As the global economy becomes more and more integrated, businesses are increasingly recruiting qualified individuals to be stationed in their new international markets. Immigration is part of the international migration phenomenon. In its 2016 migration and development report, the World Bank notes that there are approximately 250 million international migrants living outside of their countries of birth in 2016. Although not all 250 million migrants work for international businesses, a significant portion of this number is made up of expatriates living abroad for work.
Generally, a work permit or something of equivalence is required for a foreign national to legally work in a certain country. For instance, if your company is thinking about hiring a U.S national in Thailand, a work permit is required for the individual to legally work in Thailand. It is important that employers plan ahead and allocate plenty of time for the immigration process. In most countries, a work permit has to be sponsored by a local company. In order to obtain it, the sponsoring company will need to submit necessary paperwork and application to the relevant immigration authorities. During the application process, the employee is usually required to be in his home country. It is highly recommended that the employee is diligently and actively involved in the application process.
In addition to work, the employee may need to apply for entry and stay visas at the foreign embassy in his home country. This process is usually done after the work permit is approved. Immigration is a shared responsibility between the employer and the employee. It is important that both parties stay on top of deadlines and renewal dates. If your company is not familiar with the immigration process in a certain country, reach out to international employment professionals for advice. Again, allocate enough time, at least two months, before you want the employee to start working in that country.
There are exceptions, mostly in Europe, where work permits are not needed for foreign nationals to legally work in a certain country or a bloc. This arrangement comes in the form of treaties between countries for free movement of labor. For example, citizens of the member states of the European Union (EU) do not need work permits to legally work in the EU. Many other countries around the world have started to harmonize or loosen their visa and work permit regulations for certain nationals. The ASEAN bloc is a good example of this.