Strategy and Compliance
Strategy and Compliance
Are you opening an office or acquiring an entity in a foreign country? Or perhaps you need to increase staffing due to a particular project or client demand and are considering hiring foreign nationals to meet the need? In any of these scenarios, having a simple, effective immigration strategy is key to avoid either delays in on-boarding employees or accidental unauthorized employment scenarios. Key considerations may include:
Opening a new office – We work closely with the corporate team charged with incorporating the legal entity, as in most countries it is crucial that a legal entity be fully established (often with a physical office and local staff) before foreign employees may be brought in. Where this is not possible, we can explore a variety of alternatives, including sole representative and investor options.
Acquiring an entity in a foreign country – We work closely with the legal and business teams charged with carrying out the acquisition to ensure that the company being acquired has the proper visas and permits for key staff, as well as to identify and mitigate any negative impact a change in ownership may have on existing visas and permits.
Increase in staffing – Many countries limit the number or percentage of employees that can be foreign nationals, while others require companies to apply for advance permission for quotas or slots before being able to file individual visa applications. Some countries also require companies to comply with very specific labor market testing requirements (including posting adverts on certain websites for a specified number of days) to demonstrate that they have first attempted to recruit qualified local workers before offering the position to a foreign national. It is crucial that any such requirements are followed exactly or the immigration process may need to be restarted, delaying a new employee’s start date by weeks or even months.
Over the past ten years countries around the world have increased both the complexity of their immigration rules and their focus on compliance and enforcement mechanisms. Coupled with a rise in the use of portals and other technology systems, companies are increasingly finding that there is very little room for error when it comes to immigration compliance. Where companies once were able to gamble with immigration compliance by hoping that they would not be the target of an (uncommon) immigration site inspection, countries are now increasingly automating compliance checks such that detection of non-compliance is becoming the norm rather than the exception.
In this environment, having a system in place to ensure that the company is compliant with immigration rules is essential. But often HR professionals are burdened with the task of ensuring compliance, in addition to their myriad other duties. We partner with our clients to help them implement and streamline immigration compliance systems and procedures so that they no longer have to worry fines or business disruptions that can result from coming out on the wrong side of the immigration rules.