Name: June Mok
Position: Executive Director, Immigration
Company: The Corporate Lab
The Corporate Lab, Executive Director, Immigration (Malaysia): 2017 – Present
Santa Fe Relocation Services, Group Immigration Manager – (Malaysia): 2010 – 2017
Deloitte, Senior Manager, Global Employer Services (Malaysia): 2001 – 2010
Liow & Co. – Advocates & Solicitor, Administration & Paralegal: 1997 – 2001
A: I believe I kind of fell into the industry when I took up the role of Consultant in my early years in Deloitte. I had no clue then what “immigration work” entailed and honestly just thought “why not give this a shot?” It also didn’t hurt that I really liked the person who interviewed me and turned out to be my boss for 9 years. The first few years was a whole lot of foundation work and during my career in Deloitte, I was double-promoted twice and it was only in my managerial positions that I started to get acquainted with the world of global mobility. My experience then focused largely on immigration and expatriate taxation.
After 9 years in Deloitte, a regional opportunity presented itself and it was just too good a challenge not to take up, thus the next chapter of my love affair began! In my 7 years with Santa Fe Relocation Services managing the immigration business for Asia, I must say that the world of global mobility suddenly became a whole lot bigger for me. Like a Disney movie, it was indeed “A Whole New World”! As part of my role, I was privileged enough to have travelled to many places globally to meet not just clients but also industry experts, partners, competitors etc. Experiences like that are just priceless.
A: Starting all over again! The Corporate Lab is a labour of love and my partners and I are all game and most importantly, fully equipped to raise this baby! As with most new set-ups, we are extremely excited to see where this new venture will take us and the ability to be able to control almost all aspects of our company’s direction sure makes it even more exhilarating!
A: As old school as it may sound, I believe one should start at the foundation level. Be smart, aggressive and pick up as much as possible along the way. Nothing beats getting the experience yourself! Not by reading, but by doing! It would be something no one can ever take away from you.
A: Immigration compliance is certainly something that should constantly be in the minds of companies/HRs when planning for any assignments or moves, and yes, it has certainly changed and will continue to change over the years. No matter how short the duration of assignment or how “simple” it may seem, immigration compliance can never be compromised.
Historically, governments across the globe have addressed compliance factors in response to varying elements affecting their country at any one particular time, whether for political, social or economic reasons such as recession, high unemployment rates etc. Over the years, we have seen stricter enforcements or new requirements in developed nations due to the rise in foreign hires. For example, increasing minimum salary requirements and introducing labour market testing in countries like Singapore and Australia some years back and vice versa, for less developed nations, some countries have relaxed the requirements to attract more foreign talent to a specific business sector.
Compliance is certainly crucial to our clients and time is an equally important factor. With our local on-the-ground expertise, we are able to secure compliance and coordinate every detail with the client’s overall plans and milestones, making sure that the employee is ready to do business in the new location on time.
A: It is rather difficult to pinpoint one primary thing. From experience, I would say the top 3 challenges include:
A: Education and planning. A well thought out process within the company should be established and put in place so that when urgent assignments spring up, the stakeholders are able to immediately start the ball rolling in the right direction with all identified parties.
A: Education and awareness of compliance requirements in both home and host countries for all stakeholders.
A: Identify (in advance if possible) expert assistance/consultation at departing and host locations.
A: In the recent months, there has been a trend of “marriages” and “partnerships” in the immigration industry. Two large US immigration law firms have separately entered into alliances with two other Big 4 professional services firms. Whilst this technically reduces two big players in the industry, it also at the same time greatly increases the presence of these competitors in a larger market segment. Local boutique set-ups like The Corporate Lab are certainly not able to compete on a global level; at least not yet. The international market for immigration services is very fragmented. In some geographies, legal representation is required and services are offered by dedicated international law firms and specially-certified immigration experts. Other markets require no legal representation and are addressed by local companies like us who are the on-the-ground experts. With the presence of players getting bigger in the industry, we are confident that boutique companies like ours will still have the pull factor for certain market segments.