To thrive in today’s economy, the most enterprising and successful businesses depend on a global—and increasingly mobile—workforce. In a given year, a company may transfer dozens or even hundreds of personnel to new work venues, both domestic and international. To coordinate such moves, companies must contend with a web of local, national or international regulatory requirements, visa and work permit bureaucracies, complex tax regimes, and a host of other legal and compliance challenges.
Whether a client is relocating a single project manager to a branch office in Guangzhou or hiring an entire team to set up operations in Rio, we have the agility, on-the-ground experience and dedicated resources, including state-of-the art technology, to help clients anticipate, monitor and manage the movement of their people. With offices in the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, and a worldwide network of relationships with highly qualified local counsel, we are able to offer our full suite of services around the world.
Our clients include small and mid-size companies or start-ups that are dipping their toe into international waters for the first time, as well as Fortune 500 companies with upwards of 10,000 employees who regularly travel and work internationally. For large organizations, overseas assignments can require hiring or relocating employees to and from a dozen or more countries.
In addition to serving businesses of all sizes, we have substantial experience advising celebrities and high-net-worth individuals on their immigration needs, including individuals contending with complex relocation challenges, such as potential exclusion from a destination country.
Clients of all types turn to our Global Mobility & Migration team because of our long list of achievements in this area and because of our reputation for world-class counsel on legal and regulatory matters that are of paramount importance to their success.
Our Global Network
We capitalize on both our own lawyers practicing in the world’s principal financial centers—in the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East—and a carefully nurtured network of internationally experienced lawyers in other countries with whom we have worked closely for a number of years. This network allows us to draw on the experience of lawyers we know well and to reduce cost by utilizing our existing experience of local laws around the world. In every instance, the lawyers dedicated to the practice are fully immersed in the mobility area and therefore can provide the immediacy and accuracy of specialized advice in this critical area, which is essential to our clients.
Technology Designed for Global Business
Staying on top of the regulatory requirements for business travelers and international expatriates is a complex process. Mayer Brown uses advanced technology to help clients get the job done and to provide them with customized reporting employing traffic light coding to simplify tracking of key deadlines. We also develop key compliance training tools online, for high-risk issues such as management of global traveler programs or certification of third-party supplier compliance with governing visa laws.
With the benefit of Mayer Brown’s world-class IT and administrative support, we are able to give each client a clear view of their global team via a secure extranet accessible on desktops, laptops and mobile computing platforms.
We develop visa filings for the full enterprise of our clients across their worldwide locations. Working with a best-in-class network of attorneys around the world, our Global Mobility & Migration partners drive the strategy and optimize quality of service across worldwide locations. Our team uses sophisticated software to ensure that every visa filing occurs on time, with milestones tracked in real time on the system. In complex cases, and in jurisdictions in which quotas or other local restrictions may apply, we provide customized counsel and identify the appropriate strategy for maximizing the chance of a successful submission. In some cases, this includes advising on the nature of the employment agreement or the company’s authorization to sponsor foreign workers in the host country. We are similarly accustomed to addressing complex personal challenges that may impact eligibility (e.g., prior visa denials, arrest records, serious medical issues and divorce or custody issues).
We are regularly asked by our clients to audit their internal processes for immigration compliance and to develop remediation plans for both regulatory compliance and cost optimization. We also prepare our clients for government audits, and our shared IT portal includes a repository of the documents that officials typically require.
M&A, Restructuring and Outsourcing Transactions
Mergers, acquisitions and other transactions resulting in a change to a company’s structure can impact the visa status of company personnel. We know this landscape well and provide such clients with a thorough analysis of the steps to be taken on a country-by-country basis and an implementation timeline.
Entering New Markets
We advise companies entering new markets on their strategy to launch operations and deploy personnel in a country, recommending specific implementation steps and timelines for the new locale.
Government Relations and Legislation
In the United States and other key jurisdictions, our services also include influencing legislative reform pertinent to national immigration laws or treaty agreements governing immigration.
Tailored Global Mobility Program Management
Sending staff overseas or across borders without the proper work and residency authorizations is just one of the myriad global mobility pitfalls that can disrupt business. Yet we find that many companies still manage personnel transfers and relocations without true global oversight, resulting in redundancies and compliance failures that can hamper profitability and increase the risk of fines, penalties or government audits.
For clients with complex global workforce needs, Mayer Brown creates a managed mobility program that helps them avoid those pitfalls. We create a global coordinating team for the individual client that becomes the day-to-day contact for the client’s general counsel or for the head of the client’s global mobility function. The team includes Mayer Brown’s client relationship partner, as well as designated managers with responsibility for each region in which our client operates. We then work with the client to review and solidify the company’s mobility practices and policies, decision structures for domestic or global relocations and processes for visa and work permit requests, and use technology to create a global process that can be monitored and managed online.
Mayer Brown has the ability to develop and manage a tailored global mobility program that encompasses the following:
- Optimizing company policies to reflect industry and regulatory best practices
- Bringing clarity and standardization to vast HR caseloads involving international travel and relocation
- Training HR and other client teams and liaising regularly with them on process enhancements
- Handling applications and filings for visas and other work authorizations in jurisdictions worldwide
- Providing customized approaches and counsel for particularly unique or complex cases
- Guarding clients’ reputations to ensure their regulatory compliance and protect their bottom line