We have to admit, we toyed with the idea of an event-free December. Afterall, ‘tis the season for comp and performance reviews, not to mention office parties, Christmas shopping and maybe even winding down at some point. However, as the bookings came flooding in for the Bite Size Briefing, we realised that the Global Mobility community is, in fact, gearing up! Perhaps it was the anticipation of Brexit on the agenda or the chance to connect with one of this year’s 40 new corporate members? Maybe it was the promise of our 3 Wise Partners, bearing their gifts of RFP advice, housing recommendations and healthcare insights? Whatever your motivation, we do know that this week’s Bite Size Briefing training attracted our biggest audience yet!
Naturally, the day was topped and tailed with Brexit related sessions – opening on Immigration and closing with Tax. At this very event last December, Magrath Sheldrick looked forward with us a to a period of clarity, yet here we are again, still talking in terms of what-ifs. A recap of the last twelve months and MAC report was welcomed. Ben then talked us through various no-deal implications for settlement and immigration policy. Not quite a Miracle of Christmas, but important, nevertheless, for scenario planning with the business. Equally, on tax, BDO wondered with us, what exactly has developed in light of Brexit? We do know that initial visa applications are not taxable and perhaps strangely, visa renewals and settlement applications will be. Andy also helped us to explore changes in the STBV arena, with the UK workday rule extending from 30 to 60 days or less. We learned about HMRCs “know your customer” initiative; areas of risk for employers with inbound expats and we received a snapshot of overseas tax changes.
In between invaluable networking breaks, Bournes showed us how to be prepared and what to ask when running an RFP: Select your model, update your policies, gather historical data and decide how many and which vendors to invite to tender. Key messages were to take your time, ensure a two-way consultation and invest in the relationship. Chemistry and fit are crucial. AIRINC’s guidance on how to drive appropriate housing recommendations came next. We saw a multi-dimensional approach to budgets, focusing on location, accommodation type and quality, plus other variables such as family size and seniority. It was suggested that housing allowances are often too high and we were shown how to avoid excess costs to the company. BUPA enabled us to take time and reflect about the value of healthcare insurance to our assignees, prompting us to think about ways in which to provide employee support. This could be in form of wellness offerings, second medical opinion and employee support programs.
As for Expat Academy, we felt quite joyful and triumphant to be sharing key findings of the 2018 Policy Survey with you. With a decent number of participants across various industries, the survey delves into flexible policies, cost of living indices, negative COLA scenarios and plenty more. We invite you to pull our Christmas cracker of a Vault to reveal more about the common themes and best practices. Here you will also be able to download some of the presentations from our event for sharing with your teams. Finally, a big thank you to BDO for looking after us so well and to our members and partners for your ongoing support. Here’s hoping Santa brings us an end to the Brexit debate in readiness for our Huddle discussions in January. Happy Christmas all!