It is obvious that organizations keep expanding into new countries and regions to expand their market share, and to find the right talent. At the same time, there is an ever-increasing need for organizational efficiency, insight, and compliance. For most HR and Payroll processes this has long been figured out by organizations.
But when talking about visa and permit management, processes are often still manual, require a lot of coordination between multiple stakeholders, and administration in multiple systems.
And the business impact of errors is huge, when e.g. required staff on-boards with delay, or in case of penalties for noncompliance with permits terms and conditions.
Why is it so difficult to manage visa and permit processes?
Local governments in every country work slightly different and require specific processes to be followed. It is difficult for local HR organizations to keep track of the ever-changing processes. But at the same time HR is expected to ensure they bring the right people on board at the right time.
Therefore, we identified a high need to drive further process support and automation in this area.
What is SAP SuccessFactors Visa and Permits Management?
SAP SuccessFactors Visa and Permits Management is a new solution to help manage employee work visas and permits worldwide. SAP SuccessFactors is helping to alleviate compliance and efficiency pain points for organizations looking to source talent internationally.
The solution provides central insight, the ability to run audits and it helps protect organizations from penalties resulting from non-compliance. The process support helps HR staff to ensure the right data is captured, the correct milestones are accomplished, and all necessary internal and external stakeholders are informed.
It is all based on a visa and permits framework which can be deployed around the globe, in line with country or regional specific processes. Throughout the visa and permit processes your HR staff can keep constant finger on the pulse, monitor these important milestones, and receive reminders when important expiry dates come up. At the same time employees, managers, and potentially even recruiters can get access to the application to track the status of their visa and permit processes.
How does it work?
SAP SuccessFactors Visa and Permits Management covers 4 main business areas:
- Prepare and define the organization
- Setup country dependent legal entities
- Define different types of visas or permits processes, including critical milestones
- Define eligibility checks
- Define planning and approval criteria for potential negotiations with local authorities on the types and number of visas or permits required
- Execute and obtain permits
- Allow agents (internal i.e. HR/PROs, or external i.e. agencies) to process and expense visas and permits
- Obtain visas or permits legally required for hiring or contracts renewal
- Communicate with authorities and update records status
- Monitor visa and permit status
- Allow HR, recruiters, managers and employees to monitor processes
- Communicate directly to local authorities and receive notifications
Let’s go over these 4 main processes in a bit more detail.
1. Prepare and define the organization
The functionality allows to define visa and permit processes in line with country requirements (or legal constraints defined by authorities). In the application you can define your company’s legal entity structure (in most cases resembling the country structure). Then you can define per legal entity which types of visa and permit processes are required to ensures country specific processes. This is shown in the below image:
Per entity it is defined which processes are allowed (e.g. Entry Visa, Work Permit, Medical Certificate, etc), and what the process sequence is (potentially including milestones, expenses, and other relevant factors).
In addition, you can define who the agents (e.g. HR Business Partners) are who can represent your company to the local authorities.
Because of the flexibility of the framework, it is not limited to visa and permit processes. Also, other types of processes can be covered where process sequence, and administrative accuracy are key.
One example: the administration of health check processes. In some countries the employer is responsible for an annual health checkup, including the administration of it. These annual health checkup processes needs to follow a strict sequence, including milestones, and documents (certificates). Such a process can also be covered within the flexible framework of the application. The physical checkup would in this case be done by a physician, and documented in the Visa and Permits Management application.
2. Define eligibility checks
The second business area covered in the application helps to define edibility checks. This is an optional step that is mainly relevant in countries where expat populations are very high and controlled (e.g. countries in the Middle East or some countries in Asia).
In these countries, it is common to negotiate and get pre-approval from local authorities on the number of expats the organization can bring in, and the types of roles these people can fill. This can all be tracked in the application.
The types of roles are aggregated blocks. In the below screenshot you see e.g. a block for chemical engineers:
When approved (after the negotiation) these blocks can be used for recruiting, and the initiation for visa and permit processes.
Next to negotiation support, this functionality can be used for planning purposes of other types of processes. Like the annual health check process which was described earlier. In this case the medical health check is completed throughout the year, and the administration of it is made available to the local authorities at the end of the year for approvals.
3. Execute and obtain permits
The unique proposition for this functionality is obviously the process support for the issuance, renewal, and cancellation of any type of visa and permit process. This is executed upon from work lists which are available to the users (agents) of the application.
Directly from the work list the agent has insight in ongoing processes and has the ability to initiate new ones. And these processes follow the flow which is setup in step 1, to ensure correct sequence and help to drive compliance. See the following screenshot for an example work list:
And when drilling down into these processes it provides full process transparency into the process. See the following screenshot:
As you can see in the screenshot the application also allows to easily record the related expenses, and is able to assemble all these costs in a single file which can be sent to finance. When needed, the application offers the ability for auto alerts to notify agents in case of expiration or issues.
Furthermore, because in many cases employees will only join the organization if their families can come over, the application does not only allow to manage employee related processes, but also those of their dependents (e.g. family members).
Obviously a key element of the application is to provide all stakeholders (employees, manager, and HR) the ability to access and monitor the process status for themselves, and their dependents.
Below you see a screenshot of how this looks like:
An additional nice feature is that sponsors can be tracked in the countries where this is needed.
What are the key components of the application?
In summary, these are the key features covered in SAP SuccessFactors Visa and Permits Management:
- Global Foundation: Define legal entities, permits, milestones, agents and notification settings
- Visa Management: Manage issuance, extensions, renewal or cancellation for business or residence
- Permits Management: Manage processing, renewal or cancellation of work permits and medical certificates
- Eligibility check: define the approval criteria, and set potential limits imposed by government
- Cost Management: Record expenses of each transaction and application
- Notifications: Alerting HR in case of any pending, overdue or about to expire milestones or documents
What is the localization concept?
SAP SuccessFactors Visa and Permits Management is an open platform that can be used by customers globally. This relies on a flexible framework with an embedded ‘localization layer’ to configure processes in line with country requirements.
It is SAP SuccessFactors’ aim to deliver predefined content for countries. The first country specifics are delivered for Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates in Q1 2018, and this is planned to be followed by Japan. Localization prioritization will be determined based on customer demand. For more information on our country roadmap please check the SAP SuccessFactors roadmap.
In which languages is the solution available?
SAP SuccessFactors Visa and Permits Management is currently available in English, Arabic and Japanese languages. Future supported languages are aligned with the country localization roadmap.
How does this fit in the overall SAP SuccessFactors strategy?
SAP SuccessFactors Visa and Permits Management is built on the SAP Cloud Platform (SCP). This is in fact the first SCP based application in the HCM space which we have developed and are bringing to market ourselves.
This functionality extends SAP SuccessFactors with unique functionality in the HCM market space. The application shows the value of our Platform-as-a-Service strategy and is delivered in close alignment with the other SAP SuccessFactors solutions.
- The application is updated in the same cadence as the rest of the SAP SuccessFactors suite with quarterly updates
- The implementation and configuration material can be found on help.sap.com
- All relevant material will be published on the SuccessFactors community
How is the solution integrated into SAP SuccessFactors?
The functionality provides out-of-the-box integration into Employee Central and Recruiting (per the 1805 release) to communicate people data, and has UI integration into SuccessFactors:
Functionally these SAP SuccessFactors applications are not a prerequisite to run SAP SuccessFactors Visa and Permits Management though. It would run with any SAP SuccessFactors application.
The integration is based on SAP Cloud Process platform that comes out of the box for any SuccessFactors extension based on the SuccessFactors extensions provider of the SAP cloud platform.
What are the main benefits?
The SAP SuccessFactors Visa and Permits Management solution helps organizations to:
- Decrease risk in visa and permit processes – including milestones, potential expenses and the company’s representative to local authorities – in line with country requirements, or legal constraints;
- Increase compliance via auditable processes, and the ability to define eligibility checks and approval criteria for potential negotiations with local authorities on types and number of visas and permits required;
- Increase organizational efficiency by providing central worklists, based on country specific processes, to support HR in the issuance, extension, renewal or cancellation of any type of visa and permit process;
- Improve decision making by providing insight into visa and permit processes to HR, recruiters, managers and employees.
Where can I find more information?
You will find helpful implementation material and training videos on help.sap.com.
If you have questions or need more information, please feel free to reach out.
Check out other new features across our HCM suite
Learn about other new features and enhancements across the full SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite by reading our Q2 2018 Release Highlights document and listen to our head of product, Amy Wilson, in our Q2 2018 release video on YouTube.