Published on March 26, 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’d like to discuss how we can help you adjust your policy or program to accommodate your employees.

Passports and Driver License Renewal: With discussions around vaccines enabling the resumption of global travel, including using flight alternatives such as rental cars, ensure that employees have reviewed and renewed both their passports and driver licenses in advance of booking any travel or services. With the lack of travel opportunity over the past year, documents may have expired or have fewer than 6 months left before expiry. With many administration offices closed or operating at a reduced capacity, employees should be encouraged to book appointments and take the appropriate action to renew these documents at the earliest opportunity to avoid unnecessary and costly delays.

Wellness: As many countries pass their 1st anniversary of the imposition of lockdown restrictions it is a great time to check in with employees on assignment to ensure that they are ok, but also to clarify guidance on policy benefits that they may not have been able to use over the past 12 months including:

  • Policy on cash out or roll over of Home Leave
  • Guidance on Use of Personal Time Off (PTO)
  • Policy on cash out or roll over of any Travel Allowances
  • Compensation for unutilized health benefits (e.g. dental)

Future Proofing Your Service Delivery

Car Rental: With further reports of the success of global vaccine programs as reported last week there is an expectation that 2021 will be the year of the ‘road trip’ with demand for car rental for both business and pleasure anticipated to be strong. Expectations from the car rental industry is that driving may replace shorter flights as business travelers return to the road. In the United States specifically, Enterprise are expanding their fleet in preparation however early booking is recommended with capacity lower than pre-pandemic levels.

Shipping: As reported extensively in the news this week, the Suez canal is currently blocked with an unknown timeline to refloat the vessel. With limited alternative routes available it is anticipated that there will be a significant delay.

This is the latest challenge adding to and conflating pre-existing realities of container shortages and poor weather which have been leading to delays, reduced reliability, and increasing costs for shipments. With an anticipated increased in global travel it is expected that the summer will be an intensely busy peak season. Where dates are known, services should be booked as soon as possible to allow as much time as possible for shipping and movement of goods.

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: Mortgage rates continued to increase slowly however demand is still strong with inventory remaining low prices are remaining consistently high.
  • Immigration: Effective 2 March 2021, fewer categories may qualify for National Interest Exceptions to the United States from Ireland, the Schengen Area, and the United Kingdom Source.
  • Tax Filing: In addition, relief for victims of the February winter storms in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana who have a deadline of 15 June 2021, a national extension for 2020 personal federal filing and payment deadline has been automatically announced, extending the deadline to 17 May 2021. However, it is important to note that the federal extension does not affect U.S. state and local tax return filing and payment deadlines with some states announcing extensions that differ from the federal extension Source.
  • Shipping: Capacity both at ports and within rail and trucking networks continue contribute to the persistent high costs. Long Beach in particular has been the focus of containers struggling to have space to dock and then subsequently taking longer to offload due to limited capacity to store or move containers Source.
  • Canada & Mexico Further to previous measures announced in Canada last month which imposed requirements for negative tests and stays in government approved quarantine hotels a further announcement closing United States land borders with both Canada and Mexico to nonessential travel has been announced until at least April 21. Source.

France: In a slight relaxation of existing riles, French and EU citizens (under certain conditions), their partners and children, are no longer required to prove a compelling motive to enter France. However, this positive news is tempered by the partial lockdown of the Paris Area. Set to last no less than four weeks, curfews and local travel restrictions were imposed effective from Friday, 5 March. Source.

India: Originally due to end after 12 months which was the end of March 2020, the suspension of incoming and outgoing international passenger airline service has been extended until April 30, 2021. Source.

United Arab Emirates: A supplemental remote working visa to extend the Dubai specific remote scheme introduced in October 2020 in under discussion. The visa will not require local sponsorship and like the original scheme, a 12-month period, foreign nationals will be able to live and work from anywhere in the United Arab Emirates while remaining employed by their home country employer.

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