Even under normal circumstances, obtaining visas and work permits are critical when planning for international assignments or transfers. The timing for filing paperwork and processing applications is not always predictable, yet, when getting ready for a move, obtaining the visa and work papers determine the timing of many other steps, including the employee’s arrival in the new location. Some might think that during this pandemic, while borders are closed and travel bans are in place, the immigration process is at a standstill, but the opposite is true.
Immigration teams supporting the Mobility industry are providing daily and weekly updates to organizations on evolving country-specific guidelines, norms and attitudes around movement within and across borders, and locations where governments are showing lenience and understanding for expiring visas and permits (and where they aren’t). Immigration specialists know those countries and cities where immigration and labor authorities are partially working remotely to process applications. Some are accepting online applications. It is important for companies to take action where possible, so that once borders re-open and consulates are fully operating, they will have saved time and caught up with the backlog in many cases.
Steps you can take with immigration partners to avoid the inevitable backlog:
Contact immigration providers so that they can start assessing the cases and develop case strategies.
Once everyone agrees with the timelines and case strategies, HR and Global Mobility can initiate the cases so that the immigration team can proceed with documentation procurement, and with preparing and drafting documents and applications for filing with the respective labor and immigration authorities (where possible).
Start the first phase of the work permit process, such as filing petitions with the labor and immigration authorities in countries that allow it.
Know that consulates continue to provide assistance and some urgent services to their nationals, even if they are not issuing visas.
Understand that processing times at the labor and immigration authorities can take between six weeks and six months during normal circumstances. Starting the process and paperwork now could save considerable time during the adjudication process.
There will be a new normal, and in some cases, we will find an improved, more efficient, and better prepared normal. Our immigration team will continue to track and update information, make informed predictions and deliver clear and effective support and solutions on business immigration requirements.
Our international service includes visa applications, work and residence permits, and the ongoing management to ensure assignment compliance. Find out more.