The APAC Huddle concluded a busy and enjoyable week of global huddling. Members from Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, India and more gathered together to focus on challenges which ignite us all plus an added layer of complexities across different APAC markets.
Local Plus Policy
Having the data and resources for an effective local plus programme is important for some organisations in APAC markets, so an update from Jason Tang on AIRINC’s Local Plus Benchmark survey was most welcome. The findings show that a number of companies in Asia Pacific expect to see growing support for local plus and one way moves, reserving LTIA policy for strategic moves only. The primary driver for local plus is to build talent capability in APAC and address skills gaps. The survey also looked at the elements included in local plus, namely housing, cost of living, education and home leave (and their tax treatment). The results showed support varied considerably across different markets. A question arose around how long these benefits typically apply, with the average being 2-3 years.
Like many of their global colleagues, break-out sessions for our APAC members revealed that upcoming agendas would be dominated by remote workers, moving from a reactive approach to structured policy and communication plan. Also on the list were plans to leverage technology in order to improve the customer experience and enhance the administration of core-flex policy. Support for mental wellbeing given uncertainty for relocating employees is also on the agenda. And then looking inwards, many felt that they had worked significantly long hours in 2021 and have hopes for a more balanced work life in 2022.
The chance to brainstorm challenges in small groups is a regular feature of our Huddles. This time, there were questions on quarantine costs, with groups giving resounding feedback that such costs would be supported by the business if travel was for work purposes only. It was noted that ST travel is almost non-existent due to quarantine restrictions. There was also discussion about the Philippine outbound POEA process and how this is smoother for accredited companies.
Finally, Rachel Ang, Magrath Sheldrick bought the Network up to speed on key immigration changes and entry requirements across a multitude of APAC markets. These ongoing updates are important when managing your mobile population and any associated compliance risk. Some key points:
- Still some tight restrictions in a number of countries, with some up for review at the end of this month.
- Singapore – Vaccination is a mandatory condition for the approval of new applications or renewals for work passes and application and renewal of permanent residence.
- Singapore is only allowing those that are fully vaccinated or who have recently recovered from COVID back into the office. Employers may terminate unvaccinated employees as a last resort.
- Malaysia – offering a new online visa service which should make applications easier
- Vietnam – Automatic stay extension for foreigners stranded in Vietnam from January 15 2022 discontinued. Resumption of international flights with nine destinations from 1 January 2022 but it only actually happened on five international routes – US, Japan, Taiwan, Cambodia, Singapore.
- Thailand is still in a state of emergency until the end of the month.
- Japan – New entry of foreign nationals from all over the world is suspended. Japanese nationals and other residents in Japan may return, but those from countries and regions designated by the Japanese government will be required to stay in accommodations. The entry ban will not affect Japanese nationals or foreign residents returning to the country
- South Korea – All travellers to South Korea will have to quarantine for 10 days on arrival regardless of their vaccination status.
- India – Scheduled international flights suspended in the wake of Omicron. Those travellers arriving need to pre-book covid tests.
- Philippines – updated border measures allowing national citizens and those with valid visas in.
- Top tip – for new assignees, need to have flexible travel plans. Borders can still be closed at a moment’s notice. Important to manage expectations of assignee and the business.
Join us for the next APAC Super Huddle on 31 March. Sign up HERE!