Expanding your company’s operations overseas comes with various regulatory requirements such as work permit sponsorship. As an employer in a new country, you may want to expand your team through foreign nationals and expats. Understanding how to manage your responsibilities in the work permit process will make hiring overseas talent much simpler. We’ve laid out five best practices to help your business get started.
1. Be Respectful of Countries’ Work Permit Deadlines
First things first, always remember that every country operates differently. Never disregard deadlines set forth by the country as that could start a chain reaction, which delays the work permit process, delays the start date of the employee seeking the permit, and could halt operations entirely.
Also, be aware of restrictions on permits and any updates. Again, using Russia as an example, the government sets a national quota for the maximum number of available standard work permits. Employers must obtain all quota numbers before filing. A new requirement also calls for standard work permit quota applications to include a letter confirming the employer will provide medical insurance and accommodations for foreign employees.
2. Work Permits are Not Guaranteed
In order for a foreign employee to obtain a work permit, they need an official offer from their employer. As the employer, don’t assume that this employee will get approved for a work permit.
For example, in Canada, there are many requirements that are left up to the foreign employee. Keep in mind the general eligibility requirements along with different factors to meet depending on when an employee applies and where they’re from. Typical requirements include:
- Proof that you will leave the country when the work permit expires.
- Proof of income.
- A clean criminal background check.
- Good health and willing to take a medical exam if needed.
3. Work Permit Sponsorship is a Process
Work permits are not granted overnight. As an employer, there are forms and responsibilities on your end, but once you’ve met those requirements, the rest of the process is a waiting game.
Currently, in the United Kingdom, it takes on average three to four weeks to approve a work permit. Employees entering the country on a work permit for more than six months must apply for entry clearance. In addition, most permit holders will also need a visa and must present a list of documents to the British Embassy or Consulate.
The employee’s spouses and dependents must also apply for entry clearance and present the appropriate documentation in most countries. In general, entry clearance applications to the UK may take an additional two weeks after the work permit is issued. Applications from nationals of Russia, North Korea, Libya, Iraq, and China can take even longer.
4.Work Permit Sponsorship Requires On-Going Maintenance
A work permit does not grant team members an open-ended stay in a foreign country. These permits have strict expiration dates and must be monitored. The responsibility of monitoring is typically left to the employer. Businesses also manage re-applications and extensions for their employees. For example, in Brazil, foreign employees have the option to obtain a temporary two-year work visa. Employees can renew their work permit for another two years, but must apply for reapplication 30 days before the expiration.
Depending on the size of the company, employers should consider a sole position within the company dedicated entirely to managing employee work permits. Companies can also hire a third-party to manage these requirements.
5. Seek Advice from an International Consultant and/or Lawyer
Dealing with language barriers and cultural differences in foreign countries is difficult. When you add the responsibilities of sorting through strict work permit requirements, it only adds to you and your colleagues’ stress levels. Consider seeking advice from an attorney or an international consultant.
A trusted consultant or lawyer will help you better understand the labor laws and requirements associated with work permit sponsorship and the overall management of operations for your business venture. You know your company and your employees. Let employment experts assist in handling the rest.
If you have any questions regarding work permit sponsorship, get in touch with our team. We’re always happy to help.