Businesses worldwide are all too familiar with the stream of reforms to immigration policies around the world whether it is through high profile debates or the news. Companies often forget the daily reality of immigration compliance and the related enforcement laws that could potentially bring operations to a halt. The consequences of non-compliance or being in breach of immigration conditions will lead to hefty fines, public relations disasters, entry bans for employees and reputational damage to the business as a whole. Avoiding non-compliance and the consequences involved is as important for the employee as it is for the company. Consequences of non-compliance often include failed assignment, deportation and being blacklisted by foreign governments.

The most common risk of non-compliance that business managers are most familiar with is when immigration authorities turn people away at the border and prohibit them from entering the country they intend to visit or work in. Poor planning, advice, and/or documentation disrupt business activities because employees cannot obtain permission to enter a country or conduct activities they need to engage in a timely fashion due to immigration restrictions.

When employees go abroad, not only in traditional expatriation but also on short term assignments and business travel, multinational companies face significant hidden risks with immigration rules and regulations. The goal of compliance is not to eliminate risk; rather, it is about assessing and effectively managing the variables and uncertainty.