This week saw our first Expat Academy Virtual Hangout as well as the weekly Global Heads Virtual call. The Virtual Hangout is a great way to maintain networking with other members whilst working from home. The lovely thing about all these virtual calls are there are no borders and so members that don’t always get the chance to network with each other, have been able to.
The current challenges
From a Global Mobility perspective our members are looking at a wide variety of issues that have come to light as a result of this unprecedented COVID-19 situation including potential necessary policy revisions, how policy should be applied to current situations, the impact to recently relocated assignees of some service providers being furloughed and the further emergence of in country issues.
Some Global Mobility teams have started to bring projects forwards as they see a quieter time ahead whilst others are still working hard on tracking exactly where the assignees are and assisting in difficult queries.
There is certainly a period of adjustment for many GM teams as they find their new norm working virtually. It has been great to see so many of our members working together across companies to provide help, support and insights where possible in these unchartered times.
The UK Home Office has issued further guidance in respect of immigration provisions for migrants inside the UK, in light of COVID-19. More information on this guidance can be found here.
The Home Office has issued new guidance on Legal Right To Work (LRTW) checks in light of COVID-19. More practical detail for the employer as to how these temporary measures will work click here.
Ireland have given automatic extensions to expiring Residence Permits, Short Stay Visas and Atypical Visas between March 20th and May 20th.
Argentina are giving an automatic initial 30-day extension to expiring permits, which may be further extended subject to how the virus develops.
In Singapore, 89 work passes have been revoked for foreign nationals breaching entry approval and Stay-Home Notice (SHN) requirements. There were 73 individuals who failed to obtain entry approval from the Ministry of Manpower while having a travel history to COVID-19 affected countries and 16 were caught breaching the Leave of Absence (LOA) or SHN requirements. These individuals are now permanently banned from working in Singapore and their employers work pass privileges have been suspended for 1 to 3 years.
The United Arab Emirates also has announced the temporary suspension of new visas, tourist visas and work permits with immediate effect.
What the future holds
There is a keenness in the market to know what the future might look like. Whilst no-one has a crystal ball, and it seems like the duration of this situation will be the main driver of change to the industry, there have been some insights from our members into how China has begun to go back to work.
There is still a large concern over permanent establishment for those assignees or employees that are now working in locations where the business does not have an entity and many tax advisors have stated that they expect to see some guidance on this overtime. In the meantime, the current advice is to ensure you know where all employees are and ask them to keep record and track days in country so once this situation is over the business can retroactively look and calculate the scale of the issue and risk.
We will keep our members updated on this topic as governments provide clearer guidance and advice.
Well-being whilst working from home
Mercer highlighted a Happiness tool, adapted from Stevens, Henry, Corlett and Mullan, to help those working from home.
New from Expat Academy
The Expat Academy team started the new series of virtual events with a virtual hangout this week. In essence this is a chance for Global Mobility professionals to benefit from networking like they would during the coffee and lunch breaks at our events. Topics ranged from the most troublesome assignee issues to ensuring skinny jeans still fit on a Friday and virtual trips to the National Theatre! The events page on our website here has all the details and once again, do check back regularly as we will be adding more and more virtual events as we work with our members and technical partners to bring you the information you are asking for and the collaboration we know you are so used to enjoying at our live events.
We have also had two COVID-19 checklists added to ‘The Vault’ on the portal. One details what HR/GM need to consider when reviewing each assignee. The other looks at what the business should consider.
In addition, all MyGMPD members can find an Expat Academy white paper on all the latest technical updates on the MyGMPD website.
New from GMPD
For those that aren’t currently Expat Academy members and don’t benefit from free MyGMPD membership, we are offering 50% off a year’s MyGMPD membership. For more information about MyGMPD membership please visit the website here or contact one of the team here