Published on May 06, 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.

Remote Workers and Changing Roles: Recent global survey results including the CapRelo survey show that the circumstances of the last year have led to an increased desire to change location, job, or both. According to Mercer data, the United States pre-pandemic average voluntary turnover rate was around 15%. However, with flexible working and evaluations on work life balance it is no surprise that 40% percent of global respondents said they are considering leaving their employer this year with the results for North American workers closer to 52%. Compensation appears not to be the main driver with over 65% of those surveyed willing to take a pay cut to live and work in a location of their choice. Companies with a balanced relocation package, flexible hybrid or virtual assignment policies who can show both career progression and clear skills development will be in a strong position to attract this new talent pool.

Hybrid Model Pitfalls: A role that has traditionally been offered with a mandatory physical relocation may now attract speculative applications from those with an expectation to work remotely. Although this may save the company costs associated with a relocation package, compliance issues for both the company and individual need to be considered in advance of making the role permanently remote. For assistance with reviewing your policies, discussing the risks or expanding your policy suite, please contact your CapRelo Account Manager.

 

Future Proofing Your Service Delivery

Shipping: Shipping remains close to capacity in many locations including the ongoing challenges in Los Angeles and Long Beach. Those planning to ship across the Pacific may find that there is limited availability in May and therefore delays are to be expected even where high prices are paid. As expected at this time of year, services are also impacted until 12 May for those locations observing Ramadan. As previously reported, there are also continuing delays caused by the closure of the Suez Canal which is still affecting scheduling and capacity in some locations. Policies should continue to reflect the increased cost of shipments and need for the extension of associated services such as storage and temporary accommodation.


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 interest rates are still near zero which continues to encourage growth and higher inflation. Homes continue to sell at a fast pace with a median time on the market of just 21 days which is the shortest time since 2012. Of those selling, 45% are selling for more than their list price. As reported previously, this can be challenging for companies offering a GBO or BVO within their policies. Companies are having to consider if they are willing to accept offers at significantly higher than list pricing, increase the risk of higher costs if the home does not appraise to that value.
  • Immigration: Effective 4 May 2021, the existing travel ban in place for foreign nationals who have been physically present in the relevant country (United States from Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, countries in the European Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom) within 14 days of travel to the has been extended to include India. Affected individuals will be barred from entry unless they qualify for an exception.
  • New York Personal Tax Surcharge: The recently enacted budget legislation has temporarily increased the top personal income tax rate of 8.82% to 10.9% for individual filers whose taxable income is over USD 25 million. The new rates are retroactive to the beginning of the 2021 tax year and is expected to remain effective until the 2027 tax year.

Australia: 

  • Australia- New Zealand Travel Bubble: The recently opened Australia and New Zealand quarantine free travel bubble has so far been a success and although there have been a couple of recent disruptions following fresh community cases of Covid-19 in Perth with some cancelled flights, travel to other states and territories was not impacted. As vaccination programs continue there are also plans to extend the scheme to include the Cook Islands.
  • Inbound Travel: Flights from outside the travel bubble are also subject to cancellation at short notice and alternatives are not easily available currently involving waits of up to a month. This is in addition to the requirement for multiple quarantine periods if the available flight is to a different territory or state.

Canada:

  • New Residency Permits: Announced on 14 April 2021, six new permanent residence pathways have been created for 90,000 essential workers and international graduates who are contributing to Canada’s economy. Applications can commence on 6 May 2021.
  • Travel & Immigration: With some Visa Application Centres remaining closed or only providing a limited range of services, please refer to the government website for up-to-date information on entry restrictions at the federal, territorial or provincial level.

France: The most recent national lockdown officially ended on 3 May 2021 with the removal of the 10km rule, however the 7pm curfew remains in place. Those travelling between 7pm and 6am require both an essential reason and a permission form (attestation). The current rules stay in place until at least 19 May 2021 when it is hoped that non-essential shops and café terraces can re-open and the curfew will be extended to 9pm.

Hong Kong: The Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble, originally due to start in November 2020 will now start on 26 May 2021. In addition to the requirements for negative test pre and post flight, strict national case thresholds which also must be maintained for the bubble to remain in place. A cautious start to the program is expected with flights limited to one a day in each direction, each capped at 200 passengers for at least the first two weeks. If successful, capacity is set to increase to two flights per day starting 10 June 2021.

India: As COVID-19 infections continue to surge across the country there has been a suspension of scheduled incoming and outgoing international flights until 31 May 2021. In addition, India has been added to the travel bans of many locations including the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Exemptions have been announced for those foreign nationals who are now unable to leave India due to the travel bans where visas expire in advance of 30 June 2021. Applications for extensions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the local Foreigners Regional Registration Office once submitted.

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