Global Mobility trends in Asia | Part two: Asian diversity, compliance & strategies

Companies with headquarters in Asia are known for their rapid deployment of employees for international employment arrangements – which is not only a business expectation but also a regional cultural trait. Given the complex immigration regulations throughout the region there is a delicate balancing act to ensure that whilst moving people is executed quickly, there is also a need to understand and maintain compliance by educating HR and business management on the financial and reputational implications of non-compliance. is a very risky one with potential important

Immigration issues are diverse in Asia, more so for example, than in Europe, and this can create challenges for HR mobility professionals who are accountable for this region. This challenge is magnified by the previous insight, shared in post #1 of this series, that they are seeking to provide regional or global oversight within a matrix management structure of empowered local action. Not all ‘in-company’ HR resources can be immigration specialists, with timely awareness of the regular changes in government policies and requirements, and even less so across multiple, diverse markets. An HR professional is often covering a wide continuum of people activities and may ‘dip in and out’ of mobility related tasks, where a simple mistake can have severe repercussions from both a people and organisational perspective. The cost of a rejected visa application is rarely enjoyable – with potential commercial cost implications, especially where there is a client expectation to commence a project on a certain date. Subject to the organisation’s approach on what is core and what is best delivered through a specialist external partner, organisations can either hire their own internal specialists or partner with external specialist providers, who maintain current legislative knowledge across the region and offer an agile, just-in-time, scalable solution. Where there is more time to execute the deployment, internal resources may be the right option, but will there be sufficient international hires or transfers to justify a full-time employee resource?

Organisations and governments work on different agendas and timescales and often the two agendas create conflict in the alignment between the global movement of people and the restrictions placed on migration by national policies. Over the past couple years, we have experienced a rise in protectionism from in Asian countries, who are making it harder to allow foreigners to work in their countries. There are some however, such as Singapore, China and Thailand who have recently been issuing specific type visas for skilled professionals to stimulate growth in targeted industries and their economy. Strategy-based programmes have also been adopted by governments.

Discover part one of this series: Global Mobility trends in Asia: The role of HR/Global Mobility professionals.

Related resources: 

Research report: Santa Fe Relocation Global Mobility Survey 2019; REVISION: Mobility through the looking glass – a survey of 703 global mobility professionals, 53 business leaders and interviews with Global HR Directors between January and February 2019

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