Covid-19 has brought about some of the biggest challenges of our lifetime for people across the globe. Who would have thought a year ago that global travel would all but have ceased and those office-based employees would now be working remotely at home, likely for some time to come.

In fact, some may never return to an office environment full time, if at all. Business travel has ceased for the time being and virtual online meetings have become a daily occurrence.

So, what does that mean for Global Mobility? Is the ‘new normal’ going to affect how people move around the globe for business? Global Mobility has always been a moving entity, but there are now many forces in play which could lead it down a number of routes and we have only covered a handful of these considerations in this article. The possibilities are endless and who knows what the future might hold!

At some point, business travel will recommence, perhaps not to the same extent or in the same way as pre-Covid times, but global business will always have a requirement for international travel and so we will likely see a return of traditional mobility issues, such as Short-Term Business Visitors, international assignments, relocations and so on. With that comes the requirement for businesses and their internationally mobile employees to ensure the highest standards of compliance from an immigration, employment law, HR, income tax, social security and, of course, a payroll perspective.

However, with Covid-19 leading to individuals and employers recognizing that, at least from a productivity perspective, working remotely can really work, this brings about new challenges and initiatives which can merge into the global mobility sphere. One of the most commonly discussed subjects at present is “flexible working” and how employers are going to consider new arrangements which allow individuals to work remotely on a long-term basis.

Whilst on the one hand this is a positive and sensible initiative, the “downside” are the questions around how an employer can remain compliant from an employment tax and payroll perspective when allowing individuals to work remotely from a country other than the one in which they are contractually employed and normally work.

The flexible working arrangement does appear to be here to stay however embracing this “new normal” can have significant implications and obligations for both the employer and the employee. It certainly seems like a win-win at first glance with the employer getting a fully engaged employee and the employee getting to work from a beach front apartment somewhere warm, or from a snowy hillside somewhere a little cooler. However, what are the wider implications of this? We need to consider immigration, employment law, payroll tax, income tax and social security, and that’s just for starters.

Covid-19 is certainly changing how people work and global mobility specialists are here to support employers and employees with this ever-changing landscape.

In additional to Covid-19 happening in 2020, we also had the small matter of Brexit which brings a plethora of questions, considerations and issues for employers and their internationally mobile employees particularly when considering any UK to EU movement in either direction.

Immigration is the main concern, swiftly followed by social security and both topics are likely to bring challenges for employers with a mobile workforce. The impact of Brexit will be felt by any organization looking to mobilise an individual under any circumstances including short term business travel, relocations, assignments or even people looking to work remotely internationally, therefore getting expert advice as soon as possible is key to ensure that both the employer and employee remain compliant.

With the Covid-19 global vaccination programme in full swing, we should soon see the world opening up and it will become clearer what the future of Global Mobility will be.

If any of the issues raised in this article resonate with you or you would like to discuss any global mobility issues in further detail with our specialist team, please email them at

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