Live with Ray Kirby, Senior Manager of Talent Mobility at Twitter




On Wednesday January 27th 2021 The View From The Top Live with Brian Friedman welcomed Ray Kirby, Senior Manager of Talent Mobility at Twitter, along with Julia Onslow-Cole at Fragomen and Pat Jurgens at AIRINC.

Show Notes

Ray Kirby is one of the most admired Global Mobility Managers in the world.  His Mobility career started in 2007 and has spanned stints at Graebel, Cartus, Nordstrom, and Twitter, where he is their Senior Manager of Talent Mobility.  Ray is a Talent Mobility Guru, President of the Puget Sound Relocation Council, a D&I Advocate, and one of Benivo’s GM Top 100 finalists.  On this episode we discussed Ray's career back story, his passion for D&I, implementing a WFH policy, and Talent Mobility at Twitter.

Ray did not plan a career in Mobility, rather, he had hopes of becoming an attorney, liken to that of Elle Woods.  However, upon graduating in 2007 with a Masters Degree in Public Policy and Administration and through conversations with a friend teaching in South Korea, Ray found himself on a plane heading to Asia.  After his time in South Korea, Ray found his way back to the US, making his home in Seattle where Ray began his Mobility career with Cartus, working as a language trainer for Microsoft. 

Ray now works with Twitter’s team of mobility professionals managing the company’s lump sum and capped move program that relocates between 200 – 300 Tweets (Twitter employees) per year, as well as managing their business travel program.  Ray shared some of his thoughts and predictions with us about what trends he feels will become popular in Mobility as we embark on 2021.

In the future of mobility, Ray sees a paradigm shift occurring of moving the jobs to the people, therefore, continuing a work from anywhere/work from home trend.  In the future, a hybrid solution of work from home and in-office collaboration, will be more commonplace.  For the younger workforce, corporates really do need to become more flexible and encourage employees to be in the driver’s seat of what works best for them to be most productive in terms of hours worked and location.  Mobility providers should look to create an ecosystem where vendors who are an extension of the mobility team, can talk and automate processes in efforts of providing a seamless experience for the relocating employee. 

In short Ray has some predictions for Mobility that are no doubt, brought on by the boom of remote work during the pandemic.  Among them, offices will be used more for collaboration and not every day traditional work use, corporates will offer more inclusive benefits for remote workers such as wellness benefits, employees will begin to ask for larger temp housing units in order to accommodate the new norm of working from home, and the emergence of nontraditional policies by way of more virtual assignments, commuter and rotational assignments, and lump sum relocations with digital enhancements to create a better employee experience.


The Immigration Update

by Julia Onslow-Cole at Fragomen

1. Joe Biden entered the White House as the 46 th US President and has set out broad policy priorities to tackle the economic impacts of the pandemic and has articulated a goal to pursue bipartisan solutions on matters including immigration.
2. The proposed “ US Citizenship Act 2021 “contains a great package of reforms including a pathway to permanent residence and citizenship to several classes of vulnerable migrants including those covered by DACA. However there are limits to what Biden can accomplish through legislation given the slim majority the Democrats have in the Senate.
3. The Muslim Bans have been revoked and the COVID travel bans re imposed with tighter measures.
4. The Trump administration’s H1-B cap allocation rule and DOL prevailing wage rule have been made subject to a Regulatory Freeze and the DHS rule that would have redefined employer and employee relationships and provided anyone who is a secondary employer to file an H1-B petition ,was never published before inauguration.
5. We anticipate further announcements on Immigration Day - 29th January.


The Tax Update

by Pat Jurgens, Director, Global Tax Research and Consulting at AIRINC

Italy's expatriate tax concessions are being extended to remote workers. The Italian tax authorities have recently issued tax regulations clarifying rules for the expatriate tax regime:

  1. If an employee takes up Italian tax residency after 1/1/2020, Qualifying inbound employees can claim a 70% tax exclusion on employment income.
  2. Qualifications:
    • Must have been non-resident of Italy for at least the two prior years
    • Must commit to be Italian tax resident for the following two years, working mainly in Italy. Therefore, do not utilize assignments less than 24 months.
  3. Can use the expat tax regime for up to 5 years.  Can also request an extension for another 5 years, but exclusion rate drops from 70% to 50%, and must meet further qualifications such as purchase of real estate in Italy or having qualifying children.
  4. Special rules apply for certain scientific and academic professions and for employees living and working in South Italy.  This allows qualifying employees to claim a higher 90% exclusion.  Southern regions that qualify for the 90% rate: Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Puglia, Sardinia, and Sicily.
  5. Bottom-line:  Brings the top marginal rates down from approx. 45% to 13% for those qualifying for the 70% exclusion (or 5% for those qualifying for 90% exclusion.
  6. Regulations issued in December confirm that employees working for non-Italian employers can qualify for the expat concession.  Effectively, remote workers that move their tax residency to Italy to work for an employer based abroad can qualify for the expat tax regime.
  7. Importantly, this also means that the non-Italian employer now has potentially created a corporate taxable presence in Italy, that Permanent Establishment is triggered.  Great for the employee but maybe additional tax cost for the foreign employer.
  8. Also note that the Italian government extended their COVID state of emergency until April 30, 2021.

Czech Republic (AKA Czechia):  Major Tax Reform has been approved and the new tax rules are effective Jan 2021.  The new tax law includes significant changes to how individual tax liabilities are calculated.  These include:

  1. Abolishing the concept of “Super-Gross Salary” for employees.  Prior to 2021, the employee’s taxable compensation included the employer contributions to mandatory Czech social security - equal to 24.8% of salary up to a maximum plus 9% uncapped for mandatory health insurance.  Effectively, the employee paid for employer contributions out of after-tax income.
  2. Abolish the Solidarity Surcharge of 7%.
  3. In place of Super-Gross salary and the Solidarity Surcharge, new progressive income tax rates will be introduced.  Currently, a flat tax rate of 15% is assessed on taxable compensation.  The new progressive rates will begin with 15% and add a new top rate of 23%.
  4.  It is expected the net effect of these changes will be tax savings for most employees except potentially for higher incomes and should provide a boost to Czech economy impacted by COVID-19.