This week has seen a virtual catch up with the Global Heads, a Tax Clinic and a hangout. Plus, there’s been plenty of planning for the upcoming Expat Academy events and transitioning our Boot Camp training week to online virtual sessions. All the details on the upcoming events can be found here.
We see a continuation of new challenges facing our members. This week has seen discussion on a huge number of topics including cost pressures, monitoring the displaced population, reexamining current policies to ensure they are fit for purpose in the ‘new normal’, contingency planning for a second wave of COVID-19, reviewing or implementing of new Global Mobility operating models and improving the employee experience to name but a few. Global Mobility is certainly busier than ever.
Further lifting of restrictions.
In Germany travellers arriving from EU and Schengen countries and the UK are no longer subject to mandatory 14-day home quarantine unless they arrive from a country with an elevated number of infections. Arrivals from outside the EU and Schengen countries and the UK are still subject to the mandatory 14-day home quarantine. However, before travelling to Germany individuals should double check on the website of the state of entry regarding the specific regulations as they can vary across states.
Several countries are easing lock down restrictions thereby once again allowing the movement of household goods. However, there continues to be reduced capacity as well as rate increases across the globe to air, ocean, road and rail shipments. Whilst major airlines continue to cancel flights or stand-down large proportions of their fleets, the shipping industry is experiencing container displacement, thereby extending door-to-door transit times and increasing the cost of freight. Any shipments that do go ahead have to remain compliant with local government guidelines.
Some countries are experiencing customs clearance delays due to additional vigilance, mandatory inspections and staffing shortages. Shipments may incur additional storage charges as a result.
Deloitte have released an interactive world map that allows countries to be clicked on, thereby providing up to date country snapshots of Travel Impacts, Social Impacts and Permit Impacts. The Map can be found here.
Many countries are still looking to China to see how successful the relaxation of lockdown measures will be. From reports, it appears that life is getting back to normal with the Chinese government encouraging people to go back to work. Even though some restaurants and cinemas are open many are fearful of a second wave, so the government has launched communication initiatives to help provide reassurance.
Some industries are benefitting from a relaxation in foreign ownership restrictions which will see an increase in investment initiatives. Therefore, a number of companies will be looking to send people to China as soon as the travel ban is lifted.
Singapore – there are no signs that the travel ban will be lifted anytime soon. However, the circuit breaker is due to lift on 1st June 2020 and a 3-stage gradual return introduced. There have been some very strict applications of visa requests or extensions in Singapore resulting in some being denied, but it is advised to push back and / or try again if the application would normally be approved. For those stuck in Singapore on visitor passes the government is still providing continued flexibility in extending them. However, for those that have successfully obtained visas prior to lockdown but have been unable to enter Singapore they may find that their visas expire after 3 months and will therefore have to begin the visa application process again.
The UK government has announced that all arrivals into the UK will have to quarantine for 14 days except those from the Irish Republic. Currently there are more than 20,000 British citizens stranded outside the UK who are waiting to be repatriated. This week has seen the government come under increasing pressure to provide exceptions to this ruling for those returning from countries where people from the UK usually go on holiday. The government has not allowed any reciprocity as yet, but this policy is under a 3-week rolling review.
Last month Andrew Kelly, Partner, Global Employer Services, with BDO LLP provided two great sessions in our tax clinics and wrote an article on international working from home arrangements arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. The article can be found here.
In Andy’s tax clinics this week he provided an update on tax developments since then and his thoughts on the key actions that need to be taken by employers with regards to tax and social security now that home working arrangements, particularly in Europe, have gone beyond 2-3 months. For those that were unable to attend the tax clinics Andy has provided a summary here.
Agility within Global Mobility.
This week one of our members, Emmarie Castañeda, GPHR®, GMPD, Global Mobility Manager at Unilever, has written an article on how the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the disruption of old practices and highlighted how Global Mobility can use this time to be more agile. The short article looks at seven attributes of agility and can be found here.
All MyGMPD members can find all the latest technical updates in this week’s Expat Academy Round-up white paper on the MyGMPD website. Don’t forget to completing a Learning Log and get closer to MyGMPD accreditation.
The Expat Academy team wish you all a restful weekend. As always, if there is anything that we can help you with during this unprecedented time, please do let us know.