SAP SuccessFactors added a new tool to its suite to help multinational corporations manage visa-holding employees.

The tool, SAP SuccessFactors Visa and Permits Management, assists HR professionals with compliance and organizational challenges while providing country-specific processes for visa and permit issuance, extensions, renewals or cancelations.

Visa-holding employees who are the head of their household often require that their spouse and dependents move abroad with them, so the tool gives HR professionals the ability to process dependents as well, says Frans Smolders, senior director of HCM Solution Management at SAP SuccessFactors.

“There’s a very big need for harmonization of processes on a single platform,” he says.

The open-API tool integrates with SAP’s core HR platform and its other modules, such as recordkeeping, time benefits, payroll and the service center, he says. Customers need to purchase a subscription to use the tool, although SAP declined to share the price.

Bloomberg

SAP customers reported the need for a tool that can help HR professionals manage a diverse workforce in the age of globalization, where offshore roles are growing in popularity. Multinational corporations based in countries with high expat populations, such as Singapore and Japan, particularly needed the help in avoiding compliance penalties.

The company deployed 120 local product managers to monitor local law and regulations and work that into the tool, says Smolders.

Deployed in May, SAP SuccessFactors Visa and Permits Management is used in United Arab Emirates, Japan, the United States, India, China and Saudi Arabia — where the first client is based.

See also: Immigration compliance under the Trump Administration — what employers need to know

Although there are 130 platform apps available to SAP’s partners, this is the first visa extension the company has developed brought to the market, Smolders says.

The tool arrives at a pivotal time for multinational corporations based in the United States.

The Trump administration has cracked down on the U.S. visa program, particularly expensive H-1B visas for highly skilled individuals, to discourage employers from hiring foreign workers over Americans.

“They want to see if there are Americans who can do the job,” says Tammy Lee, an attorney and managing partner at New York-based law firm Goldstein & Lee. “Immigration has been questioning about salary and job responsibilities lately for these individuals. There are increased numbers of site visits.”

Companies that sponsor foreigners in roles that require working off site, such as an IT specialist, are likely to incur violations during these unexpected site visits, Lee says.

“No one really knows how it’s going to play out,” she says, of the rule posted this January. “This is going to have a big impact on IT vendors.”

Even companies with access to a tool like SAP SuccessFactors Visa and Permits Management may incur fees, as the tool relies on data inputted by an HR professional.

“Even with having the different tools, it can be a problem if you’re not utilizing them correctly,” she says. “The tools are only as good as the users and I guess the use of them. The systems in place can only do so much.”

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