International mobility threatened by worldwide instability and tightening visa laws

Published:  11 Jan at 6 PM
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A recent report is showing a strong decline in the numbers of Britons being sent overseas by their employers.

The Brexit effect may well be the cause of a decline in the number of Britons being sent on secondment or assignment to worldwide destinations, according to a recent report. Just two years ago, 13 per cent of all overseas assignments were for British professionals working at UK-based companies, with the figure for 2017 falling to nine per cent. Another reason for the decline may well be the changed political climate and its resulting immigration complications.

International business owners fully acknowledge the need for employee mobility as it boosts commercial growth, but are reluctant to take on the costs of relocation when it means continuous problems with foreign bureaucracy. According to the report, the UK is still open for business in spite of speculations over its world position post-Brexit. UK-based companies are now taking a shorter-term approach including increased numbers of travels on business rather than full-time relocation.

The report also showed the UK is still high on the list for expat professional relocation from overseas, set just behind China and the USA. America is still a favourite business destination for high-flyers, despite the ongoing uproar caused by the Trump presidency, with 20 per cent of all relocations heading across the pond. China comes in at second place due to its increasingly open door policy towards foreign investment and international business.

In spite of increasing difficulties as regards international mobility, the trend is well set to continue as smaller multinationals encourage movement of employees in order to drive growth. Mega- multinationals account for 67 per cent of all employee movements, but smaller enterprises in Asia-Pacific and Africa are increasing their interest in the usefulness of corporate transferees. China is in the forefront of the movement with its massive One Belt, One Road reinvention of the ancient Silk Road its driving force.
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