Published on July 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

To adequately meet (and exceed) client needs, usual policy allowances and benefits need to be continuously reviewed and evaluated. Below we outline new challenges and rising needs we are seeing in the field. Contact us if you would like to discuss how we can help you adjust your policy or program.

EU Settlement Scheme Deadline Has Passed: With limited exceptions, applications by eligible EEA nationals and their family members to the EUSS the deadline for submissions was 30 June 2021. If an individual or their family did not apply to the EUSS in time they will no longer be lawfully resident in the UK.

How does this affect me/my program? If you become aware of an individual who has not yet applied, then be aware that late applications may be accepted at the Home Office’s discretion if there are reasonable grounds for missing the deadline and they have been submitted as soon as possible thereafter. If an employee is notified of the need to apply and has not made an application within 28 days, the expectation is for the employer to take steps to cease the individual's employment in line with right to work legislation.

European Union – COVID-19 Digital Certificate Available: Many nationals residing within the EU are now eligible for the COVID-19 digital certificate. The COVID-19 digital certificate proves that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from COVID-19.

How does this affect me/my program? Although national requirements for entering an EU country will remain, the digital COVID-19 certificate will make traveling easier. A list of the countries that have already made an app available for COVID-19 digital certificates is available here.

Future Proofing Your Service Delivery

Shipping at Capacity: As reported in previous weeks, shipping, both domestically in the US and globally continues to operate at capacity with limited availability over the summer. This is one of the busiest summers on record and the van lines are at or beyond capacity. US Domestic options are all reporting similar issues including payment on demand (PoDs), small shipment containers and self-moves vendors being equally impacted. Our teams are currently reporting limited availability until possibly the last week of August and into the first 2 weeks of September. All national van lines are completely booked for July. Individuals should continue to be encouraged to book at the earliest opportunity to ensure availability and to provide at least 8 weeks' notice where possible.

How does this affect me/my program? Employees who must move in advance of September for work or personal reasons need to be aware that capacity is limited, and they should book at the earliest opportunity and be flexible about type of transportation available. For international moves, early booking in anticipation of immigration approval is advised to avoid these capacity issues.

Global Changes in Demand for Rental Properties: A recent survey has found that, globally, the availability and type of rental properties available and in demand has changed significantly over the past year. Many rental properties have been removed from inventory through owners taking advantage of the market to sell. As such, overall rental supply has decreased and has yet to be replaced in some cities or areas. With a change in the desirability of properties with outdoor space, assignees should be proactive about finding properties and be prepared to commit early to guarantee availability. Competitive bids from longer term renters with available funds are leading to over-listing price offers. Managing employee expectations, supporting pre-transfer visits, encouraging early virtual viewings and generally putting assignees into a position to be able to commit to temporary living and longer-term rental properties are important for a positive experience.

How does this affect me/my program? When rental properties are in high demand, extensions to contracts and a wider selection of properties are unlikely to be available. Employees with house hunting support should be encouraged to use this as early as possible to commit to both temporary and longer-term housing where relevant. Early viewing and commitment are strongly encouraged.

The Cost of Lumber is Falling: After previous updates about the unprecedented rise in cost of lumber, recent updates indicate that, although costs remain up 60% year on year, they are now starting to fall. This is due to a reduction in some of the supply constraints. For example, sawmills are raising production and the impact of the West Coast fires in 2020, which damaged privately-owned timberland, is lessening. As the supply constraints continue to ease, this will reduce delays to new houses being built and lower costs of shipping which uses lumber in pallets and crating.

How does this affect me/my program? The recent constraints on lumber supply have impacted both housing and shipping costs. There have been delays to new home construction in addition to an increase in total costs. As construction increases and new homes are added to the market, pressure on long-term temporary accommodation from those unable to purchase property should decrease. Costs associated with shipping should also decreased leading to an overall decrease in shipping costs.


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:

  • Domestic Housing Still Hot: Borrowers are still shopping at a feverish pace, at least by historic standards with recent pending home sales metrics released by the National Association of Realtors revealing pending home sales reached its highest mark for May since 2005. In June, new listings increased 5.5% year over year and 10.9% compared with May, according to Realtor.com.

How does this affect me/my program? With demand still high and inventory not increasing at a similar level, employees are continuing to find it easier to sell their properties than buy a new one. With the rental market also at capacity this can leave some employees struggling to find suitable accommodation or needing more support in both their home and host locations.

  • No more Drive by Housing Appraisals: Appraisal turn times are much longer now than pre-pandemic. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA gave appraisers some flexibility last year by allowing desktop or drive-by appraisals, but this flexibility has been removed as of 31 May 2021. As such, lenders are now requiring full 1004 appraisals again unless the transferee qualifies for a Property Inspection Waiver.

How does this affect me/my program? Longer appraisal times will affect the speed at which a sale can be completed. In such a fast-moving market, appraisal valuations can often lag behind actual valuations. Where companies offer BVO and GBO programs, elevated house prices may put the company at risk of additional costs where appraisal values are not met.

Australia: NSW Restrictions Introduced and Extended: Following at least 30 new cases, Sydney and the greater area went into lockdown. Severe restrictions have been imposed within the Sydney area with more relaxed restrictions in the wider New South Wales area. These are expected to be in place until at least 30 July 2021.

How does this affect me/my program? Employees in the city of Sydney are expected to work from home. If employees are being placed in temporary or longer-term accommodation, a suitable sized property will be required to enable working from home.

Brazil: Authorities Update Online Services: A new online service has been introduced for some administrative tax processes, which previously could only be requested/performed in person in one of the agencies in Brazil.

How does this affect me/my program? This should facilitate, address, and expedite the needs and requests of individuals including taxpayers subject to Brazil tax who are overseas.

Canada: Exemption for eligible fully vaccinated travelers: Effective from 5 July 2021, travelers who are already eligible to enter Canada are exempt from quarantine, hotel stopover (for air travelers) and day 8 testing. Foreign nationals are not currently eligible to enter Canada to visit, or for tourism.

How does this affect me/my program? Accurate tracking of the vaccination status of employees will enable the business to take advantage of these concessions to avoid costly quarantine and facilitate ease of movement for business purposes.

United Kingdom: New Graduate Visa Route Open to Applicants: The UK’s new graduate route formally opened on 1 July 2021. The purpose of the Graduate Route is to allow international students to remain in the UK to work, or look for work, for two years (three years for doctoral students) after they have completed their studies. All international students who have successfully completed a degree (or other permitted qualification) at undergraduate level or above at a UK higher education provider with a track record of compliance, and who have valid Student (or Tier 4) permission at the time of application, will be able to apply.

How does this affect me/my program? It is possible that some programs with a global mobility scheme will be able to take advantage of this new talent pool. As an unsponsored route, applicants will not need a job offer to apply and no minimum salary requirements nor caps will be applied.

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