Startup XpatMobi takes the hassle out of the immigration processes for trans-border workers with its fully automated Expatriate Process Management (XPM) system. Their web application is expected to go up within the year, reports MEK ZHIN.

THE DAYS of tedious, drawn out and paperwork-heavy immigration processes for employees are numbered, thanks to smart technology as exemplified by end-to-end immigration solutions provider XpatMobi.

Founder Wee Sue Fi established the startup back in 2013, while co-founder Wong Yian Yian joined a year later and together they are revolutionising a segment that has stayed stagnant for many years.

The story starts with Wee, who was in the banking industry for almost a decade before she joined an audit firm where she started to learn about the field of immigration and its processes.

“I had about eight people in my team, and let’s just say that a good working day for us meant 8am to 10pm. It’s a very busy industry and the processes were tedious,” Wee recalls.

Handling each person’s immigration process meant putting together an encyclopaedia-sized folder of relevant documents and submitting it to the authorities. It was all about manual work and piles upon piles of papers,” she explains.

One day, through a little research, Wee found a form-creation program that was tied to a database.

“The team and I saw the program not only as a way to streamline our work but as something with the potential to help with further value-added services to the client, such as reminders for passport renewal,” she says.

However, implementing the program would have cost the company RM60,000, so it was ultimately rejected.

Wee resigned in order to pursue the idea further.

“I applied for a grant through Cradle and met someone there who practically hand-held me through the start of the business. When that person moved on to MaGIC, I was called in to help them with immigration issues.

“From there, we became the local partner of the Asean Centre of Entrepreneurship, as well as the immigration consultant to their Accelerator Program,” Wee explains.

She says they help businesses with their immigration needs, such as applications for work permits, handling expatriate enquiries, business licensing and, their specialty, the Expatriate Process Management (XPM) system.

XPM is a fully automated platform that allows expats, HR personnel and immigration consultants to work together seamlessly and transparently.

“Reminders for expiring document such as passports and permits are automatically generated, documents are requested and uploaded on XPM itself. And the beauty of the system is that all the required paperwork can be quickly generated with a click of a button,” she points out.

> The system is user-friendly and saves users from having to sieve through tonnes of information in the immigration process but still meet all the necessary requirements.

It’s a transparent and efficient system, and is accessible at any time.

Wee and Wong, however, are not stopping there. They are now working on a mobile app to make things even more convenient.

“If there is one thing we frequently have problems with on our system, it is applicants submitting photos that do not meet the minimal requirements. We know people love taking selfies, so we thought, why not combine the two? Give them a function on the app that would allow them to take selfie photos but perhaps with an onscreen guide to enable them to take the photo we need to process their application properly,” Wee says.

Raising the needed funds to build the app has been slow but she says it’s not a priority right now as they still need to consider if it’s viable or worth it in the long run.

But completing their web application, funded by an angel investor, is, and they expect it to be launched within the second half of the year.

To-date, XpatMobi’s clientele includes companies from the aviation, information technology, construction, oil and gas, manufacturing and fast-moving consumer goods industries among others