Insights from the Worldwide ERC® Virtual APAC Summit

Last week, mobility leaders and peers came together for a virtual summit to discuss the Asia-Pacific region’s (APAC) economy, immigration, and work from anywhere policies.

From immigration and the state of the global economy to tax and remote work compliance for a distributed workforce – these trending topics and more were discussed last week at the Worldwide ERC® Virtual APAC Summit focusing on the Asia-Pacific region. In case you missed it, here are some of the highlights from the summit, which you can view in full over in our Learning Portal now.

Economic Overview and State of Work in the APAC Region

Worldwide ERC® President and CEO Lynn Shotwell kicked off the event, followed by Brendan McKenna of Wells Fargo who gave a global economic outlook. Following an obvious decline in the global economy over the past year, Q1-2021 saw robust growth, with the service sector leading an expected 6% expansion. Advanced economies are likely to grow around 5%, with McKenna delving deeper into economies like China and India, and what their economies are likely to face over the next year.

Greg Chen, PT Outsource Indonesia, spoke about threats and opportunities for relocation. A fragmented supply chain, lack of commonly applied standards around recruitment and skills training, inconsistent technology, and differing standards and publication of jobs from country to country are just a few. The need for migrant workers is likely to increase, and countries “may need to re-evaluate housing, immigration, and permit policies to address worker shortages,” said Chen.

APAC’s Immigration Snapshot

Mark Buchanan, regional partner for APAC at Fragoman, provided the landscape of current immigration policies across the APAC region. In Taiwan, for example, visa-exempt entry for qualified nationals and visa on arrival have been suspended, while in Thailand, a state of emergency has been extended until 31 July 2021. With vaccination rates varying around the world, the issue of vaccination certificates has been explored in various parts of Asia. Looking ahead, such issues as talent attraction, stricter policies, and innovation and digitalization are top of mind for the APAC region.

Charles Johanes, Special Counsel and Regional Practice Leader, APAC Advisory and Compliance at Fragomen, delved into compliance issues throughout the APAC region. Increased government enforcement and compliance checks, local worker protections, and remote work are just a few compliance trends. Going forward, Johanes said, it will be important for organizations to transform their immigration and mobility programs to adapt to the post-COVID landscape while leveraging technology and maintaining high levels of engagement with stakeholders.

Working from Anywhere in the APAC Region

Closing out the APAC Summit was a panel on cross-border and location-based compliance as workers continue to work from anywhere. Fiona Williams (Aires), Tom Crosby (Tracker Software Technologies), Voon Lee (Voon & Associates), and Ruiyuan Tan (Grant Thornton Singapore) started by discussing immigration compliance, especially when it comes to mitigating certain risks and costs that come with remote work. The same can be said for taxes, where employer compliance around an individual’s income tax and residency as they work from home remain top of mind for employers.

“Mobility teams…are being dragged into all sorts of conversations about lots of different compliance topics and are typically leaned upon very heavily by other people in the organization,” said Crosby, highlighting the strategic importance that mobility professionals play in compliance for employers. To help mitigate risks, implementing tools such as travel technology, can assist these mobility professionals manage the shifting landscape of mobility post-COVID, while remaining focused on communication.

Join the Conversation!

What other conversations are happening around APAC, immigration, tax, and compliance in your organizations? Let us know what’s top of mind by starting or joining the conversations happening now in our community. Did you miss the virtual APAC Summit? Don’t worry – you can access the recording of each session in our Learning Portal now! Check it out and let us know what you think.

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