Published on April 09, 2021

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The CapRelo Insider provides a glimpse at news, trends and happenings affecting the global mobility industry. Our experienced and tenured client services team provides updates and analysis direct to our clients, along with policy and program recommendations that are best for your company and employees. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today.

Policy & Program Pointers

During these extreme times, usual policy allowances and benefits might not be meeting employee needs. Below we outline items we are seeing in the field. Contact us if you’d like to discuss how we can help you adjust your policy or program to accommodate your employees.

Vaccine Timings: In line with CDC guidance, ensure that individuals are advised to consult with their physician before starting any course of vaccines if they are preparing to on board or to begin an assignment. Where mandatory background checks require tests that may be affected by the Covid vaccine e.g., a baseline TB test, these may need to be delayed if a vaccine has already been administered.

Future Proofing Your Service Delivery

Formalization of Workplace: As companies start to ask employees to return to the office many are also offering the opportunity to make working from home on a permanent or partial basis available. Updates to contracts or documentation may be needed to support any decisions made to enable companies to plan office spaces and infrastructure to support the workforce accordingly. With mobile employees possibly expecting or requesting to complete some of their relocated work from a home or alternative environment, ensure that policies are flexible enough to adapt to these requests.

Shipping: The Suez Canal is unblocked, and the tailback has been cleared. Several vessels were redirected around South Africa in anticipation of longer delays and these shipments will inevitably be delayed in reaching their final destinations. However, the delay to new vessels arriving at the Canal should now be cleared and no further delays in transit time are expected however there may be delays at ports caused by severe congestions as ships will be arriving out of their slotted time. As this will inevitably lead to some delays priority items or earlier shipment is recommended wherever possible.


Country Updates in the News

Countries are updating their tax and immigration regulations and reliefs on a near daily basis, we have collated some of these below:

Countries are updating their tax and immigration regulations and reliefs on a near daily basis, we have collated some of these below:

United States:

  • Housing: With historically low mortgage rates, all-time highs recorded for newly listed homes, the share of homeowners who are unable to pay their mortgages has dropped to below 5% for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. This is combined with home continuing to sell at a record pace keeping inventory stocks low. This face paced market may make sourcing property more difficult for employees moving into popular areas.
  • Immigration: As previously reported, the interim policy, first introduced in March 2020 which allowing virtual document-inspection methods for Form I-9 has further been extended by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) until May 31. Although the initial intention was to support employers and workplaces that were operating completely remotely the ICE is now also offering more flexibility for companies that are bringing employees back to the office.

Australia: The announced Australia and New Zealand travel bubble due to start in two weeks is in jeopardy following a positive Covid case in Queensland. With vaccines rolling out in the area and cases very limited it is hoped that plans can remain in place for quarantine free travel to start as planned.

Brazil: In a further extension from the original date of 16 March 2021, Immigration status deadlines and procedures for all foreign nationals who could not proceed with immigration procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have been extended until 16 September 2021.

Canada: Similar to trends seen in the United States, the combined impact of low interest rates and low inventory has led to a rise in the national average home price which is forecast to rise by 16.5% on an annual basis to just over CAD665,000 in 2021. With conditions favouring sellers, those wanting to buy while mortgage rates remain low may find the conditions challenging. Source.

Chile: With effect from 31 March 2021 until April 30, there is an entry ban at all ports of entry for non-resident foreign nationals, and an exit ban for Chilean nationals and resident foreign nationals both with limited exceptions. All individuals entering Chile, regardless the country they are coming from or their final destination in Chile, will have to quarantine for 10 days, the first five days of which must be spent in a Health Authority-designated “in-transit” hotel. Source.

France: The lockdown measures previously applied to Paris have been extended to the rest of the country effective 3 April 2021 and set to last for at least a month. The measures announced include a domestic travel ban, and a nationwide 7pm-6am curfew.

India: Maharashtra, which is India’s richest state and home to financial hub Mumbai, has announced a lockdown for the month of April. This includes the closure shops and cinemas with nighttime and weekend restrictions where residents may only leave their homes for emergency purposes. Source. 

Myanmar: With civil unrest and escalating tensions in Myanmar there are significant business continuity issues being faced. At the current time movement is restricted and some townships are not accessible with many companies temporarily shutting or operating intermittently. Although the customs office has re-opened there is also an anticipated delay in export clearance which is not predicted to start until the end of April 2021. With significant volumes at the ports and storage facilities at capacity, further delays are expected.

United Kingdom: Additional local freedoms have been introduced to the United Kingdom over the past weeks with further relaxations enabling the reopening of businesses from 12 April 2021. However, the ban on overseas travel remains in place until at least 17 May and with a surge of cases in Europe it is unclear when the resumption of all overseas travel will be allowed. Where travel is required, ensure that the most recent guidance is sought to ensure that possible quarantine and testing is known in advance of booking travel.

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