Published on January 15, 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.

Global Shipping: Demand continues to be elevated and shipping resource scarcity is keeping rates above average with significant delays in China due to a scarcity of containers. Delays and increased costs continue to impact many routes.

Future Proofing Your Service Delivery

Brexit: Contrary to expectations at the end of 2020, the United Kingdom and the European Commission have reached an agreement on the terms of their cooperation following the end of the Brexit transition period. The agreement provisionally entered into force on 1 January 2021 with formal ratification by both parties due to be completed by 28 February 2021. Although the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement includes some initial details around business travel and intracompany transfers and in principle, could provide UK nationals more favourable treatment than other non-EU citizens, especially for short-term business visitors and contractual service suppliers, the impact of the Agreement will depend on the implantation by each member state. UK individuals working in Europe are advised to closely review the impact of the agreement specifically with respect to visa requirements, health insurance, social security and right to remain and work in the relevant country.

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: 

  • Housing: According to a recent Freddie Mac survey mortgage rates hit another all time low in the first week of 2021. Although it is unlikely that the downward trend will continue indefinitely, the rates are expected to rise for the first part of the year. Supply constraints continue in many areas inflating prices however the appraisal process is slowly catching up and starting to be reflective of the current housing market, reducing the instances of a shortfall in mortgage lending.
  • Travel: Travel bans and suspensions which were due to expire at the end of 2020 have been extended through 31 March 2021. In addition, with effect from 26 January 2021 through to 31 December 2021 airline passengers departing from any foreign country to the United States must first provide either a negative COVID test or documentation of COVID recovery in order to be permitted to board an aircraft. This impacts all foreign nationals over the age of two (2) including United States citizens and permanent residents.

Canada: All individuals aged five (5) years older must now fulfill a requirement to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test to the airline prior to travel to Canada was introduced from midnight on 7 January 2021. The condition is applicable regardless of citizenship. and must be conducted within 72 hours of the traveller’s scheduled departure. This measure is in addition to the completion of a 14 day quarantine and submission of relevant information through the ArriveCAN application.

Greece: Tax concessions have been introduced to attract new residents and specifically entrepreneurs up to 50 percent business activity income derived in Greece will be exempt from income tax and special solidarity contribution.

Ireland: Due to the closure of offices, Irish residence permissions that were due to expire between 21 January 2021 and 20 April 2021, are automatically maintained until 20 April 2021.

As extension of the existing requirement for travellers from South Africa and the United Kingdom, effective 16 January 16, all travellers will be required to carry a medical certificate confirming a negative COVID-19 PCR test completed no more than 72 hours before entry.

Luxembourg: Incentive schemes to attract employees to Luxembourg come info effect in 2021. These include the a participative tax efficient premium that the employer can pay to its employees. Conditions apply. The 2021 budget law also includes legislation that impacts international assignees and their employers including repeal of the treatment of stock options and warrant plans, changes to the “impatriate regime” and dispensing with tax cards.

Mexico: The National Immigration Institute has extended the closure of its City and State of Mexico (CDMX and EDOMEX) branches until at least 25 January 2021. This will impact the submission of applications and the issuance of entry/exit permits which may result in foreign nationals being unable to undertake international travel.

Netherlands: A modification to the gross monthly salary income requirement criteria applies from 1 January 2021 . Those resident companies recognised as sponsors immigration authorities with highly skilled migrants may benefit from faster immigration procedures.

Philippines: Given recent developments in the evolution of the global coronavirus pandemic, the Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration issued new travel restrictions. The restrictions cover foreign nationals regardless of visa category and include visa holders who have been previously allowed to enter the Philippines by virtue of special exemptions.

Singapore: Effective Friday 01 January 2021, workers with relevant work permits must now have 14-day COVID-19 Medical Insurance of at least SGD$10,000 to cover their COVID-19 treatment cost if they develop COVID-19 symptoms or test positive within the first 14 days of their arrival. Employers must buy the insurance before they arrive in Singapore.

United Kingdom:
  • Entering: Subject to a noncompliance fine of GBP 500, effective 8 January 2021, all travellers (including UK nationals) will need to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test, conducted no more than 72 hours before departure, to England. A temporary ban has also been imposed for direct travel from South Africa.
  • Leaving: Following the discovery of a new strain of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, many countries, including the majority of the EU have imposed additional travel restrictions specifically for non essential travel by individuals arriving from the UK.

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