While South Africa settles into winter, this month, I had the privilege of chasing the sun and joining my colleagues in Seville, Spain for the EURA 2022 conference.

This is the first EURA conference we are able to attend in person for three years since the start of the pandemic. It is wonderful to finally share our news, insights and updates with the network face-to-face and not through a laptop camera!

As a team, our second financial quarter starts in early June and attending the conference and taking in lessons from fellow mobility and immigration experts will certainly have an impact on our planning going forward.

I have attended several talks so far – there are particular themes running through them all that I would like to share with you today.

Immigration sectors in countries across the globe are experiencing major challenges but also latching onto positive trends, as economies all over the world push into a recovery period and people can travel freely (for the most part) once again.

The first challenge I picked up during the seminars and in talks with my American and European colleagues is the overall increase in workload during the first half of 2022. With the downswing in Covid cases and the war in Ukraine causing people to evacuate for safety, many of our EU and US colleagues feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to focus on first.

A second common issue during the conference has been the struggle to secure the necessary skills and talent within immigration firms, globally. Many of my colleagues have lamented the fact that they cannot find good staff and fill positions in their firms. The immigration sector needs many more detailed, hardworking, efficient consultants. Unfortunately, the skills shortage within the industry leads to burnout, overload, and efficiency costs for EU and US immigration firms overall. If you believe this sector may be an interesting career move for you and you are looking to relocate, overseas work opportunities in immigration are plentiful.

A third, positive theme that came up in talks hosted by medium-to-large immigration firms and RMCs, is a significant shift from technology to sustainability. Three years ago, technology played a major role in the immigration sector, creating transparency and accountability from RMCs to their clients. While technology is still a main driver in connecting with clients, in 2022, the sustainability of services has taken precedence, meaning immigration firms are moving to shrink their carbon footprints and keep the impact on the environment front of mind. Clients are seeking out immigration companies who place importance on this.

Linked to this, is another constructive shift in focus from clients and corporates to show preference for immigration firms that have a diverse, inclusive workforce and support that with effective employment equity policies.

At IBN Immigration Solutions, our African positioning allowed us to jump ahead of the curve. Our team may be small, but it is inclusive, multi-lingual and diverse, a factor often mentioned in client reviews. The majority of our management team are women, which means we are already well-positioned to manage this trend.

We were also very proud to accept the Sterling Lexicon Award for Service Excellence at EURA on behalf of our hardworking immigration consultants. Your effort is being recognised!

I will be back in South Africa next week, where our branch team members will be joining us in Cape Town for our second quarter planning session. In this vein, we welcome our new receptionist, Vuyelwa Matiwane, who joined our Johannesburg branch in early May.

We will update you on more points from the conference and our upcoming plans for the second quarter in my next letter, so be sure not to miss out.

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