Nurturing the Human Asset: Why Immigration Plays a Critical Role
Date: Monday , February 02, 2009
Since Friedman’s “flatworldnomics” became the style of corporate work culture, global travel has become an accepted business-as-usual way of conducting transactions. Even as businesses realize that having the right human talent at the right place at the right time is critical to their success, many have come up against the wall of immigration processing that is still way behind.
“In countries where the state and religion are closely aligned, people who transgress immigration policies unknowingly could be caned, or worse, even beheaded,” says Umesh Vaidyamath, the founder and CEO of INSZoom, an immigration software company with offices in San Ramon, CA, and operations in the UK, India, and other key locations. He is quick to smile away the doomsday scenario—true as it may be.
Vaidyamath has a vision: One day, a specialist worker from China or India would be assigned to a role in the U.K. or elsewhere. The employee would have to simply walk to the airline counter where the agent would stamp the right visa into the employee passport. The employer’s HR department had previously filed for the visa, the concerned embassy issues it to the airline, and the last act of stamping is done right at the gates—no paper trail, no waiting periods, and endless back-and-forth of submitting evidences.
“There is no rocket science here,” says Vaidyamath. “A platform like INSZoom simply taps into the employee’s information within the company HRMS, shoots it along to the embassy or consulate that then runs an electronic check, and issues a decision.” This level of automation is imminent, claims the INSZoom CEO. “Flatworld has to come to the paper-heavy immigration processing—after all, the value of the human talent is far more critical to the corporation and to the country itself; while businesses are able to transact, countries make revenues in taxes, foreign exchange, and so on.”
Since the September 11 disaster, many countries are now tightening immigration policies while also transferring the onus of immigration compliancy on to the employer. INSZoom seeks to help companies remain compliant through automation.
Most of the immigration processes are still handled manually. INSZoom’s mission is to automate these processes. It is knocking on the doors of various stakeholders in this process—law firms, companies, employees, the government immigration agencies, and local consulates. With clients that include Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, Honda, and Wipro Technologies; leading and large immigration law practices; mid-sized, small, and solo law firms; and major U.S. universities including the Universities of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Michigan, INSZoom has emerged as the world’s largest immigration software company.
“Immigration is loaded with errors, emotions, and emergencies,” says Belkis Muldoon, previously with Motorola who signed up INSZoom for the telecom giant’s case management. “While people are excited at the prospect of travel, ignoring fine print, finding that small errors lead to family splits, and last minute denials bring loads of tension to the families. And if an employee misses the flight to the location, the company stands to lose on the opportunity.”
Given that enterprises would be reticent to sharing data, INSZoom offers a flexible at-site hosting for large enterprises, while offering an on-demand solution to the law firms and process agents. “We sometimes wonder what we did the last 20 years,” laughs a leading law firm attorney, “these guys are amazingly on top of the immigration policy changes, and have the right forms available for download in 48 hours or less.”
“Clients have reported a 60-70 percent drop in immigration processing costs once they have shifted from manual processing to our software,” notes CEO Vaidyamath. Today
INSZoom’s software has more than 8,000 users in 1,000 customer sites and is the fastest-growing part of the firm’s business. “Costs are important, while ensuring our employees stay compliant and confidently legal is absolutely critical. The INSZoom platform has helped us automatically alert our people in the field to be fully aware of what they need to do to be compliant with the local immigration policies,” says the HR group head of Wipro and Cognizant, both INSZoom customers.
Vaidyamath has begun to aggressively sell his services to law firms and enterprises across the world. Over the years the company has also developed solutions for global immigration lawyers’ corporations, universities, healthcare organizations, and non-profit groups based in Canada, Australia, and the U.K.
With immigration only increasing in the future, even as trade and communications between countries grow by leaps and bounds, INSZoom is at a commanding spot. “They simply blow us away with their training, customer support, and constant updates,” claim clients both within companies and law firms. Given the high numbers of employees crisscrossing boundaries as a result of increased globalization, corporations across the world, especially in the BRIC countries need systems in place both for visa processing and tracking and to ensure compliance. In the end, immigration plays a key role in helping retain talent, ensure they are compliant, and fully at peace about their work status at all times.
That visa stamp at the airline check-in? “It is not faraway,” smiles Vaidyamath, “after all the flat world took shape in less than a decade.” Indeed.