Visas, Permits and Immigration


World has more expats than it did 20 years ago, new research shows

by Ray Clancy on May 23, 2016

Expats are changing, with more companies sending employees abroad on assignments, leading to a growth in overall numbers, new research has found.

On average, well over 50% of companies have increased the number of assignments in any given year although over the last 20 years growth has been slowed by economic shocks such as the Asian financial crisis of 1998, the economic downturn following September 11th and the global recession of 2008.

But overall there are more expats than ever before, according to the analysis from international management firm ECA International, which also points out that as well as the total number of expats increasing there is growing complexity in terms of the number of home and host countries involved in an assignment.

continents-world

One of the main ways companies are responding to this increased diversity is by using different salary or policy approaches, depending on the circumstances. The percentage of companies now using more than one policy has increased from 11% in 2001 to 26% today.

However, there are still few women being assigned to jobs abroad. The research found that the proportion of female assignees doesn’t reflect the diversity seen in the general workforce, although numbers have increased from 7% in 1994 to 12% in 2001.

Since then, however, they have only increased by a negligible amount. The percentage of companies who have specific initiatives to encourage female assignees has decreased from 14% in 2004 to just 2% today, with most companies commenting that they continue to treat male and female employees equally.

“Although this may be the intention, it is evident that this is not reflected in the actual numbers of assignees. Clearly if companies do wish to increase their available talent pool, to include more women may require a more concerted effort,” said Mark Harrison, manager of the remuneration services team at ECA.

The research shows that expat age profiles have not changed much over the last 20 years. We have also seen little change in the age profile of an assignee over the last 20 years. Expats being sent abroad are still most likely to be men aged 35 to 50.

A substantial change detected is the increased use of alternatives to the long term assignment. In 2008, nearly two thirds of international assignments consisted of long term assignments, typically around three years. In 2014, that figure fell to just over half and is predicted to fall to just 45% in 2017.

However, shorter term assignments of one to six months are becoming more prevalent, now making up over 20% of all assignments. In fact, these assignment types have several advantages that may be helping companies overcome the barriers that have been preventing the diversity of assignees from increasing.

“They lend themselves well to career development moves and can therefore certainly help companies with their goal of sending employees on multiple assignments and targeting younger employees,” Harrison explained.

But short term assignments can be expensive and may require more efficient planning and tracking, both for the success of the assignment and also in compliancy terms. Short term assignments should only be used where they are appropriate to achieve the aims of the assignment, the report suggests.

The report says that generally speaking, globalisation has been the key driver behind the changes. Technology has also had a significant impact while cheaper, faster and more reliable transport links have made short term and commuter assignments, as well as business trips, much more viable.

“It is clear that sending employees to work overseas is more popular than ever before but while organisations have the desire to diversify their international assignees socio-demographic profiles, they are evidently still some distance from achieving expatriate gender equality and enabling mobility for a wider pool of employees,” the report concludes.

{ 0 comments }

Thumbnail image for E-passport rules for entry to the US catching up with holders of older documents

E-passport rules for entry to the US catching up with holders of older documents

May 12, 2016 America

Strict new immigration rules for the United States are catching up with people arriving in the country without biometric passports. Since the 01 April all people arriving in the US, regardless of whether it is to live, work or for a holiday, must have a biometric or e-passport to enter. But millions of people with […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Start-up visa for entrepreneurs proving popular in Canada

Start-up visa for entrepreneurs proving popular in Canada

May 11, 2016 Canada

More entrepreneurs from overseas are coming to Canada through the country’s start-up visa programme, the latest immigration figures show. As a result the benefits are spreading growth and opportunity to middle class families across the country, according to officials. At the beginning of May 2016 some 51 entrepreneurs had become permanent residents of Canada through […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Saudi Arabia plans to introduce a US style green card system for expat workers

Saudi Arabia plans to introduce a US style green card system for expat workers

April 12, 2016 Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is set to introduce a permanent residency card system for expats, similar to the green card in the United States. Officials say that it will be a vast improvement on the sponsorship system currently in place and mean that expats will have the same benefits and services as Saudi citizens including when it […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for New visa and nationality fees now in place for UK

New visa and nationality fees now in place for UK

March 28, 2016 United Kingdom

New fees for visas and immigration and nationality applications in the UK are now in force with a maximum amount set for the next four years. Visas linked most closely to economic growth, such as those offered to workers and students, have increased by 2% and a 2% increase also affects all visitor visas. There […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for US announces pilot to streamline certain worker visas schemes and cut costs

US announces pilot to streamline certain worker visas schemes and cut costs

March 8, 2016 America

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the United States has announced a pilot scheme for businesses seeking to hire certain workers from overseas through employment based visas. The Known Employer pilot will effectively modify the process US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses to reviews an employerís eligibility to sponsor individuals under certain employment […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Debate set in UK parliament over new pay threshold for certain visa streams

Debate set in UK parliament over new pay threshold for certain visa streams

February 17, 2016 European Union

New measures due to take effect in the UK which mean that non-European Union citizens earning under £35,000 a year will only be allowed to stay in the country for six years is being challenged. Under the new rules due to come into force in April a pay threshold will be introduced for people in […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for UK’s new health surcharge for Australian and NZ visa applicants criticised

UK’s new health surcharge for Australian and NZ visa applicants criticised

February 10, 2016 Australia

The Prime Minister of New Zealand has hit out the UK over plans to make anyone from outside the European Union who wishes to stay in the country for more than six months pay towards their healthcare. From April 2016 visa holders from New Zealand and Australia, both of whom have large expat populations in […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Visa exempt travellers need new electronic authorisation for Canada from March

Visa exempt travellers need new electronic authorisation for Canada from March

February 4, 2016 Canada

Officials in Canada have issued a reminder that from March 2016 visa-exempt foreign nationals who fly to or transit through Canada will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). There are exceptions including citizens of the United States and travellers with a valid visa, but those who will need an eTA are urged to make sure […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for US officials warn people to be aware of immigration services scams

US officials warn people to be aware of immigration services scams

January 27, 2016 Visas, Permits and Immigration

Immigration officials in the United States are again warning about the danger of scams and reinforcing that not everyone who offers immigration services are authorised to do so. “While many of these unauthorized practitioners mean well, all too many of them are out to rip you off. This is against the law and may be […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for New round of parent and grandparent visas opened in Canada

New round of parent and grandparent visas opened in Canada

January 6, 2016 Canada

A new round of visa applications to sponsor parents and grandparents has just started in Canada and is expected to be popular, immigration officials have announced. A limit of 5,000 new and complete applications has been put on the visa stream by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). A spokesman explained that all applications received […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for New Zealand makes visas more flexible for Canterbury rebuild workers

New Zealand makes visas more flexible for Canterbury rebuild workers

May 18, 2015 New Zealand

New Zealand has announced changes to immigration policy which will make it easier to recruit and retain international workers for the Canterbury rebuild. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimates that an additional 5000 construction workers will be needed between December 2014 and the peak of the rebuild in December 2016. Immigration Minister Michael […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for UK super priority visa service to be extended to more countries

UK super priority visa service to be extended to more countries

November 14, 2014 Britain

The UK government has unveiled plans to extend the popular 24 hour visa service to more business leaders, investors and wealthy tourists aimed at attracting more investment into the country. The Super Priority Visa Service, already on offer in China and India, ensures a decision on a visa application within 24 hours, removing lengthy bureaucratic […]

Read the full article →