July 18th • 2 min read
#Global Talent #Visa and work permit #Workforce solutions #Expat life

Strategic Moves in Global Mobility Post-Pandemic

Global human mobility has changed dramatically. The crisis has ignited additional pressure in the complex world of global mobility. Initially, cross-border movements of any kind whether it be family, tourism, or business were all curtailed. Unprecedented border closures appeared virtually overnight, throwing companies and expats into chaos. Panic and uncertainty were rampant, and foreigners found themselves either pursuing immediate repatriation or in some cases being stranded overseas.
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Responsiveness of global mobility experts.

With the sudden rise in changes to cross-border working arrangements and new regulatory implications, mobility professionals rose to the challenge. They worked with unparalleled responsiveness to prioritise the safety of those choosing to remain abroad. Global companies have always relied on a combination of domestic and international talent to build the workforce they need. Typically foreigners make up 1-2% of a global organisation’s workforce but in technical industries like engineering, it can be much higher due to the specialised nature of the workforce.


Impacts on technical players.

Slowly but surely, some countries made the bold choice to open their borders to tourism and work, while others preferred virus-elimination strategies and kept borders closed like Australia. So when it comes to moving people around the world to project sites, mobility regulations varied dramatically due to the country in question. Thanks to these intense travel restrictions, international mobility shrunk dramatically with over 66% of companies delaying or halting international assignments. But at what cost to organisations who were left with unfilled roles?


Work permit complexity increased. 

In the wake of COVID-19, most OECD countries saw changed restrictions and increased difficulty to obtain visas and work permits. The conditions for eligibility, processing times, and options available are constantly changing, which makes managing a global workforce harder than usual. As companies are expressing their desire to get people moving again, restarting mobility safely is a priority. The first step is understanding the changing landscape to identify the right pathways and streamline the application processing workload to increase the likelihood of success.


Skills shortages hurt.

For many companies, skills shortages and a lack of international mobility are deeply intertwined. Technical talent like engineers is harder to find. Especially with a specific set of skills like mining plant shutdowns for example. Prioritising local talent is always a smart move, but these border closures limit the search field to a pool too shallow. The reality of finding rare, highly skilled expertise in your backyard is unlikely especially given the intense competition for talent. “The border closures are preventing top talent from entering our markets so everyone is fighting for a minute amount of local talent,” said Nick Bell, Australian businessman.


The impact of a smaller talent pool.

Even pre-pandemic, the war on talent has been intensifying. Now with fewer experts available, wages are skyrocketing in today’s worker’s market. For smaller organisations, it can be tougher to compete with the allure of larger companies, as well as to afford inflated salaries. As a result, companies are electing to hire experts for a fixed period contract as this matches the trend of workers who are also shifting towards the preference of contract work.


Mobility of expats is essential.

The pandemic is forcing organisations to rethink their approach to global mobility. Building a world-class organisation means building a team with the world’s best talent. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that 15% of businesses reported an insufficient number of employees. In the world of heavy industries, without the right expertise and teams, new projects need to be delayed or even cancelled.


Mobility professionals get strategic.

There’s never been a better time to bring global mobility specialists to the strategic conversation to advance business goals. Finding and attracting talent has always been challenging and will only continue to be more challenging post-pandemic. The way we can move people internationally has changed dramatically and so defining the future of a company’s global workforce requires refinement.


Technical experts can still be expats.

For technical industries that rely on highly specialised experts, leaning on global mobility will continue to be a critical business strategy. With the increased complexity, partnering with global mobility experts will continue to be a smart move to simplify the new process of obtaining visas and work permits. Beyond eliminating the administrative nightmare, it can save time and money managing the logistics and requirements of relocations.


Zoé Braun

Content marketing specialist

Brand storyteller in more than just one language. She writes moving human stories and translates technical topics so they're easy to understand. Pretty nifty. She considers business is about building trust and long-lasting relationships. She gets jumpy if she doesn't get at least 3 weekly hours of sport, running, yoga, kitesurfing, - you name it!

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