA. If a medical evacuation is needed, the customer, a relative, employer, treating doctor or any other person involved can contact our dedicated service. A WMA doctor will evaluate the case and immediately decide which steps need to be taken. Throughout this process and for the rest of the case, everyone involved is kept updated continuously. We all want the best for our employees and their families. This can be difficult to achieve when you’re not even in the same country. But with the WMA service, you can be sure that if the worst happens, they’re only a phone call away from emergency medical care. For more information, visit www.bupaintl.com Article submitted by Dr Sneh Khemka, Medical Director at Bupa International. At Bupa International we make it our mission to help our customers live longer, healthier, happier lives and are dedicated to providing all the expatriate health insurance services, help and advice you need to keep yourself and your employees in the best of health. Our dedicated teams respect everyone's individuality, culture, privacy and dignity, and aim to provide a personal service you can rely on throughout your membership. In 2009, we were delighted to receive the Best International Private Medical Insurance Provider award at the UK's Health Insurance Awards, for the ninth time since 1999. It is our aim to provide individuals and companies all over the world with a healthcare insurance service that is second to none. For more information, please visit www.bupa-intl.com or call + 44 (0) 1273 718 308.
Commuter Assignments Recruiting and retaining internationally mobile employees who can adapt effectively to different business environments and social customs is an increasing challenge for international business. Additionally, companies have to consider barriers to mobility such as two career couples, dependent children at a critical stage in their education, and difficult locations. As a result, employers are adopting alternative international assignment types alongside the traditional long-term approach. Among these are international commuter assignments which according to two-thirds of the companies surveyed in ECA’s latest survey, International Commuter Assignments and Business Trips, increased over the past two years. The positive trend is anticipated to continue, with nearly 60% of international employers forecasting increases in their commuter staff numbers over the next two years.
A minority practice that’s growing in popularity Despite the rise in commuter assignment numbers they still only account for a small proportion of a company’s entire assignee workforce. For example, the typical assignee workforce in 2012 consists of 11% on commuter assignments, 23% on short-term assignment, and 66% on longterm. Furthermore, over 70% of organisations managing temporary commuters currently employ 20 or less. However, almost half the companies ECA surveyed anticipate commuter assignments increasing at a faster rate than their total assignee workforce over the next three years. In certain industries, including engineering, construction and mining, the rise in commuters is significantly higher in anticipation of increased project work in emerging markets with relatively higher economic growth. So what defines a commuter assignment? Typically a commuter assignment is one where the assignee’s principal residence remains in their home country, they are unaccompanied, and return home at frequent intervals. The group can be split into temporary and permanent commuters. These are chiefly differentiated by whether they have a defined length or not. The length International HR Adviser Spring
of a temporary commuter assignment, will be defined, although this can be greatly varied – anything from three months to three to five years in some cases. These assignments are most likely to be used for pragmatic or tactical reasons. For example, the need to fulfil project work, often at short notice, and to overcome barriers to mobility, such as dual career couples and concerns over children’s education. A permanent commuter assignment will have no fixed length and tends to be undertaken for more planned or strategic reasons including as a way of accommodating employees’ personal circumstances: nearly 40% of employers report that such assignments are initiated after requests from employees, who prefer this arrangement to relocating abroad with their partner and dependants.
A quick response that can remove barriers to mobility… Being able to fulfil temporary needs such as projects or mergers is by far the biggest reason for companies to send employees on temporary commuter assignments with 84% citing this. While this was the third most common reason for a permanent commuter assignment (with 31% of companies giving this as a reason), providing a solution to barriers to mobility is the principal reason behind these types of assignments: just under half said they used permanent commuter assignments because they facilitate international mobility given employee's personal circumstances. When companies were asked what the biggest advantage was of using commuter assignments the most cited response was that they are more likely to be accepted compared with offers of traditional expatriate assignments. A further advantage being that strong links with the assignee’s home country company are maintained. This can be beneficial to the assignee’s long-term career in the organisation, such as keeping in touch with home country company developments, including promotion opportunities, tax, compliancy and administration are major challenges. Taxation and other compliance issues such as immigration and visas, complexity of administration and time lost through commuting, are cited as the top three challenges for both types of commuter
assignment. Clearly the advantages that come with being able to get an employee into a location quickly need to be balanced against administrative concerns. To ensure acceptable return on investment, not to mention staying the right side of legal, these need to be addressed effectively. However, a common theme emerging from the survey results was that responsibility for the process of managing commuter assignments was often devolved throughout the organisation only serving to making compliancy even more challenging. Feedback from survey participants confirms that compliance and taxation challenges can be overcome, a) if the length of the assignment is managed, taking into account job responsibilities and tax laws in the host and home countries and, b) if procedures are in place to track assignees while on assignment, including allocating responsibilities to HR teams for specific tasks and the effective use of IT software and communication tools.
Overcoming challenges: Managing assignment length and extensions Nearly three quarters of participants managing temporary commuter assignments were able to give information on both the minimum and maximum length of time that a commuter assignment would normally be undertaken in their organisation. 50% vary the assignment length according to home/host country tax regulations – a clear demonstration of the importance of the taxation issue. But what happens should that predefined period be extended? Nearly 60% report that they have a specified policy if the assignment is extended beyond the normal maximum length. Of these over a quarter would convert to normal expatriate terms and conditions. Where this results in a change of assignment status (e.g. from unaccompanied to accompanied), normal practice is to review the provision of benefits and calculation of specific allowances including cost of living. A quarter apply discretion. In these instances business or personal circumstances (e.g. taxation, progress of project, employee’s agreement) will be reviewed when determining whether to extend the assignment. This decision would also take into account any impact on costs,
Commuter Assignments including any change in home or host country tax liability.
Overcoming challenges: Tracking 90% of companies track their assignees citing the need to assess taxing liability and assisting with corporate compliance as the main reasons for doing so. Determining responsibility for tracking is integral to the success of this already difficult activity, but for both commuter assignments it is almost as likely for one function to be involved as another, reflecting their ad hoc nature. Tracking methods vary and include using a centralised booking system of travel tickets, IT software tools which record days, or asking assignees to keep a travel diary.
Financial and emotional costs Although expenses typically associated with relocating a family abroad are reduced or eliminated through the use of commuter assignments, there are a number of costs that offset these savings. These include higher travel costs due to frequent trips home; subsistence expenses (which cover local living costs in full, whereas cost of living adjustments included in expatriate packages compensate for the difference in living costs between the assignee’s home and host country); and the relatively high cost of short-term rental agreements such as for serviced apartments. This is not to
mention the less cost-effective situations that could result from a temporary assignment being extended if this is not managed properly: per diem rates for example may be a more practical arrangement for shorter-term commuter assignments, but after six months this may no longer be the case. Additionally, there is the impact on time and resources that activities related to these assignments, such as tracking, have. The chart below gives a comparison between temporary commuter and expatriate assignment costs for Hong Kong to Shanghai. The annual cost of a temporary commuter assignment for a single person is comparable to that for a traditional expatriate assignment over the same period of time for a couple with two children. In this example, it is clear that any savings made by not having to provide education are outweighed by subsistence and flight costs. However, the survey suggests a general awareness of the cost traps of such assignments. Just 14% cited that commuter assignments reduce costs compared with traditional assignments. Company culture and business needs will no doubt play a role in weighing up the advantage of flexibility against potentially higher costs. And the emotional costs? On the surface a commuter assignment seems like the solution for employees to accept an assignment who would otherwise be deterred
to do so by factors that could disrupt the family such as their partner’s career, children’s education or family commitments. However, in terms of employee challenges, the most commonly cited among employers managing temporary commuter assignments are time lost through frequent travelling (42%), and stress and fatigue (40%). A commuter arrangement can put considerable pressure on the family. Stress on assignees’ personal relationships is a concern for a quarter of employers managing both types of commuter assignments. There can be particular pressure for single adults on commuter assignments since they may have to maintain two homes, without any assistance in the assignee’s home country from a partner or spouse.
Management and policy of commuter assignments Survey results show that it is equally likely that either the host or home country entity or corporate headquarters will request commuter assignments. This highlights the importance of creating one function with accountability to ensure consistent and cost-effective management of commuter assignments. However, only 50% of companies have a written policy for temporary commuter assignments, although a further 25% are in the process of writing one. The likelihood of having a policy in place increases among organisations with larger (20+) commuter populations. There are generally less formalised procedures when managing permanent commuter assignments. Only 30% of those using these assignments have created a policy for this assignment type. The more ad hoc or reactive basis of this type of assignment is a major reason for this. Below is an overview of some of the main remuneration elements:
Basic pay In nearly three quarters of cases, employers report that the basic pay they deliver to their temporary commuters is the same as prior to the assignment. Such practice is consistent with the fact that the vast majority of temporary commuter assignments are to fulfil relatively short-term projects or assist in company mergers. There is often a continuing strong link with the employee’s home country organisation. It should be noted that 29% do adjust the assignee’s basic pay prior to the assignment for any additional responsibility as a result of the assignment. Spring International HR Adviser
Commuter Assignments Practice on basic pay for permanent commuters is broadly similar to that reported for temporary commuters - even for permanent commuter assignments the employee’s dependants and the principal residence remain in the assignee’s home country. However, when the host country entity is responsible for the cost of employing permanent commuters a lower proportion of employers deliver basic pay which is the same as prior to the assignment and a somewhat higher proportion deliver pay based on national peers in the host country.
Living costs Results show that the large majority of companies (96% and 70% of temporary and permanent commuter assignments respectively) cover the cost of essential local day-to-day living expenses. Of the 96% covering local living costs for their temporary commuter assignees, 39% pay per diem rates. Of the 70% covering local living costs for their permanent commuter assignees, 30% pay per diem rates.
Financial motivation 53% pay an international mobility allowance for temporary commuter assignments and 46% for permanent, compared with 61% of organisations employing traditional expatriates. One reason for these lower figures is that some employers managing commuter assignments consider international mobility as an integral part of the employee’s job, with an element for mobility included in basic pay. Another argument is that there is less need to provide greater motivation since the whole family is not uprooting to live abroad. In the case of location or hardship allowances, 42% pay this for temporary commuter assignments, compared with 77% of organisations employing traditional expatriates. Again, the dependant family staying in the home location can partly explain this along with the fact that these assignments are generally to/from locations in the same region so living conditions do not vary significantly. 33% of those employers managing permanent international commuters pay location or hardship allowances. However, this practice is significantly greater among permanent commuters in mining, minerals, engineering, and construction companies. Many of these assignments are to developing or difficult locations International HR Adviser Spring
with appreciably different living conditions compared with the assignee’s home country.
Housing Nearly 90% of employers cover all housing or hotel costs for their temporary commuter assignees. However 70% of these organisations specify ceilings to the level of rent covered. Permanent commuter assignments follow a similar pattern with 73% of all employers covering housing costs. In both cases the most common housing provided is rented furnished accommodation, serviced apartments followed by hotels.
Travel The most common pattern of travel for both commuter type assignments is to come home once a week, although a significant number reported fortnightly or monthly trips. Less frequent trips home are sometimes stipulated for longer intercontinental journeys.
Tax In the case of temporary commuters over two thirds of companies apply tax equalisation. A small minority apply tax protection. Over 80% provide their temporary commuters with tax preparation and assistance and nearly 60% give tax briefings to commuters, in either the home or host country. However, only 31% report that HR teams managing commuter assignments are given advice by taxation and legal departments. Over 80% of companies including social security/social taxes will keep assignees in the home country scheme, where reciprocal agreements between countries permit a choice of system under which commuters may be covered. The main difference in terms of managing taxation for permanent commuter assignments is that although 63% apply tax equalisation, 24% provide their commuters with no tax assistance at all.
Delivering consistent and cost-effective outcomes? Commuter assignments offer a means of providing pragmatic, practical and flexible support to international business. However, this can come at a cost particularly since their very ad hoc nature leads them exposed to the pitfalls that come with a lack of centralised coordination. If these assignments are to deliver consistent and cost-effective outcomes that comply
with fiscal and immigration regulations, rigorous management and co-ordination between HR and line managers responsible is essential.
Advantages and Challenges of Commuter Assignments Advantages • Can be implemented quickly • Job offers more likely to be accepted compared with traditional expatriate assignments • Strong links are maintained with the assignee’s home country company and social contacts. Challenges • Time and resources required to track commuters • Determining tax liability • Controlling costs • Complying with immigration regulations • Stress on family life and personal relationships • No integration into the local workforce, resentment from local staff • Complexity of administration • Time lost through commuting • Stress and fatigue.
Barry Rodin, Chief Economist at ECA International reports on findings from ECA’s latest survey on commuter assignments. For further information on ECA International’s International Commuter and Business Traveller Survey 2012 please email email@example.com Telephone: +44 (0) 207 351 5000 E: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.eca-international.com
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Employment: To Boldly Go Where No Employee Has Gone Before Global mobility is a team effort, particularly when a business starts up in a new country. Multinationals are typically adept at pulling together skills needed to ensure the business is set up appropriately, whether from a corporate, tax or market perspective. This article focuses on things the HR team can do to help put in place effective employment arrangements for the first employee in a new location.
What sort of arrangement best meets business needs? As always, the first base will be to find out what the business requires. There may be a variety of ways to meet those needs, for example: • Employee, self-employed contractor or commercial agency arrangements? • Long-term assignment, local hire or international commuter arrangements? Given the key role of the first individual on the ground, the employment structure may be driven by the personal needs of the preferred candidate (and their family), as well as those of the business. It is worth bearing in mind that there are no “quick fixes” and that self-employed arrangements carry their own challenges. For example, whilst employment laws may not apply and there may be no need to put expensive host country payroll arrangements in place for a self-employed consultant, it may be harder to obtain immigration clearance and/or protect customer connections. If a “self-employed consultancy arrangement” is later found to be an employment, the cost of getting it wrong could be high. For example, it is hard to comply with local dismissal laws if the business does not consider that there is an employee to dismiss: termination of the “contractor” may be void or substantial compensation may be due, along with back taxes, interest and penalties.
Preliminary viability enquiries With the first employee it is worth ensuring that preliminary viability checks cover employer requirements, as well as individual (and family) immigration constraints. So, for example, the business may need to register with a public authority or have premises before it can lawfully employ, whether or not the individual International HR Adviser Spring
needs immigration clearance. In some host countries an overseas company cannot employ at all and it may be difficult to set up a local company quickly. In that case it may still be possible to employ the first employee through an agency or local business partner. If the employee is the only candidate it would also be worth identifying and checking out any personal “show stoppers” early on, for example a requirement that the employee’s partner be able to work in the host country.
Identity of the employer Deciding on the most appropriate group employer (e.g. home or host company) and ensuring that both facts and documents are consistent with that choice is normally a critical part of international assignment planning, for example, because the identity of the employer may have significant tax or social security cost implications or make a difference to whether an employee can remain in his preferred pension plan. There may be less freedom of choice with the first employee, for example, because of appointments the employee must accept to help the business function effectively.
Appointments It is common for the first employee to be given additional authority to manage the business. For example, the employee may be appointed as director, be given “powers of attorney” or be registered locally to allow a particular function to be carried out, e.g. hiring new employees. Account should be taken of the possibility that things may not go to plan. If the first employee is to be sole director of a new host country subsidiary, control by the parent company is likely to be less easy than if he were appointed to a three man Board. Similar issues can arise in relation to the granting of powers of attorney. For example, if the first employee is the only representative who can authorise the payroll it may be helpful to think about how this would be managed if the employee fell under a bus. Sometimes employment documents can be used to provide fall back arrangements, e.g. by ensuring that a director can be forced to resign or assist with the appointment of a substitute if necessary.
Role Before the new role is confirmed to the candidate, or any public authority, corporation tax consequences should be considered. For example, the preferred job title or job description may: increase the risk that a “permanent establishment” is created; or determine whether mandatory collective agreements apply (that may for example affect the size of termination payments or the ability to impose post termination restrictions), or whether immigration permission is available. Minor tweaks to the arrangements can sometimes make a significant difference to the outcome. Sometimes it can also be helpful to restrict the individual’s authority, for example, to conclude commercial contracts with customers, communicate with the media, hire and fire without consultation, or enter into significant financial commitments.
Managing future people risks Often the first employee has an entrepreneurial/autonomous approach to management. There may be a correlation between style and problems with things like discrimination allegations, bullying and expense management. Most multinationals will have codes of conduct for example regarding bribery. It may also be helpful to put in place more basic practical risk management strategies at an early stage, e.g. by ensuring expenses are approved by someone more senior or setting up regular host country visits or alternative channels of communication for junior staff.
Controlling the paperwork The first employee/country manager will typically have control of paperwork, more junior host company administrators and host country lawyers. It can be difficult to access material needed to take discrete advice if a problem involving the first employee arises later on. Copies of contract documents, details of relevant collective agreements, appointments, powers of attorney etc., kept at another more accessible location can be invaluable.
Protecting the business Suppose the first employee sets up the office, hires some employees, works hard
Legal at developing the business and then leaves to join a competitor. Clearly the business needs a succession plan, but an immediate priority may be to protect clients, intellectual property and/or confidential information. Ensuring that appropriate post-termination restrictions, payment in lieu of notice and garden leave clauses are included in employment documents or that terms regarding intellectual property ownership, confidential information etc., are properly documented can help. However, the appropriate arrangements will vary between locations. In some countries post-termination restrictions are subject to very strict conditions such as continued payment of remuneration and in some they are not enforceable at all. Legal advice from home and host country lawyers can be conflicting - and this problem may be exacerbated where the employee works across borders. For example, the host country may not allow enforcement by injunction and it may be most effective to specify damages to be paid in the event of breach, whilst the home country may regard a fixed payment as an unenforceable penalty or refuse to grant an injunction on the basis that there is a financial remedy available. Sometimes, depending on the importance of the commercial interests and related costs, it makes sense to simply focus on advice from the jurisdiction where enforcement is likely to be most important. In any case the paperwork is not the end of the story. For example, it will be much easier to protect the customer base if other employees know the customers and to control confidential information if it is properly documented and stored on business facilities. Who will own the lead employee’s mobile phone number when he leaves? Are customers’ details entered on the office database or only on “LinkedIn”? Does the second-in-command also attend meetings with customers? Has the lead employee been permitted to staff the office with loyal former colleagues? Can passwords for IT access be easily changed? Given the difficulty, expense and uncertainty associated with enforcing crossborder post termination restrictions practical controls can have greater significance than might be the case for a domestic business leader.
Have all the bases been covered?
Sourcing advice at a reasonable cost and speed is a particularly acute issue for the first employee in a new location, because so much of the ground will be new. The following are examples of issues that may need to be addressed, but it takes some considerable skill to make sure advisers focus on the key issues: • Corporation tax • VAT • Employer registration • Immigration clearance • Social security • Income tax • Employee benefits (e.g., pension, share plans, bonus) • Data protection (including e.g., registration and cross-border data transfer requirements). The order in which advisers should be consulted will be driven not only by apparent urgency, but by the effect their advice might have on other areas, such as the structure of the employment arrangements or the viability of the assignment. For example, if tax and social security costs may prejudice the project it makes sense to seek preliminary advice before an employment contract is hurriedly cobbled together to meet apparently more urgent immigration deadlines. There is a lot to think of about. Too much attention to detail can stall the project, too little can create unacceptable risk. Each new project raises new challenges and requires a different balance. The reality is that none of us get it right of all of the time, but the more global mobility professionals talk about their experiences the easier it will be for all of us to learn from other people’s mistakes.
Juliet Carp is a Partner and English and international employment law specialist at City law firm Speechly Bircham LLP, and author of the leading textbook for assignment managers “Drafting Employment Documents for Expatriates”. Speechlys provides a wide range of global mobility - related services for corporate clients, for example, employment law, immigration, crossborder data protection, intellectual property, international pensions and employee benefits. For individual expatriates the firm can assist with private wealth planning, high value residential property, international wills, divorce and custody. For further information contact Juliet at email@example.com.
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Dire Straits In International Waters: Navigating Compliant Business Travel In The 21st Century Imagine a scenario in which an employee comes to you with an urgent work-related matter which requires them to travel abroad in two weeks. The business group registers their hearty support, and the manager separately reaches out to stress the urgency of this trip. Flights, hotels, work coverage, IT support, client requests, personal schedules – all these issues rush to the fore in the travel frenzy, and ten days later, the employee is on a flight preparing for a 10am client proposal the next day. But these client meetings never happen. The employee was turned away by immigration officials because they deemed them to be entering the country without the appropriate authorisation. The employee is sent on the next flight back, the client project dead on immigration arrival.
Capsized Travellers In the rush to make business matters happen, immigration concerns are often inadvertently relegated to the back burner. The consequences can be catastrophic. When an individual is denied entry into a country, refused a visa application or in any other way violates the terms of immigration, the upshot is usually not just a slap on the wrist for the employee. Indeed, it can reverberate all the way to the sending company. Depending on the circumstances, the individual may be barred entry from the country of admission for a certain period of time, may lose certain visa-free travel privileges, or may otherwise be apprehended, fined or even deported. If a company is deemed to be sending employees abroad on false premises on a frequent basis (intentional or not), or perceived to be in systematic violation of immigration regulations, immigration authorities can take action. Some governments issue fines, others instigate labour inspections, site visits, supervised recruiting or restriction of work permit allotments for foreign nationals.
Mapping the Seascape One of the main issues with business International HR Adviser Spring
travel regulations is confusion surrounding proper protocols and lack of awareness concerning country-specific regulations. Since every country has its own rules and regulations, there is no ‘one size fits all’ advice. While some countries have very clearly defined legislation, many have no posted guidance whatsoever, leaving decisionmaking solely with individual immigration officers deciding visa applications or permitting entry at the border. Spain is a prime example. Oftentimes a visit to a work site in Spain, even if the purpose of travel is to attend business meetings, can be construed as a work activity. Spain is a part of the Schengen area, whose maximum allowable stay is 90 days accumulated over a six month period. However, a visa application requesting a stay of six weeks could well be rejected if the applicant did not clearly demonstrate that the stay was a bona fide business visit. A non-visa national, such as an American, could similarly be refused entry at the border for the same reason. On the other hand, some countries in the Schengen area have a specific limitation on business visits. Belgium, for instance, requires a work permit for nonEEA nationals whose business trips exceed five days per calendar month.
Shifting Tides Political issues can also influence decision making and policy changes. In North Africa concern about migration, partly caused by high unemployment rates among local populations, has resulted in greater scrutiny levied against business travellers. Nigeria, for example, registered over 20% unemployment rates in 2011, despite having the second largest economy in Africa. Dramatic immigration policy changes designed to combat these figures can be implemented at short notice, with equally dramatic consequences for international business travel. Noncompliance, even perceived, can have a serious impact on a business’ operations abroad. In fact, there
have been cases where organisations with a history of noncompliance have had their Nigerian operations halted by the Nigerian Immigration Service, who suddenly refused to issue new work authorisation or renew the work authorisation of foreign nationals of that company. Frequent changes to immigration policy also confound experienced business travellers who unknowingly travel on the basis of previously acceptable practices. India’s immigration rules were overhauled in 2009 in an effort to more clearly delineate the activities allowed on a business visa. Until then practically any activity could be carried out in India so long as the stay was less than 180 days. The new rules were quickly implemented and continue to change frequently. The immigration changes resulted in a heightened compliance concern within the Indian business community, and many organisations were forced to re-think their immigration policy altogether.
Manning the Ship Of course, most businesses which engage in international trade are aware of these issues and rarely try to intentionally circumvent immigration rules. Astute HR and business managers are aware of the rules and go through the appropriate steps to ensure due diligence. Most HR would agree that what often seems to be lacking is not so much a culture of compliance, which is built into any responsible organisation’s ethos, but rather a systematic, top-to-bottom procedure for ensuring compliance is married with business decisions, from the employee level right through to senior management. There are several clear, straightforward steps that the business can take to ensure good-faith travel compliance without compromising timing or profit. First, it is important to tackle the issue at the source, with individual business units requiring international travel for their employees. Business groups can and should set robust internal policies for travel abroad, incorporating HR and Global
IMMIGRATION Mobility specialists from the start. Signoff sheets, risk assessment and compliance guidelines should be built into travel desk resources. A manager looking to send an employee across borders should have easyto-access resources to consult when making these decisions, and HR should ideally be involved from the outset. Second, the company should set guidelines and protocols at a broader level, so that proper vetting is conducted by those who possess the knowledge of immigration rules and compliance awareness at the corporate level. The company of course wants to protect individual employees from risk, however, equally important is the protection of the company brand. By using standardised firm-wide policies and acting in line with a culture of compliance, companies can both pre-empt risk issues and protect themselves from potential violations. If individual employees fall foul of immigration laws on business trips, the company is in a position to address the noncompliance through a reinforcement of due diligence policy and protect themselves from any knock-on effects. Some simple HR policies can go a long way towards minimising risk for travellers. As a rule of thumb, business travellers should travel with return tickets and proof of accommodation, and should be prepared to answer questions about their destination, such as who is the foreign point of contact. Furthermore, some countries – such as the US and Australia – require preauthorisation for travel in the form of a simple online application, even for tourists. In gloomy economic times, business travellers are inevitably going to be subject to greater inspection and suspicion, and companies should prepare their employees for international travel appropriately. It is better to address any uncertainty before the employee ever leaves the country, rather than have it arise at the border, and companies should seek professional advice from immigration specialists whenever they are uncertain, to prevent exposure to risk and noncompliance.
Conclusion Compliance issues may not be prominent within a business unit which is used to impulsive decision-making, quick turnarounds and bottom-line thinking, and it is often up to HR and Global Mobility specialists within the firm to conduct the due diligence within a rigid timeframe.
The two sides are not necessarily incompatible, however, particularly when immigration concerns are considered in tandem with business imperatives and proper visa planning is built into the decision-making process at the outset. At the end of the day, companies are restricted by deadlines and motivated by profit, however, compliance and business should be viewed as two sides of the same coin. This article was co-authored by Terrance Fedigan and Craig Griffis
You are cordially invited to The 2013 Corporate Relocation Conference & Exhibition Monday 4th February 2013 at Hotel Russell, Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London This successful one-day event is aimed at International HR professionals whose role is
Charlotte Slocombe Charlotte has been with Fragomen since 2005. She is currently the Department Head for the out-bound team, where she supervises a team of 9 professionals. The department comprises of US Foreign Consular Practice for EMEA and South America, the other consular jurisdictions and document procurement teams for the UK and Europe.
to manage their company’s
Charlotte’s role involves US complex visa inadmissabilities both immigrant and non-immigrant through to Treaty trader/investment visas and other work authorisation categories, particularly new company set ups. She works with a wide variety of clients across all industries, including private client. The department extends to document procurement and other consular filings through London, with particular emphasis on Indian work visas and Chinese and Russian business visas.
your diary, and if you would
T +44 (0) 20 3077 5250 firstname.lastname@example.org www.fragomen.com
or organisations Global Mobility. There are six free seminars and over 40 exhibitors, so please do put the date in like further information please email helen@ internationalhradviser.com
International HR Adviser This event is organised and sponsored by International HR Adviser
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RECRUITMENT IN EUROPE
Specialist Markets See Global Fight For Talent With Europe facing the spectre of a double-dip recession and sovereign debt crisis, many firms are adopting a ‘wait and see’ stance when it comes to hiring new staff. But those looking to recruit experienced professionals in finance, technology and energy are finding they have a fight on their hands. Amidst the continued economic uncertainty and gloomy unemployment figures, there has been growing demand for specialist skills across Europe. Rapid advances in technology and the need to upgrade infrastructure mean IT professionals continue to be highly sought after. Meanwhile, regulatory change in the financial services sector and a wave of large-scale projects in the energy markets have seen strong demand for experienced professionals. When coupled with a number of recent employment law changes making it more difficult to recruit from outside of the European Union, the level of demand has meant firms need to draw from decreasing pools of available talent and face stiff competition from markets elsewhere. Many businesses are adopting a ‘wait and see’ stance when it comes to hiring new staff. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Eurozone’s unemployment rate remained at just over 10 per cent in Q1 2012, the highest rate recorded since the recession began. This reflects the rising level of unemployment in countries such as Portugal, Spain, Ireland and the Netherlands. But while southern Europe’s sovereign debt crisis has stifled growth, some European economies have bucked the trend, with Germany in particular providing a fertile market. Here, there is strong demand for finance specialists – whether in accounting, controlling or audit. And it is coming not just from the traditional domain of banks and other financial institutions, but also corporate, industrial and manufacturing firms, most notably those in the automotive industry. Even in the UK, where austerity measures are biting particularly hard, there have been pockets of activity, with an air of quiet confidence permeating the gloom brought about by the drop in consumer International HR Adviser Spring
spending. In both the UK and Germany, exports have remained strong, but firms in other nations should also be preparing for a return to growth over the longer term. Moreover, market forces dictate that most firms can only freeze recruitment programmes for so long before productivity and financial performance are impacted.
Investment cycles fuel demand So what does this mean within an interIn sectors where investment cycles tend to be longer, such as energy and manufacturing, delays in recruitment can be felt much further out in terms of a drop in output or an inability to service increased demand. For example, with a number of major projects looming large on the horizon, European countries face fierce competition for experienced oil and gas professionals from markets such as Brazil or Indonesia. This situation is compounded by the fact there is an ageing workforce within oil and gas, meaning the availability of specialist skills and the level of experience is tailing off. Moreover, the specialist skill sets in oil and gas are just as applicable in other sectors such as automotive, aerospace and renewable energy meaning some talent is switching industries. With renewable energy technologies such as wind, wave and biomass promising a ‘third industrial revolution’, the market is crying out for experienced practitioners in the fields of electrical engineering, electrical and mechanical engineering and specialist structural engineering. As it prepares for the London 2012 Olympics this year, the UK has seen strong demand for professionals skilled in IT security systems, while Germany has seen the construction of large data centres and shared services facilities raising demand for skills. Given that these are situated in more remote locations in order to control costs, firms are offering higher rates of pay to recruit IT professionals with the necessary skills.
that can provide more – what is known in recruitment circles as ‘lifestyle, career and motivation’ (LCM). Even if the skill set is an exact match, the balance between lifestyle, career opportunities and net remuneration has to be right. This change in attitude demands that recruiters focus more on communicating the benefits of working for them and living in their local community. Firms must also take the time to get to know candidates, their partners and their families, and go the extra distance to help find local work and family support. And of course, they must look to create a more personable work environment, whether this is through flexibility in working practices, the adoption of new technology or rewarding staff with well-earned down time. The conventional approach to recruitment – i.e. simply casting a wide net and whittling down candidates to a shortlist – is no longer a valid strategy in today’s increasingly mobile and social media dominated environment. A more strategic and long-term approach to sourcing candidates and networking is required. Experienced and innovative recruiters now employ a more highly-engaged model, using developments in digital technology, mobile and social media to ensure instant and continuous communication with potential candidates. Tools such as Linkedin, Twitter and dedicated Facebook pages are now new cogs in an ever-growing recruitment wheel. However, it’s key to understand how and why people use these channels and integrate them in a balanced way into the recruitment mix. Enabling candidates to search for roles using their mobile will also be huge this year, despite the fact it’s still not yet easy to apply for positions directly via a Smartphone, for example. European firms must act now to find new ways to add value to the recruitment process and engage with potential candidates if they are to win what has become a truly global talent tug-of-war.
Planning for the longer term Money as a main motivator does not hold the same weight as it did before. Candidates now look for firms and locations
Mark Znowski Managing Director, Eurostaff Group
Spoil The Ship For A Hap’orth Of Tar What Wal-Mart Has Taught Us About Expansion Into Europe The US is the world’s largest overseas investor. A recent study by the United Nations indicates that US firms are the largest foreign direct investors in the world and own as much abroad as the British and Germans combined, the next largest foreign direct investors. Europe accounts for over half of all direct investment from the US, valued in 2010 at the $2 trillion mark. With such staggering sums in mind, it is vital that American companies get it right time after time. I have worked in corporate relocation for over 15 years, and in this article I will look at how direct investment in terms of corporate expansion in the retail sector has been handled by US firms coming into Europe, and what factors promote success for companies opening up in Europe. Corporations, no matter how large, are run by people. It is not the corporation perse that will expand overseas, it is the people who work for it who will form the vanguard of the new enterprise. The process of being relocated to a new country ranks right up there with divorce and redundancy as a life stress. The Holmes and Rahe social readjustment scale maps out those issues that can have a serious impact on normal emotional functioning and the components of an international relocation rank among the highest on the scale when combined. It’s easy to forget that in any business expansion into a new territory, the people who will carry out the work are the absolute key to the success or failure of the project. Corporate expansions into new markets rely on happy and settled managers and families for their success and this is where outsourcing to the professionals is key. The biggest failure rate for international assignments is from which country to which other? I have asked this question all over the world as part of an intercultural training session my organisation runs and mostly people figure that the more extreme the move, the less likely it is to succeed. Examples such as US to China, or Sweden to Qatar are given, with the intelligent assumption that the more extreme the cultures are, the more challenges the expat will face. But in fact the highest rate for assignment failures is for
moves between the USA and the UK, and the reason for 60% of assignment failures is attributable to an inability for the individual or family to assimilate into the host culture. So, the culture shock of coming to Europe and transferring from a US lifestyle to a European one, involves not just a dramatic change in comfort and status, but also in cultural reference. There is an expectation for American citizens of familiarity with Europe, as we have a long shared history and many common societal references such as similar political systems. But scratch just a little deeper and the commonality ends. European social democracies work with an entirely different mindset to the American self-determinist model. On a recent visit to New England, I had a very interesting discussion about access to healthcare, which in Europe is seen as almost an inalienable human right, but which in the US is perceived as the result of hard work and taking a stake within society as a functioning economic citizen. These differences in attitude are not necessarily expected prior to a move to Europe and only increase a sense of difference that had not been perceived in advance. If we are talking about a move from Europe or the US to the middle-east, we are already aware of the vast difference between the cultural norms and therefore don’t face such a unexpected reality check. So the more prepared the expat and family are, the higher the rate of success for their assignment and therefore for the whole project itself. One of the most striking examples of corporate expansion failure in the retail sector in recent years was Wal-Mart’s move into Germany. Even by American standards, Wal-Mart must be considered as a success story without precedent. Forty years after its humble beginnings in 1962, when Sam Walton and his brother Bud set up their first convenience store in tiny Rogers, Arkansas, continuous double-digit growth rates have transformed it into the world’s largest retailer. Wal-Mart recently overtook General Motors and Exxon to become the world’s largest corporation in terms of revenue. After establishing itself as the dominant player in its home market, Wal-Mart decided, in the late 1980s, to embark upon
an ambitious overseas expansion plan to sustain its brisk corporate growth. The stated strategic goal was to have its foreign operations contribute a third of Wal-Mart’s total profits by 2005. In 1991, the first store outside the USA, a SAM’s Club membership warehouse, was opened in Polenco, a suburb of Mexico City. Continuing this aggressive expansion model, Wal-Mart set its sights on Europe and a strategy was drawn up to enter the highly competitive German retail market. In the UK, WalMart has succeeded in becoming the second largest supermarket chain with its takeover of ASDA, a far less risky investment strategy than the doomed project drawn up for Germany. The corporate culture of Wal-Mart is interesting. The US success formula was based on low prices due to extensive use of advanced IT in logistics and inventory management, coupled with a highly motivated workforce, influenced to some degree by a quasi-religious attitude common in many US companies. Some of the statistics surrounding the company are quite astonishing. Wal-Mart is the world’s largest private sector employer with 1.4 million staff. The Retail Link system, controlling inventory is the biggest civilian database in the world. The company operate the world’s largest private satellite communication system, and their turnover is three times higher than the world’s second largest retailer, Carrefour. So how could they get expansion into one European market so wrong? Firstly the entry-by-acquisition strategy they adopted was fundamentally flawed. Of the two existing retailers they bought, Spar and Wertkauf, Spar was considered a very weak player in Germany and perceived as very low quality. Its stores were small and in less well off inner city areas. The corporate cultures and marketing strategies just were not compatible. Coupled with this, WalMart paid far too much for the ailing Spar group and could not recoup the loss. Secondly and most crucially from a relocation perspective, the management clashed cultures with the existing German teams. Post merger integration is tricky at the best of times, but when this is taking place across Spring International HR Adviser
Relocation two very different cultures, the importance of intercultural competence in the management team is key to success. Wal-Mart appointed four different CEO’s during the first four years of German operations. The first, Rob Tiarks, had supervised 200 US mega stores from the Arkansas HQ. He had never been expatriated before, spoke no German, and therefore decreed that the official language of Wal-Mart Germany would be English. His team ignored legal frameworks that governed retail operations and as a result the top three senior executives from Wertkauf resigned. After Wal-Mart bought ASDA in the UK in 1998, Tiarks was replaced by British Allan Leighton, who ran the German group from the HQ of ASDA in Leeds. Six months later he was replaced by Volker Barth, the first German to be in the CEO role and one of the remaining top executives at Wertkauf. By this time, faith in the top management team had evaporated and Volker failed to integrate Spar into the operation. The third reason why Wal-Mart failed was a lack of cultural sensitivity to the retail operations as a whole. US and German consumers are very different, and even the most basic of intercultural training programmes could at least have highlighted this fact prior to the expensive takeovers. US consumers are used to a very high level of interactivity with staff in a retail environment. High and low context cultures were first identified by Geert Hofstede in the 1970’s. Consumers in a high context culture do not need the same levels of assistance and information given to them as consumers in a low context culture. The US is a low context culture and Germany, a high context one. The result was that the meet-and-greet philosophy so popular in Wal-Mart USA, was seen as intrusive and rude to the German customers, who did not want or like Wal-Mart greeters welcoming them to the store. They perceived it as patronising. One retail success in Germany is the US chain Eddie Bauer, specialists in outdoor clothing. Walk into Eddie Bauer in the US and a staff member will immediately ask if you need help. Walk into Eddie Bauer in Berlin and the staff remain at arms length until you ask for help. This is the German way and the management team at Eddie Bauer recognised this and incorporated it into their expansion planning. It may seem counter-intuitive to look at failure as a way to promote success, but the lessons learned from the Wal-Mart expansion give very clear indicators. The retail sector in Europe is dominated by home-grown brands, but there are marked US success stories. Gap has been a huge player in the retail market International HR Adviser Spring
since the 1980’s, but interestingly the group has not chosen to replicate this success with its two other key brands, Old Navy and Banana Republic. However, this is about to change as the first Banana Republic is about to open in France. The first branch in the UK opened with great success in 2008. The high end clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch opened in London in 2010 to queues around the block. The UK is very often the first destination for US brands as we share a cultural similarity for how we like to shop. The same meet and greet attitude of stores such as Abercombie & Fitch and its sister brand Hollister, may not translate to Germany or Scandinavia but hopefully the lessons learned by Wal-Mart will form part of the expansion feasibility studies for other major brands. Abercrombie are about to launch in Madrid, Dusseldorf and Brussels and as long as the brand manages to keep the exclusivity that makes teens willing to pay €100 for a sweatshirt, the importance of cultural integration may be small in comparison to Wal-Mart. The auto-industry in the US has suffered terrible losses since 2008 and overseas expansion is vital to the success of manufacturers such as GM, who are investing €9 billion in updating plants producing the Opel and Vauxhall brands to strengthen European sales. GM is a good example of a company who fully understand the repercussions of relocating operations overseas and developed a huge company in its own right, delivering relocation services initially to GM employees being expatriated and then to the wider corporate world. GMAC became one of the largest relocation management companies in the world and now operates independently as Brookfield Mobility. This strategy has enabled GM to move seamlessly into Europe with newer brands such as Dodge and Chevrolet now taking a sizeable chunk of the market. If things do start to fail on a management level as they did with Wal-Marts disasterous CEO appointments, there is help available from the experts. Many relocation providers also offer intercultural coaching programmes for senior executives joining an overseas team. ICUnetAG based in Berlin but operating all over Germany have a specialist team of intercultural leadership coaches who could potentially have identified issues and assisted the three companies to integrate. Kerstin Groenlund, a relocation professional with 20 years experience of assisting companies moving into Germany, knows how far coaching can go at improving success;
“Coaches with experience of working across borders in specific cultures can really help to assimilate teams. By addressing central questions with the individual manager such as, how they can find a leadership style that will be effective in gaining the trust of the team, what they need to know about the corporate and the wider culture in which they are working and the self- examination of their own cultural background and how this is perceived by the team. Using this level of understanding it is then possible to pinpoint which behaviour needs to be adapted and how best the manager can change his management style.” Mike Amos is the CEO of Empathica who provide customer feedback research to retailers and who recently drew up a 10 point formula for success in international expansion:
1. Do some research first Money can be wasted if you plunge into a new market without researching its potential first. Identify whether there’s a local appetite for your products or services by attending trade shows, researching local competitors and identifying any local trade associations that can assist you.
2. Consider cultural differences When expanding into Europe, many US companies choose the UK as their starting point. But while we share a common language, both cultures tend to have different business styles. In the US, management tend to be open to ideas being pitched by vendors, whereas in the UK, access to decision makers is more restricted, making the sales cycle considerably longer. However, once contact has been migrated up to senior levels, UK businesses tend to stay loyal to suppliers.
3. Take advantage of government support and resources Government assistance to business expansion comes in many shapes and sizes and it’s important to check out what’s available, whether it be at a regional level, or sector-related.
4. Keep one eye on the money Make sure you raise the necessary capital to support your growth. As bank loans become more difficult to secure, businesses need to investigate a variety of funding options. Also, be aware of how currency fluctuations can affect your business costs.
relocation 5. Build a relationship Going it alone can be a lonely journey, so consider partnering with an established local business to help gain a foothold in the market. This will cut the costs of reaching the market and save a lot of time in getting started.
6. Understand the legal system Whether it’s employment law, contract law or commercial law, it is necessary to make sure you are appropriately knowledgeable to deliver on the business you are contracting in the country.
7. Get to grips with employment practices Standard employment practice varies widely from country to country and it’s important employers understand local requirements, from holiday allocation through to maternity and now paternity provision.
8. Consider office location You need to be in the right place to access the right resources for your business to flourish. Being in the middle of a country does not necessarily mean you’re at the
centre of the action. Take advice, even if this comes at a premium.
9. Be an innovator While planning and strategy are critical, it’s a fast-changing world and businesses need to stay ahead of the curve. The dynamics that can make your business irrelevant come around more quickly than ever.
was enough. However, the challenges thrown up by cultural assimilation for both the individual and the corporate body cannot be underestimated anymore.
10. Don’t underestimate the cost All of the above factors and associated costs must be carefully considered before a final decision to expand is made. Entrepreneurs are known for taking risks, but they like to be better prepared than their less successful, cautious counterparts. US companies coming into Europe face challenges that they may not be aware of. Working with specialists who provide advice, management consultancy and individual support for the family and manager in transition is vital to success – look at Wal-Mart, and then look at GM and decide which approach you would take. There are multiple factors in the success of US companies moving into Europe and before WalMart many believed that product strength
Dominic Tidey is the Operations Manager for EuRA, the European Relocation Assocation, who have 375 member companies in 56 countries offering professional relocation support to corporate clients. EuRA PO Box 189 Diss, UK IP22 1PE P: +44 (0) 8700 726 727 F: +44 (0) 1379 641 940 M: +44 (0) 7764 575614 E: email@example.com W: www.eura-relocation.com
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All Change - Where To Be Paid & Foreign Currency Issues Recent press coverage of financial troubles within the ‘Eurozone’ had me thinking about foreign exchange rates and some of the related tax issues in the context of international assignees. This article does not pretend to have the answers but instead seeks to raise a number of points to be considered of relevance when sending individuals across borders or where foreign currency issues are involved.
Typical assignment scenarios If we consider typical assignment scenarios and payment arrangements these include: • Employed in home country, paid in home country • Employed in home country, paid in host country • Employed in home country, paid in home & host or 3rd country • Employed in host country, paid in home country • Employed in host country, paid in host country • Employed in host country, paid in home & host or 3rd country • Employed in 3rd country, paid in home & host or 3rd country. In all instances, it may be necessary to consider exchange rates and what rate to use to arrive at figures to include within tax returns. For example, do you use the exchange rate at the time of receipt, the average for the year or the rate at the time the tax is due?
General tax principles A tax return is relatively easy when dealing with just one country and the currency of that country. However complexities start to arise when looking at foreign currencies and determining the exchange rate to use to convert salary and compensation data into the relevant currency for tax reporting purposes. To my knowledge, all countries want individual tax return reporting to occur in the relevant national currency. For example, a UK national on assignment working in the USA but paid wholly or partly in the UK needs to report taxable income in the USA in US dollars and not GB pounds sterling. International HR Adviser Spring
Typically the exchange rate used should be that at the time of receipt. The rates can be taken from, for example well known currency conversion websites or national newspapers, alternatively official rates may be published. Often, where amounts paid throughout a period are relatively consistent, an average exchange rate for the period may be used for regular salary payments. A spot daily rate is typically adopted for large one off payments such as stock exercises or bonuses. If questioned or audited, the key is to be able to demonstrate to the tax authority how the tax return figures have been derived and that there is consistency to the method of calculation across assignees. Significant exchange rate fluctuations throughout a year, as happened with sterling in the last 3 years, are generally best dealt with by using the relevant daily exchange rate on each payment date. There can of course be a distinct difference, up or down, between an exchange rate over the course of a tax year. Clearly where taxes are being paid on an ongoing basis throughout the year, fluctuating exchange rates may cause minimal problems but where taxes are paid in arrears variations in exchange rates can have a dramatic impact. For example:
Scenario 1 Pay throughout tax year in Country A is 100 but the individual works in Country B and is liable solely to tax in Country B. Country B does not operate a regular withholding equivalent and tax is due after submission of the tax return on issue of an assessment. The exchange rate is 1 to 1 for the tax year in question and the tax rate is a flat 25% but at the time of payment of tax the exchange rate is 1 to 1.5. The gross income received is 100 and tax is 25 but the equivalent amount due at the time of payment is a cost of 16.67 in the Country A currency. In this scenario the tax bill effectively decreases.
Scenario 2 Exactly as above, but at the time of payment of tax the exchange rate is 1 to 0.5. The gross income received is 100 and tax is still 25, but the equivalent amount due at the time of payment is a cost of 50 in
the Country A currency. In this scenario the tax bill effectively increases. This simple example shows how the cost of taxes can vary, purely through fluctuating exchange rates. Tax equalisation could exacerbate the issue, as could the involvement of a third country or currency. When looking at stock transactions, typically you are seeking to ascertain when costs have been incurred and monies received. If a payment is made by an assignee on the acquisition of stock then the relevant exchange rate on that date usually dictates the cost of acquisition. If however, the individual is merely awarded phantom stock and pays nothing on acquisition for this, the taxable figure on eventual payout is usually the fluctuation of the stock price converted at the relevant exchange rate on payout only. Let us look at the contrasting situation of two individuals who both hold shares in their employer. These shares are owned outright by the employees. Let’s assume they both acquired 20,000 shares on the same day at a price of one pound each and both dispose of these a year later whilst they are on assignment and the share price on disposal is still one pound. As far as both employees are concerned, they have made no gain or loss. However, the impact of exchange rates can be dramatic, for example:
Scenario 3 One individual goes on assignment to a country where the exchange rate on acquisition is 1:1 but on disposal the rate has changed to 1:1.5. In this situation the individual would make a gain of 10,000 in the currency of the country of assignment. This gain would typically be taxed in the country of assignment.
Scenario 4 The other individual goes on assignment to a different country where the exchange rate on acquisition is 1:1 but on disposal the rate has changed to 1:0.5. In this situation the individual would make a loss of 10,000 in the currency of the country of assignment. This loss may be available for use or offset in the country of assignment.
TAXATION Naturally different countries may have different rules about taxation but it is feasible for a loss to be turned into a gain, or a gain into a loss, purely as a result of exchange rate fluctuations and tax is then calculated accordingly. It is a difficult situation when trying to explain to an assignee that they owe taxes based on an exchange rate gain they have never enjoyed! One welcome impending change (April 2012) affecting UK tax rules is that relating to foreign currency accounts. UK rules today state that individuals receiving salary into a foreign currency bank account are potentially subject to UK capital gains tax on any exchange rate fluctuations throughout the year. This laborious calculation exercise will be rightly consigned to history from April 2012 when foreign currency bank accounts will be removed from the scope of capital gains tax.
Where to get paid? Given that exchange rates can cause the above issues, it is not surprising that we often get asked where an individual assignee should be paid. Inevitably this is not solely a tax question but also a combination of additional factors including: where the individual is likely to reside longer term, where their liabilities arise, and capabilities of the payroll function itself.
Dealing with these in turn: Taxes When looking at employment income, in most cases liability to taxes arises primarily based on where the individual is working as opposed to where they are paid. As ever there are exceptions for example countries which still have a remittance basis such as the UK and Ireland. Residence Inevitably individuals typically wish to retain monies in the country where they are likely to reside on a longer term basis. For example, if an individual is to go on 2 year assignment from Country A to Country B it makes sense to have only local spending money in Country B and to receive the bulk of their income in Country A. This will affect the tax due in Country B as a result of exchange rates. Liabilities If there are continuing financial obligations in a home country for example, mortgage, pensions & social security
contributions, it makes sense to receive sufficient funds in the home country in order to cover the related costs. Similarly the individual will need sufficient funds in the host country in order to meet housing and living costs. Payroll operation Most payrolls can cope with making a payment to bank accounts in 2 different countries or operating separate or split payrolls. However, some payrolls cannot cope and equally some employers are averse to making separate payments or operating separate payrolls. Exchange control An additional issue to consider is that of exchange control which is enforced by some countries, for example South Africa. It is necessary to check ability to move funds freely between countries as in some instances it simply is not possible. Immigration & labour law Rules on immigration and labour law may dictate that a certain amount of income must be paid in a country in order to gain access or be employed there. Adherence to such rules will be necessary. In theory, splitting payment between home & host countries balances exchange rate fluctuations, but this may not always be possible or desirable from the individual assignee or employer’s perspective.
Adjusting compensation for exchange rates Once compensation items and payment location have been agreed what happens if exchange rates vary? This depends on the agreement reached and company policy. Many assignees are happy to agree fixed rates which may be specified within contracts. In other cases, assignment policies may specify that elements of compensation may be adjusted where exchange rates fluctuate by a certain percentage, typically 10% up or down. This flexibility is necessary to stop constant changes to payments with every little movement but to allow a change for bigger variations. Whatever the policy, be assured that individual assignees keep a very close eye on the impact exchange rates have on them. They will certainly let you know if they are adversely affected and will selectively choose relevant periods to demonstrate this, conveniently forgetting positive impacts or rates over different periods. From a tax perspective variations in
payment merely get converted into the relevant foreign currency at the relevant time.
Banking charges Where employers incur banking charges transferring or exchanging funds for employees these are typically reported as taxable income.
Financial catastrophe The impact of exchange rates can be difficult in normal scenarios but looking again at ‘Eurozone’ troubles what could happen if financial disaster strikes and Greece pulls out of the Euro? In theory, Greek tax liabilities derived today in Euros but payable tomorrow would still be due – in Euros presumably? If an individual assignee is paid in new substantially devalued drachmas the tax liability would increase significantly in relative terms. If however, they were paid in a currency other than Euros, the impact of any Euro devaluation would effectively reduce their tax bill. Notwithstanding theoretical events, a standard currency zone does remove the challenges relating to tax and exchange rates.
Summary Countries and currencies may vary but the principles set out in this article should hold true. Tax is already often difficult to calculate when individuals move across borders. The impact on tax and costs of exchange rate fluctuations adds another layer of complexity. The approach taken by tax authorities to foreign exchange fluctuations and the difficulties these create is in many circumstances neither logical nor sympathetic. Being aware of potential issues can only help. Andrew Bailey is national head of human capital at BDO LLP. He has over 29 years’ experience in the field of expatriate taxation. BDO is able to provide global assistance for all your international assignments. If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article or any other expatriate matters, please do not hesitate to contact Andrew Bailey on +44 (0) 20 7893 2946, email Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org
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Global Taxation Update Belgium New government’s tax plans Following the recent Federal Budget, many of the measures initially envisaged and aimed at higher rate tax payers have not been implemented, and consequently no wealth tax has been introduced. Additionally, there is still no capital gains tax on shares sold by private individuals. Of interest to employees are the following changes to personal income: The benefit of free housing provided to executives will be almost doubled, and additional taxable amounts will be added for free heating and electricity. From 1 January 2012, company car benefits will be based on 6/7 of the list price of the car, including VAT and optional accessories, multiplied by a CO2 emissions coefficient. There will be a reduction of 6% on the list price per year, up to a maximum of 70%, which will benefit users of older company cars. Commuting distances will no longer be factored into the calculation and there will be a minimum benefit in kind (EUR 1,200 for 2012). The percentage rate used for the calculation of the benefit in kind in respect of non quoted stock options has increased from 15% to 18%.
France Surcharge on high income earners Whilst standard income tax bands remain unchanged, there is a new surcharge on the income of high earners. This will apply to both French residents and nonresidents with income over EUR 250,000 (single, widowed or divorced individuals) or EUR 500,000 (married couples or civil partnerships). Increase in social security Ordinary tax payers have not been spared, with an increase in the social security levy rising from 12.3% to 13.5% via the five social security taxes, which include the Contribution Sociale Généralisée (CSG) and the Contribution au Remboursement de la Dette Sociale (CRDS).
Ireland Attracting individuals to Ireland As part of the Irish Government’s aim to attract investment from foreign International HR Adviser Spring
companies it plans to introduce a “Special Assignee Relief Programme” or SARP, designed to help multi-nationals and local companies encourage key talent to move to Ireland. Whilst the key aim is to encourage people to move to Ireland and develop and expand businesses, the new rules will apply to any employee earning over EUR 75,000. The subsidy effectively reduces salary income between the levels of EUR 75,000 and EUR 500,000 from the charge to tax by a factor of 30 % i.e. a maximum deduction of EUR 127,500. The relief is available for a maximum of 5 years. Additionally, the relief will also allow the employee to receive tax free employer provided school fees up to a maximum of EUR 5,000 per child.
Assignees from Ireland – new relief
A new Foreign Earnings Deduction (FED) has also been introduced as an incentive for companies expanding into Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS), to use Irish based employees for assignments. An effective tax deduction is available for employees who spend at least 60 qualifying days or more in BRICS countries. A qualifying day being 1 of at least 10 consecutive days spent working in the BRICS countries. The maximum deduction per annum is EUR 35,000.
Nigeria New tax rates and other changes Nigeria has radically changed its tax rate bands with effect from January 2012. The minimum income tax rate of 0.5% has been increased to 1%. It should also be noted that the Nigerian tax filing deadline has changed from 31 March to 31 January following the year of assessment but the penalty for non-compliance has increased from NGN 50,000 to NGN 500,000. New compliance regulations mean that Nigerian businesses will have to compute and pay PAYE for temporary and casual workers. Previously firms only needed to deduct a 5% withholding from wages to such staff.
Additional solidarity tax to apply Austerity measures continue in another Euro zone country. Spain has opted to create an additional solidarity tax that will be charged for the years 2012 and 2013. The rate will depend on the level of taxable income, as shown in the table overleaf. Non-resident individuals (who do not operate through a permanent establishment in Spain) will see the general rate of income tax rising from 24% to 24.75%. The wealth tax established by Spain’s previous government has not been abolished. However, certain autonomous regions, such as the Balearic Islands, Valencia and Madrid have approved exemptions for taxpayers resident in their jurisdictions.
End of lump sum taxation in sight? Switzerland has often been regarded as a tax haven for the wealthy, however, recently there have been popular demands for the rich to pay more tax. Tax privileges for foreign millionaires have previously meant that they have only had to make a lump-sum tax payment. However, a recent left-wing led referendum in the canton of Schaffhausen was found to be in favour of abolition of the lump sum position. This should take place in 2012. Similarly in St. Gallen, while the lump sum will not be abolished, foreign millionaires will have to pay more taxes in 2012. It is likely that other cantons will reconsider the availability of lump sum taxation. Agreement with German tax authorities regarding hidden Swiss bank accounts German investors with undeclared income in Switzerland will soon come under increased scrutiny following the signing of an agreement between Germany and Switzerland which whilst protecting historic Swiss privacy on bank details will result in a withholding rate of 26.375% and a consent to an exchange of information.
United Kingdom Late tax return filing penalties With the filing deadline for the 2010/11
global taxation introduce RTI (Real Time Information) from April 2013, HMRC has turned its attention to international assignees and modified arrangements. It is anticipated that employers currently operating a modified payroll for tax equalised expatriates will be able to provide information more quickly using RTI. Draft documentation detailing the new rules and their application is currently under consideration.
United States of America UK tax year behind us, we will now see the effect of the implementation of a new range of late filing penalties which is more onerous for non-compliant individuals. This will potentially affect foreign nationals who are unfamiliar with the UK tax system and UK nationals entering into the Self-Assessment regime for the first time. • There is a £100 late filing penalties for returns not filed by the deadline (with no mitigation where the tax payer has paid too much tax or even the right amount of tax) • If the return is not filed by 1 May a penalty of £10 per day will be levied (up to a maximum of £900) – so a return filed after, for example, 30 July will have a penalty of £1,000 • A return that remains outstanding after 1 August 2012 will be subject to an additional £300 penalty and £300 more if outstanding by 1 February 2013.
9 UK tax years. However, if the individual remains resident for at least 12 of the last 14 tax years the RBC will now increase to GBP 50,000. However, the good news is that remittance basis users will be able to remit foreign funds without suffering UK tax if they invest funds in UK trading companies (effectively investments made in private companies) in an effort to stimulate growth and investment in smaller businesses.
Statutory residence test deferred At the end of last summer there was a proposal to introduce a Statutory Residence Test (SRT) which would streamline the current residency rules but make it harder for individuals to break UK tax residence where they still maintained strong links to the UK. However, following consultation, the proposal has now been delayed a further year until 6 April 2013. At the time of writing it is anticipated that the UK Budget on 21 March 2012 will announce further details.
PAYE on shares Changes to PAYE withholding on share based earnings received after cessation of an employment will mean that from 6 April 2012, companies will need to operate code 0T on a non-cumulative basis and withhold any tax thus calculated as opposed to merely deducting at the basic rate of tax. The change will bring share based earnings into line with tax deducted on other post employment income received. This is likely to result in excessive withholding in many instances and will certainly encourage prompt filing by individuals to recover excess tax withheld. Do note that the requirement to operate code 0T does not apply where a code NT (nil tax) is held (because for example an individual is non-resident) immediately prior to leaving employment.
Domicile related tax changes coming into effect in April 2012 Longer term UK residents with a nondomiciled status and the ability to keep off-shore income out of scope of UK taxation will see an increase in the Remittance Basis Charge (RBC) from 6 April 2012. Under current rules the RBC was and remains GBP 30,000 for individuals who are UK tax resident for at least 7 of the last
Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF) The LDF will be extended to 5 April 2016. This is because HMRC has been inundated with more than 2,000 disclosures exceeding their own expectations. HMRC will continue to make agreements with foreign governments and tax authorities thus encouraging or forcing delinquent UK taxpayers to become compliant.
Modified payrolls & RTI In advance of changes to PAYE to
Foreign Bank Account Reporting forms The US has released a new form to be completed on the Reporting of Foreign Bank Account and Financial Accounts (FBAR). Additionally, the IRS has made a welcome announcement that they will not charge penalties if individuals can prove a ‘reasonable cause’ for not submitting the form, for example where there is no US tax liability. Voluntary disclosure programme In a similar vein, the IRS has announced a Voluntary Disclosure Programme for US persons with unreported foreign income for 2012. The programme is very similar to the 2011 programme but has two distinct changes, firstly, that there is no set deadline for applying under this programme (although it can be changed or cancelled at any time) and, secondly, that the offshore penalty rate has increased from 25% to 27.5%. Reduced penalty rates are applicable to non-US residents and small account holders. Circular 230 Any US federal tax advice contained in this communication is not intended to be used, or written to be used, for the purposes of avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code, or for promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any tax related matter.
Prepared by BDO LLP. For further information please contact Andrew Bailey on 020 7893 2946 or at email@example.com
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Examining Current Trends And Organisational Practices Aetna Inc. is one of the leading providers of healthcare, dental, pharmacy, life, and disability insurance in the United States. The company serves millions of customers and has over 33,000 employees. In the late 1990’s, the company decided to consolidate a number of its operational offices. The consolidation meant that some of the key talent in the company was going to have to move to new offices. The challenge, however, was that many of these employees were second income earners and it was unlikely that they would be able to relocate. In an effort to retain these talented employees, Aetna decided to experiment with remote work, which would allow the employees to work from home and, therefore, eliminate the need for relocation. The initiative worked so well that the company gradually began to identify other employees who could work remotely. A central goal of the initiative continued to be attracting and retaining top talent, but over time the company saw the opportunity to use remote work to also reduce its real estate footprint. Today, almost half of Aetna’s employee population work remotely, which includes not only employees who work from home, but also employees who are mobile (e.g., sales employees) and employees who are located at customer sites. Aetna’s story is becoming increasingly common among companies located around the globe. More and more companies are turning to remote work as a way to reduce costs, boost employee productivity, attract and retain top talent, and help employees manage non-work demands. A recent survey conducted by WorldatWork, for example, found that the number of US employees working remotely at least one day a month doubled during the period from 2001 to 2008 (Ozias, 2011). The survey also revealed two other noteworthy findings. First, whereas much of the initial growth in remote work was concentrated among contract employees (i.e., self-employed individuals), the growth in recent years has been largely due to more regular (full- and part-time) employees moving into remote work arrangements. Second, the results show that from
2008 to 2010 there was a decrease in the number of employees working remotely, which is the first decline registered in the ten years the organisation has been tracking remote work trends. This decline may be due to the higher unemployment during this period and associated anxieties surrounding job security. Despite this recent dip in remote work, all signs point to an upward trend as we look ahead. For instance, in 2009 the Society for Human Resource Management published the results of a survey that revealed that 43% of HR professionals believe that in the next five years a larger proportion of their workforce will be working remotely (Victor, 2009). Although remote work offers a number of potential benefits, it is not without risks and challenges. Companies can find it difficult to build a culture that is accepting and supportive of remote work. It can also be difficult to track exactly who is working remotely, particularly when remote work is adopted more informally, and to measure the business impact of these initiatives. Remote workers can face a number of personal and professional challenges. For instance, they may struggle for exposure and access to professional opportunities and there is the risk that those working outside the office can become socially isolated. These issues suggest that companies need to be both careful and deliberate in how they design and implement their remote work programmes. Although the academic community can help support evidence-based remote work practices, it is clear that this is an area in which practice is significantly outpacing research. This is not to say that research on remote work does not exist. In fact, there are some excellent studies in this area and we have gained significant insight into some issues, such as the impact of remote work on work-life integration. However, the academic literature has little to say on other topics, such as how to best manage development and advancement opportunities for remote workers.
CAHRS Research Project In an effort to gain insight into these important topics, we launched a remote work research project through the Center
for Advanced Human Resource Studies (CAHRS) in the ILR School at Cornell University. CAHRS is the world’s leading partnership between industry and academia, devoted to global human resource management. CAHRS partners represent more than 60 of the world’s premier companies. As a first step in our research, we conducted a comprehensive review of the academic literature on remote work to identify key research themes and potentially important, yet neglected, remote work issues. We then conducted extensive interviews with nine CAHRS partner companies, including Aetna, Citigroup, Cisco Systems, General Mills, and IBM, to determine how the research themes align with what companies are currently experiencing, and to identify the strategies and practices companies have developed to manage their remote workers. Over the past six months, we have also conducted several day-long, working groups, in which executives from our CAHRS partners companies share current challenges and best practices in managing remote work. These working groups have been attended by 23 executives from 18 different CAHRS partner companies. In the sections that follow, I share some of the key findings that have emerged from this project to date. 1) There exists significant variation across companies in the penetration of remote work. In the companies we studied, remote workers (full- and part-time) comprise, on average, about half of the total employee population. However, this average value masks significant variation in the penetration of remote work across different companies. For example, we found one company in which 92% of employees work remotely and another in which only 3% of employees are classified as remote workers, and the remaining companies were scattered along the spectrum spanning these two extremes (Busch, Nash, & Bell, 2011). Although current rates of remote work differ widely, all of the companies reported an increase in their remote workforce in recent years and most indicated plans to continue growing this population over the next several years. Spring International HR Adviser
reMOTE WORK 2) Cultural support and acceptance are critical to success. The importance of organisational alignment for the success of HR initiatives is well known. Although this holds true for remote work, it can be difficult to achieve. One common challenge to building cultural acceptance is securing senior leadership support. In one company we studied, for example, senior executives resisted remote work because the company was failing to meet key business goals. The senior leadership team felt that employees needed to come into the office so they could work together to solve the challenges faced by the company. In other firms we have encountered senior leaders who are hesitant to support remote work because they see face-to-face collaboration as essential to innovation and creativity, and as something that cannot be replicated in a virtual environment. One strategy for gaining management support is to use small-scale pilot programmes to gather data that can be used to prove the value of remote work and to address senior leaders’ concerns. In addition, senior business leaders from multiple areas, including operations, IT, real estate, and HR, can be included on support teams for remote work initiatives and can be relied upon to communicate the initiatives to other senior leaders through the organisation. Finally, having senior leaders who participate in remote or flexible work initiatives and model their involvement visibly can be a powerful force for building cultural acceptance throughout an organisation. 3) Remote workers run a higher risk of personal and professional isolation. As companies continue to increase the number of employees with remote work arrangements, research suggests that feelings of isolation may arise for employees due to their lack of interaction with others. An employee may begin to feel lonely and socially isolated due to the absence of face-to-face interactions and less frequent opportunities for personal and professional relationship building. The academic literature also suggests that whether or not remote workers experience isolation is determined by a number of factors, including their managers as well as their own personal characteristics (e.g., autonomy). The companies we studied noted several challenges they have faced in International HR Adviser Spring
keeping remote employees connected and discussed some of the strategies they have used to engage their distributed workforce. One challenge is that employees in remote sites often struggle for exposure and access to professional opportunities. Accordingly, it is necessary to be more purposeful in creating these opportunities for remote employees. Managers need to engage in more frequent communication with remote workers to understand their developmental needs and interests, and the remote workers should be encouraged to attend events (i.e., town hall meetings) that provide a chance to network with colleagues. Managers also need to recognise that a remote worker may not be interested in an advancement opportunity if it necessitates a return to the office. Thus, it is important to understand the developmental and advancement goals and boundaries of remote workers. Finally, work-life spillover can be a challenge for remote workers. Thus, it is important to monitor remote worker behaviour and to intervene if someone is “always on.” Managers need to set clear expectations and need to model appropriate work behaviours themselves, and HR professionals should educate their managers and companies about the impact of overwork on employee health and productivity. More generally, there are a number of strategies that can be used to engage remote workers, maintain their attachment to the organisation, and prevent isolation. These strategies include providing on-site and remote mentors for workers, building resource sites, holding local events to bring together traditional and remote workers, and forming employee network groups. Although these efforts are often undertaken in reaction to a specific need that has arisen, companies should consider using these approaches to proactively brand and strengthen their remote and flexible work initiatives.
job satisfaction. What defines successful management in virtual settings is, in some respects, not all that different than in more traditional office settings. Managers of remote workers need to perform many of the same leadership functions as traditional managers, including establishing expectations and goals, monitoring employee performance, and providing coaching and development. Indeed, many of the companies we studied apply the same leadership competency framework to both their traditional and remote managers. At the same time, managers of remote workers face unique challenges. They need to be able to assess whether a particular employee is the right fit for remote work and what type of remote work arrangement (e.g., part-time telework, full-time telework, flexitime) is most appropriate given a variety of variables specific to the individual, the team, and the business. They must shift their focus from assessing employees based on how they achieve results to what they achieve. Attention should still be given to behaviours to ensure employees are living the corporate values, but more weight needs to be placed on results and goal achievement. Even in companies where resultsoriented performance management processes are deeply ingrained, remote managers sometimes need to be coached to focus on results rather than employee availability and accessibility. In terms of communication, managers should engage in regular, informal check-ins with their remote employees and need to be able to effectively use a variety of virtual communication tools (and be able to select the right tool in the right situation). In summary, managers should be provided with training and development that prepares them for these and other unique challenges that arise in the context of remote work.
4) It is important to develop those who lead remote workers. Over the past decade, significant research has emphasised the importance of leadership in virtual work environments (Bell & Kozlowski, 2002). Leaders have an important influence on the performance of virtual teams, and remote employees who have higher quality relationships with their managers achieve higher levels of job performance and experience greater organisational commitment and
All indicators suggest that companies will continue to grow their remote workforces in the years to come. The goal of this article was to highlight several important issues for companies to consider as they seek to both leverage the benefits and mitigate the risks associated with remote work. Although I believe our research has yielded several important insights into remote work trends and practices, there clearly remains much to be learned. We need a better understanding of how
reMOTE WORK to effectively manage employees from a distance and how doing so differs from managing co-located reports. We need to learn more about how corporate culture influences the success of remote and flexible work initiatives as well as how these initiatives in turn shape corporate culture. Finally, it will be important to examine these trends and practices at a global level so we have the evidence required to adapt remote work initiatives to different regions and cultures. References Bell, B. S., & Kozlowski, S. W. J. (2002). A typology of virtual teams: Implications for effective leadership. Group and Organization Management, 27 (1), 14-49. Busch, E., Nash, J., & Bell, B. S. (2011). An examination of emerging issues surrounding remote work. Retrieved from the Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies website: http://www. ilr.cornell.edu/cahrs/research/upload/ Spring2011_CAHRSRemoteWorkReport.pdf
Ozias, A. (2011). Telework 2011: A WorldatWork special report. Retrieved from the WorldatWork website: http://www.worldatwork.org/waw/ adimLink?id=53034 Victor, J. (2009). Workforce flexibility in the 21st century: Meeting the needs of the changing workforce. Retrieved from
the Society for Human Resource Management website: http://www.shrm.org/ Research/SurveyFindings/Articles/Documents/09-0464_Workplace_Flexibility_ Survey_ Report_inside_FINALonline.pdf Bradford S. Bell Cornell University Bradford Bell Associate Professor of Human Resource Studies and Director of Executive Education in the ILR School at Cornell University. For more information about Dr. Bell and his research please visit: www.ilr.cornell.edu/directory/bb92/ For more information about the Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies at Cornell University please visit: www.ilr.cornell.edu/cahrs/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 001 607 254 8054
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Case Study: Setting Up A School In Doha For companies operating in international markets, the question of how, when and where to expand overseas is a key strategic issue. And this is no different for an international school. Fergus Rose, Head of Marketing and Admissions at ACS International Schools, provides some useful insights following the opening of ACS Doha, Qatar last September. In opening a Campus overseas the various processes involved are similar to those that any expanding organisation will go through, which is also similar to the process that many families experience during the relocation process. From making the decision to move overseas, to finding appropriate accommodation (or in the case of a school / organisation a land plot and building), to navigating the cultural issues in the area that you are relocating to. However, when any business or organisation considers expansion, whether it is at home or overseas, the starting point must always be a fundamental review of why you are embarking on expansion and importantly balancing the expansion with keeping your eye on the ball of your existing business. Critical to success is ensuring that your business model and market offering works effectively in the new region, and that it is consistent with your organisations vision. As a family of international schools, we commits ourself to providing an education that helps students to become responsible contributing citizens to our global. There are a number of data sources evaluating the international schools market around the globe, and all of this points to
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significant growth for international schools, particularly in so called developing markets, including the Middle and Far East. With a globally recognised curricula and vision in place at our three existing campuses in the UK, we could see that this educational vision also lends itself to a school overseas. Once the decision to expand is made, location is the key initial consideration. A robust market assessment will help to ascertain whether the proposition is likely to be successful in the potential locations you may be considering, and a review of the myriad of new legislation and legal requirements that operate in an area in which you are looking to expand. You also need to consider the geographical and cultural issues surrounding the location to ensure that your business can operate effectively within that environment and culture. For our international schools the Gulf, and Qatar in particular, had much to offer. Extensive desk based research and then secondary ‘on the ground’ research was conducted into the fit of our education model with the area. The country has a strategic vision which seeks to diversify the economy and society beyond its hydrocarbon base. Qatar’s 2030 national vision places education and healthcare as primary sectors to develop. The country has the highest per capita income in the world, making it financially sound location for expansion. Qatar also has a sizeable and growing expat population. And of course, there is the 2022 Football World Cup bid win, likely to increase interest in the area, and lead to the development of suitable infrastructure to
support this. We found the existing education network in Doha very supportive and helpful in providing insight about the educational needs in Qatar and how we might meet some of those needs. With location decided upon it was important to source the accommodation – a plot of land. In this case a brand new purpose-built property was located in the Al-Gharafa region in the Northern suburbs of Doha. It was important that the fit-out retained elements of our provision in terms of the latest facilities; modern classrooms with interactive whiteboards, Wi-Fi throughout and bespoke ICT labs, art studios, music rooms, science laboratories, libraries and learning hubs; plus an external multi-purpose recreational area, modern large sports hall, and indoor swimming pool. Companies chosen to carry out fit-out work on the building comprised a mixture of existing contacts and new local contacts in Doha in order to both strengthen existing relationships and harness known expertise, as well as develop new links within the locale. Running parallel alongside the development of the physical stamp of the school was the curriculum development, the heart of what we are about. Making sure that the educational offering was consistent with our ethos about what constitutes excellence in teaching and learning was important, but we also had to remain flexible enough to accommodate the various requirements and circumstances in Doha. For example, while the overarching education philosophy remained, with a child- centred, enquiry led approach based on internationally recognised programmes, flexible on some of the subject offerings to incorporate Arabic, Qatari history, and Islamic studies. The school also had to take into consideration cultural variations, for example the working week in Doha is from Sunday to Thursday and the day starts and finishes earlier than it does with the UK schools. It is important not to underestimate how variations in the working week timetable and different time zones can impact on how your home-based (in our case UK) business operates with the overseas site. This needs active management for personnel on both sides to recognise that meeting scheduling needs
CASE STUDY to fit within both parties operating hours. Staffing a new site is once again a balance between your existing venture and your new expansion. At ACS Doha we were conscious to blend our existing staff to make sure that the new school was consistent in terms of our vision, but it also recruited new staff from the region to give a deeper knowledge and understanding of the educational requirements within Qatar. With this in mind the school opened under the leadership of Tom Lehman as Head of School, who has over twenty years’ experience working within an ACS school and postponed his retirement to launch ACS Doha; and Diane Hren as Deputy Head, also moving from a leadership role at ACS Cobham. Of course, navigating employment law in an unfamiliar country can be challenging, and an area that requires extensive research. It is important that your organisations are aware of the issues and build them in to the staffing model and operating procedures. In Doha, for example, all of our staff required residents permits in order to live in the country and these needed to be individually sponsored.
The span of control within an organisation is critical and a balance of resources to support the new venture must be met with ensuring your existing commitments are still stable and continuing to develop. ACS Doha draws on the support of the central head office in the UK, which provides support in a number of areas for example HR, marketing, finance and facilities expertise, to support the management team on the ground in Doha. The use of technology, including audio conferencing and technology, is utilised to ensure that communication between the campuses can take place as required. So what has the addition of a fourth school brought to us as an organisation? There are of course attractive opportunities for staff and we are expecting two way transfers of personnel between schools in coming years, but also it has brought about opportunities for crosscampus learning for our students and school community. There many lessons that have been learnt from our own overseas expansion.
We learnt that expansion is an exciting journey but that no amount of planning can think of every eventuality, and as an organisation you need to be ready to deal with that. There is also a real skill in blending what you want to retain as your overarching company ethos and what you need to flex to accommodate what is most appropriate in your new locale. Expansion is of course a big step and it requires a dedicated resource, and any schools or organisations considering the opportunity shouldn’t go into it without really understanding the size and complexity of the project.
Fergus Rose Head of Marketing and Admissions Direct line: +44 (0) 1932 869 723 email@example.com www.acs-schools.com
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Global Immigration Update
Global Immigration Update Algeria Government May Require Foreign Workers to Train Local Workforce (February 2, 2012) The Algerian government is expected to require foreign workers to train members of the local workforce as a condition to their work permit, and may increase the level of scrutiny that it applies to work permit applications generally. As part of an effort to protect the country’s labour force, Algeria’s Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security announced on January 28 that the country would adopt measures requiring work permit holders to pass their expertise on to local Algerian workers as a condition of their status. The announcement followed recent news indicating that 50,000 foreign national workers are now working in Algeria. The announcement may be an indication that Algerian immigration authorities will soon institute further, potentially stringent conditions to obtain a work permit. The Ministry has not yet specified how the transfer of expertise will be effectuated, though the government could require employers to establish training programmes or other means of passing knowledge to Algerian workers. Details regarding the Ministry’s potential future efforts to protect the local labour market have yet to be issued. However, employers who plan on hiring foreign national workers in Algeria should be prepared for additional requirements and delays. The situation in Algeria is highly fluid.
Brazil Two-Year Employment Visa Extensions Are Available Once Again (February 8, 2012) The Brazilian government will once again allow foreign nationals working under a local employment contract to extend an initial two-year employment visa, provided their contract is indefinite. On November 23, 2011, the government announced it would cease granting temporary visa extensions and would instead require local hires to apply for a permanent visa to remain in Brazil beyond their initial two years, but this policy has now been reversed. The new policy ends several months of International HR Adviser Spring
uncertainty concerning temporary visa extensions, particularly for foreign nationals with an employment contract of limited duration. In November, after a series of court rulings that cast doubt on the validity of this type of employment contract, the Ministry of Justice -- which is responsible for visa extensions and permanent residence -- took the position that foreign workers needed a permanent visa to remain in Brazil after their initial two years. However, after a mandate from the National Immigration Council, the Ministry of Justice has resumed accepting applications for two-year temporary visa extensions, as long as applicants have an indefinite employment contract. After four years of temporary residence in the country, foreign nationals become eligible for a permanent visa. The government will continue to process permanent visa applications from foreign workers, with some policy changes. Permanent visa applicants who filed before November 23 will only be eligible for a two-year conditional permanent visa that is linked to their Brazilian sponsoring employer. (Normally, permanent residents are permitted to work for any employer in Brazil.) Dependents of conditional permanent visa holders will be authorised to work incident to their status. Foreign nationals who filed for a permanent visa after November 23 will have their cases treated as two-year temporary visa extension applications; dependents will not be entitled to work authorisation. What This Means for Employers The new policy will allow employers to retain foreign employees working under local contracts for an additional two years before having to begin the permanent visa process. However, the policy change will likely lead to near-term processing delays for extension applications. An extension application must be submitted at least 90 days before the expiration of an initial visa, but Fragomen recommends filing extensions seven months before expiration to minimise the consequences of processing delays.
Japan New Resident Card Launches in July, Includes Changes to Residency Requirements (February 9, 2012) On July 9, 2012, Japan will launch a
new Resident (Zairyu) Card programme, which will replace the current Alien Registration Card (ARC) system of identification for foreign nationals who work or reside in Japan for more than three months. Most existing ARC holders will be able to continue using their cards until they expire. Under the new programme, the maximum stay for foreign residents will be extended to five years, the minimum stay for major work visa categories will be reduced to three months, and there will be new reporting requirements. Cardholders will be allowed to travel abroad without the need for a re-entry permit, provided they return to Japan within one year. Implementation of the New Resident Card Programme Unless exempt, foreign nationals who will remain in Japan for more than three months will receive a Resident Card upon arrival at Japan’s four major international airports: Narita, Haneda, Chubu and Kansai. Those entering Japan at other airports will receive their Resident Card by mail after arrival. Under the current system, foreign nationals are required to obtain their ARC at their municipal office within 90 days of arrival. The new Resident Card will include the holder’s name, residential address, visa type, and expiration date, along with other information. The following classes of foreign nationals will not be required to obtain a Resident Card: (1) persons admitted to Japan for three months or less; (2) persons granted temporary visitor status; (3) persons granted diplomat or official status; (4) persons recognised by a Ministry of Justice ordinance as having a status equivalent to one of the three preceding statuses; (5) special permanent residents; and (6) undocumented foreign nationals. Transitional Rules for Alien Registration Card Holders Foreign nationals holding Alien Registration Cards that expire before July 8, 2015 will not be required to take any action when the new programme launches. They can continue using their ARCs while valid and will be issued the new Resident Card when they renew their visa or change to a different visa category. Foreign nationals holding ARCs that
Global Immigration Update will expire on or after July 8, 2015 must obtain a Resident Card, but are free to do so at any time before July 8, 2015. Dependent children younger than 16 must obtain a Resident Card before their 16th birthday or before July 8, 2015, whichever comes first. Periods of Stay and Other Changes to Residency Requirements The maximum period of stay for foreign residents will be extended to five years under the new system, from the current three years. The minimum period of stay for major work visa categories will be reduced to three months, from one year currently. The new Resident Card system will modify reporting requirements and relax re-entry requirements for foreign residents. Resident Card holders will be required to report all changes to personal information appearing in their Resident Cards (including change of employer or change in marital status) at their local immigration office, except for address changes which will continue to be reported to their municipal office. Currently, the municipal offices handle all reporting requirements. Under the new system, Resident Card holders may travel abroad without obtaining a re-entry permit, provided they return to Japan within one year. This policy will also apply to ARC holders pending a change-over to Resident Cards. Currently, ARC holders must obtain a reentry permit in order to travel abroad. Fragomen worked closely with ILS Shimoda Office, L.P.C. in Tokyo to prepare this alert.
Saudi Arabia Businesses Must Employ a Minimum Number of Saudi Workers to Obtain or Extend Work Visas (February 10, 2012) Under Saudi Arabia's new Nitagat system, businesses must maintain a minimum percentage of Saudi nationals in their workforce, determined by their size and industry, to sponsor foreign nationals for new work visas or extend work visas for existing foreign employees. The larger the business, the more Saudi nationals it must employ to qualify for the broadest sponsorship privileges. Businesses with less than 10 employees are exempt from the system. The Saudi government introduced the Nitagat system last year in an effort
to increase employment among Saudi nationals and reduce the ratio of foreign workers in the country from the current 31 percent to 20 percent by 2014. The system entered its final implementation stage in late 2011. The Nitagat system classifies businesses with 10 or more employees in one of four groups – Red, Yellow, Green or Premium – based on the percentage of their workforce that are Saudi nationals. Businesses in the Red group cannot sponsor foreign nationals for new visas or, as of November 27, 2011, renew work visas for existing foreign employees. Yellow group businesses cannot apply for new visas, but they may extend work visas for employees that have worked in the Saudi Arabia for less than six years. Green and Premium group businesses may sponsor foreign nationals from any part of the world for work visas and extend visas for current employees without new limitations. Since December 2011, Green and Premium employers can also recruit employees of Red and Yellow businesses and transfer their visas without their original employers' consent. The required minimum percentage of Saudi workers depends on a business’s size and industry. For example, a company in the insurance and business services industry that employs 50 to 499 workers is assigned to the Red group if Saudi nationals make up 0-4% of its workforce, the Yellow group if 5-19%, the Green group if 20-54% and the Premium group if 55% or more of the workforce is Saudi. Along with the new rules on employment of Saudi nationals, government officials are expected to announce a number of new regulations, programmes and services for foreign workers that are expected to include new rules for recruitment agencies, a wage protection system, and multilingual emergency hotlines foreign nationals can use to file complaints about their employers. It is anticipated that recruitment agencies will handle the hiring of foreign workers and become responsible for ensuring adequate wage and working conditions and other labour rights.
Philippines Alien Certificate of Registration Card Holders Must Carry a Valid Card to Travel Abroad (February 10, 2012) Foreign nationals in most visa categories must present a valid, dated Alien Certificate
of Registration Card (ACR I-card) upon exit and reentry when travelling abroad, the Philippine government has announced. Foreign nationals who attempt to depart the country while their ACR I-card application is in process will not be permitted to exit, while those who attempt to re-enter with an expired or undated ACR I-card will be admitted as tourists and lose their work or dependent status. They would then be required to obtain a new work or dependent visa and ACR I-card in-country. Though carrying a valid ACR I-card for international travel has been a best practice for some time, the Philippine Bureau of Immigration recently made it a requirement in a memorandum circular. This new requirement applies to foreign nationals in most of the visa categories that require an ACR I-card. These are: 9(d); 9(g); 9(f ); 13; 47(a)(2) (Board of Investments); Special Investor’s Resident Visa; and Special Visa for Employment Generation. Their dependents are also subject to the requirement. Foreign nationals in these categories must also ensure their visa will remain valid for the complete duration of any trip abroad. Several categories of foreign nationals are exempt from the new rule. The Bureau of Immigration has confirmed to Fragomen that business visitors staying for more than 59 days and Special Work Permit holders are not subject to the travel rule, though they are issued an ACR I-card. Foreign nationals in the following visa categories are not affected by the travel rule because they are not required to obtain an ACR I-card: 47(a)(2) (Philippine Export Zone Authority); Regional Operating Headquarters; Special Resident Retiree’s Visa; and any existing or future visa types that are expressly exempted from the ACR I-card requirement. Foreign nationals with upcoming international travel plans should contact their immigration service provider for assistance if their ACR I-cards will expire soon or are undated, or if they have a pending card application. Note that ACR I-card applications can only be submitted from within the Philippines, and the processing time is up to two weeks from the date of taking biometric information.
Romania Romania Introduces EU Blue Card (February 13, 2012) Romania has introduced its version of the Spring International HR Adviser
Global Immigration Update European Union Blue Card, which allows highly skilled third-country nationals to live and work temporarily in the country and ultimately acquire long-term EU residence rights. The Blue Card will become available after the Romanian government finalises application procedures for the programme, which is expected to occur in near future. To obtain the Blue Card, a non-EU national must be highly qualified, as demonstrated by a post-secondary educational qualification and an annual salary that is at least four times the average gross annual salary for a similar position in Romania. If the foreign national will work in a regulated profession, he or she must also possess the relevant educational qualifications or work experience necessary for the position. The Romanian government has not yet officially defined which occupations will be considered regulated professions. No labour market search is required for Blue Card applicants. Though application procedures have not been finalised, officials have stated that Blue Card applications will benefit from shorter processing times than typical permits, with even faster processing for applicants who already hold a Blue Card issued by another EU country. Once granted, Romanian Blue Cards will be valid for up to two years -- double the validity period of Romanian residence permits.
United Kingdom Programme for Graduate Job Seekers to be replaced (February 14, 2012) The UK Border Agency (UKBA) will no longer accept new applications for the Tier 1 (Post-study work) programme for graduate job seekers as of April 5, 2012, though a new visa category will be created specifically for graduate entrepreneurs. The post-study work category allows recent graduates to stay in the UK for up to two years following graduation to settle their affairs before departure or search for an employer to sponsor them for work authorization under the Tier 2 (General) category. The UKBA will continue to accept applications for the programme before April 5. After April 5, foreign graduates will still be able to change from Tier 4 student status to Tier 2 (General) without the need for a labour market test, the Home Office confirmed yesterday. However, they must find an employer willing to sponsor them International HR Adviser Spring
for Tier 2 (General) status before their student status expires, and they will not be able to formally change status until their degree is awarded. The Home Office has yet to specify how this will work in practice, but the policy will likely be challenging for employers that currently rely of the programme. Fragomen is working with employers to convey to the Home Office the need for a more nuanced policy. A limited number of foreign graduates will be able to take advantage of a new graduate entrepreneur temporary visa category that will open on April 5. To qualify, foreign graduates must be identified by a UK university as having world class innovative ideas or entrepreneurial skills. Participants will be granted a oneyear stay initially, which can be extended for one additional year. If they qualify, participants will be able to change to the full Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category. There will be 1,000 graduate entrepreneur visas available each year, with availability split evenly among participating universities. The UKBA is expected to provide a list of these universities in the near future.
United Kingdom UKBA Report Names Employers Penalised for Violations of Employment Authorisation Rules (February 14, 2012) The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has published a list of employers who have been penalised for noncompliance with work authorisation rules but have failed to pay assessed fines. The list, which is divided by region, will be updated quarterly. Employers are named if they have not started to pay their fines 28 days after the exhaustion of their appeal rights, or if they have been served with a second or further penalty. The report includes employers’ trading names and locations and detail the severity of each penalty. A second report details by region the overall number of noncompliant employers and the total monetary value of civil penalties issued per quarter, but does not name individual employers. Between July 1 and September 30, 2011, the UKBA issued 342 civil penalties totalling £2,934,500. Employers in the UK that knowingly or unknowingly employ unauthorised workers can incur civil penalties of up to £10,000 per worker. Employers are required to verify the identity and work eligibility of all new employees before their first day of work. They are also required to maintain copies
of employees’ work eligibility documents on file, and re-verify their employees’ work authorisation annually. Failure to do so may also result in civil penalties. The UKBA enforces these requirements through the use of targeted audits and enforcement visits. Employers that are sponsors under the UK’s Points Based System are also subject to random compliance audits. The UKBA website provides guidance for employers wishing to avoid civil penalties for noncompliance.
Australia Government to Ease Licensing Requirements for Some Permanent Residence Programmes (February 17, 2012) Foreign nationals applying for permanent residence under the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) or the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) will not be required to hold an occupational license or registration unless all people in the occupation are required to do so under the relevant licensing or registration law. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has informed Fragomen that it will announce the new rule as a trial policy in the near future. Currently, DIAC requires all ENS and RSMS applicants to hold the registration or license that is generally required for their nominated occupation in the state in which they intend to settle, even if they would be exempt from doing so under the relevant licensing or occupational law. The trial policy will help reconcile DIAC’s requirements with those laws. As an interim measure before the trial policy begins, foreign engineers seeking permanent residence in Queensland are no longer required to be a Registered Professional Engineer of Queensland (RPEQ) if they can demonstrate they will work under the supervision of a RPEQ engineer.
United Kingdom Government Announces Creation of New Independent Border Control Agency (February 22, 2012) In early March 2012, the UK will create the UK Border Force, a new agency that will assume responsibility for border controls and inspections services at UK ports of entry. The new agency will operate independently of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and its operations will be subject
Global Immigration Update to separate governmental oversight. The UKBA will retain responsibility for the administration of immigration benefits. The UK Border Force is expected to have a distinct enforcement mind-set compared to the UKBA, which could lead to increased scrutiny of foreign nationals arriving in the UK. However, the full impact of the new agency on business travellers, foreign workers and employers is unclear at this time. Fragomen will provide updates as the government releases additional information about the UK Border Force. The UK Border Force is being created after a widely-publicised investigation and report from the UKBA Independent Chief Inspector revealed security checks were performed inconsistently or not at all at ports of entry.
Bahrain Business Visitors Face Increased Scrutiny When Using Visa on Arrival Programme (February 22, 2012) Business visitors applying for a visa on arrival in Bahrain face extra scrutiny as the Interior Ministry considers whether to limit these visas to nationals of countries that give reciprocal benefits to Bahraini nationals. To avoid entry delays, business visitors should obtain a business visa prior to travel even if they qualify for a visa on arrival. Eligible foreign nationals can apply for an e-visa online in advance of business travel. Like visas on arrival, e-visas are available to nationals of 35 countries. Foreign nationals who choose to seek a visa on arrival should be prepared to provide border officials with extensive documentation of their eligibility, including a letter from a host entity describing the purpose of the visit, proof of sufficient funds to cover their period of stay, a confirmed hotel reservation or other documentation showing where they will stay in Bahrain, and a confirmed return or onward travel reservation.
Canada Quebec Ends Labour Market Exemption for Select IT Occupations (February 23, 2012) Quebec has terminated a labour market opinion exemption for seven types of IT occupations. Applications received by March 24 will benefit from the exemption as long as they are accompanied by a certificate from Quebec authorities, dated February 23, 2012 or earlier, stating that
there are no Canadian workers available to fill the position offered to the foreign worker. The exemption is now no longer available in any Canadian province, as it expired in British Columbia on December 31, 2011. The seven IT occupations that qualified for the exemption were Senior Animation Effects Editors, Embedded Systems Software Designers, MIS Software Designers, Multimedia Software Developers, Software Developers (Services), Software Products Developers, and Telecommunications Software Designers.
Singapore Government Reduces Maximum Number of Foreign Workers Companies May Sponsor (February 28, 2012) The government of Singapore has announced a 5 percent reduction in the number of temporary foreign workers that can be employed by companies holding S Pass and Work Permits. Specifically, S Pass employers will be limited to 20 percent foreign temporary workers. Limits in the Work Permit category will be 60 percent for manufacturers and 45 percent for service sector companies. The lowered ratios take effect on July 1, 2012 for new S Pass and Work Permit applications. Employers will have until June 30, 2014 to meet the lowered ratios for existing workers. There will be no changes to the ratios for Work Permits in other industries. The S Pass is for skilled foreign nationals who earn at least S$2,000 monthly. The Work Permit is for skilled and unskilled foreign nationals, usually working in designated industries, who earn less than S$2,000 monthly.
United Kingdom Home Secretary Announces Minimum Salary for Permanent Residence Applicants (March 1, 2012) Beginning April 2016, foreign skilled workers in the Tier 2 temporary immigration category will be required to earn at least £35,000 annually to qualify for permanent residence, according to an announcement from the Home Secretary. The Secretary also announced new maximum stay limits for Tier 2 workers generally and for Tier 5 interns and domestic
workers, and a new one-month work visa that will not require employer sponsorship. These changes will take effect April 6, 2012. Minimum Salary for Tier 2 Workers Seeking Permanent Residence The new salary requirement will apply to foreign nationals who entered the UK under Tier 2 after April 6, 2011 and apply for permanent residence after April 2016. The £35,000 figure will be the absolute minimum salary for most applicants, though some may be required to earn more if they work in an occupation that has a higher salary threshold according to UK Border Agency’s (UKBA) guidelines for the occupation. The UK will begin to adjust the minimum salary figure annually beginning in April 2018. Applicants in PhD level positions and those in jobs on the Shortage Occupation List will be exempt from the minimum salary requirement, though they will have to earn more than the salary threshold set forth in the UKBA’s guidelines for the occupation. Six-Year Maximum Stay for Tier 2 Workers Foreign nationals working in the general Tier 2 category as of April 6, 2011 will be limited to a maximum stay of six years. Once the sixyear maximum is reached, an individual must leave the UK and will not be able to re-enter for work for twelve months. Note that Tier 2 intracompany transferees are already limited to a one-year or five-year maximum stay, depending on their Tier 2 subcategory. New Maximum Stay for Tier 5 Interns and Domestic Workers Most Tier 5 interns will be limited to a twelve-month maximum stay, though Tier 5 workers in medical or research programs will continue to able to stay in the UK for up to two years. The Tier 5 Overseas Domestic Worker program will be terminated for private households, after which domestic workers will be required to enter as visitors and will be limited to stays of no more than six months per visit. New One-Month Work Visa A new “permitted paid engagements” visa will allow certain foreign nationals to work in the UK for less than one month without employer sponsorship. This category, which will exist outside the Points Spring International HR Adviser
Global Immigration Update Based System, will be narrowly defined and is intended to be used by visiting lecturers and examiners, artists exhibiting works, authors on book tours, entertainers and sportspeople, and others engaged in similar activities. The Home Office will release additional details of these and other upcoming changes on March 15. In March, Fragomen will host several webinars to discuss the impact of these developments and the recently released Migration Advisory Committee report. Contact Fragomen directly for further information.
United Kingdom Top Government Advisors Recommend No Further Restrictions on Skilled Worker Visas (March 1, 2012) In a widely anticipated report, the UK’s top independent advisor on migration issues, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), has advised the UK government to place no further restrictions on Tier 2 of the Points Based System and keep work permit quota levels at current levels for 2012-2013. The MAC also recommends no increase in the minimum salary requirement for intracompany transferees, though it believes that the placement of IT intracompany transferees at third-party worksites continues to warrant heightened scrutiny. Last year, the UK government asked the MAC to study a variety of potential Tier 2 policy changes to further its goal of drastically reducing the country’s overall migration levels. The MAC’s recommendations are not binding on the UK government, but its findings are likely to have significant influence on new immigration rules and guidance that the Home Office will present to Parliament on March 15. The new rules, which are to be implemented on April 6, are expected to include a new premium processing program for select sponsors and changes related to the 2012 Olympics. Recommended Tier 2 Cap for 20122013 The 2012-2013 cap on admissions under Tier 2 should not be reduced, but should remain at last year’s level of 20,700, according to the MAC. Maintaining the cap at current levels will be of particular importance because the 2012 Olympics may result in higher demand for Tier 2 work permits than has been seen since the quota system was introduced last year. International HR Adviser Spring
Minimum Salary Recommendations for Intracompany Transfers The MAC recommends retaining the current minimum salary of £40,000 for Tier 2 intracompany transferees entering the UK for over 12 months and continuing to allow employers to count non-salary cost of living, accommodation and other allowances toward the minimum salary. Minimum salary requirements should not be staggered to take regional salary variations into consideration, it has concluded. The government should continue to strictly review cases where IT companies use intracompany transferees for placements at client sites, the MAC noted. However, the MAC declined to recommend policy changes for these thirdparty contractors. It believes that more data on their impact to the UK’s labour market are necessary. Potential Increases to Skill Levels Requirements The MAC concludes 32 occupations would no longer qualify for Tier 2 if a proposal to raise the category’s minimum skill level were implemented. The government asked the MAC to study the effect of limiting Tier 2 to occupations that are at level 6 or higher under the UK’s National Vocational Qualification standards (NQF6+ in the report), which typically requires a bachelor's degree or professional certificate. Currently occupations can qualify for Tier 2 at NQF4+, which does not strictly require a degree. Roughly seven percent of the Tier 2 cases filed in 2011 would not have qualified if the minimum skill level were NQF6+. To lessen the impact of an increase in minimum skill levels, the MAC recommends Tier 2 remain open to NQF4 occupations that appear on the UK’s Shortage Occupation List. In addition, the MAC suggests that the government could impose a higher salary requirement for NQF4 occupations, rather than increasing the skill level for the category. Recommendations on the Resident Labour Market Test According to the MAC, the UK should relax Tier 2 recruitment requirements for jobs paying between £70,000 and £150,000 annually and for Ph.D. positions, by not requiring employers to advertise these positions in Jobcentre Plus. However, the MAC recommends retaining the labour market test for these positions.
Positions with annual salaries above £150,000 are already exempt from labour market tests and advertising requirements. The MAC was asked whether to extend these exemptions to positions offering £70,000 or more annually. What the MAC Report Means for Employers Overall, the MAC report comes as a relief to employers concerned at the prospect of lower work permit quotas, stricter rules on salary, and increases in skill level requirements. Fragomen is also hosting several webinars over the coming weeks to discuss how employers will be affected by the MAC report and other upcoming changes. Contact Fragomen directly for further information.
South Africa Authorities Are Closely Inspecting Travellers’ Vaccination Records, Denying Entry to Some (March 5, 2012) South African health authorities are closely inspecting yellow fever vaccination certificates at ports of entry and have refused entry to some travellers after questioning the reliability or authenticity of their certificates, according to recent reports. In particular, Nigerian nationals traveling directly from their home country have been subject to heightened scrutiny. South Africa requires foreign nationals who have travelled or intend to travel through an area where yellow fever is endemic to provide a valid vaccination certificate for the disease. Travellers should check the validity of their vaccination records with local certificate-issuing authorities to reduce the risk of entry problems in South Africa. The content herein is provided for information purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact Fragomen Global Immigration. Fragomen has 39 offices in 15 countries. For further information, please contact: Global Knowledge Team Fragomen Global, LLP +1 (212) 688 8555 (direct) firstname.lastname@example.org www.fragomen.com
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HR CERTIFICATION/ CREDENTIALS
HR Certification Institute 1800 Duke Street, Alexandria, Virginia, 22314, USA Telephone: +1-703-548-3440 Fax: +1-703-535-6474 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.hrci.org HR Certification Institute is an internationally recognised certifying body for the HR profession. We have awarded over 100,000 credentials in over 70 countries to HR professionals who have passed rigorous exams to demonstrate their mastery and real-world application of forward- thinking HR practices, policies and principles. Our certifications are a career long commitment that requires continual HR career development to maintain certification. Four certifications are offered: the Professional in Human Resources (PHR®), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR®), Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR®), and the California state specific PHR-CA® and SPHR-CA®.
ASSOCIATION OF RELOCATION PROFESSIONALS (ARP) PO Box 189, Diss, IP22 1PE, UK Contact: Tad Zurlinden Telephone: 08700 737475 Fax: 01379 641940 Email: email@example.com Website: www.arp-relocation.com The ARP is the professional association for the relocation industry in the UK. The ARP’s activities include seminars throughout the year, an annual conference, the publication of an annual Directory of Members and a website, which is updated regularly. THE EUROPEAN RELOCATION ASSOCATION (EURA) PO Box 189, Diss, Norfolk, IP22 1PE Telephone +44(0)8700 726 727 Fax: +44(0)1379 641 940 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.eura-relocation.com EuRA is an industry body for Relocation Professionals in both Europe and Worldwide. EuRa have launched The EuRA Quality Seal, the world’s first accreditation programme for relocation providers. This pioneering initiative provides a straight forward, cost effective audit to reflect your company’s excellence in providing relocation services.
FRAGOMEN 4th Floor, Holborn Gate, 326-330 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7PP Contact: Caron Pope, Partner William Foster, Partner David Crawford, Partner Telephone: +44 (0)20 3077 5000 Email: email@example.com Website: www.fragomen.com
As the world's leading provider of immigration legal services and advice, Fragomen has served the immigration needs of clients ranging from individuals to the world’s leading multinational corporations for 60 years. With 36 offices in 15 countries worldwide, Fragomen has the resources and the reach to provide strategic and effective immigration solutions for over 140 countries around the globe.
INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES ZURICH INTERNATIONAL LIFE Abbey Gardens, 4-6 Abbey Street Reading, Berkshire, RG1 3BA Contact: Adele Cox Telephone: +44 (0) 118 952 4253 Fax: + 44 (0) 118 952 4300 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.zurichinternational.com Zurich International Life is a global provider of life insurance, investment and protection products. Our corporate range offers flexible, portable solutions, designed to suit multinational organisations with an internationally mobile workforce. The International pension plan offers a cost effective, bundled retirement benefits solution comprising of trust services, investment funds and online administration. International group protection is designed to protect an employers’ most important asset – their employees – and offers a range of life and disability protection. With a local presence in key global business hubs and over 20 years experience of implementing and administering plans world wide, we’ve developed our knowledge and understanding of key markets to meet the needs of our customers and business partners.
INTERNATIONAL HR CONSULTANTS
DELOITTE LLP Stonecutter Court, 1 Stonecutter Street, London, EC4A 4TR Contact: Robert Hodkinson, Partner Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7007 1832 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7007 1060 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.deloitte.co.uk Whether you are creating your first international mobility programme for employees or addressing fundamental changes to an existing programme, our International Human Resources team can help. Deloitte provides consulting support that has an appreciation for each company’s size, background and unique cultural environment, aligning your international programme goals with corporate business strategies. Our consultants have developed deep expertise in many fields based on first hand experience with many of the world’s leading organisations: international assignment policy and process design, benchmarking, service delivery modelling, improving vendor management and helping our clients become more compliant and their administration more cost-effective. Spring International HR Adviser
DIRECTORY INTERNATIONAL MOVING
DT MOVING LTD 49 Wates Way, Mitcham, Greater London, CR4 4HR Contact: Tim Daniells Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7622 4393 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7720 3897 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.dtmoving.com DT Moving is a world leading international moving company. Founded in 1870 as Davies Turner, we provide an awardwinning* move management service for corporations who relocate their employees to locations all over the world. Whether your employee is moving to or from Europe, America, Asia-Pacific, Africa, or simply just around the corner, we manage the entire process. Our goal is your complete satisfaction from initial contact right through to delivery. With a customer satisfaction rating of 96% for 2011, we offer unrivalled quality at competitive rates.
RED GROUP OF COMPANIES The Bower, Langford Hall, Witham Road, Maldon, Essex, CM9 4ST Contact: Caroline Frostick-Seear and Amie Cutts Telephone: 01621 840600 Fax: 01621 856062 Email: email@example.com Website: www.redrecruit.com Red Recruit was founded in 2002 and specialises in the Relocation and mobility industry. We are a very professional, friendly and reputable company who have extensive knowledge within the industry. We have access to a large volume of potential candidates all seeking work in your industry all over the UK, we will be able to find you a suitable candidate to enhance your business. We personally understand the importance of finding the right calibre of staff for an organisation. By using our service we will take the pressure off you of finding a suitable candidate for your company, saving you time, money and effort, giving you the best attention at all times.
INTERDEAN RELOCATION SERVICES Central Way, Park Royal, London, NW10 7XW Contact: Barrie Gilmour Telephone: +44 (0)208 961 4141 Fax: +44 (0)208 965 4484 Email: London@interdean.com Website: www.interdean.com Thinking Relocation? Think Interdean. Whether looking to expand into new territories or to leverage your human capital in core international markets, Interdean has the relocation service to support the needs of your business and your relocating employees. Interdean provides the full range of relocation services to support businesses with international interests. Our Services: Relocation Management, Visa & Immigration, Area Orientation, Temporary Housing, Home Finding, School Search, Settlingin Assistance, Tenancy Management, Household International HR Adviser Spring
Goods Moving, Intercultural & Language Training, Relocation Expense Management, Moving & Relocation Insurance and other services available – please ask.
ACS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS ACS International School Heywood, Portsmouth Road, Cobham, Surrey, KT11 1BL, England ACS International School London Road (A30), Egham, Surrey, TW20 0HS, England ACS International School Hillingdon Court, 108 Vine Lane, Hillingdon, Middlesex, UB10 0BE, England ACS International School Al Oyoun Street, Al Gharrafa, PO Box 200568, Doha, Qatar Telephone: 01932 869 744 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.acs-schools.com Contact: Dean of Admissions ACS International Schools were founded in 1967 to serve international and local communities. The schools are non-sectarian and co-educational (day and boarding), enrolling students aged 2 to 18 years. The UK based schools have over 30 years’ experience of teaching the International Baccalaureate, and ACS Doha offers an international and American curriculum. ISL Group of Schools Two UK schools: Old Woking Road, Woking, Surrey, GU22 8HY 139 Gunnersbury Avenue, London, W3 8LG Tel: +44 (0)1483 750409 +44 (0) 20 8992 5823 Email: email@example.com Website: www.islschools.org Contact: Heather Mulkey The ISL Schools offer an international education with an important addition: mother tongue or modern language training from an early age. Academic research increasingly points to the importance for English as an Additional Language learners of gaining a solid language and literacy foundation in their own language. For English speakers, research supports the value of language learning in overall academic success. Looking towards our students' global future, multiple language facility will become increasingly valuable. ISL London is one of the first schools to offer the IB Diploma and next year celebrates its 40th Anniversary. TASIS THE AMERICAN SCHOOL IN ENGLAND Coldharbour Lane, Thorpe, Surrey, TW20 8TE Contact: Karen House Telephone: +44 (0)1932 582316 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.tasisengland.org TASIS England offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma, an American college
preparatory curriculum, and AP courses to its diverse community of coed day (3-18) and boarding (14-18) students from 50 nations. The excellent academic programme, including ESL, is taught in small classes, allowing the individualised attention needed to encourage every student to reach their potential. Outstanding opportunities in art, drama, music, and athletics provide a balanced education. Extensive summer opportunities are also offered. Located close to London on a beautiful and historic 46-acre estate.
BDO LLP 55 Baker Street, London, W1U 7EU Contact: Andrew Bailey Telephone: 020 7893 2946 Fax: 020 7893 2418 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.bdo.co.uk BDO LLP is the award-winning, UK Member Firm of BDO International, the world's fifth largest accountancy network with more than 600 offices in 100 countries. We have a partner-led approach, which delivers the highest quality of service by using short, functional chains of communication to aid decision-making. Clients benefit from our fresh thinking, constructive challenge and practical understanding of the issues they face. Developing strong, personal relationships with our clients is at the forefront of our service approach. Tax advice is just one of our award-winning services and our expatriate team give practical and direct advice, delivering solutions which suit your needs. DELOITTE LLP Stonecutter Court, 1 Stonecutter Street, London, EC4A 4TR Contact: Robert Hodkinson, Partner Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7007 1832 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7007 1060 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.deloitte.co.uk Deloitte’s Global Employer Services is comprised of approximately 2,600 people in over 80 countries. We take a holistic approach to international assignment tax compliance and planning, ensuring that proposed strategies deliver full value to our clients and their international assignees. As well as assisting with employer core compliance, such as tax returns and year end procedures, we provide an end-toend solution that covers a range of services from tax compliance services, payroll support and policy development, international assignment programme administration (“co-sourcing”) capabilities and global visa and immigration services. We also have a dedicated global team of GES technology professional.
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