Mobility 4.0: Global Talent Mobility and Immigration

This article originally appeared in the May edition of Mobility Magazine.

First in a series on Industry 4.0: Immigration, tax, and innovation impact on global talent mobility.

“Five years from now, over one-third of skills (35 percent) that are considered important in today’s workforce will have changed. By 2020, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will have brought us advanced robotics and autonomous transport, artificial intelligence and machine learning, advanced materials, biotechnology, and genomics. … What is certain is that the future workforce will need to align its skill set to keep pace.”
— 2016 World Economic Forum Agenda, Davos, Switzerland

2018 marks the beginning of a new era in global talent mobility—the coming of age of Gen X, Y, and Z entrepreneurs and cutting-edge innovation.

Tech buzzwords abound—quantum computing, analytics, AR/VR, AI, neural networks, fintech, blockchain, and IoT, to name a few. Not to be outdone, the tax and immigration realm is also undergoing its own revolution. Compliance “buzz-initialisms” abound—BEPS, BEAT, FATCA, MNE, ICT, OECD, CbC—which can be added to the long list of already established global mobility acronyms. Add the current climate of unpredictability in global politics and trade, and we are in a time of unprecedented fear, speculation, and hope.

Industry 4.0

The 15 February publication of “Forbes Insights With Deloitte” characterizes the Fourth Industrial Revolution (aka Industry 4.0, 4IR, and i4.0) as “the marriage of the physical world with digital technologies like analytics, artificial intelligence, cognitive technologies, and the Internet of Things (IoT).” Preceding 4IR were Industry 1.0 of the steam engine (circa 1784), Industry 2.0 of the assembly line and mass production (circa 1870), and Industry 3.0 of computers and the dawn of automation (circa 1969); and now there is Industry 4.0 of the present and coming decades.

It is widely anticipated that Industry 4.0 will create massive growth and productivity, and will change the global flow of goods and services.With 4IR there will be significant job loss to automation, but it will also lead to significant job creation through innovation. New job creation will mean a massive push both for reskilling and upskilling the local workforce, including “veteran” workers over age 40, along with a strong demand for highly skilled STEM talent, found both locally and globally.

Mobility 4.0

Discoveries and inventions are leading the way to radical transformation in global job markets. Jobs are being redefined on a daily basis. Along with Industry 4.0 comes our own Mobility 4.0—the convergence not only of technological innovations on the workforce, but also of immigration talent profiles and integrated tax compliance.

This series will discuss the impact of Mobility 4.0—immigration, integrated tax compliance, and innovation—on the realm of global talent mobility.

Global Talent Mobility and Immigration

In global immigration circles, “best and brightest” schemes have been used as a term to describe the foundational changes of merit-based immigration in countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore and the U.K. Now, the concept of a more stringent, merit-based immigration scheme has arrived on the shores of the U.S. Mainstay work visa categories such as H-1B and L-1B are under far more intense scrutiny than in recent memory. U.S.companies are scrambling to adjust strategy to fill positions that require immediate and specifically skilled talent as those in their foreign talent pool await approval of their visas.

Coupled with this shift in global talent strategy is the anticipated July “go-live” roll out of automatic exchange of tax information across multiple countries with regard to multinational enterprises’ (MNE) sales, location of talent, and business activities and the business structure of MNEs operating in multiple countries. With major changes in the U.S. tax code, along with implementation of a multilateral tax reporting regime by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), immigration regulations may or may not be changing fast enough or be designed to protect against inadvertently creating a tax or permanent establishment nexus in one or more countries.

Read the rest of this article in this month’s edition of Mobility Magazine.

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