"Don't rely on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's travel advice", I was told recently. The information on the FCO website is rarely as up-to-date as it could be, and is certainly no match for the services of a specialist assistance provider.
Yet so many companies state to me that they rely upon this as a key tool in their travel management policy. If your strategy is to quickly check the FCO website before approving business travel or mobility, then I guess it's better than doing nothing, but not by much.
So instead of a quick glance at the UK's current diplomatic stance with a particular country, why not re-think your travel management, and focus on the following points:
- Are your people medically fit to travel to this location?
- What are the particular medical and security risks we should brief them on for their destination?
- What method should we use to brief them and build their resilience?
- How should we track them? Should this change according to the risk profile?
- What is the plan in a crisis?
- Does our company travel policy match our desires for risk mitigation?
- And our employment contracts?
- How do we implement all this? And police its usage?
The Consular Care proposition is incredibly strong, and I would invite any organisation with overseas business travellers to consider a conversation about the real consular risks and mitigation strategies out there.
Board members are starting to awaken to the massively-increased risk profile of international business travel and expatriation, and with the help of Griffin Birch and people like Consular Care you can begin to fully understand your issue.
When you travel abroad, do you ever think about how you would deal with a crisis? What would you do if you were the victim of crime? Or arrested? If you lost your visa or passport? Do you assume, as a UK taxpayer, that the Government will help you? This is not the case. No traveller has any legal right to consular assistance, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is not in a position to help everyone who requests assistance.