Global Mobility Trends 2023


There are several trends in global mobility that are expected to continue in 2023, subject to factors such as world events, economic conditions, and advancements in technology. These include:

  • Domestic skills shortages resulting in increased overseas recruitment
  • Digital nomadism
  • Increased use of technology
  • Sustainable travel
  • Emerging destinations
  • Rental market challenges
  • Greater safeguarding of mobile employees
  • International business travel resuming


Domestic skills shortages resulting in increased overseas recruitment 

Countries across the world are struggling with staffing and skills shortages, leading to global-scale competition for best talent. As a direct result, UK employers that previously had not hired from overseas are now looking to fill vacancies with foreign nationals. In particular, we are seeing growth in international recruitment in sectors such as health and social care following the addition of care workers to the UK Shortage Occupation List in 2022. Following the interim recommendations published by the MAC in March 2023, we are also expecting to see new roles added to the SOL in the construction and hospitality sectors.

Employers that are new and unfamiliar with overseas recruitment must quickly become knowledgeable about their obligations under the UK immigration rules when recruiting foreign workers to avoid compliance breaches and Home Office enforcement action.


Digital nomadism

The rise of remote work has led to a significant increase in the number of digital nomads – ie individuals who work remotely while travelling the world. This trend is expected to continue in 2023, as more and more people are able to work remotely and choose to do so while traveling.

Digital nomadism is a lifestyle that involves working remotely while traveling. It’s a way of life that allows individuals to work from anywhere in the world as long as they have access to the internet. Digital nomads can be freelancers, entrepreneurs, or remote employees of a company.

Advancements in technology have made it easier for people to work remotely, and this has led to a significant increase in the number of digital nomads in recent years. Many digital nomads choose to work from co-working spaces, coffee shops, or other public places where they can access the internet and be productive.

One of the main advantages of digital nomadism is the flexibility it provides. Digital nomads can work from anywhere in the world, and they can choose their own schedule. This allows them to take advantage of opportunities to travel and explore new places while still maintaining their work responsibilities.

However, digital nomadism also has its challenges. Working while traveling can be difficult, and it can be challenging to balance work and personal life when living in a new place. Additionally, digital nomads may face legal and visa issues when traveling to different countries, and they may struggle with loneliness and isolation if they don’t have a community of like-minded individuals to connect with.

Overall, digital nomadism is a growing trend that offers a lot of benefits for those who are able to make it work. However, it’s important to carefully consider the challenges and risks involved before embarking on a digital nomad lifestyle.


Increased use of technology

Technology continues to play a major role in global mobility. From booking travel and accommodations to navigating new cities, technology is making travel easier and more accessible for people all over the world.

Multinational employers can take several steps to optimise the use of technology in their global mobility programmes by:

  • Using cloud-based platforms: Employers can use cloud-based platforms to manage their global mobility programs. This can include platforms that manage employee data, relocation services, and expenses. Using a cloud-based platform can improve efficiency and reduce errors in data management.
  • Implementing mobile technology: Employers can implement mobile technology to help employees manage their relocation and travel arrangements. This can include mobile apps that provide information on local services, transportation, and cultural norms.
  • Using data analytics: Employers can use data analytics to analyze employee data and identify trends in global mobility. This can help them make informed decisions about talent management and relocation strategies.
    Implement virtual communication tools: Employers can implement virtual communication tools, such as video conferencing and chat platforms, to help employees stay connected with colleagues and managers. This can help improve collaboration and productivity, even when employees are working remotely.
  • Providing training on technology tools: Employers can provide training on the technology tools that are used in their global mobility programs. This can help employees become more proficient in using these tools and improve overall program effectiveness.


Sustainable travel

Concerns about the environment and sustainability have led to a greater focus on sustainable travel. This includes a shift towards eco-friendly accommodations, transportation, and activities that minimise the impact on the environment.

Multinational employers can take several steps to support sustainable travel in their global mobility programmes:

  • Encourage the use of eco-friendly transportation: Employers can encourage employees to use public transportation or electric vehicles instead of taxis or rental cars. This can help reduce the carbon footprint of their global mobility programs.
  • Promote sustainable accommodations: Employers can work with travel providers to identify and promote eco-friendly accommodations that prioritize sustainability. This can include hotels that use renewable energy sources or implement water conservation measures.
  • Encourage telecommuting: Employers can encourage employees to work remotely when possible, reducing the need for travel altogether.
  • Implement green policies: Employers can implement policies that prioritize sustainability in their global mobility programs. This can include using paperless communications, reducing waste, and implementing recycling programs.
  • Provide education and resources: Employers can provide employees with resources and education about sustainable travel, including information on sustainable practices, local sustainability initiatives, and tips for reducing their environmental impact while traveling.


Rental market challenges

Countries such as the US, UK and Ireland are experiencing issues with the availability and affordability of rental properties. This is affecting employers deploying workers to these countries since reduced inventory and high rental rates can deter workers who will rent property from accepting a relocation.

Employers can take several steps to support relocating workers dealing with rental issues. Here are a few examples:

  • Offer coverage for lease break penalties and rental broker’s fees, and possibly adding rental deposit assistance to existing benefits to make it easier for renters to relocate.
  • Provide housing assistance: Employers can provide housing assistance to relocating workers, such as information on rental markets, real estate agents, and temporary housing options. Employers can also offer financial assistance, such as housing allowances or relocation packages, to help employees cover the cost of renting.
  • Offer legal assistance: Employers can offer legal assistance to employees who are experiencing rental issues, such as disputes with landlords or eviction notices. This can include providing access to legal services or partnering with legal assistance programs.
  • Provide counseling and support: Relocating workers may experience stress and anxiety related to rental issues. Employers can offer counseling and support services to help employees cope with these challenges.
    Facilitate communication with landlords: Employers can facilitate communication between employees and landlords to resolve rental issues. This can include providing translation services or acting as a mediator in disputes.
  • Help employees understand local rental regulations: Rental regulations can vary widely between regions and countries. Employers can provide employees with information on local rental regulations and laws to help them understand their rights and responsibilities as renters.


Emerging destinations

In light of ongoing global tensions and the perceived instability of western economies, countries in Southeast Asia, South America, and Africa are becoming more influential and popular as destinations to ‘do business’.

Multinational employers can take several steps to cater for emerging destinations in their global mobility programmes:

  • Research and assess emerging destinations: Employers can research and assess emerging destinations to identify opportunities for global mobility programs. This can include analysing local infrastructure, business opportunities, and quality of life factors that may be attractive to employees.
  • Establish local partnerships: Employers can establish local partnerships with businesses, universities, and community organizations in emerging destinations to facilitate global mobility programs. This can include partnerships with local service providers, such as real estate agents or relocation companies, to help employees navigate the local environment.
  • Provide language and cultural training: Employers can provide language and cultural training to employees who are relocating to emerging destinations. This can help them acclimate to the local culture and navigate social and business interactions.
  • Offer competitive compensation and benefits: Employers can offer competitive compensation and benefits packages to attract and retain talent in emerging destinations. This can include benefits such as housing allowances, cost-of-living adjustments, and travel expenses.
  • Offer flexibility: Employers can offer flexibility in their global mobility programs to cater to the needs of employees relocating to emerging destinations. This can include flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options or flexible schedules, to help employees balance work and personal commitments.


Greater safeguarding of mobile employees

Following the COVID-19 epidemic, the duty on employers to monitor their employees’ global whereabouts has come squarely into focus. As tax, social security, and immigration authorities become more integrated, we can see authorities become more aware of business travel, and better informed and equipped to detect it. Employers must be more proactive in their reporting and disclosure policies as a result.


International business travel

Post-COVID, we are seeing a rise in global business travel as companies resume normal operations.

The virtual international assignments heavily touted during the pandemic as an alternative to on-the-ground assignments are seemingly not emerging. This brings compliance risk in relation to meeting local travel rules and monitoring workforce movement and locations. Employers are also using extended business trips and short-term assignments more frequently as alternatives to permanent domestic moves.


Need assistance?

DavidsonMorris are experienced immigration advisers to international employers operating global mobility programmes. For more information about our services or to find out how we could help with your mobility needs, please contact us.

Last updated: 1 February 2023


Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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