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The Importance of Immigration Compliance for Remote Work Programs

As remote work arrangements become more popular across organizations globally, mobility teams must understand and address the associated immigration risks and compliance considerations. In our recent The View From The Top show, Charlotte Wills from the Fragomen, discussed the key drivers behind the rise of remote work policies, including accessing global talent pools, enhancing employee experience, and aligning with government initiatives like digital nomad visas.

Wills emphasized that "introducing these policies is not without risk and there's a multitude of compliance considerations." Immigration is one of the core areas of concern when employees work remotely from another country. Even short-term remote work can potentially trigger immigration requirements like visas or work permits in many jurisdictions.

Failing to comply with immigration laws can expose organizations to monetary penalties, reputational damage, disruption of workforce mobility, and even criminal liability in extreme cases of negligence. As Wills states, "developing resilient operating models" by leveraging technology solutions is critical to mitigate these immigration risks for remote workers.

Beyond just immigration, there are also related compliance aspects around tax, benefits, data security, and crisis management that need to be addressed cohesively. Mobility teams cannot look at immigration in isolation but as part of an integrated compliance framework for remote work.

National governments are increasingly rolling out special visa categories like digital nomad visas to attract remote workers, which can provide structured optimized methods for compliant remote work if programs meet the eligibility criteria. However, companies still need robust processes to track remote work activities and statutory requirements across their workforce globally.

In summary, while remote work policies are a rising priority to access global talent and meet employee needs, mobility teams must be proactive about immigration compliance. Investing in technology, updating policies/processes, training stakeholders, and seeking expert guidance are key steps to managing the complex web of immigration risks that come with remote work arrangements. Building a resilient compliance model is essential for organizations to realize the full potential of remote work opportunities safely and sustainably.

You can access the complete discussion here.  Don't forget to register for our upcoming show on Measuring ROI in Global Mobility.

Michelle Curran
Created on 20-5-2024