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Anti-LGBT+ laws are stopping companies sending staff abroad to work

Anti-LGBT+ laws are stopping companies sending staff abroad to work

  • Anti-LGBT+ laws are a bigger barrier than concerns like healthcare and insurance.
Hong Kong.

LGBT+ professionals are keen to work abroad but discriminatory laws and culture are the biggest reason for refusing foreign assignments.

69% of LGBT+ professionals cited discriminatory laws related to LGBT+ people as a reason for rejecting a potential international assignment. That is ahead of other practical concerns like healthcare and insurance.

That’s according to a new report from corporate consortium Open For Business that promotes LGBT+ inclusion in mostly multinational companies.

Meanwhile the research found that LGBT+ staff who agree to work abroad want ‘local knowledge’ about the challenges they will face.

However employers failed to give them information about laws and culture related to their sexuality or gender identity in 90% of cases.

Kathryn Dovey, executive director of Open For Business, said:

‘Recent years have seen a rise in antagonism towards LGBT+ people in some parts of the world, suffering discrimination at the hands of politicians and lawmakers.

‘The global pandemic has only exacerbated this situation.

‘All this leads to real challenges for LGBT+ professionals working and travelling abroad, who often feel unable to be open about their sexuality or gender identity.

‘This new report adds to the growing evidence base that LGBT+ inclusion is a win-win proposition for business, economy and society.’

‘Additional barriers’

Moreover, the report ‘Working Globally: Why LGBT+ Inclusion is Key to Competitiveness’ finds that LGBT+ professionals are very willing to work abroad, when not held back by hateful laws or culture.

Over 70% of respondents willing to travel for short-term assignments, commuter assignments or business trips, and over 50% willing to travel for a long-term assignment. 

That makes LGBT+ staff highly valuable to many employers who struggle to find workers to take work abroad.

Justin D’Agostino, chief executive officer of law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, said:

‘As an out, gay, CEO living in Hong Kong, I’m all too familiar with the additional barriers LGBT+ face when working internationally.

‘Mobility can be exciting and daunting in equal measure and employers must ensure LGBT+ employees can live, work and travel feeling supported and with the same sense of belonging, wherever they are located.

‘As businesses, cities and countries plan their recovery from the pandemic, it is more important than ever to work to remove barriers and promote inclusion.’