As global teams become more remote and dispersed, the question on everyone’s lips is: What is the future of immigration?
COVID-19 has disrupted workforces the world over, as companies moved quickly to have their teams work remotely as the pandemic spread and lockdowns began.
While many companies still have employees working from home, other organisations are looking to start moving their people back into face-to-face working environments – and both are facing new challenges.
In this blog, we will discuss the impact of this trend towards remote work on immigration and global talent mobility, and the compliance issues employers now face as their people work remotely – indefinitely.
What is the future of immigration?
At TMA, we have been fielding questions regarding the impact of disruption to the workforce will have on immigration, as working remotely became a massive trend during the pandemic.
Will immigration still be relevant if people are working remotely?
The short answer is yes, most definitely.
Most likely that the mix of visas and immigration activities within a company will look different. For example, traditionally a company may have relocated staff to Australia on permanent assignment, whereas the future state might look different with companies allowing employees to work in their location of choice, and travel for short-term project-based work assignments in Australia, or they might just come to Australia for meetings and business travel.
Many industries still have a requirement for “boots on the ground” and in reality, some roles just cannot be performed remotely. In that circumstance, if there is a shortage of those skills in Australia then companies will need to consider hiring an foreign worker to fill the position.
Whatever the case, there is and still will be a significant need for immigration advice and help. There will always remain a desire for employees to move around the world, explore different cultures and gain new experiences.
There’s something still very attractive as having the option to relocate in a company’s employee value proposition. Also, some mobility is going to be required for business to function.
The future of the workforce will be different
Immigration is all about enabling people to move around the world, and having people on the ground in a physical office with a physical presence will still form part of many workplaces.
There will always be room for immigration and mobility because the future workforce will be hybrid.
Employers will need to look after both parties – the employees who want to remain working from home or remotely, and others who want to work in an office and be around people, manage people, converse with people and hear wants happening in the business through the corridor conversations.
People still need that social connection.
Companies with globally dispersed teams (also known as global teams, remote teams, or dispersed teams) – which is the future of work – may have people working remote from their presence, however, there will always be a need for people to be together and to collaborate, and companies will need to deal with mobility and travel for their employees.
Challenges companies are facing now
As companies seek to get their people back into an office environment they are facing new challenges.
What businesses are now discovering is that their people have moved away, moved overseas or don’t necessarily want to come back to a traditional working environment.
While the new hybrid workforce model now incorporates both face-to-face and virtual work situations, there is still a need for an immigration firm to be able to handle this future of work where people are going to be able to work in different locations and move between locations for various reasons.
Importantly, working remotely in a full-time capacity has created added considerations around risk and compliance. Employers need to make sure they have a clear understanding of where their people are working, where their intellectual property is going, and where their tax liabilities are being incurred.
Having the need for mobility and immigration advice is still extremely important when it comes to dealing with remote and global teams from a compliance standpoint.
People still want to work and collaborate together
While there was initial hype about working from home or working online with people giving up their offices and going fully remote won’t be the future of work because many employees still crave human connection.
What we have seen in our team is that they need to be connected and companies will want to build a culture around their people, for their people and a pure remote-work solution is not the direction that every organisation will take.
Some sectors will be able to embrace remote working more – such as the tech sector where employees really can work virtually or online, but still there is a question of physical presence where companies can build a culture and collaboration within a team.
Many organisations will require skills and boots on the ground, such as the health professionals or construction workers, or some of our TMA corporate clients bringing people to Australia for projects or client meetings.
The future of immigration is a positive and vibrant one and there will always be a need for companies to enlist the help and advice of immigration firms and professionals – it may just look different and the mix of what’s required may change.
And when that happens, The Migration Agency will be here to help companies that need boots on the ground with their immigration and global talent needs and requirements.
Work with the team at TMA
To work with our high-performance team who are passionate about leveraging the future of immigration and global talent for your company, please get in touch with us today.