India: Awareness of sustainable growth is still very low

Interview with Norman Dentel, CEO, Würth Industrial Services India

How important do you think India is for the global market and particularly for European companies?

India is one of the largest growth markets, and maybe even the largest growth market worldwide. I believe that relationships with international partners will continue to grow in importance for European companies. I even dare to say that European companies without activities in China or India will eventually become obsolete.

Globalization requires growth from every company. If companies do not grow and the margins fail to materialize, shrinkage will set in. Eventually, such companies disappear from the scene. From an economic perspective, this can lead to a conflagration. Unemployment leads to a decline in purchasing power - as a result, more and more companies have problems selling their products.

Read the complete interview here


Indian labour law is the outflow of India’s socialist origin

Interview with Rahul Oza, Partner and Branch Manager, Rödl & Partner

India is considered a bureaucratic country with a complicated legal framework. What should companies that want to enter the Indian market consider from a legal perspective?

The market entry requires some preliminary considerations regarding the legal structure. The liaison office, the project office, the branch office, an LLP or a private limited company are usually suitable for foreign companies. All market entry options have different legal and tax implications, which should be carefully examined to avoid negative consequences and liability, for example within the framework of India’s strict permanent establishment policy.

The incorporation of foreign companies in India is generally a formal procedure, which requires a lot of documentation. This is in particular due to the fact that Germany opposed India’s accession to the 1961 Hague Apostille Convention and India was not recognized as a signatory state.

Read the complete interview here


Top Expat Careers in 2020

An article by Expatriant

It is 2020, and that means many people have made resolutions to change their careers and there is no better time to think about looking internationally for your next job. Working abroad is one of the best career moves for any profession, but some professions are better suited for working internationally. Many people think that finding a job abroad is difficult, or that without knowing the local language you stand little chance of finding a job. It is 2020, and the world is more international than ever before. There are opportunities everywhere, it simply depends on how hard you are willing to look. That being said, careers in education, hospitality,  tourism, nursing, non-profit, business, finance, marketing, and software development are especially well suited to an international career move. Here is an in-depth look at the top expat careers in 2020. 

Read the complete article here


Myanmar Extends Visa Regulations to Five New Countries

ASEAN briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates

  • Myanmar has extended visa on arrival access to Austria, Hungary, New Zealand, Czech Republic, and Luxemburg.
  • Visitors unable to obtain a visa on arrival can acquire an eVisa, which can be approved within three working days.
  • Despite the recent visa extensions, Myanmar is still prioritizing Chinese tourists as it increases its diplomatic ties with China.

As of January 1, 2020, the Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population have extended the visa-on-arrival (VoA) access to five new countries.

This program will run for a three-year trial period and is part of the government’s Tourism Master Plan, which aims to maximize the tourism industry’s contribution to the national economy.

The new countries included in the list are Austria, Hungary, New Zealand, Czech Republic, and Luxemburg. Myanmar has already extended VoA access to nationals of Australia, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, and Switzerland, in October 2019, for a one-year trial period.

Read the complete article here


What are the Top Tier-2 Cities to Hire in India?

  • India’s tier-2 cities are developing rapidly and are home to several industrial clusters and startup hubs, particularly in the IT, manufacturing, and export sectors.
  • Termed as the “reversal of talent movement”, many urban professionals in India are relocating to tier-2 cities to seek better career opportunities, benefit from lower living costs, and now – access cleaner air.
  • Several multinational companies, including HCL, Infosys, Wipro, and Ericsson have expanded their operations in tier-2 cities due to the availability of talent, infrastructure, cheaper real estate, and low cost of setting up.

Tier-2 cities have emerged as a strong base for industrial clusters and startup incubators in India, leading to the emergence of new IT and manufacturing hubs.

Many multinational companies (MNCs) have expanded their operations to these cities due to the increasing availability of talent, low cost of setting up, competitive wage rates, affordable real estate, and lower operational costs.

Further, it is important to note that Indian cities are classified into tiers – tier-1, 2, and 3 – based on their population size, and this may not necessarily indicate their level of economic development.

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Remote Jobs Best Suited For the Virtual Office

An article by Expatriant

According to Owl Lab’s 2019 state of remote work, IT has the highest percentage of remote workers relative to its share of the total workforce. It makes perfect sense that this is the case. Because it is through the power of the internet, and the innovative products developed by the IT industry that enable remote work.

But, if you look at the other industries with the largest relative proportion of remote workers from the study, they are as follows: Customer support (service or success), sales and marketing.

Now you may be thinking, what makes a job a good candidate for moving remote?  Let’s take a look. Flexjob’s post titled “5 Criteria for Turning Office Jobs into Remote Jobs” states that for a job to be a good candidate for going remote it should ensure that the team does not need to be together physically, the technology for enabling them to go remote exists, or the absence of a particular team does not impact other departments.  Having only the required employees in the office saves $11,000 per employee on average.

Read the complete article here


Individual Income Tax in Malaysia for Expatriates

ASEAN briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates

  • Malaysia adopts a territorial principle of taxation, meaning only incomes which are earned in Malaysia are taxable.
  • Expatriates working in Malaysia for more than 60 days but less than 182 days are considered non-tax residents and are subject to a tax rate of 30 percent.
  • Foreign workers should seek help from registered local tax advisors to better understand their tax liabilities.

Malaysia uses both progressive and flat rates for personal income tax (PIT), depending on an individual’s duration and type of work in the country. As expatriates may fall into either tax category, it is important to understand Malaysia’s basic tax structure.

The Income Tax Act of 1967 structures personal income taxation in Malaysia, while the government’s annual budget can change the rates and variables for an individual’s taxation.

Read the complete article here.


Total Workforce Index 2019 – 3 Challenges for Vietnam’s Labor

  • In 2019, the Total Workforce Index (TWI) ranked Vietnam’s labor force 57th out of 76 for regulation, skills availability, cost efficiency, and productivity.
  • The report highlighted three deficiencies: low English proficiency, low minimum wages and widening gender pay gap.
  • While improvements have been made, more will need to be done as Vietnam becomes more integrated into the global economy.

In the latest 2019 Total Workforce Index (TWI) report by ManpowerGroup, Vietnam ranked 57th out of 76, a slip from its 43rd ranking in 2018. The index evaluates 100 factors in four key categories including regulation, skills availability, cost efficiency, and productivity. The report highlights three major challenges in Vietnam’s labor force: low English proficiency, low wages, and a widening gender pay gap.

Read the complete article here.


The Top 5 Trends in India’s HR Industry in 2020

India has seen some significant changes in its human resources (HR) industry over the last five years.

New priorities have included creating a diverse workforce, establishing gender parity and pay equality, providing mentorship, and assuring safety at the workplace.

Moreover, companies and start-up enterprises alike now view hiring in more holistic terms while job seekers choose their employers based on a wider criterion than salary growth, particularly in the initial stages of their career.

Also, as India enters 2020 amid an ongoing economic slowdown, HR departments across its corporate landscape will be expected to ensure the most efficient utilization of resources through increasing reliance on technology for recruitment, onboarding, and performance management.

Read the complete article here


A Guide to Minimum Wages in China in 2020

Minimum wages in China continue to grow.

Last year, seven regions in China increased their minimum wage.

The first six months of 2019 saw Chongqing, Shaanxi, Shanghai, and Beijing raise their minimum monthly and hourly wage. This was then followed by a minimum wage boost in Hebei, Fujian, and Qinghai in the latter half of 2019.

In 2018, 15 out of the 31 regions in mainland China increased their minimum wages, while 20 provinces did so in 2017.

Local governments in China are required to update their minimum wages at least every few years but have the flexibility to adjust wages according to local conditions.

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Vietnam’s Year in Review and Outlook for 2020

Labor code 2021

This year, the Labor Code has two major changes in retirement age and overtime hours limit.

The retirement age for men has been increased from 60 to 62, and from 50 to 55 for women. The increase is inevitable to avoid labor shortages in the next decade and to address an unbalanced social insurance fund. Companies can introduce a more flexible retirement scheme whereby senior workers can choose to be freelancers, independent contractors or part-time workers.

The new code also limits overtime to 40 hours a month (300 hours a year). The cap is higher than that of other Asian countries, such as China’s 36 hours a month.

Read the complete article here.


How Executive Search Firms Work in Russia

Interview with Christian Tegethoff, Managing Partner, CT Executive Search, published on Expatriant

What are the differences between executive search firms, recruiters, and head hunters in Russia?

In recruitment, there are two different business models: the “contingent” model and the “retained” model. 

“Contingent” means that the searching company only pays the agency a fee in case it hires a candidate proposed by the agency. 

“Retained” means that the fee agreed at the start of the search is paid in installments, which are charged when project milestones are reached. Three installments are usual, with one being invoiced at the start of the assignment, the second upon presentation of the candidate shortlist and the third one upon placement of a candidate. 

The retainer fee model ensures that the executive search firm receives a major part of their fee regardless of whether a placement actually happens. This allows the search firm to conduct a deeper market analysis, more in-depth candidate evaluation and generally a higher level of service. 

The retainer model is mainly applied for senior management searches, other positions are usually filled according to the contingent model.

Read the complete interview here.


Understanding the 13th Month Pay and Christmas Bonuses in the Philippines

ASEAN briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates

  • Employers in the Philippines should understand the obligations around the 13th month pay and Christmas bonuses.
  • The 13thmonth pay is exempt from tax, up to a limit of PHP 90,000 (US$1,778) and is mandatory, while the Christmas bonus is at the discretion of the employer. 

The 13th month pay and Christmas bonuses in the Philippines are an important aspect of HR policy that employers need to understand.

A key topic that often prompts questions is the distinction between the two systems and the tax rules surrounding them. Though both bonus payments are distinct, they can interact to create diverse tax outcomes. 

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Indonesia’s Income Tax Incentives: Opportunities in Specific Sectors and Regions

ASEAN briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates

  • The Indonesian government introduced Regulation 78 of 2019, offering a variety of income tax incentives for investments in specific industries and provinces.
  • These incentives include tax deductions, the accelerated depreciation of fixed tangible assets, and the accelerated amortization of intangible assets, among others.
  • The development bodes well for businesses as the tax allowance schemes have been expanded to 183 from 145 sectors.

Indonesia’s government on December 13, 2019, issued Government Regulation 78 of 2019 (GR 78, 2019), which sets out a variety of income tax incentives for businesses investing in specific industries and provinces in the country.

These incentives come in the form of tax deductions, the accelerated depreciation of fixed tangible assets, and the accelerated amortization of intangible assets. The regulation also increases the period for fiscal loss compensation, in addition to setting the income tax rate on dividends for foreign taxpayers at 10 percent.

Read the complete article here


Vietnam Approves Labor Code for 2021

  • Vietnam’s National Assembly approved a new Labor Code which will take effect in January 2021.
  • The amended code offers greater protection for employees and is viewed as better aligned with international best practices.
  • Businesses should review their labor practices and prepare themselves to be compliant when the labor code takes effect.

Vietnam has approved an amended Labor Code which will come into effect in January 2021. The amendment to the labor regulations are a step towards aligning with international labor standards particularly as Vietnam integrates into the world economy as noted by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

Most of the code remains the same however, changes have been introduced to probationary employment, mandatory work rules, notice requirements, and other provisions generally suited to employees.

Read the complete article here


Income Tax for Foreign Nationals in India

  • Income tax for foreign nationals in India is determined based on their level of residency.
  • Foreign nationals who are employed in India are liable to income tax.
  • Only foreign nationals who qualify as non-residents are not liable to income tax.

In India, an individual’s income is taxed at graduated rates, depending on his/her residential status in India and income level. Non-employment income is taxed at a variable rate according to income type. 

In this article, we outline the rates and calculation methods for both income sources, and summarize common tax deductions and inclusions in income for foreign nationals working in India.

Read complete article here


Vietnam to Increase Minimum Wage from January 2020

  • Vietnam will increase minimum wages by approximately 5.7 percent from January 1, 2020.
  • The increase varies from US$6 to US$10 depending on living expenses in a particular region.
  • Businesses should prepare and incorporate the increase in their budgets for the next year.

Vietnam will increase the minimum wage by an average of 5.7 percent in 2020. The government issued Decree no 90/2019/ND/CP which will take effect on January 1, 2020.

In addition, salaries that are paid to employees who have had vocational training must be paid at least 7 percent higher than the minimum salary level.

Read the complete article here.


Integrity of Leadership Team is of Paramount Importance

Interview with Christian Tegethoff, Managing Director, CT Executive Search

The Hungarian HR market is considered very competitive. How do you find suitable candidates for executive roles?

The labour market is indeed fiercely competitive, especially in production-related management positions. In view of the large number of production sites of international companies in Hungary, Plant Managers, Production Managers and other technical executives are in demand. Recruitment for such positions therefore requires some effort, especially for more remote locations.

Job postings currently have little chance of success in Hungary. We work exclusively through direct search, i.e. through the targeted identification and addressing of potential candidates.

Read the complete interview here


Bureaucracy shows clear signs of improvement

Interview with Rainer Tom, Partner, international law firm bnt

To what extent is legal certainty given to companies in Hungary?

On what foundations does Hungarian law rest? Hungary has been a member of the European Union since 2004. There is a separation of powers, the executive, legislative and judiciary are independent. The legal system is stable and reliable. Even though court proceedings tend to take a very long time compared to Western Europe (not least due to the fact that numerous court dates are set before a judgement is passed even in simple cases), they are conclusively justified and comprehensible, especially in the higher courts.

Read the complete interview here


Austrian companies are affected by labour shortage

Interview with Jürgen Schreder, Business delegate, Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, AußenwirtschaftsCenter Budapest

How is the Austrian economy represented in Hungary today?

Austrian companies were the first to invest in Hungary after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Austria has also been one of the most important investment partners in Hungary since then, currently ranking third behind Germany and the Netherlands.

According to the Austrian National Bank (ÖNB), the total stock of direct investment amounted to 5.7 billion euros in 2018, which represents a slight decline compared to 2017 (6.3 billion euros). A look behind the figures shows that Austria has built up a strong presence in Hungary: Austria has the second largest number of branches in Hungary, just behind Germany and well ahead of the US, and Austrian companies are the third largest foreign employer (behind Germany and USA), having created over 69.000 jobs.

Read the complete interview here


How to successfully enter the African Market: “Mittelstandsindex Afrika” launched

A report by africon and partners

By 2035, Africa will have the largest workforce worldwide. This is where the global markets, the customers and the employees of the future are growing.” The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has also been pursuing a focused “Africa strategy” since 2018. The “Mittelstandsindex Afrika” aims to support the German “Mittelstand” (SME sector) in its own quest to expand in Africa by raising awareness about opportunities, creating transparency at an early stage by providing a guideline for a structured approach to the African markets.

The “Mittelstandsindex Afrika” draws its information from 55 input factors consisting of specifically gathered primary data and existing secondary data sources. These are summarized in 16 “indicators” for SMEs, which in turn are condensed into three “key indicators”. These “key indicators” – “Scale and Scope of Opportunities”, “Getting into the Market” and “Navigating inside the Market” – give rise to a country rating that allows a mid-sized company a quick overview of each country’s business appeal. 

Read the complete report here


Investing in Germany


Executive employees

Executive employees (leitende Angestellte) are accorded a special role in Germany. They are at the top of the operational hierarchy, below the senior management, but are at the same time employees. Their status is unique because they are subject to direction as employees on the one hand but also exercise the functions of employers with respect to the rest of the workforce (management functions) on the other. The German legislator takes this special role into account in a number of ways:

  • The law on public working hours is not applicable to executive employees.
  • The regulations on the protection of employment apply less strictly to executive employees.
  • Under the works constitution, executive employees are not represented by the works council, but can elect their own representative bodies (executives’ representative committees).

Read the complete report here


Real estate projects in South Africa

SOTM by africon

The real estate industry in South Africa has been growing steadily in the last few years. Looking at the industry’s three main segments, i.e. residential, commercial, and additions/alterations, it is apparent that South Africa residential developments have increased the most in value, at a growth rate of 11.37% between 2015 and 2018. Similarly, additions and alterations have increased at a growth rate of 7.92% in the same period. The growth in these two segments can however be accredited to the country’s growing urban population.

Read the complete article here.


HR Policies in India: 10 Best Practices for Employers

When establishing human resource (HR) polices in India, foreign companies need to strike a balance between their own best practices and local norms in the country.  

Foreign companies should seek to establish a strong understanding of laws and regulations that inform HR administration as a basis for their HR policies in the country. This is particularly important in country like India, where federal, state, and industry-specific regulations govern labor laws.

Read the complete article here


Personal Income Tax in Indonesia for Expatriate Workers Explained

ASEAN briefing is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates

  • Personal income tax in Indonesia is determined through a self-assessment system, meaning resident tax payers need to file individual income tax returns.
  • Resident tax payers are subject to progressive tax rates ranging from 5 percent to 30 percent.
  • Given the consequences of non-compliance, foreign workers should seek help from registered local tax advisors to better understand their tax liabilities.

Expatriate workers need to know that personal income tax (PIT) in Indonesia is determined through a self-assessment scheme.

Read the complete article here