As the world gets more connected and individuals around the globe are choosing to work remotely from home, employers need to know how to address and manage certain issues that can arise as remote employees cross borders. Some of these issues are the possibility of tax problems and potential noncompliance with local employment laws and immigration laws.
Every country around the world has unique laws regarding employment, immigration, and taxes, all of which globally expanding companies need to become familiar with for every country where they are hiring. On top of those differences, each country may change its laws. Many countries are updating their immigration laws to allow visas specifically for remote workers.
Remote global employment offers a tremendous opportunity for workers and companies alike. This employment provides flexibility, freedom, and a better work/life balance. No wonder people choose to work remotely at home or the beach.
For companies, recruitment is wider than the local talent pool, which may need more supply. With so many talented and motivated individuals around the world ready and able to work for a global company, there is no shortage of qualified candidates.
As long as they follow local employment laws and pay the appropriate taxes, including income and payroll taxes, companies can hire employees from almost any country worldwide. A global employment solution such as Skuad can help your company hire compliantly in over 160 countries, making it even easier to form your remote teams.
Though there are many benefits to global employment for all parties involved, it does come with its challenges and potential drawbacks. One of those challenges is managing global mobility, which is relocating employees with a well-planned and well-defined international mobility policy. Continue reading for a guide on managing global mobility and handling the challenges arising when employees move across borders.
What Is Global Mobility?
Global mobility is the relocation of a company’s employees across borders. This relocation could result from job transfers, relocation to another country, and temporary foreign travel.
Employee relocation can be rewarding for both employee and employer but also presents challenges, including compliance with local immigration laws, employment laws, and tax laws. Wherever an employee may be, the local laws need to be followed. These laws differ worldwide, so when an employee lives in one country and moves to another, there could be completely different laws. For example, the new country may have a different minimum wage or leave entitlements. Employer and employee contributions to social security and other payroll taxes will also be different. These elements of relocation are just a few issues that the worker and company face.
What Is Global Mobility Services?
A good mobility program plans for and addresses the complexities and risks of employee mobility across borders and helps guide team members smoothly through the relocation process. Various professionals can take part in planning. Mobility experts and legal experts can be consulted to ensure policies are legal and plans encompass all the elements of relocation.
Elements of employee relocation that companies and their employment partners need to consider to minimize risks and liabilities include:
- Compliance with local employment laws
- Compliance with tax laws and regulations, including income tax withholding and contributions
- Making sure immigration laws are followed and ensuring the employee has the required work permits and immigration paperwork
Global mobility planning can help employees relocate more quickly and help employees learn about and understand the challenges they may face. This way, they reduce their chances of culture shock, have a better employee experience, and stay happy with their jobs wherever they may be located.
Some elements of global mobility that should be addressed to help employees include:
- Allowing employees to choose their new home country or travel destination
- Ensuring the employee understands the local customs and languages
- Planning for the move for employee family members, which includes looking for housing and schools
Global mobility services can help make the international mobility of a workforce more efficient, smooth, and compliant.
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Benefits of Global Mobility in Business
Allowing your employees to be mobile across borders can benefit your employees and your company. Employees may expect the freedom that comes from work that is not only remote but flexible. Flexible work allows employees to work when they want to run their lives, which gives them more freedom to run their lives. It can enable a better work/life balance.
Flexibility also allows for the freedom of location. Employees who travel to other countries and work there can expand their horizons to experience diverse cultures and ideas. They may be able to work on personal development in ways that wouldn’t be possible at home, which can make them stronger and more highly skilled employees who can use their newfound talents to help the company.
When employees move to another country, there should be no need to lose them to another job. Allowing and helping employees to relocate can help keep retention numbers high. Supporting the employee with the move so they can migrate and continue work seamlessly can further improve the employment experience and morale, resulting in a more productive workforce.
Strategies To Build a Global Mobility Program in Your Organization
Employers with relocating employees should ensure the relocation is as painless as possible for the employee to help them settle into their new country and return to work compliantly. This can happen with good planning, research, and the assignment of key personnel to facilitate the employee’s relocation as smooth as possible.
A global mobility coordinator can guide the employee throughout the process and be a liaison to other departments in the company, such as HR, finance, and legal, which can contribute to a successful global mobility program.
Company leadership should understand the importance of setting good global mobility policies and seeing that goals are being met. These goals can include ensuring employees are placed in the right roles, wherever the roles may be located. That employee relocation is done legally and as painlessly as possible.
When the employees have a good experience, the retention of top-quality team members stays high, morale remains high, and the company can continue to expand globally and succeed in more international markets.
Global Mobility Challenges
Some challenges of global mobility include the costs of the program and helping relocate employees, compliance with local laws, and ensuring local immigration rules and laws are being met by all relocating employees and their families. Every country has its employment laws and immigration policies, with different requirements regarding work permits and the maximum duration of visits. The legal departments and any third-party employment partners should carefully examine the specific laws of each country of relocation.
Finding highly talented employees and placing them in correct international assignments is another challenge. Employers must carefully assess and qualify each potential candidate for global roles so that the training and relocation costs are well spent.
For globally expanding companies, the ability to choose from a worldwide talent pool and hire foreign nationals has its advantages and benefits. There are potential drawbacks and legal pitfalls, however, especially if you’re not diligent in compliance with employment laws, payroll rules, and tax obligations of each country where your employees are physically located.
With the help of legal counsel, HR professionals, and mobility experts, an excellent global mobility program can be designed to seamlessly manage employee relocation and travel while staying compliant and providing a good employment experience.
Globally expanding companies need to consider several potential liabilities when hiring international employees, including compliance issues when employees move from country to country. Since each country has unique employment laws, companies must ensure employment laws are followed wherever their employees are located.
One of the ways to ensure compliance is for employers to use an employment and human resources outsourcing solution like an employer of record. An employer of record such as Skuad can compliantly hire employees on your company’s behalf and be the legal employer, ensuring laws are followed. Some of these laws involve immigration and making sure every employee has a visa, if required, and can legally work in the countries they may travel to.
To see how Skuad can help your company, contact us today for a demo.