There may be no bigger hindrance to talent mobility than immigration rules, particularly as they relate to spouses, partners and dependents. And, according to this article, the rules in numerous countries remain restrictive for many people.

Since 2001, the Permits Foundation has been campaigning globally to improve work permit regulations to make it easier for partners of expatriate staff to gain employment during an international assignment. Over thirty countries now allow accompanying spouses or partners to work, according to them. They urge governments to adopt policies that allow for dependents to gain direct work authorization.

Fragomen, a large immigration law firm, explains that in the last couple of years, eight countries (Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Israel, Lithuania, Croatia, Finland, Germany and Malta) have relaxed their laws or practices regarding same-sex relationships. It points out that supportive visa policies for spouses, partners and dependents is an essential factor in the smooth mobility of employees. These policies make it easier for partners to find work, settle-in faster and contribute to that economy. More restrictive country policies become a barrier and can inhibit companies from getting the talent it needs in place and make that country less competitive. 

Kay Hall, senior vice president at NetExpat, emphasizes that administration issues create barriers to talent attraction and movement. Per the article, she said “It goes without saying that, if a country tightens its immigration rules for accompanying partners, as we are seeing in the UK and US, these destinations become more difficult for companies to attract key talent into, which will eventually inhibit market growth and the importance of that host location.”