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Visa's and the Global Fight for Talent

By David Haylor | 1st April 2015

Visa's and the Global Fight for Talent

In the market in which our business operates, international mobility is often a normal part of an individual’s career. Global firms are competing for global talent, and individuals with a multinational career in mind often relocate. As of today we are talking to candidates in North America, Europe, the Middle & Far East and Australasia. For many of them they have already moved from their country of birth. We are working with one multinational in Switzerland where their team of twelve, has a team of twelve different nationalities!

However in the current economic and political environment some countries are making this process harder. The US has a complex visa system which even experienced US businesses sometimes find challenging to negotiate. In the time it can take to organise a visa many candidates will move on to another opportunity in another area of the world.

Given where IAC are based, we have clearly witnessed the UK self-impose a far tighter visa system which has made it much more challenging for those wishing to experience working in the UK. A particularly obvious example is those candidates who, on completing their CA with one of the Big 4, would in the past relocate from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to London. Many of these individuals would plan to stay for a couple of years but would end up staying much longer. Many I have met ended up having families here and have successful careers. Under the current system that looks as if it will no longer be possible. Those talented individuals who in the past would have added to the UK talent pool, will either no longer come, or will stay for a maximum of two years.

As a recruitment business working with international businesses, we speak to and meet some of the best educated, talented and motivated people from around the world. A business that hires this calibre of individual, regardless of which country they come from can only excel. And the countries that allow this to happen can surely only benefit from the dynamism and economic growth that follows. Personally I believe the US, UK and similarly minded governments are being short sighted and are damaging their respective economies. Those countries such as Switzerland the UAE and other more rapidly growing economies that remain open to those with a global career in mind, will gain from an increasing influx of talented individuals. Perhaps those individuals will gain from working in different cultures than they had originally planned.

The advice that would come from this is to do your research, for those looking at careers in the UK you may well find that what you watched your predecessors do in the past is no longer possible. For others perhaps it is worth researching countries and cities you may not have first considered?

Have you experienced this difficulty? Have your career plans been effected by this?
How do you think companies/governments should deal with this?
Do you see this differently from other areas of the world?