Modern businesses are made up of rich, dynamic and diverse workforces that include workers from multiple countries around the world. European companies, in particular, have benefited from the ‘free movement of workers’ within Europe, which has enabled them to access different countries’ skills, resources and talent since the 1950s. It is also not unusual to see professionals from Canada, Australia, America, Africa or Asia within workforces. This diversity has helped businesses to flourish, and to keep up with changing skills and needs.

The on-demand workforce has further opened up the global pool of talent, enabling CEOs and decision-makers to tap into the exact skills they need at specific points in their projects. Advances in technology, connectivity and mobility – for example the rise in cloud-based computing – have meant that companies can manage and collaborate seamlessly with Independent Professionals who are based in other countries. These advances have also enabled changes in the way employers work with their fixed, onsite teams.

This is hugely beneficial to CEOs and decision-makers, as the expertise you need might not necessarily be available in-house. You might require specialist knowledge of the local markets that you are looking to expand into, for example, or best practices from other industries. The on-demand talent economy is a truly ‘borderless’ and collaborative network of senior professionals, that can provide you with the exact skills you need.

Having workers operating remotely is not always feasible, practical or preferable for some companies, though. While the vast majority of tasks can be carried out offsite, and you can rest assured that the work will be completed to the same high standard as if it were done onsite, some companies still prefer ‘physical’ over ‘virtual’ talent.

There are times when it is necessary to speak with a professional in person, especially when it comes to project and change management. You might find that having the professional onsite creates a greater impact. This is where the ‘border’ challenges of the on-demand talent economy become apparent, and where you need professional advice to help you navigate them.

The physical movement of global workforces across borders

There are many boundaries to the physical open talent economy that companies need to be aware of, and that need to be managed professionally. It is arguable that, because of these challenges, virtual work is always going to be the more popular option for professionals and organisations. Saying that, companies that take a truly flexible approach to the way they work are in the best position to yield the extensive benefits of the global on-demand workforce.

One of the biggest challenges of the global open talent economy is being able to navigate the immigration restrictions that apply when physically moving workers across national borders. Different countries have different policies when it comes to letting in workers, and it’s important that these are taken into account when curating your company’s talent pool. If you don’t know the ins and outs of a country’s legal boundaries and immigration system, then you might end up in difficulty, or find that the process takes longer than necessary.

Companies in Australia, for example, face incredibly tight restrictions on incoming workforces – such as having to gain working visas – in line with their strict immigration rules. Work permits are also required for professionals travelling to America, and are granted after an individual submits an application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

In Canada, workers may need to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa in order to enter the country, depending on the worker’s nationality. Though non-EU workers hoping to work in Europe can travel freely within the continent for up to six months, they are also required to obtain a work permit if they intend to find a job within an EU country. The application processes can be lengthy, but they can be easily managed by professional talent curators with specialist expertise.

Keeping up with changes in immigration policies

Britain’s decision to leave the EU on 23 June has somewhat complicated the notion of free movement of workers for European businesses. As the Leave campaign was focused on controlling and reducing immigration, it is fair to assume that the free movement of workers will also have limitations imposed upon it. Economists are already predicting that many of London’s financial services jobs and tech talent will flow to Frankfurt and Berlin respectively, both of which have vibrant business scenes. As the UK will likely lose its access to the single market, better-connected countries like Germany will probably become attractive.

It’s not yet certain how this will affect the on-demand talent economy, but experts like a-connect are experienced in adapting to changes in governmental and legal policies, so your company will always have access to the best global talent, whether physically or virtually. We have 14 years’ experience in helping companies access the right person, in the right location, at the right time. Contact us today to find out how we could curate your on-demand talent pool.