Expat Work Assignments Expected To Grow

Business leaders still view an international mobile workforce as key to meeting their strategic objectives, according to new research by global mobility specialists, Santa Fe Relocation Services.

This is despite mounting concerns around immigration and an increasingly uncertain geopolitical climate following changes implemented by the new US administration and the anticipated impact of Brexit.

Santa Fe’s annual Global Mobility Survey Report found over a third of business leaders still believe empowering a globalized workforce was critical to meeting its strategic objectives – with nine in ten saying it is important.

As a result, international assignments (work relocation opportunities) are expected to grow significantly over the next twelve months, with graduate programmes, short-term assignments and one-way relocations all set to increase significantly. Contrarily to previous years, even long-term assignments are expected to see significant growth in the year ahead, which highlights both ongoing global economic growth and the crucial role that long-term placements have in companies’ talent planning.

But businesses are facing increased challenges in sending workers abroad due to growing complications around stringent immigration compliance and new legislation. The findings from Santa Fe reveal half of global mobility professionals cite immigration complications as the top challenge to achieving businesses’ objectives over the next five years – ahead of concerns around local political climates and staff safety or security.

The USA now tops the charts for the most challenging location to send assignees, with nearly one in ten respondents stating it is the hardest to navigate from a global mobility perspective due to tightening immigration and visa restrictions for long-term business relocations.

But despite these challenges, the USA still remains the most common destination to send assignees, with nearly a fifth of respondents saying it was the most frequent destination for assignment opportunities. China was the second most popular, followed by the UK.

The report found that over half a million (500,000) employees from the companies surveyed are already internationally mobile.