Symposium Huddle Update

Expat Academy Symposium Huddle Update  There was not a cobweb in sight at this week’s Symposium Huddle. It was more a case of all cylinders firing as the Network enthusiastically shared their 2019 objectives and personal goals:  Brexit, technology and consolidation were key, balanced with ambitions for Man Vs Coast adventures, origami modelling and a combined weight loss of several elephants!

The energy continued into PwC’s much anticipated Brexit update – not the answers that we hoped to give you by this stage, but as somebody put it, the most succinct and insightful outline they have heard on this topic to date.  As we face what will undoubtedly be a critical and extraordinarily busy twelve months for GM, having PwC give us a no-nonsense overview of the 7 impacts of a no-deal scenario was most welcome.  Equally, as we moved into the nitty-gritty of immigration and effects on free movement, there was no holding back the number of questions in the room around process and timing for settled and unsettled status. It was reassuring to hear that the Home Office system for handling the mammoth number of expected applications is considered to be strong.  With a final look at tax and social security implications and encouragement to develop a people and mobility plan by the end of March, we can perhaps forgive our GM colleagues for apprehensively awaiting one heck of a year.

Corporate updates from Greg Smith at Lockheed Martin and Georgia Frangou at NES Advantage provided some welcome distraction from the country chaos and as ever, the Network loved receiving insights from other members about their programmes and challenges.  Greg talked about the flex that he has to manage amongst his assignees and shared the opportunities that he has to get ahead of the expats by conducting a number of country visits.  Conversely, Georgia’s time and focus is less on flexible policy but more in surveying 450 assignees along with managing a multitude of other services to a huge group and introducing a new technology tool at the end of this month.

On this very topic, the Network then spent a worthwhile hour discussing their use and experience of technology, whether it be bespoke solutions, integrated systems or the good old fashioned spreadsheet.  The group are yet to find an assignment management system that does everything – acknowledging that whilst this would be a godsend, perhaps Mobility is just too complicated for one system.  One thing is for sure, having the business buy into the need for changing tech in the GM space is vital and there are ways in which to tackle those conversations.

The table talk continued into the final slot of the day around real, live and current questions from our members.  As ever, a whole array of questions from EU Posted Worker Directive to core flex policies to support for partners of expats.  A Huddle wouldn’t be a Huddle without the invaluable benchmarking with other members, all the networking that takes place through the day and the very generous support of our event host, PwC. All in all, a very positive way to start the year.

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