Published on December 18, 2020

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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.

Shipping:

Global: As previously reported demand continues to be elevated and shipping resource scarcity is keeping rates above average. With space already at a premium, further pressure is expected as the transportation of vaccines commences. As a result, delays and increased costs are impacting many routes.

Incidents: Storms have affected ships en route to Japan causing the loss of over two thousand containers.

Future Proofing Your Service Delivery

Brexit: Discussions between the EU and the UK continue however Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated that a “No-Deal” Brexit is now the “most likely” outcome. Companies are being encouraged to prepare on this basis.

Posted Workers: The right for UK individuals to remain in EU locations after 31 December 2020 and their rights to work and provider services are not necessarily the same. Employers of UK employees currently working or planning to work in EU locations should ensure that processes are in place to apply for work permits if necessary.


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:

United States: Mortgage rates remain at record lows with the average rates for the 30-year fixed rate mortgage more than 1.0 percent less than this time last year according to a recent Freddie Mac survey. However, supply constraints in many areas are inflating prices, offsetting any benefit to buyers of the decreased mortgage rate. As the housing market moves quickly, the appraisal process, which includes an inherent lag, may not yet be reflective of the current housing market leaving some buyers with a shortfall.

Australia: Australia's ban on its citizens overseas travel for those without an official exemption has now been extended to March 2021.

Cambodia: Cambodia has cancelled the ‘visa by sponsorship' scheme which enabled qualifying individuals to avoid quarantine. All foreign arrivals will now be required to quarantine in government facilities

Canada: The Bank of Canada has committing to keep interest rates low into 2023 with mortgage interest rates expected to remain near current levels through 2021. As a result, supply is likely to be impacted and house prices are forecast to rise by over 9% particularly in Ontario and Quebec.

China: Entry continues to be suspended for all foreign nationals except holders of a diplomatic, service or courtesy visa and business travellers holding an M visa issued after 27th March. Visas issued prior to this date are classed as suspended. Foreign nationals arriving from the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Italy, India, Russia, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Bangladesh and the Philippines except for holders of diplomatic, service, courtesy or C visas are specifically banned at this time.

Germany: Administrative changes have been introduced enabling foreign nationals to start work sooner when changing employer. The dependency to wait for the issuance of a new residency permit, that could take up to 6 weeks, has been removed and replaced with an interim permit.

Oman: As part of the Omanization” policy, which is aimed at improving the number and quality of jobs available for Omani citizens, steps are being taken to ensure that current expatriate workforce is replaced with locals wherever possible. Employers of expatriates have been given a grace period to adjust the status of their expatriate workers from 6 December 2020 to 6 January 2021.

United Arab Emirates: To encourage expatriates into the county, the scope of professions qualifying for 10-year residency under the “Golden” visa scheme has been expanded to include those with specialised degrees in artificial intelligence, big data and epidemiology. Previous qualifying professions included those with doctorate degrees, medical doctors, computer, electronics, programming, electrical and biotechnology engineers.

United Kingdom: Ports remain congested with disruption expected to continue into February 2021. Goods are being diverted to other ports in Europe. Specifically, the port of Felixstowe has an excess of empty containers impacting space.

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