The Pitfalls of Travelling Overseas for Work in Finance
Jul 20, 2017

In most big industries, being able to work in most of the world’s biggest economies is taken for granted. The advent of air travel, opening up of emerging economic powerhouses like China and India and globalisation have all contributed to that. There are some restrictions on freedom of movement for even the brightest in some industries, namely finance.

More than anything else, financial workers employed by regional and global companies are nonplussed about where they can and cannot work. Having to contend with differing immigration laws is bad enough - UK citizens living in Europe don’t know where they stand post-Brexit, whilst the same can be said of EU citizens in the UK.

An even bigger question is who is responsible for all of the paperwork that workers need to do their jobs overseas. The legalities of working overseas in finance roles are, at best, complicated. However, the need to work in different parts of the world means filling in forms and waiting for passports is a necessity.

Staying Legal

Like workers in just about any sector heading abroad, there is some documentation needed as proof of identity. A passport from their country of birth is a must, whilst birth certificates are also handy. Then, there is knowing what paperwork is needed depending on the time people want to work abroad for.

Using Singapore as an example, all foreign workers must know which visa or work permit they need. For short-term stays of up to 60 days, workers need to apply for a Miscellaneous Work Pass. Longer term stays in the country are dependent on income - for anyone with income of over $3,600 per month, an Employment Pass is needed.

From the employee’s perspective, they have quite a lot of research to do. With so many different types of permit needed, choosing the wrong one could be an easy mistake to make, costing them money and potentially putting their job at risk.

Employers’ Responsibilities

For financial employers, the general rule of thumb is to go for skilled worker or professional wotkers’ visas. The visa is the employer’s responsibility, but as is the case with work permits, staying within the law requires plenty of care and attention to detail.

To err on the side of caution, get a legal expert in to guide you through the process of completing visas. Withers have expertise in employment law. Financial workers are, due to the worth that their industry has, are more likely to be accepted for visas, but some difficulties still remain.

Employers need to be wary of getting a visa or equivalent paperwork that has too many limitations. If your employees need to stay for longer than their paperwork allows them to, the risk of a hefty fine is too great to take. They also need to look at whether their visas match up with the information given by the employee for their work permit.

Finally, employers need to ensure that their workers are up to speed with financial laws in the country they are moving to. UK laws might be very different from those in the US, Japan or the Eurozone. Spend some time with them, discussing what they can and can’t do in their new workplace.