Employers Expect Increase in Demand for Global Mobility

New research reveals that despite the increase in remote work, employers expect an increase in demand for global mobility.

According to a survey of over 500 HR leaders conducted in March, employers expect global mobility to continue to play a significant role in their organization despite the widespread adoption of remote work and the toll the pandemic has taken on outbound travel. In fact, sixty-eight percent of respondents anticipate an increase in demand for outbound immigration assignments, with 24% of respondents believing this demand will reach beyond pre-pandemic levels.

Driving this increase in demand will be the need to place high-skilled talent who were previously unable to secure U.S. work authorization, as well as expansion into new locations. Remote work is here to stay, but that doesn’t mean organizations aren’t planning return-to-work strategies which include mobility teams evaluating the return to business travel. Perhaps unsurprisingly, identified hurdles included vaccine availability and immigration restrictions in destination countries.

Visa Sponsorships Persist Despite Difficulties

Travel restrictions in the U.S. continue to persist, but so does visa sponsorship. Ninety-six percent of respondents said that sourcing foreign talent remains an important element to their organization’s talent acquisition strategy, while 59% percent of respondents expect their company’s foreign national headcount to increase, compared to 53% last year. And while remote work has been widely adopted, 71% of employers indicated that this will not impact their number of foreign national sponsorship.

While visa sponsorship continues for employers, many indicated that border and consular closures have been the biggest pain point, in addition to 54% reporting that the lack of available visas has been more challenging than under the previous administration. In the face of visa difficulties, employers have turned to the green card: 74% of respondents indicated that their organization has sponsored a foreign national for permanent residence.

These difficulties in the U.S. travel and immigration system, and overall lack of predictability compounded by the global demand for talent, have led employers to enhance their focus on Duty of Care, with 75% of respondents saying that their organization has increased these provisions, while 78% have added or revised their policies and vendors to focus on Duty of Care.

Employers Identify Remote Work Challenges

For those employers grappling with remote work, the top challenges identified by the survey were tracking employee location, document collection, and communication with foreign nationals. These issues demonstrate how, over the course of a year, the pandemic prompted companies to rethink their policies and operations to keep employees safe and healthy while ensuring successful business continuity.

Worldwide ERC®’s new research on remote work found that over the past year, leaders had to act quickly and strategically to address unexpected considerations in navigating workplace policies, including with regards to employee management, benefits allocation, and compliance not seen before on such a global scale. Remote work policies are still evolving as employers also navigate the future of travel, immigration, Duty of Care, and more, with global mobility leading the way in where work is going.

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