Creating an office abroad is a big step for any business.
Going global has many advantages, such as being closer to key markets where your business derives its revenue. You’d be surprised, just having a local office with a human face can make a huge difference in customer experience and satisfaction. Other times, simply being close to where you do business can generate minuscule cost advantages that add up over the years.
Obviously, a local office doesn’t pop up overnight. Most businesses will arrange for current key employees to go on secondment to the new location. There, they will play vital roles in setting up the new office – providing advice on infrastructure, giving training to the new employees etc.
But here’s the question: Is it all that easy though?
It’s a move that you have to consider very carefully before you take the plunge. Employee relocation is fraught with complexities. Simply moving a member of staff from one office to another isn’t an option, and there’s actually much more preparation involved. In this post, we’ll take a look at a number of things you need to consider if you’re moving an employee abroad.
Finding a Location
You may choose where to situate your new office based on your business model and industry.
For example, import/export businesses would do well to be located at major ports that see lots of activity – Singapore is a major shipping hub that can be a boon for any sort of business that deals with physical trading.
Another example might be if you’re involved in securities trading. Then, stock exchange locations will play a major role in your location decision. Being situated closer to stock exchange locations can give you the micro edge over competitors in further off locations – and we all know that this lead to a difference of thousands of dollars in profit.
Devising an Immigration Strategy
When you’re establishing an office abroad, it’s important that you understand the different associated migration and labour regulations in that host country. Especially in the world of finance, it’s important that you understand the different rates, mechanisms, taxes and regulations.
For this reason, you need an immigration strategy, so you have the ability to transfer everyone from key executives to essential employees anywhere in the world. If this isn’t something you’re familiar with, then you can use specialist immigration lawyers to help.
Each country that you consider locating an office will have different visa and entry requirements, particularly as you’ll be entering on a work visa. Before you begin to think about relocating staff, you need to make sure that you have employees who match the entry requirements.
You’ll also need to decide between temporary visas and permanent ones. If you opt for a temporary option, then you’ll also need to understand how it can be extended and any legal implications that may be involved in this move (as well as associated costs).
Likewise, having a foreign office and changing your business status to multi-national, it’s likely that your level of taxation will change accordingly, too. This is something that you need to put great consideration into. As a finance business, you’ll likely be well placed for this, but ensure that you understand the implications before you make any moves.
To conclude, launching a new office overseas is an exciting prospect, but it’s one that should never be taken lightly. However, this shouldn’t deter you. Instead, as long as you follow the above advice closely, you should have no problems at all in making the move a success.
It is both expensive and complex to conduct employee relocation. However, as we noted above, the benefits of doing so can be immense. It’s important to do a in-depth study of the costs and potential profits your business can gain from such a move. Numerous advisors will have to be taken on board. Make sure you choose your specialists wisely. You’d need a good mix of employee relocation specialists and specialists related to your industry (usually your own employees.)
Have you ever been part of an office or employee relocation? Share your experiences with us below!