Immigration: Supporting partner employment in global mobility policy

The not-for-profit organisation Permits Foundation held a conference, which focused on the positive side of highly-skilled immigration and the progress being made throughout the world.

Woman travelling holding passport, supporting family employment in global mobility policy
At Permits Foundation’s biennial conference Family Matters in Global Mobility held in London, high level speakers from both business and government emphasised that now is the time to speak up for dual careers in the global workplace.Permits Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit organisation campaigning globally to improve work permit regulations to make it easier for partners of expatriate staff to gain employment during an international assignment.

Immigration in a challenging political climate

The event, which focused on the benefits of highly-skilled migration and the importance of legislation enabling family access to employment, highlighted the progress being made internationally, with more countries adopting best practice, despite the challenging political climate.Speaking after the event, permits director Michiel van Campen, said, “Permits Foundation campaigns for partner access to employment because this is a vital component of highly skilled migration policy, responding to a growing need to attract and retain talent. Legislative improvements have recently been made in countries like Brazil, Peru, and across the EU. Supporting dual careers in this way helps governments and businesses to remain globally competitive – and it also strengthens employee and family integration.”However, to ensure that progress continues internationally and to safeguard against any roll-back of policy, the business community needs to ensure its voice is heard. That was the message made clear by Permits Foundation board member and head of global immigration at PwC, Julia Onslow-Cole who added, “Business plays an important role in advocating change. It is key that governments hear directly from business about the positive impact good policy in this area makes.”Looking forward, founding board member Katy van der Wilk-Carlton, said, “It’s encouraging that companies and countries are increasingly taking a wider view of the positive impact of allowing family members to work. In addition to enhancing international mobility and economic growth, it also impacts on gender equality, health and well-being and full and productive employment, in line with the UN’s sustainable development goals.”

Permits Foundation Brexit survey announced

Attendees at the event responded positively to the announcement made by Permits Foundation that it will be carrying out a new survey in light of the UK Government’s call for evidence on the impact of Brexit on the UK labour market. Gill Gordon, the Foundation’s Chair and Human Resources Director at Schlumberger said, “The forthcoming Permits Foundation survey represents a timely opportunity for our network to contribute to the discussion on migration in relation to Brexit, helping us to promote policies that enable dual careers in the global workplace.”For more information on the call for evidence, see Relocate's Migration Advisory Committee page 
Permits Foundation Panel
Professor Alan Manning, chair of the UK Migration Advisory Committee
Conference attendees from the fields of global mobility, human resources, law and government welcomed the general messages of the conference – the importance of diversity of global talent to business, the link between family member employment and assignment success, and despite political uncertainty, the benefits of engaging in policy development.

Background information: Working for expats on international assignment

Further details regarding the Brexit Survey will be made available in the coming weeks at www.permitsfoundation.comPermits Foundation, with the support of over 40 international companies and organisations worldwide, campaigns globally to improve work permit regulations to make it easier for partners of expatriate staff to gain employment during an international assignment. Current focus is on the EU, UK, USA, India, South Africa and China. The Foundation’s work is underpinned by feedback from extensive surveys of company employees and their families.
Permits foundation conference
Permits Foundation conference
Permits Foundation previous survey findings:
  • 60 per cent of expatriate employees’ spouses said they would be unlikely to relocate to a country where there would be difficulties getting a work permit. 

  • 51 per cent of employers reported that employees have turned down international assignments due to partner employment concerns. 

  • 21 per cent of employers reported that assignees returned home early for the same reasons. 

Information about the event and speakers can be found in the conference brochure.The event was hosted by Permits Foundation sponsors PwC at their Headquarters in London.For further information contact Helen Frew, Permits Foundation International Advocacy Advisor at or call +31(0)650645582. For more information concerning employers visit the Permits Foundation website employers section.For related news and features, visit our Immigration section.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  

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