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Expat Stories: Emma Prodromou

Introducing you to Mauve’s Global Business Expansion and Immigration Manager, Emma!

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After a short interlude, Expat Stories is back. This time, we welcome Mauve team member Emma Prodromou.

Emma is the Global Business Expansion and Immigration Manager at Mauve Group. In 2005, Emma joined Mauve Group – her managerial position involves ensuring ongoing immigration compliance for our global workers, as well as reporting and liaison with immigration partners, consular officials, and embassies.

Emma has kindly offered to share her expertise on some of the typical immigration hurdles encountered by both employers and employees during international relocation. Drawing from her own experience of immigrating and embracing the expatriate lifestyle in Cyprus 28 years ago, Emma shares her journey of leaving the UK in 1996.

Tell us about yourself and what made you decide to move to Cyprus?

After leaving the UK in 1996 to work as a children’s holiday representative for Thomson Holidays, I realised that I wasn’t built for living in the UK. I needed vitamin D in its natural form! I worked in various countries, before being approached by the owner of an entertainments company, who had seen me performing in one of the holiday representative’s shows. He offered me a job as an entertainment manager in a hotel in Paphos, Cyprus, which I accepted.

How did you prepare for relocation?

When I moved to Cyprus, there wasn’t really any preparation I needed to do; I just packed a bag and jumped on a flight. I did not need to worry about visa requirements to enter Cyprus. Once I was in the country, my new employer supported me to secure a pink slip and a brown paper Alien card saying I was a temporary resident.

Were there any factors which made relocation easier?

Having an employer that was familiar with the immigration process, and was willing to handle that for me, was very helpful.

In your role as Global Business Expansion and Immigration Manager, what would be your top tip for moving to a new country?

Since the UK is no longer in the European Union, my top tip would be to check your UK passport's expiry date. With Brexit, came new passport regulations. Old-style passports often had an expiry date exceeding 10 years from the date of issue, as months were often added on if renewing your passport early.

This add-on time is now no longer counted, and your passport may no longer be valid for travel out of the UK anywhere up to six months before your actual documented expiry date!  Also, many EU countries now require UK passport holders to have at least three to six months left on their passport after their intended date of travel!

How important do you think it is to have experts - such as Mauve Group - to assist and guide you through the relocation process?

Even the most travel-experienced person can fall at the final hurdle. So, having an expert to oversee your documents can potentially save you from missed flights, rejected visa applications, or overstay penalties.

What are some typical challenges you observe clients encountering, when you assist them with their visa and immigration requirements?

As mentioned before, passports and their expiry dates are often the first thing I notice that will cause a potential issue. This can include if the passport has insufficient validity to travel or support a work visa or permit duration, or it doesn’t have enough back-to-back blank pages to support immigration stamps.

Often, documents used to augment an application are time-sensitive or won’t meet the immigration authorities' requirements. It is important to consult with an expert who knows if an abridged birth certificate would be accepted, or if a police clearance must be submitted within 90 days of issuance. It is important to consider what language the document needs to be in, if certified translations are required, and who has the authority to provide those services.

What advice would you offer to employers, which are considering expanding their operations internationally and are concerned about the visa and immigration implications for their employees?

Never assume! It is always important to ask the right questions and using an expert who knows the questions that really need to be asked, could potentially save you a lot of headaches or financial loss if mistakes are made.

Thank you, Emma, for sharing your wealth of expertise with us! Follow Mauve Group on our social platforms, LinkedIn, X, and YouTube to stay up-to-date.

If your organisation is looking to expand overseas and requires global visa and immigration support, find out how our global HR solutions could help your organisation, contact us here.