On Tuesday, July 16, Newland Chase and CIBTvisas are teaming up to bring a live webinar Global Immigration and Business Travel 101. Presenters for the webinar will be Sophy King, Newland Chase’s Senior Vice President of Global Immigration, and Sandi Woznitski, CIBTvisas’ Senior Vice President for North America. In their 60-minute session, they will cover the essential elements of an effective global immigration and business travel program – with special emphasis on visa and immigration compliance for business travelers.
Kent O’Neil, recently had a chance to connect with Sophy and Sandi as they prepared for the webinar. They discussed the topics for this unique webinar and their careers in corporate global mobility. Below are some of the highlights of that conversation.
Kent: “Looking at the description for your upcoming webinar, one question you promise to answer jumped out at me…
...Why should business travel receive the same level of attention as immigration?”
Sandi: “We wanted to really emphasize in this webinar the importance of immigration compliance when it comes to business travel. Oftentimes, business travel is viewed in a different light than corporate immigration. Business travel management has been traditionally more focused on cost containment, logistics and road warrior satisfaction. However, the same issues around duty of care and ensuring compliance with visa and immigration laws still apply.”
Sophy: “We are seeing a positive trend in larger companies, however. Many are more aware of the issues and are incorporating business travel management into their immigration compliance efforts. But in many companies, travel management and immigration simply have very little communication.”
Kent: “Is this need for greater attention on business travel increasing? I’ve seen industry studies showing steady increases in the volume of business travel since the 2008 global recession.”
Sandi: “Much of that is the growth in the global economy, but some companies are also restructuring traditional long-term assignments to shorter-term assignments and more frequent business travel as cost-cutting measures.”
Kent: “I also see a trend in a lot of countries toward increasing the attractiveness of business visas – i.e. implementing electronic visas and applications, lengthening validity periods, multiple entries – generally trying to make the process easier. At the same time… many countries are tightening rules on work authorizations and visas. Do you think that may tempt some companies to utilize business visas and travel in cases where they may have otherwise utilized traditional work visa routes?”
Sophy: “There may be some of that occurring. It’s also definitely the case that short-term assignments or “extended business trips” are more popular now than they were 10 or 15 years ago. If someone isn’t relocating and their time in a host country doesn’t trigger tax requirements, the need for work authorization is often overlooked. Actually, many countries have facilitated routes for short-term assignments, so work authorization needn’t be a real headache – or, if there really is no time to send the employee on anything other than business visitor status, then it’s important for companies to understand what activities that employee may and may not engage in.”
Kent: “Which leads us back to your webinar description: why should business travel receive the same level of attention as immigration?”
It’s important that companies use their international business travel policies and procedures to try and achieve immigration compliance.”
Both Sophy and Sandi are exceptional professionals and recognized leaders in their industry, as well as SVPs in their respective companies within the CIBT organization. Similar to how CIBTvisas and Newland Chase complement each other to cover the full spectrum of global travel visas to comprehensive immigration – Sandi’s and Sophy’s perspectives and insights should make for an interesting webinar.
With more than 15 years in global immigration, Sophy possesses extensive knowledge and industry insight into global corporate immigration. Prior to joining Newland Chase, Sophy founded Peregrine Immigration Management and co-created its unique global immigration technology and database solution, Immiguru®. This groundbreaking technology was the first to collect, organize, and make accessible in a user-friendly format the immigration laws of the majority of the world’s countries.
Sandi has been with CIBTvisas since 2010 and has served as SVP of North America since 2013. During that time, she has overseen five of the organization’s acquisitions into the extensive North America operations. CIBT has quickly risen to be the primary immigration and visa services provider to 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies. Prior to joining CIBT, Sandi spent over 20 years at MCI and Verizon, where she held senior leadership positions in customer services, sales, and marketing.
Kent: “I definitely agree with your premise that business travel should receive a lot of the same visa and immigration compliance of more traditional expat assignments. How do companies manage that?”
Sandi: “It starts - where all good compliance programs start… with policy and communication. You have to have policies in place that require assessment of assignments and lines of communication to make sure stakeholders are aware of their roles.
In successful programs we are seeing that companies are bringing Mobility, Travel and Compliance to the table to create these policies.”
Sophy: “We’ll be covering best practices in the webinar. Aspects such as education – properly preparing business travelers for dealing with border officers, knowing what to expect and how to behave. Assessing the details of business trips prior to travel to ensure that employees are obtaining the necessary visas and permits, flagging potential risks ahead of time, preparing for higher-risk countries.”
Sandi: “We also want to make attendees aware of some of the specific tools and technology solutions that are now available to make the whole process easier.”
Kent: “Then I won’t steal your thunder by giving away a lot of that ahead of the webinar. Instead, let’s maybe shift to a couple of quick questions to help collogues and clients get to know you a bit better. Balancing career and life is an issue almost all of us struggle with. Any hobbies or pursuits you recommend?”
Sandi: “I try to just incorporate a variety of things. I play some tennis. I volunteer for some charities. I enjoy deep-sea fishing. I climbed Kilimanjaro a number of years ago. Interestingly, that was somewhat my introduction to the world of visas and immigration. That was before CIBT… when I didn’t know such services were out there to make it easy. It took me eight weeks and a drive to the consulate to get my passport in time.”
Kent: “How about dreams for the future… if money and time were not concerns? Any ‘bucket list’ items?”
Sophy: “Honestly, I enjoy what I do. I would have to do something, but I might not be in a hurry for a full-time job.”
Sandi: “Money and time no concern? Maybe own a high-end restaurant. I enjoy the creativity in cooking and cuisines.”
Get more insight from Sandi and Sophy on global immigration and business travel and policy and compliance guidance for companies with mobile workforces. Register now for CIBTvisas’ and Newland Chase’s Global Immigration and Business Travel 101 – presented live Tuesday, July 16 at 10am ET / 3pm BST. Attendees will get practical, actionable best practices to apply to their organizations and have the opportunity to get answers to their pressing corporate immigration and business travel questions in real time. All those registered will also receive a complimentary recording emailed to them after the live session.
Newland Chase, a wholly owned subsidiary of CIBT, is the leading global provider of immigration and visa services for corporations and individuals with over 1,700 expert immigration and visa professionals, attorneys and qualified migration consultants located in over 60 offices in 25 countries.
With thirty years of experience, CIBT is the primary service provider to 75% of Fortune 500 companies. CIBT offers a comprehensive suite of services under two primary brands: Newland Chase, focused on global immigration strategy and advisory services for corporations worldwide and CIBTvisas, the market leader for business and other travel visa services for corporate and individual clients.