Using Technology to Transform Global Immigration Management

Domestic immigration law firms and immigration legal professionals face multiple challenges, but the challenge faced by the practice of global immigration is ten-fold. Global immigration professionals must find ways to understand the practices of immigration law in countries throughout the world, as well as find ways to manage the sharing and dissemination of complex information across nations and with multiple global stakeholders.

In the olden days, which were just twenty years ago, the process of global immigration management was extremely arduous, difficult and labor-intensive. Using postal services and having to wait weeks for packages to arrive or be delivered was normalcy and part of standard business operations. Take the following as an example of how slow and muddling the process of global immigration could be:

Imagine you are a global immigration professional in the United States. You are working to send a corporate employee from India to Denmark. First, you need to obtain current immigration codes from Denmark. If you don’t have them on file (or if they have changed since you last accessed them), you will need to call, fax or mail a government office in Denmark (or a consulate in the US) to receive those files. You will then need to fill in the needed information. Once you’ve filled in that information, you will need to mail those files to the applicant in India. The Indian national will need to sign and verify the documents, and then send them, along with pertinent personal identification records back to you. You can then submit to Denmark for approval. This process can take months to complete. And note, if there are any errors, the entire process will need to be repeated.

Sound low? It was. And it limited the ability for true global business where borders for business were transparent. The good news is that, today, there is a better way. Case management companies that help immigration professionals manage global immigration have made these tasks much, much easier. By using web-based technology and digital signatures, all required data can be accessed, distributed and submitted online. You can choose and manage overseas counsels through the online system. You can gain on-demand access to information for law firms, global partners, corporations and other business entities and employees and can even set multi-level accesses that limit certain information. And you can create systematic digital processes to come up with standard practices for your organization and the consultants you work with, all from a computer and all from any location in the world.

Digital technology has truly revolutionized how global immigration professionals manage immigration and has made the ability to live in a truly global world more available to all.

The Recessionary Economy – Surviving It’s Challenge

Michelle looked at this month’s sales. It was the worst month yet for her online gift boutique. People just didn’t seem to have any money to spend and competitors were selling similar products below Michelle’s cost. She needed to do something. And, she needed to do it quickly. But, where should she start?

Cranking up the effort

In a recession, the most common response to dwindling sales and profits is to kick up promotions and cut costs. Trouble is, this strategy doesn’t really solve the problem. Promotions fail because customers no longer have money to spend. Stealing customers with money to spend from competitors is not an option. Competitors are slashing prices and increasing promotional efforts in an attempt to hang on to their own dwindling base of customers. And, they have trimmed their operations to the bare bones to keep costs at a minimum.

The problem with “cranking up the effort” in response to dwindling sales and profits in a recessionary economy is that it just doesn’t work. The time and money spent on promotions designed to capture a larger portion of a dwindling customer base will typically exceed any additional sales revenue that these promotions can realistically generate, especially when the competitive climate is intense. And, with most businesses having already engaged in cost-cutting measures, further cost reductions may eliminate quality and features in products and services that customers value causing sales to decline even further.

Back to basics

To survive and prosper in a recessionary economy, the small business owner must reinvent their business. They must find the opportunities a recessionary economy presents and use the strengths of their business to pursue those opportunities. It is not enough to simply take shelter and wait for the storm to pass. This most recent recession is not a “blip” on the radar screen. It represents a major restructuring of our economy.

A business must identify those customers who have money to spend on satisfying some need, preferably a very intense need. The business must then identify a package of products and services that it can sell to these customers at a profit, despite intense competition. This may mean changing the customer base. It may mean changing what is sold. The business must find a “match” between what customers will spend money on and what a business can sell.

Questions to ask

Michelle should start by asking herself some basic questions. If she doesn’t know the answers, she should actively seek out information that will allow her to answer these questions with confidence. These questions will allow Michelle to focus on the opportunities that the recession has to offer.

1.What are the industry trends and opportunities?

Most people forget to periodically check out the industry summaries that are readily available online, for free, through most any public library. Understanding the trends in the markets, particularly trends with customers, helps a small business stay current and focused on customers with money to spend.

2.Why do customers purchase?

It is not enough to understand what types of products and services customers spend money on. It is important to understand why they purchase the products and services they do. Understanding a customer’s underlying motivations enables a business to identify those products and services that can compete.

3.Are the products and services aligned with customer motivations?

This is the most difficult question to ask and answer. The economy has changed. It may be that your business no longer sells products and services customers are motivated to buy. It could be that competitors have grown at your expense. Or, it could be that your customer base no longer has money to spend. Change is inevitable. The success of your business depends on your ability to identify new opportunities that your business can realistically pursue and focus your limited time and resources on pursuing those opportunities.

Next steps

Michelle may not succeed in the new economy. But, spending her time and energy on strategies that worked in the old economy is likely to be an expensive waste of her time. Michelle needs to take a fresh look at the world, the economy and her business. She needs to find new and promising opportunities to pursue. Michelle needs to reinvent.

3 Ways To Manage Your Recruitment Costs

1) Plan your manpower to ensure people are ready to move into new roles, or ready to take on promotions. By doing this you can ensure that you have the best, trained and experienced people in the higher roles and you are recruiting at the lower levels and training people to move through your business. Recruiting at the lower levels tends to have lower costs. ‘Home grown’ staff, trained in house, are often the best placed to take on higher level roles in your organisation. That’s not to say there is no benefit to bringing in new blood, there is, but be prepared for this by planning your resources and staff moves in advance.

2) Hold open days at your business to promote your organisation to both customers and prospective employees. These are fairly low cost and can net you a good haul of applicants. To ensure people do know they can apply for roles post the roles on your website along with the details of the open day. Have application forms available and allow people to talk directly to the recruiting managers. While the days themselves will use a lot of manpower they can cut down on time spent recruiting overall. If you were very organised it may be possible to arrange on the spot mini interviews to short list candidates. The day can also be advertised, usually free or at very low cost, at local universities, colleges and, of course, job centres. A simple ad on Gumtree is very low cost, and Total Jobs (and similar) sites will also carry such advertisements – introductory rates of under £100 are available for most recruitment websites.

3) Work closely with your recruitment agencies, keep them close and keep them in touch with your business, even when you are not recruiting. Agree fixed fees with them as opposed to rates based on salaries, make them competitive by having a Preferred Supplier List and reviewing it regularly. If you are recruiting in bulk then the agency could do the work for you, cutting your in-house costs – ensure they fully understand the job and person spec and the business and ask them to shortlist CVs/applications for you. Once you have the shortlisted CVs only a quick sift is needed from HR before they are passed to the recruiting manager. Recruitment is a very competitive market at the moment so agencies will be open to conversations about fees, especially for long term relationships and large scale recruitment campaigns.