Explosive growth in emerging markets has created a significant demand for companies to move workers around the globe to explore and seize new opportunities. At the same time, there has been an equally significant demand for companies to reduce their mobility costs. As a result, traditional employees are now more likely to be sent on short trips to fill specific business or customer needs, and project-based assignments are often more likely to be filled by a modern workforce that includes a variety of nonemployees.
A large majority of companies have seen an increase in these new types of assignments. Nevertheless, many still do not have formal guidelines for managing frequent crossborder travelers, and they admittedly fall short of properly educating their managers and mobile workers on the potential risks of these arrangements. Consequently, many vulnerabilities and misconceptions persist. Additionally, the growing prevalence of accidental expats has led to heightened scrutiny, incentivizing governments to crack down on business travelers and, with the assistance of technology, to become more adept at catching transgressions.
In short, the continued evolution of the mobile modern workforce has turned mobility from an HR administrative function to a high-risk, multifaceted
compliance concern involving immigration, tax and employment law challenges. In this environment, multinationals find themselves in an ongoing balancing act between the desire to cut costs and quickly fill critical talent shortages on one hand, and the desire to maintain compliance on the other. While many have embraced the “gig worker” as a creative way to fill the demand for skilled overseas labor, this approach is not immune to risk. Therefore, forward-thinking companies must adjust policies and procedures, create new systems, and expand institutional knowledge of rules in the countries where they do business. This will provide that the mobile modern workforce continues to be an asset and not a liability.
Our latest Global Immigration & Mobility publication outlines what companies can do now to ensure their modern workforce remains an asset, and not a liability.