Business Travel Compliance: 5 Key Question to Ask
As every international business leader knows, global travel requires a global mobility policy. But how can you make sure that you keep abreast of the constant changes in government policy without tying up your frequent business travelers in inefficient red tape?
Ask yourself these 5 critical questions:
1. Does your global mobility program include policies for frequent business travelers?
Too often, employees conducting multiple business trips fall through the gaps in the corporate mobility program, and as such place both their employer and themselves at risk of substantial penalties. Where most policies cover employee relocation or overseas assignments of 60, 90, or 120 days, business travelers usually go for shorter stays of less than 60 days on a repeat basis. Make sure to address this with clear guidelines and tracking for all employees’ activities overseas to fully protect yourself from non-compliance.
2. Are all the departments involved in mobility talking to each other?
Mobility policies impact on multiple corporate functions simultaneously. HR, legal, recruitment, immigration, tax, benefits, and administration are all likely to be involved. However, not all companies ensure that these departments are in close contact over mobility policy, and sometimes critical information gets lost along the way. Make sure that all parties have clear channels of communication to keep your company fully compliant.
3. Do you have a comprehensive system in place to manage employee mobility?
In today’s globally mobile world, standard protocols and old-school policy tools may not be up to the job. Take advantage of the latest technology available to manage mobility from start to end. A suitable system should be able to handle visa statuses, work permits, passport expiry dates, tax information, and relocation providers, among other key information. It should also be accessible to multiple stakeholders, and should allow all relevant personnel to run real-time reports.
4. Are you collecting data from employees on proposed business trips?
At a minimum, you need to make sure that employees have the means to check their plans against pre-defined criteria. Trips falling outside the recommendations established by your mobility policy should be red-flagged before they are booked. This may mean you need to modify your travel booking process to include an obligatory quick-check system.
5. Are you taking advantage of the many “trusted traveler” programs now available?
In recognition of the increase in global business travel, many governments now offer programs that make it easier for pre-screened individuals to pass through immigration and security checks. As well as making business travel more pleasant for your employees, the pre-screening process may also make it less likely that your employees will run into issues at the border.
Mobility remains an increasingly tricky proposition, and companies operating internationally must take many factors into consideration when designing a comprehensive and current mobility program. As well as the many complexities surrounding tax and immigration compliance, there is also security to consider – companies are responsible for the safety of their employees while on the job, which starts with knowing exactly where they are at any given time. These questions should be a good place to start bringing your mobility policy up to today’s standards.
Do you think your company’s policies are up to speed? Did any of these questions give you pause for thought?
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