Minimizing Risk: What Mobility Teams Must Know About Frontier Markets

Doing business in an F7 (“frontier”) country can be highly lucrative, but issues around taxation, security, and immigration, as well as cultural/lifestyle differences, can make it a challenge. In order to meet their business objectives, companies sending assignees to these locations need a clear and comprehensive understanding of the environment they’re operating in. Selecting best-fit candidates is also essential, as is providing the right level of training and support.

With fast-growing growing populations, increased spending on infrastructure, and proximity to key markets, frontier markets, also referred to as the F7, may seem like an attractive investment opportunity, but companies doing business in these markets face enormous hurdles, particularly from an HR and mobility perspective. Selecting and training the right people to send to these locations is critical, as is supporting them while on assignment with the appropriate policies and processes and maintaining a pipeline of candidates to replace them — sooner rather than later — when the time comes.

This paper focuses on HR practices for nonlocal staff in frontier markets in general, with specific information on laws in the F7 countries of Columbia, Peru, Morocco, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

Deploying and Managing Staff in F7 Locations

From an HR perspective, companies wishing to do business in F7 locations must consider many factors, such as security, political violence, infrastructure, inconsistent regulatory environments, and corruption. Deploying and managing staff in emerging markets requires a comprehensive understanding of these issues, as well as strategies for overcoming key challenges with regard to immigration, taxation and compliance, language, culture, and logistics.

Given the complexity of living and working in an F7 country, one of the first tasks an HR/mobility team faces is helping to identify and vet the right candidates. This, of course, can be far more difficult than it is in more developed countries. In emerging markets, those who are the best fit must have both the required skills, and the ability to adapt quickly to an unfamiliar and often difficult environment…

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