Following the pandemic, immigration and staff mobility has become an important topic for Australian businesses and HR Professionals. Although at the beginning of 2021 we were seeing light at the end of the tunnel, there’s still a way to go until we find a new post-COVID-19 normal.
Firstly, and most important of all, whilst there are restrictions and limitations on business travel and Australian visas generally, there are exemptions and critical business and personal travel is still happening… albeit at a reduced rate. At The Migration Agency (TMA), we’re confident that the current situation will improve as we progress through 2021.
Australia’s pandemic response and results have been impressive and we’re undoubtedly seen as a relatively safe place to live and do business. However, restrictions have placed pressure on domestic talent pools, and in some sectors looking to overseas candidates is a necessity. These factors along with the other economic and lifestyle benefits make Australia an attractive country, poised to see a surge in business and investment migration in the near future.
For medium-sized to large businesses, this means having a good understanding and strategy around global mobility and sourcing, which, of course, goes hand in glove with immigration. To help businesses take advantage of the opportunities the current market and travel allowances present, the TMA has produced a global mobility checklist, which can be accessed here:
Changes have happened across employer-sponsored visas, so it’s important for businesses to regularly review new updates, announcements and rules. Remaining compliant with be essential in 2021 for smooth business operations, recruitment and mobility.
Generally speaking, businesses should consider:
1. Compliance and transparency
Ensuring full compliance with laws on employment, immigration, taxation, etc even within a single country can be complex. The challenge is even greater when it comes to talent management across several geographies particularly when there are changing rules and processes regarding international travel and immigration. As such, having a relationship with a strategic immigration specialist is more important than ever.
Like with everything, however, no two businesses are the same. For example, at TMA, over and above our legal and technical expertise, we go to great lengths to ensure we understand and can deliver against a client’s commercial requirements. Dealing with companies from innovative tech startups to large corporates, we’ve found this is something our clients appreciate and the reason they partner with us.
So, before contracting a global mobility or migration specialist, be sure to understand their ability to support both your legal/compliance and business needs.
2. Impact of Covid on immigration application processing
In order to sponsor employees on visas, companies need to demonstrate that they’re continuing to lawfully operate in Australia and remain compliant with employment and immigration laws, even with changes caused by the pandemic.
During Covid-19, some companies may have reduced or changed their operations to remain solvent and function safely. However, the Australian Government has actively sought to provide support and concessions to companies who have experienced a downturn but continue to operate and require access to foreign workers. If this applies to your business, it’s wise to consult with an immigration expert to see if your company is still eligible for visa sponsorship and how to address these matters in your application.
3. Mobility, security and communications
When a global workforce leaves their home country and moves to Australia to work for your business during Covid, it can require a lot more communication in order to ensure they feel the new environment is safe and secure for them. This should be part of the onboarding process, keeping new starters aware of what’s happening in Australia and what to expect on arrival, especially if they’re traveling with their family.
Currently, that would include informing candidates about travel exemption processes, limits on international arrival numbers and flight availability, pre-departure health checks and quarantine requirements. As we saw with the Australian Open players, there was a clear misunderstanding in entry and quarantine protocols, which lead to high-profile and very public criticism of both Tennis Australia and the immigration process, which could have been prevented with more thorough communications.
4. Having someone in your corner
Whilst the world is more connected than ever and video meetings, virtual teaming, and remote recruitment now commonplace; nothing can be more genuine and effective than having an on-the-ground mobility and migration specialist with local knowledge and connections working directly with HR and management teams. Our immigration specialists have helped many clients to navigate the border restrictions and manage immigration and quarantine processes, from re-uniting stranded employees to relocating critical employees and their families to Australia.
Business is, after all, all about people… so working directly with a specialist migration provider that understands and cares about your business and employee wellbeing is a must.
5. Don’t limit your business unnecessarily
Although travel limitations and restrictions are in place, what many businesses aren’t aware of is that it’s still possible for employers to recruit and sponsor international talent. In fact, with Australia being such an attractive destination for skilled workers to migrate to and the Government measures in place to facilitate critical business travel, now is a great time for employers to consider roles they may need to hire from overseas talent pools.
If you’re trying to find workers from abroad for an open position, TMA can help you throughout the process to resolve/complete:
• Immigration strategy and workforce planning
• Assessing the eligibility of employees for visas
• Planning, preparing and lodgment of visa applications for successful outcomes
• Business growth / expansion to Australia and compliance
• Information sessions and briefings, advocacy and policy advice.
Global mobility checklist
At The Migration Agency, we help guide our clients manage their immigration programs and guide employees through the visa application process to achieve successful results. It’s not always easy to navigate the HR, legal and business requirements of immigration – that’s why we’ve created a simple global mobility checklist to help anyone looking to hire internationally. Download it here:
Do you need more support?
At The Migration Agency, one of our company values is “We get it sorted”. If you just need results and want support with compliant immigration solutions that are in line with government regulations and best practices, reach out to TMA today. Work directly with us and receive expert advice from specialist lawyers and consultants who have a deep understanding of immigration and can offer solutions based on the commercial realities of your business.
The Migration Agency can help you with the visa application process from start to finish. If you want a smooth, streamlined application process with a high likelihood of approval, get in touch with TMA today.