Published on May 20, 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

Take a quick read through current trends the CapRelo team is 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. 

Remote workers and monitoring: With the ability to work from anywhere, many companies have seen productivity increase as workers enjoy the flexibility of varying their working location. However, recent surveys show that although 28% of employees are taking advantage of the ability to work from various locations, only one third of these are reporting their change in location to HR. 

Why is this important to you? Working in multiple locations without reporting is both a tax and immigration compliance risk to the individual and the company. This will be increasingly relevant in the near future as countries look to issue audits and penalties.  A proactive approach to implement an effective and simple way to track and report all employee mobility is required. Speak to your CapRelo contact to discuss available options.  

Future Proofing Your Service Delivery

Housing Shortage: With interest rates remaining low in many countries, the strong housing market continues. Unfortunately, many relocating employees are finding it challenging to secure homes in their preferred locations and are extending their stays in rental accommodation. As such, fewer rental properties are available, impacting both choice and price. 

Why is this important to you? Instances of individuals rejecting transfer packages or requesting virtual assignments are rising in response to these conditions. Global mobility teams can pre-empt these issues by monitoring the housing market and allowing for additional temporary accommodation or being flexible about work locations when possible.

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: The housing market remains strong and is further fuelled by new refinancing arrangements available including reduced interest rates and lower monthly payments for eligible individuals starting this summer. Although the previously reported increase in the cost of lumber has added USD $35,872 to the price of an average new single-family home, and USD $12,966 to the market value of an average new multifamily home demand continues to be strong across the country. Supply is further constrained by an increase in second home purchases with an increase of over 170% from 2020 although demand was unusually low in that period. 

How does this affect me/my program? With these factors still evident, employers need to continue to be vigilant of BVO and GBO programs and the risk of appraisal values not matching the property asking prices. Speak to your CapRelo contact to review your policies to ensure that this best supports you and your employees in the current market conditions.

  • Immigration: There has been a further delay to the introduction of regulations raising wages for workers with H-1B visas and employment-based green cards until 14 November 2022. 

How does this affect me/my program? Once introduced, the regulations are likely to incorporate requirements for an increase in wages for skilled foreign workers to better support wages and job opportunities for U.S. workers.

  • Vaccinations: The Center for Disease Control has recently announced that fully vaccinated individuals are no longer mandated to wear masks in many settings. However, monitoring is difficult, and many states and companies may continue to require masks. 

How does this affect me/my program? As program leaders, you should inform your employees/associates of the various rules by state and be prepared with a mask to ensure compliance where required.

Australia: The recent Federal Budget, delivered on 11 May 2021 included some key announcements regarding tax residency. A simplification of the current rules, effective the first income year after the date the legislation is enacted include a new primary test that deems individuals as Australian tax residents if they are physically present in Australia for at least 183 days during the tax year. 

How does this affect me/my program? This has the potential to impact assignment costs due to a change in residency status. Long term cost projections may need to be revisited to ensure that relevant budget is accrued for impacted individuals. This is in addition to the increase to the compulsory Superannuation Guarantee rate which will increase to 10 percent from 1 July 2021.

Canada: In response to recent increases in locally-detected cases of COVID-19, provinces have taken action to implement and extend lockdown conditions. These vary by province, but generally include restrictions on non-essential retail in addition to indoor hospitality. These conditions currently extend until 2 June 2021.

How does this affect me/my program? Employees entering Canada should be aware of the current restrictions and amend or adjust their plans accordingly.

India: The United Kingdom and India have signed a landmark migration agreement, which will see both countries benefit from enhanced arrangements on migration issues. 

How does this affect me/my program? The agreement should enable enhanced mobility provisions for young professional Indian and British citizens which will allow people to live and work in the two countries for up to two years. 

Italy: Effective 26 April 2021, some commercial activities and cultural buildings have opened again.

How does this affect me/my program? Reopening is limited and cross border movement will remain restricted.  Travellers from India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh have been banned from entering Italy in an effort to contain the new COVID-19 variant.

Thailand: After previously announced relaxations, the original 14-day quarantine period for those entering Thailand from overseas has been reintroduced by the Thai government. There is also a suspension of the issuing of Certificates of Entry (COE) for foreign nationals who wish to enter Thailand from India effective from 1 May 2021 until further notice. Effective 10 May 2021, travellers from Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan are unable to enter the country until further notice.

How does this affect me/my program? Travel and certificate of entry restrictions are based on origin. Therefore, if travel is essential, plans should be amended to transit through other locations and apply in local consulates. Travelers must also observe quarantine prior to onward travel.

United Kingdom: Although recommending against non-essential travel, effective 17 May 2021, UK individuals may begin international travel for recreational purposes. Travel without the need to quarantine is restricted to a limited number of countries. This is a positive sign. 

How does this affect me/my program? With the resumption of non-essential travel, airports will become busier and more congested. Employees travelling to or from the United Kingdom should be aware of the change and adapt travel plans accordingly.

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