At the end of March our APAC team consisting of Philli Wong and myself participated in our partners quarterly event called “APAC Network Huddle” hosted by Expat Academy.

Strict quarantine remains

Although it was based in Singapore, most of the participants were remote due to strict travel and quarantine restrictions in most of the APAC region. Our Hong Kong team is especially restricted with a 21-day mandatory hotel quarantine upon returning (although this has since been reduced to 7-days mandatory hotel quarantine at the time of this writing).

The Global Mobility Team

The event included professionals in the global mobility field, whether they were HR managers, consultants, or data providers. There was a full agenda for the half-day event that included several presentations on current global mobility hot topics like Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DE&I), Women in Global Mobility, and updates on Immigration policies as we are slowly seeing countries opening up in the region and the rest of the world.

Networking is key!

In between these informative sessions from industry leaders, the AIRINC team facilitated discussions in separate breakout rooms, called Network Huddles, where all participants could voice opinions and ask questions in diverse but more intimate settings.

How do you retain talent?

The first huddle focused a lot on Hong Kong and the question of retaining talent. Participants discussed how they are seeing both expats and locals leaving Hong Kong, as well as companies relocating their offices to nearby Singapore or elsewhere in the region. Some participants stated that they plan on keeping talent in Hong Kong but are also conscious of the costs as the desirability of the city has declined and many traditional expats are not interested in continuing assignments there. The discussion then went towards non-traditional expats and how, with this Western expat exodus, a new influx of other expats might be expected. One participant said her assignees are not complaining about the strict quarantine and travel restrictions but are concerned with the high housing costs. Some resilient expats indeed!

What is the trend on Permanent Residence?

The second huddle involved paving the way for Permanent Residence (PR) in host locations, and whether companies support this. We had another rich discussion with different participants, and we heard from a variety of companies who show their support from simply encouraging it, to submitting and paying for the paperwork. Since each location offers different paths to PR, each approach is different, with some countries in our region placing fewer requirements than others. We learned that some companies would prefer their assignees to gain PR, but their family members must apply separately as costs can be an issue. For other companies and locations, it is as simple as living for a set period, then converting their working visa to PR. A fruitful discussion with various stories, the second huddle was just as insightful as the first.

Sharing Regional Knowledge

Overall, the event was a success and many participants walked away with more knowledge about current industry leading topics, as well as what international companies are doing regarding talent in Hong Kong and immigration paths to permanent residence.

Thank you to Expat Academy for hosting us and letting us facilitate the rich discussions.

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