“Instead of better glasses, your network gives you better eyes.” Ronald Burt

Expat Academy “Instead of better glasses, your network gives you better eyes." Ronald Burt Let us remind ourselves of the purpose of a Network Huddle – to get together, discover what others are doing, learn from each other, hear from the experts, contemplate new ideas, find solutions, identify better approaches, expand your network, have fun.

Last week’s combined Network Huddles, involving an excellent number of companies, priorities, perspectives and programme sizes gave us all this and highlighted just how rich we are as a community. Different for operational and strategic reasons but also united by so many common issues and a real desire to connect with each other.

PwC’s opening session enabled us to revisit the key changes to moving employees in and out of mainline Europe post-Brexit and the actions required by GM. Work permit applications and a limit on business travel activities now makes it essential to plan ahead in order to limit impact to the business. On top of Brexit, covid-19 has prompted a number of immigration considerations which GM must also factor in, such as alignment of EU member states, EU covid-19 certificate and upcoming elections in Germany and France.

Posted Workers Directive came next with a back-to-basics look at what constitutes a posted worker, what triggers a notification and differences in how member states apply the Directive. Then we moved onto more complex key questions, case studies and top actions to help members frame their risk based approach. Needless to say, complexities arise given the different sets of rules that exist in terms of what’s permitted from country to country so therefore GM teams must get their arms around data and process. Plenty of member questions and brilliant slides on this topic, which are available to our members here.

Table time followed this session which involved discussions around how companies are managing quarantine requirements amongst their mobile population, navigating different country requirements with regards to vaccines and the STA population in particular, plus assignees who are declining the jab.

Next, a change of focus with Alexandra Oeda, taking the spotlight to update on Global Mobility at Pearson. With a company motto, “learning for life” and new business strategy which focuses on learning, there are inevitable impacts on mobility and it was interesting to hear about Pearson’s online learning work, higher education resources and partnership with Harrow school. Operationally, Pearson People Services manage mobility, with a shared service centre made up of Manila-based Pearson employees. Current objectives for Alexandra and her team include DE&I, talent alignment, a revision of tax and relo plus a primary focus on the future of work, with Pearson taking a hybrid workforce approach.

Beverly King successfully conquered the dreaded after lunch slot with a hugely engaging and sometimes surprising update from Graebel’s Annual State of Mobility Report 2021, downloadable here. Taken from individual views of the mobile employee following a year of unrest and unpredicability, the report focuses on what’s changed for people from a motivation and employee experience standpoint. Loads of fascinating stats but to pick out a couple, at the height of the pandemic, 80% of people surveyed were more willing to relocate than ever, more recently moving closer to 84%  When looking at drivers for moving, 44% are wanting to expand their professional or private network. Thanks for keeping us on our toes Beverly with your online poll and congrats to Elaine at Gymshark for winning an Expat Academy goody bag!

A second opportunity to huddle in small groups allowed members to chat about if and how they are reviewing strategy to incorporate items such as cost, sustainability, wellbeing and DE&I. This was closely followed by a second corporate update of the day which saw Elly Winder from Tesco give us a snapshot as to what has been keeping her team busy. Increased complexity with global moves due to changeable border controls and quarantine requirements echoed our first session of the day, as did the work they are doing like many on the upcoming deadline for EU settled status. Additionally, Elly and her team are working hard with providing ILR support, responding to MAC call for evidence on ICT visa category, undertaking various tax compliance tasks such as looking at their approach to international remote working, focusing on future proofing AND a new tax and immigration provider.

Thank you all speakers for your time, bringing us together and giving us something to think about. Carrying on the conversation and building connections over a glass of wine together is an important part of a Network Huddle and whilst we were sad not to be able to this time round, we can look forward to gathering in person and celebrating why we are Better Together at our London Conference on 13th September. Please book here

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