EU Employee Transfer Reform Increases Global Efficiency, Aids Innovation

BY CCIA Staff
November 16, 2010

The new 21st century economy is an increasingly globalized one, and multinational companies must be able to operate seamlessly across borders as a single global entity, rather than as a collection of separate subsidiaries. In addition, the fast pace of innovation in a knowledge-based economy calls for the quick and efficient allocation of human resources across the globe.

The technology industry is both an enabler and a beneficiary of the global knowledge-based economy, and CCIA has strongly supported the elimination of undue administrative burdens for multinational corporations and enabling the timely transfer of employees wherever they are needed.
One example of such counterproductive administrative burdens can be found in the current EU system for the admission of intra-corporate transferees. Intra-corporate transferees are managers, specialists or trainees that multinational companies seek to temporarily transfer to their branches within the EU, and who will return to their home countries upon completion of their assignment. This roughly equates to the L visa system here in the U.S.
The current EU system has no harmonized set of rules and procedures for admission among different EU Member States. Companies must deal with different documentary requirements and eligibility criteria for each country they seek to post their transferees to, and even have to go through separate application processes if the transferee is to work at branches in different countries.
The European Commission has proposed a Directive that calls for a single application for a combined work and residence permit with a common set of required documentation and procedures across all EU Member States, and intra-EU mobility. This is a very positive and common-sense first step in improving the workforce flexibility and mobility that is absolutely critical to operating in today’s global business environment. The EU was established with the goal of ensuring the free movement of goods, services, capital and people, so the reforms in the proposed Directive would rectify a patchwork of rules that are undermining the pursuit of that goal.
The U.S. should follow the EU’s lead and examine ways to make it easier for companies to compete for and utilize the increasingly global and borderless talent pool. Technology companies in particular face the challenge of competing in a fast-paced environment requiring continuous innovation to survive. We look forward to U.S. policymakers also taking steps to enable companies to secure as well as allocate the skilled human resources essential to that innovation.

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