Open Navigation

Spotlight on Global Immigration: Remote Working Requests on the Rise

In a world where hybrid working and emerging policies for remote work opportunities are becoming the norm, employers need to think carefully about the balance between regulation and being able to attract new talent.  For many new and existing employees the company’s approach to remote working potential can be a significant factor in deciding whether to take on or remain in a role.  Companies that want to engage new leading talent need to be flexible and innovative in their thinking.  They need to develop policies that are agile but robust enough to take on the challenges of the emerging world of remote work.

Immigration issues should be at the forefront of the considerations around remote working requests.  Generally, these requests go beyond the options to work from home or at the local coffee shop and cover situations where an employee could be asking for the opportunity to work from a country, other than their usual base of employment for example staying on for a longer following annual leave and working remotely from that overseas location.

Whilst policies that allow for this and offer the flexibility to employees are attractive, from a regulatory perspective there are many factors that companies need to be live to, in order to remain compliant with legislation.  New schemes for Digital Nomads and remote work options are opening up across the globe but the reality is that these schemes can often leave the employer open to regulatory issues and non- compliance.  Immigration legislation in many of these schemes doesn’t sit comfortably with employment law or health and safety legislation for example.

From an immigration perspective, it is crucial for employers that they have a robust policy setting out the baseline requirements both internally and externally.  Any employee travelling to a country where they do not have a right to work in that country without obtaining immigration permission should be made aware of specific requirements.  The first might be to consider whether that employee can do any work related tasks in that country as a business visitor.  In some cases an individual may be able to remain in a country and carry out certain permitted activities as a business visitor, if those activities are, broadly speaking, non profit making.

Beyond this, remote work visa schemes such as Digital Nomad visas open up the options for carrying out the day to day role in another country and whilst these can be efficient and useful schemes for employers to compliantly facilitate remote working, they do need to be considered more holistically than simply looking at immigration criteria.

 

What should employers consider

  • The starting point is whether the individual has a right to work in the country where they are requesting remote work (i.e. immigration permission).

  • Are there options for the individual to carry out some activity as a business visitor?  Understand what is permitted in the location and for what duration.

  • If the individual is seeking a Digital Nomad Visa does that leave the company exposed to any employment law considerations in the location i.e. are you creating a ‘de facto’ employment relationship there.

  • Can the company remain compliant with health & safety legislation?

  • Do you have a internal policy that clearly sets out the company position on Remote Work requests?

 

For advice on remote working requests, how to develop remote working tools for internal use and for any immigration and employment law considerations around these issues please contact [email protected]

 

Author

Discover how our specialist team can help you.

Request a callback

Join Magrath Sheldrick LLP Mailing List

Sign up