Working between multiple countries can make things complicated, especially when it comes to having the proper business visa. So what can happen to someone who is unintentionally conducting business with the wrong visa such as Paul, a Client Service Director.
Paul was based in Zurich and worked between Russia, the US and Singapore. As he passed through immigration on his way to a client meeting in Russia, the officer asked him what business he planned to do during his stay. Without much thought, Paul truthfully replied, “Mainly discuss my client’s project and how the local staff can manage it. Hopefully we get the contract signed before I head back to Zurich.” A simple answer, right? The officer wasn’t convinced and contacted his supervisor. Together they inform Paul that his business visa doesn’t allow him to sign contracts in Russia and that he should stop all such activity immediately.
Back in Zurich, Paul reviewed his visas with his company and then applied for the proper visa. Although the situation had been corrected, Paul was now on a tracking list of his company. Frequently, he had to answer questions about his whereabouts, business trips and finally he had to discuss a potential tax exposure with an external tax advisor.
In Global Mobility we sometimes call travelers like Paul “accidential assignees” as they were not meant to be on an international assignment. If you end up traveling to several countries on business you might have to prepare yourself better in order to avoid immigration, social security and tax risks.
Speak to your Global Mobility Specialists or HR contact about these topics:
- Ask how soon in advance you should contact them about future trips (especially if you need a business visa or work permit).
- Find out if you need to report all travel to filter business trips beyond a certain time frame, e.g. five consecutive business days.
- Find out if you need to have any insurances (such as health, luggage).
- Have a medical examinations done if you go to a tropical country.
- Notify your GM / HR about any issues during your last trip.
Business travel is hard enough. Don’t expose yourself to unnecessary stress.