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Behind the curtain of… corporate immigration

Behind the curtain of… corporate immigration

Gulf Business speaks to partner at Fragomen Worldwide Murtaza Khan

Behind the curtain of... corporate immigration

What exactly is corporate immigration?

Mobility and employment of people across borders is crucial for businesses in global markets. This means getting the right people to the right place in the right time to serve your customers. Corporate immigration refers to assisting and providing advice in relation to the appropriate visas, work permits and residency requirements for foreign national workers and their accompanying families.

Whether it is a short business trip or a long-term deployment, employers must comply with immigration requirements. It can be difficult for large global businesses to manage the movement of hundreds or often thousands of people worldwide, or even for a small business to navigate increasingly complex procedures and requirements. This is where a firm like Fragomen provides the appropriate knowledge, expertise and technology tools.

How popular are such services in the Gulf Cooperation Council?

The GCC is estimated to have 48 per cent of the total population as foreign nationals. As a result, the need for corporate immigration services is quite prevalent. Corporate immigration touches almost every business in this region.

What are the biggest challenges you face with regards to operating in regional markets?

GCC immigration regulations are relatively new and they are constantly evolving to cater to growth. For businesses and organisations to keep abreast of these is a challenge. Furthermore, priorities of the respective GCC governments mean that they cater to other larger issues at hand. These include employment of local nationals, maintaining security and the mix and quality of skill sets required.

For example, nationalisation programmes are important to ensure long term sustainability of the economy, but in the short term, place constraints and costs on businesses. Maintaining the balance between immediate business objectives and government requirements can be a significant challenge.

Is the sector heavily regulated or do you believe more rules are required?

Whilst some countries implement administrative requirements, in general, the sector is not heavily regulated. Since immigration rules are becoming more sophisticated and complex, the pool of expertise is somewhat limited. An accreditation process for professionals in this sector would strengthen the market.

Where do you see the industry heading in the near future?

The industry is evolving and corporate mobility continues to increase with new markets opening up and competitive forces pushing companies to be present in the markets their customers operate in. At the same time, regulations get tighter and with global factors such as the migrant crisis in Europe, it will remain key for companies to strategically plan to ensure they can continually deliver to the needs of their customers.

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