Virginia, US

I am very lucky. I love my job, and what I love most about my job is the field itself – global immigration. It is a field that captivates me, gives me great satisfaction, and makes coming to work every day a fun experience (well, mostly!). I was once asked in the middle of a presentation whether I loved immigration and why, and it was one of those interview-style gotcha questions I had never really given much thought to. Since that day, I make sure to occasionally spend some time reminding myself why I love it. If anyone is reading this blog and thinking about joining this wonderful field, I hope this helps!

  1. People:   Every day I come into contact with people from every corner of the earth, whether it is people I work with or people that are moving or temporarily transferring from one country to another. Based in London, my morning often starts with communications from people in Singapore, China, Australia, Malaysia, India…My day moves forward and I hear from my colleagues and others in Dubai, Nairobi, Johannesburg, Frankfurt, Zurich.  By afternoon and evening, I will be speaking and emailing to people in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Brazil, and Costa Rica. The list goes on and on. With every new encounter, it begins to feel like the world is not so big a place. We have so much in common with one another and the little cultural differences just make life a bit more interesting. I feel very privileged to know so many people in different parts of the planet, and even more privileged to be helping people to move around in the world. The more we all interact with each other, I truly believe the better we will all be for it. 
  2. Politics:  I have always enjoyed following politics. There is hardly a more politically charged topic than immigration although so often misunderstood (see e.g. Brexit).  Many people who do not have the privilege of having an international perspective will view things through a domestic lens and see immigration as a domestic issue. The truth is that in almost every country in the world, immigration is a focal point for policy makers. The more mobile our world becomes, the more complex controlling immigration becomes as well. Every government needs to strike the right balance between protecting its local labour market, ensuring the full security of its people, and also attracting foreign investment and talented individuals into their economies. At the same time that the government tries to strike this balance, they also need to sell it the populace who may have their own views about what immigration means. There is a tendency to focus a lot of ire on unskilled migrants who may be needed in the agricultural or construction sectors while not considering the highly skilled personnel  needed in the IT,  educational, health or financial sectors. This is true across the world and it is fascinating to observe.
  3. Change: In part because of the political nature of immigration (every new government wants to make its mark), but also because the world itself is changing, immigration law is constantly changing. New technology makes it easier for governments to share information across departments and sometimes across borders (e.g. Schengen).  New ways of doing business with a greater emphasis on short-term assignments or intermittent travel versus the old “expat assignment” has made it necessary for governments to adjust their legislation.  This area of law is always changing and keeping those of us in the profession on our toes.  As a young paralegal, I once commented that this is one profession that does not seem to give a great advantage to those who have been in it a long time since every couple of years everything has to be re-learned when it changes!  Now, probably 15 years or so on since making that observation, I am a little sad to report it is probably true!  My experience allows me to see the bigger picture and understand more readily where the changes are coming from and why, but it does not make it any easier to remain an expert. We have to keep paying attention, we have to keep learning, and we have to be ready for the next change to come. I love the challenge and enjoy the fact that I am always learning something new.
So there it is --- my top three reasons for loving this field, and for continuing to enjoy my work every day. As former U.S. President Theodor Roosevelt once said, “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”