Published on December 04, 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: Demand for global shipping continues to outstrip supply. Specific examples include an unprecedented amount of shipping from China to the US which is increasing transit times and costs for this lane.
  • United States West Coast:
    • Ports: There is significant congestion at US West Coast ports, most notably in Los Angeles/Long Beach which is expected to continue. This has been caused by not only strong demand but also labor shortages, increasing terminal delays, and limited trucking capacity/chassis availability.
    • California: Existing opportunities for unscrupulous Household Good providers to take advantage of an increase in demand for US domestic relocations by California residents have been amplified. Increased movement, fueled by a combination of the opportunity to work remotely, wildfires and cheaper housing have led to increased prices and new rogue entrants to the market. To ensure that your employees are protected please contact us to ensure that we can support through use of our verified network of providers.

Look-See Trip Alternatives: With the continuing travel restrictions impacting the feasibility of pre-relocation trips, many employees are unable to utilize this benefit. However, we understand that any relocating employees and their families need information about their new destination before they relocate. We continue to work with our network to ensure that digital alternatives to the traditional "Look-See / Familiarization" trip are suggested, and the employee continues to be supported.

Future Proofing Your Service Delivery

Brexit: As the end of the Brexit transition period continues to draw near, UK nationals living in the European Union must fulfill any requirements in their country of residence to show they are legally living there. Similarly, EU nationals living in the UK should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.

Formation of Free Trade Area: After a significant negotiation period. In Mid-November, 2020, 15 APAC countries have agreed to form the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). These counties include Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. Covering almost 30 per cent of the world’s population this is a significant achievement and could play a critical role in access to labor and developing or changing supply chains.


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: Restrictions on “non-essential” travel across U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico have been extended through December 21, 2020, with possible extensions beyond this date. Air travel continues to be unaffected at this time. the situation continues to be fluid and highly discretionary so be mindful of complications including quarantine periods.

China: The Chinese Ministry of Finance has announced significant changes to customs duties levied on shipments, including on 20 categories of goods including furniture and other personal effects arriving in the country that will dramatically reduce costs for clients with moves to China. However, the implementation of the new regulations will vary across the provinces in China, and will be based upon local interpretation, such that any changes may not be immediate and some cities may still consider that duties are payable.

Greece: New individual tax measures, aimed at attracting foreign pensioners, have recently been enacted including reduced rates and an alternative tax system for foreign-source income.

India: U.S. consulates in India are only processing a limited number of in-person F, M and J appointments and others meeting strict emergency criteria and has not resumed routine visa processing of other visas including employment-based visas which is leading to significant delays. Where visa renewals are required, individuals are being advised to expect significant delays.

Italy: There has been an increase in customs inspections for used household goods shipments both in and out of Italy due to the rise in art smuggling. The physical inspections are expected to result in shipment delays and additional charges.

Poland: Effective 1 December, 2020, eligible Belarussian nationals will benefit from a new streamlined work visa category under the Poland Business Harbor program. Eligible applicants, which include one year professional experience in information technology (IT) field, can apply for a work visa without having to obtain a separate work permit and they will benefit from work visa processing two to seven months faster than under other options in Poland.

Singapore:

  • Pass: A new work pass targeted at tech experts, entrepreneurs and leaders has been announced with applications for the first 500 passes to be accepted from January 2021.
  • Reciprocal Green Lane (RGL): Short term business travel able to use the RGL has been extended to 7 countries include Germany. Restrictions, including residing in a RGL country for 14 days prior to entry into Singapore continue to apply.
  • Stay at Home Notice: The opportunity to opt-out of serving a SHN at home rather than a dedicated SHN facility has been removed, effective 22 November 2020, for travelers entering Singapore who have a travel history (including transit) in the past 14 days to Malaysia.

United Kingdom:

  • National Lockdown: In England, National lockdown restrictions ended on 2 December 2020 with new three-tiered restrictions coming into force. However, an exemption to the new restrictions has been agreed for the festive period with travel and the formation of a ‘Christmas bubble’ between 23-27 December, 2020
  • Wales: Echoing steps previously taken in the higher of the Scottish tiers (in their 5-tier system), effective 4 December, 2020, indoor hospitality, including pubs will close at 6pm and no alcohol will be served.
  • Brexit: In preparation for a no deal scenario, the government have set up a new Border Operations Centre to gather information on the flow of goods and people, adding: “Changes to the way we trade with Europe will likely mean that there is short-term disruption at the border.”

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