APAC Network Huddle

Expat Academy APAC Network Huddle

We enjoyed meeting a number of new faces at our APAC Huddle this morning. The agenda was packed and varied, with an opportunity to cover: the challenge of relocation requests out of Hong Kong, Global Mobility contingency plans, a corporate update on DE&I from Ricardo, policy support for those applying for permanent residency, women in global mobility and the latest immigration changes in various APAC countries.

Vandana Aiyer from Crown World Mobility led a session on gender diversity in international mobility programmes, with a recent PwC survey highlighting that just 20% of global assignees are female. With a slow rate of progression, estimation suggest that it will not be until 2050 before we see parity between male and females on assignment. However, against this backdrop, 71% of millennial female employees seek overseas experience. It was helpful to understand how this unbalance has arisen, with influences of timing, presumptions / unconscious bias, practicalities and female role models.

Vandana highlighted the how it is vital for organisations to address this unbalance in order to ensure they are attracting the best talent and are able to achieve more diversity at the top of the chain and therefore a more diverse future.

In terms of potential solutions, Vandana suggested:

  1. Know your employee population, particularly the ambitions of women
  2. Embed gender inclusivity into your policies
  3. Define benefits which support women’s needs and address their concerns
  4. Provide the role models; create visibility; help women see themselves reflected in the mobility vision of your organisation

The first Huddle session of the morning looked at how organisations are handling outbound relocation requests from Hong Kong given their status with respect to the pandemic and their current lockdown rules. There was a mixed response with organisations trying to support employees as best they can by also using alternative options such as remote work and short-term assignments but also being mindful that a mass exodus would not be good from a talent perspective. Some organisations were finding it difficult to fill vacant positions and acknowledge a skills gap is emerging in Hong Kong.

A quick coffee break took us into a fabulous update from Yuna Li and Coralie James from Ricardo on their DEI journey and the global challenges they have faced and addressed. They explained to us that signing up to the rail industry DEI Charter showed a firm commitment to employees and the industry and paved the way for discussions on vision, strategic aims and finally a policy. Ricardo have focussed on leadership, awareness and education, mentoring and support, metrics and measurement, external partnerships and networks, plus their DEI image. They have targeted these specific areas to ensure success in Asia and build DEI awareness. Their goal is a continuous journey of Education, Practice, Review rather than just a one-time exercise.

The next Huddle session looked at whether organisations support permanent residency applications. It was interesting to hear the different drivers as to why an organisation would or wouldn’t support PR within their policy and to the level of support offerd (e.g. maybe just employee and not the family). Those that did support PR applications in their policy ensured there was a claw back within the first few years in case an employee decided to change employers.

Finally, Rachel Ang from Magrath Sheldrick, wrapped up the Huddle with an immigration update on Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. After months of hearing about differing restrictions it was a delight to hear the news that many countries were opening borders, albeit at different rates and with some different requirements and specifications in place. To pick out a few highlights:

  • Singapore: the Ministry of Manpower will use a new points-based evaluation framework called the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) for new Employment Pass (EP) applications starting Sep 2023 and EP renewals starting Sep 2024.
  • Malaysia –  Foreign countries citizens, with valid travel documents, can also enter and exit Malaysia without the need to apply for Entry Permission
  • Vietnam – Vietnam’s government to resume its visa exemption policy for 13 countries for up to 15 days regardless of the purpose of entry. This applies to citizens of Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. The Japanese government has implemented new entry requirements for short-term business travelers and new long-term residents.
  • Japan – For short-term business travellers and new long-term residents to enter Japan, inviting companies must submit an online applications through the new Entrants Returnees Follow-up System (ERFS) before the foreign national arrives.

Authorities will issue a “Certificate for completion of registration”. Visa applicants must then submit a copy of the certificate when applying for a visa.

We are looking forward to our next huddle on 7th July and do hope you can join us. To register click here.

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