ATD Blog

Are We Hired Yet? Using Mobile Technology to Speed Up Sluggish Immigration

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Executives from practically every industry consider talent from abroad, in addition to exploring the domestic market. As a result, thousands of determined personnel from HR departments and talent management sectors across the globe are now driving harder than ever to make international hiring a reality. With the ever-changing landscape of immigration policies, which vary greatly from country to country, obtaining talent from abroad can sometimes feel like an impossible and costly task—especially without access to the most cutting-edge and convenient solutions in mobility.

The Demand

In the coming months, the call for talent from abroad is only going to expand. Millennial and Generation Z employees, now flooding the business world, have expressed a desire to work overseas. Moreover, according to a study from the Council of Global Immigration, 74 percent of CEOs already feel that obtaining work visas in a timely, predictable, and flexible manner is critical to their business objectives.

So, what exactly is the holdup?

The Barriers

It’s no surprise that in today’s geo-political climate, immigration has become an especially tricky process. The following factors are all considered current and potential barriers to work visas and relocations:

  • role, skills, and experience requirements
  • age, gender, nationality, marital relations, and religion considerations
  • minimum salary requirements
  • ratio of foreign national–local employees
  • test of local labor markets
  • increasing documentation required, language requirements, and medical examination
  • accompanying family members
  • growing number of gig workers.

As countries such as Canada begin adopting policies to broaden the possibilities for foreigners through skills programs and beyond, many other countries such as the U.K., the United States, and Australia are tightening their processes to make the requirements more specific to the skills and talent requirements, which as a result is, in some professions, making work visas more difficult to obtain and retain. Singapore, for example, is raising its salary requirements for employees traveling with dependents. Keeping up with it all can be tough, resulting in unwanted violations and fines.

So, how can we meet business requirements for both employers and internationally mobile employees from abroad without slowing ourselves down? The answer lies in the modern innovation of mobility.


The Solution

Right now, there is a trend of government authorities leveraging technology—in particular, mobile technology—in immigration processing. Thanks to the use of top software, modern applications, and a growing awareness of smart solutions, some regions and countries are moving forward faster than others.

As a result, processing time is reduced, paperwork minimized, and information better stored and more easily accessible when needed. With real-time data whizzing back and forth, all parties involved can now stay 100 percent on top of renewals, termination dates, and policy updates to make sure their stays aren’t unintentionally disrupted.

The perfect example of utilizing mobile technology for overseas work relocations lies within Thailand’s Digital Work Permit, which went live on January 1, 2018. Currently available to Board of Investment-registered companies in Bangkok, Chang Mai, and Phuket, there are now fully functional mobile platforms for managing the permit on both Android and iOS devices. (Thailand’s Digital Work Permit will be launched for non-Board of Investment registered companies and nationwide by October 2018.)


Now, all foreigners will be able to retain a copy of their work permit on a mobile device, terminating the need to have the country’s physical blue work permit books on hand. Plus, employers and company reps will have access to the portal to submit applications, which can be done via the mobile app, and will also receive updates and copies of the final documents.

Taking Action

There are so many elements to consider when it comes to securing the right talent from another region. Understanding business and project needs, aligning client and business strategy with talent strategy, and grasping key factors that affect immigration is definitely a lot to handle at once! To be best prepared for audits and other potential complications, working with your immigration provider to keep up-to-date with change is key. Via the latest mobility tools and resources, staying connected and in touch with local authorities is now easier and more efficient than ever—and the trend is set to keep on growing.

The world is getting smaller by the nanosecond—and as it continues to connect through the magic of modern digital technology, industries of all kinds are discovering pools of talent in some of the most distant countries from their own. Now, we can finally use the latest advances in the technological space to bring us even closer together and break down physical barriers to learning and growth.

About the Author

Jennifer Baillie-Stewart is the global practice leader for Crown World Mobility’s Compensation and Immigration Services. She is charged with developing best practices while ensuring the delivery of high quality global compensation and immigration services. She joined Crown in 2016 and is based in the United Kingdom but travels extensively with her global role meeting with her teams and clients. Prior to joining Crown, Jennifer worked for 10 years in two large professional services firms delivering on a consultative and outsourced capacity delivering solutions to her client’s global mobility challenges.

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