In pandemic times there’s no room for inaccurate information around travel restrictions, immigration issues and what is possible to do today may not be true tomorrow.
Covid-19 has shown us that accurate information at the right time is essential. Global Mobility Managers have no doubt had a difficult time trying to plan operations and travel, staff up project teams around the world in the time of Covid-19. What holds true this morning can be totally obsolete knowledge this afternoon.
How is it even possible to stay abreast of all the developments in the immigration field these days?
The answer is that it can only be done by people with "skin in the game". Meaning that only local immigration experts with a large volume of ongoing cases can realistically stay on top of the "here and now".
We get many questions daily from people and companies that want to get real time data about travel possibilities.
- Can my new talent start working?
- What activities are allowed on a business visa?
- Is there quarantine, travel bans or proof of a PCR test upon arrival?
- Is it possible to stay in the home country and work for an extended period?
Case specific queries are typically not too hard to answer since we get all the information needed to assess the case. Is there a spouse with a different nationality, are they from the same country, have they lived together in the EU long enough to travel freely within the union and what about the Britons???
A good thing to always keep in mind is that immigration Law and practices are under constant review. Staying on par with the legal requirements and assuming that there are Covid-19 exceptions, even when it makes perfect sense. These assumptions can have a terrible outcome.
It can be a source of frustration for clients to get more questions than answers when seeking information. Yet, to get relevant answers a deeper understanding of the situation is needed. If questions are asked you can be sure that the person answering cares deeply about giving solid answers that are correct not just today, but also in the future. Detailed information is needed to give answers based on facts rather than assumptions.
So when we hear;
Why is that? Can’t you just tell me in general terms I don’t need the details?
Unfortunately, there are no general terms in immigration. The consequences are too serious and harmful to the traveler if something is missed. A serious protocol must be followed in order to avoid problems.
Argh, we don’t have time! It’s really urgent and this should have been done weeks ago and my colleague forgot about it.
We understand that and fortunately we are experts. We can just like a doctor in an emergency room can provide the same quality of care on a Tuesday morning as during an emergency. As long as we can put other things aside. The emergency program is there to help you if you have a colleague that forgot to sort this out weeks or even months ago.
These things happen, it’s the famous ketchup effect when a case starts rolling it’s usually urgent. Many topics need to be addressed in order to get a new talent settled in a new country and be ready to start working. Global Mobility professionals have a complex project ahead of them, and not seldom is a project team desperate to get the new talent to join and contribute will put immense pressure on HR to fix it.
Also, these days (I refuse to write “in these challenging times”) before answering every situation needs to be double and triple checked in order to take any temporary bans or new rules into consideration.
So how can HR and Global Mobility Specialists get a peace of mind?
Having up-to-date knowledge and a full picture view is a job where you need to have our finger in the pot at least on a weekly basis to trust your basic instincts with immigration matters. Even so, before moving forward a real time check on a number of criteria must be made in order to safeguard the talent’s travel and compliance on a number of issues.
My experience is that few people have the real time data nor the volume of cases needed to gain that kind of information that can only be achieved by niche experts having many diverse cases ongoing at one time.
These days, the most common question we get is what UK nationals can do on a business visa. There are three answers;
*this is what the business visa allows
* then there's Covid-19
* Brexit now being real.
They are no doubt in a pickle and the virus isn’t making it any easier to predict when travel will be possible, for whom and when.
The only thing that is certain is that change is constant and that currently the changes are more frequent than we have experienced in 26 years. To have a solid understanding of immigration with a longterm passion for it is very helpful.
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