Insights

There are some problems that Siri and Google just can’t solve…luckily K2 can

by | 23 May 2019

In today’s fast-paced, hyper-digitalised society we are turning to trust our tech – smart phones, tablets, computers and the myriad of apps and programmes that help run them – to an unprecedented level.

When you really think about it, how many people do you know that don’t regularly turn to Siri or Alexa to get advice to solve a problem? Be it something to do with DIY, health or even tips on how to do a tax return. Google and friends are now the ‘go to’ help for many, sometimes more often than family or their local GP. And why not? It’s quicker, simpler, more convenient and often better informed.

Gone too are the days of lofts crammed with dusty unlabelled boxes full of all your historical documents which tracked and authenticated your life. With scanned copies, who really needs to keep track of their original hardcopy birth or marriage certificate in this day and age? Now they can quickly be retrieved with a logon, search and click.

But what does this potential over-reliance mean for our important personal paperwork when going to live and work in those countries where the ‘computer says no’ for instance? Those essential documents that give authenticated proof of your key achievements, life events and identity. Where have they gone?

As an immigration consultant at K2, an expert global mobility relocation and consultancy provider, I work daily with individuals who have decided to take a big step in their career and go to work abroad for a period of time. Many do so between very diverse locations, such as the Philippines to South Africa, or Peru to Denmark. These countries are not only extremely different culturally, but also administratively. With this, I’ve noticed an increased trend where individuals from western or more developed countries struggle to track down their vital documents from authorities, hospitals and educational institutes, and find themselves dealing with extra stresses and delays to their move, or at worst, even a cancellation of their assignment.

Governments want to know and decide who they will grant to reside in their country. Thorough background checks are therefore often inevitable, and depending on the format, and how you have stored your personal documentation, the processing time can vary dramatically – in some cases delaying the process by as much as four months.

I have previously worked with a relocating employee who was transferring from Sweden to Brazil. He needed his high school diploma from the 1980s. No longer having the original, we researched and contacted the local municipality where he was registered at the time of his studies and they retrieved an original copy from their underground archives. This caused a month’s delay to his residence permit approval, but it could have taken a lot longer.

For all relocations, local registration and/or a full immigration service is required. That’s where our K2 service comes in. We have in-depth knowledge of the different rules and regulations around the world and keep up-to-date with the latest changes. I can therefore offer both clients and their relocating employees expert advice and support on how to successfully navigate the complexities and variations around the world. We can also provide a service where we fully manage the time consuming, complex and detailed processes on your behalf.

Thankfully, it is becoming more common in some states that details of birth, marriage and family information can now be found in just one compressed document, such as the Japanese ‘Family Register’ (Koseki) or a Swedish ‘Extract of the Population Register’ (Personbevis). But experience tells me that we’re still some way off full digitisation of identity. I therefore always remind our clients and their employees of the importance of keeping track of their life documents as hardcopy originals – time and again it still really counts. You just never know if, and when, you will be in need of those important papers – and when you are, they’re normally always for something vitally important.

Don’t let a piece of paper delay the next step in your career.

Contact us for help with any issue raised in this article on +44 (0)20 3151 6794 or email contact@harbourhr.com

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