6 Key Strategies to Get the Most from Your Global Immigration Provider
Hiring a specialist global immigration provider can be a significant investment. You’ve carefully weighed the costs against the benefits of knowing that your employees’ international business travel and immigration requirements are done correctly and that your company is in compliance with all applicable laws and protected from any adverse consequences of non-compliance. You’ve also weighed that against the hassles and risks of attempting to do it all in-house. You’ve done your due diligence and wisely chosen your global immigration provider.
But that’s not the end of the story. In fact, that’s actually just the beginning of the story. In order to ensure that you are getting maximum return on your investment, you need to establish the optimal working relationship with your global immigration provider. And any good global immigration partner will want that too. So from the perspective of one of the industry’s premier providers… here are Newland Chase’s six key strategies to get the most from your global immigration provider.
1. Formalize Your Program Governance and Compliance Structure.
Formalize your global mobility program’s leadership and structure. Who is responsible for business travel and immigration compliance? Designate a clear point of contact for your global immigration provider to communicate vital information and updates impacting your program. Schedule regular audits of data, records, and government-mandated filings to ensure compliance. Your global immigration provider should be more than simply a visa and permit processer, but a valuable source of guidance and recommendations on structuring and keeping your global mobility program compliant.
2. Identify Ownership of and Coordinate All Related Processes.
Identify all key stakeholder roles and responsibilities. While business travel and immigration processing and compliance is typically housed within the HR function in most companies, other key internal and external stakeholders may also need to be engaged – global mobility, talent acquisition, tax, legal, accounting, finance, benefits, relocation, and travel services. Make sure everyone knows who does what and that they are communicating. Regular meetings and other communication with your global immigration provider can ensure that both current assignments and future international workforce plans go smoothly.
3. Establish Global Consistency.
Establish standard, systematized processes for all international business travel and assignments, regardless of destination. Develop authorization forms, checklists, intake forms, process flows, document lists, assignment descriptions, and evaluation tools to improve your program’s performance. There is no need to “reinvent the wheel”. Your global immigration provider may already have many of these processes in place to support you.
4. Develop Written Policies.
Develop written global business travel and immigration policies covering visas and permits, use of third-party providers, travel arrangements, safety and security risks, communication, payment and reimbursement of fees, and compliance with applicable laws when traveling internationally for business or working long-term at international locations. Communicate your policies and have them readily available for employees to consult. Mandate compliance for all employees and in all international travel and assignments. An effective policy is only as good as its “buy in” and adherence by employees traveling and working internationally. Your global immigration provider can more efficiently and effectively support your employees when everyone is following the same plan.
5. Leverage Technology.
Wherever possible, make your job easier by utilizing the growing number of technology tools available for the global mobility industry. Use computerised travel and immigration systems to track and communicate necessary case information, process steps, deadlines, travel alerts, changes in itinerary, etc. While general office and case management software is better than manual systems, some global immigration providers offer sophisticated technology solutions which are designed specifically for global employee travel and immigration and can be customized to your program. One example is Newland Chase’s ImmigrationSMART®, which combines a continuously updated online global immigration process database, a customized case management tool, an immigration case assessment tool, and real time case tracking and reporting.
6. Develop Comprehensive Internal Training Programs.
Train your mobility team and your employees traveling or working internationally on the risk identification, avoidance, and response strategies. Make sure they understand the potential negative outcomes for the company and themselves of any noncompliance with laws and company policies. Regularly confirm that each person understands their role in keeping the company in compliance. Some global immigration providers, like Newland Chase, will periodically conduct in-house trainings for your team.
As in any good relationship, the alliance between you and your global immigration provider depends on connection, communication, and consistency. That relationship should be more than a phone number or email address you contact when an employee needs a visa or permit. Ideally, it should be a partnership where your efforts and the efforts of your provider are optimally aligned for the success of your company. While just a start, the above six strategies provide a good opener to an ongoing conversation and a great relationship with your global immigration provider.
This article was prepared by the team at Newland Chase, a specialist global immigration firm with 60 offices in 22 countries and a network of in-country partners covering an additional 100+ countries around the world. Its clients include many of the world’s largest multinationals to small- and medium-sized startups. Its professional team comprised of attorneys, registered migration consultants, and former government immigration officers understand the complexities of global immigration and seek to simplify the process to ensure the success of international business assignments.
This article is informational only and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. Readers are reminded that immigration laws are fluid and can change without notice. Please reach out to your Newland Chase contact for additional guidance. Written permission from the copyright owner and any other rights holders must be obtained for the reuse of this content beyond fair use or other statutory exemptions.