Vialto Partners, a new member of the U.S.-Saudi Business Council, supports multinational organizations and their employees in more than 150 countries with tax solutions, immigration and travel services, talent acquisition, and dynamic work strategy services, supported by a team of over 6,000 dedicated immigration, tax, human resources, and technology professionals. Ali Ibrahim, Saudi Arabia Director and Immigration Lead, spoke to us about Vialto Partners’ experience in leading the Global Mobility sector through the many recent changes in work environments, travel conditions, and the digital innovations they have adopted to continue to provide their clients with the full support they need for their cross-border operations.
In what ways did the new acceptance of remote work, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, affect global mobility?
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about significant changes to the way we work and live, with remote work becoming the new norm for many industries and professions. This shift towards remote work has had a significant impact on global mobility, as it has reduced the need for worker relocation and travel.
Before the pandemic, many companies would require employees to relocate to different countries or regions to take on new roles or projects. This would often involve obtaining work permits, visas, and other immigration documents, which could be time-consuming and costly. However, with the rise of remote work, employees can now work from anywhere in the world, as long as they have access to the necessary technology and infrastructure.
This new acceptance of remote work has also opened up new opportunities for global talent acquisition, as companies can now hire employees from anywhere in the world, regardless of their location. This has led to a more diverse and inclusive workforce, with companies able to tap into a wider pool of talent.
It is worth noting that remote working may also present some challenges such as legal and compliance issues, time zones and communication, cultural differences, language barriers, and security and data protection. However, it is important to note that remote work may not completely substitute the need for worker relocation and global mobility in all cases. There may still be situations where employees need to travel to different countries or regions to meet with clients, attend conferences, or work on-site. In addition, some countries may require employees to obtain work permits or visas if they are working remotely from another country for an extended period.
Furthermore, while remote work has made it easier for companies to hire employees from anywhere in the world, there may still be challenges. Companies may need to invest in training and support to ensure that remote workers are able to collaborate effectively and feel part of the team.
How does your company facilitate the transfer of knowledge particularly to developing countries like Saudi Arabia?
As a global Immigration and Global Mobility service provider, we have extensive experience and expertise in advising clients on best practices for immigration and mobility. We also conduct on-site training sessions to transfer knowledge and skills to our clients’ internal teams. Our team of experts is available in more than 52 countries, including the Middle East region, where we specifically operate in Saudi Arabia.
We also assist governments in developing policies and procedures for approaching immigration and mobility issues based on our international experience and presence. We are committed to keeping up-to-date with changes in regulations and informing our clients of any changes that may affect their operations.
In addition, we employ a number of locals within our teams and provide them with training and education on best practices. This enables us to transfer international knowledge to the local workforce, which helps to build local talent and expertise.
Given Saudi Arabia’s recent focus on building local expertise through initiatives like Vision 2030, we are well-positioned to support this effort. We believe that our approach to knowledge transfer, which emphasizes education and training of local employees, is an effective way to help build local talent and transfer knowledge from our international employees to the local workforce.
How does your company adapt to the legislative and regulatory changes that pertain to the global mobility procedures of employees and businesses?
As a global Immigration and Global Mobility service provider, we are committed to keeping up-to-date with legislative and regulatory changes that pertain to the global mobility procedures of employees and businesses. We have a dedicated team of experts who monitor changes in immigration policies and procedures in each of the 52 jurisdictions where we operate, including Saudi Arabia.
With regards to Saudi Arabia specifically, we are aware of the continuous reforms that have been implemented in recent years to the country’s immigration policies and procedures. We stay informed about these changes and ensure that our clients are also made aware of any changes that may affect their operations in the region.
We have a number of measures in place to adapt to legislative and regulatory changes in Saudi Arabia and other countries. For example, we have established relationships with local authorities and organizations to ensure that we have access to the most up-to-date information on any changes to immigration policies and procedures. We also have a process in place for updating our clients on any changes that may affect their global mobility procedures, including providing guidance on how to comply with new regulations.
In addition, we work closely with our clients to understand their unique needs and requirements, and to develop customized global mobility solutions that are tailored to their specific business needs. This includes providing guidance on compliance with changing legislative and regulatory requirements.
Overall, we are committed to staying abreast of any legislative and regulatory changes that may affect our clients’ global mobility procedures, and to working closely with our clients to ensure that they are able to adapt to these changes in a timely and effective manner.
What has attracted your company to the Saudi market, and what opportunities exist for you and your clients in the country?
Saudi Arabia’s economic growth, with a GDP of over $793 billion, has created opportunities for Immigration and Global Mobility companies to provide services related to talent acquisition, workforce planning, and immigration compliance. The country is investing heavily in diversifying its economy away from oil and gas, with a focus on sectors such as tourism, construction, and technology. Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, a comprehensive plan to transform the country’s economy and society, includes initiatives to attract foreign investment, promote entrepreneurship, and develop a skilled local workforce, which Immigration and Global Mobility companies can support with their expertise.
The country’s young and growing population, with a median age of 29 years old, and high rate of urbanization, with more than 80% of the population living in urban areas, create opportunities for talent acquisition, workforce planning, and immigration compliance to support the growth of urban areas and industries. Saudi Arabia has recently made significant regulatory changes to its immigration and labor laws, including the introduction of new visa categories, changes to sponsorship requirements, and the implementation of a national minimum wage, which Immigration and Global Mobility companies can provide expertise in navigating and ensuring compliance with.
Lastly, Saudi Arabia has implemented initiatives to increase the participation of local workers in the workforce, such as the Saudization program, which Immigration and Global Mobility companies can provide expertise in workforce planning and talent acquisition to support.
What other major changes are affecting your business in global mobility, and what kind of new tools and technologies are you using to adapt to these changes?
The global mobility industry is constantly evolving, with several major changes affecting the business in recent years. The rise of remote work has changed the way companies approach global mobility, reducing the need for employee relocation and travel. To facilitate remote work and collaboration, companies are using new technologies such as video conferencing, virtual collaboration tools, and online project management platforms.
Immigration regulations are constantly evolving, and companies need to stay up-to-date with the latest changes to ensure compliance. Companies are using new tools such as immigration compliance software to automate compliance tracking and reporting and provide real-time updates on changes to immigration regulations. With the increasing use of technology in global mobility, data privacy, and security have become a major concern. To protect sensitive data and ensure compliance with data privacy regulations, companies are using new tools such as data encryption, secure cloud storage, and multi-factor authentication.
The competition for talent is becoming increasingly global, and companies need to be able to attract and retain the best talent from around the world. To streamline the talent acquisition process and reach a wider pool of candidates, companies are using new tools such as social media recruiting, online job boards, and applicant tracking systems. Finally, as companies expand globally, they need to be able to manage their workforce across multiple locations and jurisdictions. Companies are using new tools such as global payroll and HR management software to centralize and automate HR processes across multiple locations.
By embracing these new tools and technologies, companies can stay ahead of the curve and provide the best possible service to their clients. The global mobility industry is constantly evolving, and there are several major changes that are affecting the business in recent years.