Bringing in skilled migrants can be a compliance minefield. However, if you do it the right way, these workers can be invaluable to your company. An expert shares some tips with HR.
In April 2022, the Australian Department of Education, Skills and Employment revealed its ‘Migrant Skills Incentives‘ program, offering skilled migrants free, fast-tracked skills and employability assessments, career advice and subsidised training. This is a great initiative for onshore migrants, but what about those offshore?
Australian firms are more reliant on global remote workers now than ever before, and with travel restrictions eased, overseas workers are reviewing immigration opportunities for the chance to grow their careers in Australia.
The Australian Information Industry Association’s (AIIA) 2022 annual member survey found that 75 per cent of technology companies are expecting revenue to grow by at least 5 per cent this year, but companies are concerned that skills shortages will be a barrier to expanding their business.
Remote workers across the globe have become a valuable talent pool for many Australian firms, but more recently these companies are looking at how they can create migration pathways for these workers.
However, employing people overseas and taking steps to bring them out to Australia can be a compliance minefield, particularly when an organisation lacks in-market HR and employment expertise. Here are some important points that should HR professionals keep in mind.
Keep compliance front of mind
Global hiring is becoming more common in Australia, with the AIIA survey revealing that more than a third of companies would hire an even mix of workers from Australia and overseas.
While this is becoming a more common practice, it’s important that businesses are not overlooking compliance in the hiring process. Local employment laws override work contracts if they contradict, so if companies ignore regional rules, the consequences can be damaging.
There are two key considerations for compliant hiring:
- Initially, if hiring in the employee’s local country, the employer needs to understand and comply with the local employment regulations. This includes having a compliant payroll solution, knowledge of and compliance with local statutory benefits, and a localised employment contract, to name only a few examples.
In-market HR experts are the best resource for understanding your obligations. Expanding globally means internal policies will need to be adapted for each region and continually met.
- Secondly, there’s the process of sponsorship and evaluation of applicability for visas. Among other processes, to sponsor in Australia the job must have been advertised for at least four weeks within the four-month period immediately prior to lodging the nomination application. The process is long and complex, so it’s often best to seek expert advice. For more information on employee sponsorship, you can visit the Department of Home Affairs’ website.
Don’t overcomplicate the payroll
The biggest challenge when hiring globally is ensuring that HR and payroll are managed in a compliant and consistent manner. By consolidating and centralising an organisation’s global payroll, companies can avoid the complicated management of remaining in compliance with all the employment laws.
Considering this, a lot of organisations choose a partner that provides a centralised payroll solution. When IT and HR work side by side, managing global complexities such as payroll is attainable.
“Businesses can no longer effectively compete in the global economy without market expansion.” – Jonathan Perumal, Country Manager, ANZ at Safeguard Global
Below are some top tips for IT and HR when working collectively to evaluate potential partners:
- Prioritise the largest employee populations: If you prioritise larger countries with the biggest populations of employees, it will assist in establishing a high global standard to apply to other countries and, more often than not, the larger the country, the more complex the process will be.
- Have a timeline in place: When it comes to big payroll projects, timing is crucial so it’s important to have a strategic timeline in place. For example, there will be different tax reporting deadlines to meet and complications to avoid in each market, which could create issues with local tax authorities.
- Standardise data: With data being shared across different multinational teams, such as HR and finance, it’s important to have a collaborative and transparent plan in place for global standardisation – and the payroll provider should work closely with these teams.
Skilled migrants benefits everyone
While there might be red tape and compliance headaches to begin with, companies that embrace global hiring not only address skills and staff shortages and provide opportunities for offshore workers, they also create new expansion pathways.
Some of the key benefits to employers include:
- The ongoing skills shortage is crippling Australian companies, and the local talent pool is slim. We’re seeing local businesses exploring global recruitment and multinational companies looking to tap into their global remote staff with opportunities to move to Australia.
- Opening up the hiring pool to top global talent adds further value by bringing in experienced leaders and managers that can mentor less experienced staff as local workers continue to grow and develop.
- When considering or preparing for expansion into new regions, hiring in-country allows businesses to benefit from existing knowledge and test the market before investing in setting up in-country entities and officially moving into the new country.
Businesses can no longer effectively compete in the global economy without market expansion. In this increasingly challenging landscape, it’s critical this talent is accessed correctly so as to not hinder onboarding or company reputation and future success.
Jonathan Perumal is the Country Manager, ANZ at Safeguard Global.
Ensure you’re across important legal matters at work – such as the rules of engaging skilled migrants and employee sponsorship with AHRI’s short course, Introduction to HR Law. Sign up for the next session on 13 July.