Survey: U.S. Security Concerns Hamper Company Relocations

By Agence France-Presse Tightened U.S. security concerns are making it harder for global firms to send executives to the United States for business assignments, according to a survey by the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC). The group, which represents some 400 U.S. firms, said in a report released June 29 that the United States along with Japan and China were among the three "most difficult" locations to send workers. Delays in obtaining visas, work permits and other red tape have made U.S. relocation more cumbersome than in the past, the survey found. "For the first time in the survey's history (since 1994), the United States ranked among the 'most challenging' countries for relocating employees, behind only China and Japan -- due to increased security measures in the U.S. during the last few years," the report said. India and Russia have also been among the most difficult locations for companies, but were outdone by the United States this year, the survey found. It also found that a new awareness of global security threats in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks had prompted other shifts in international assignments. Companies are shortening the deployments of their employees -- with 70% staying for one year or less -- and relying more on local employees, either by hiring in locations where they would normally send expatriates or by "localizing" existing employees. The NFTC surveyed 134 corporate managers, four-fifths of whom were with companies headquartered in the United States. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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