Published on November 20, 2020

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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 – see our previous blog for insights.

Shipping

  • Demand continues to outpace supply: Continued strong demand, both on the Asia-Europe and transpacific trade lanes, especially for 40ft containers have meant that shipping freight rates have spiked at levels not seen since 2014 and are expected to continue rising. Realities on both timing and cost should be communicated to stakeholders to manage expectations.
  • Local capacity highlighted: In the United Kingdom, in addition to container issues, capacity is further impacted by PPE shipments from August remaining in Felixstowe and occupying up to 30% of available storage space
  • Timing Legislation: Where relocation plans are not completed within the expected timelines, consider any local restrictions. In China, for example, legislation exists limiting the import of goods to within 6 months of an individual entering the country. Where assignees travel plans change this may now need to be considered.

Work from Anywhere Salary Adjustment: As flexible remote working and virtual assignment policies become standard, employees and companies are having to consider possible salary adjustments. Possible models to consider include home, host and global nomad rates. The right decision may be a matrix which takes key variable into consideration and best supports the company's growth and delivery strategy.

Future Proofing Your Service Delivery

Vaccines: With the announcement of potential vaccines available soon through official government sources, ensure that companies are confident in the present location of not only employees but also their dependents to ensure inclusion in relevant national lead programs.

Visa Renewals: Where additional lockdown measures and variable legislation continues to be introduced it is key the companies verify where your employees are, when immigration action is required and have a robust tracking process.

Payroll Adjustments: As 2020 ends, there remains the opportunity to proactively meet employer payroll obligations via year end payroll adjustments. Where possible, make supplemental adjustments and payments prior to year-end to ensure compliance.


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: Demand for houses continues to soar at a higher-than-expected pace, resulting in reduced inventory across the country

Australia: Steps are being proposed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to collate visa data from the Department of Home Affairs to assist in the identification of non-compliance with obligations under taxation and superannuation laws. Both employees and employers should be vigilant to ensure compliance

Canada: Effective 21 November 2020 there are new mandatory travel requirements for air travellers to Canada. Submission of data, prior to boarding a flight, including travel, contact information and quarantine plans through ‘ArriveCAN’ app will be required. Fines are in place for non-compliance

Chile: Santiago International Airport will reopen on 23 November 2020, for tourists and business travellers. All current sanitary/hygiene measures, which include completing a Health Sworn Statement at the port of entry, will continue to apply to travellers to Chile.

Hong Kong: Effective from 22 November 2020, travellers will be able to travel between Singapore and Hong Kong via the Air Travel Bubble (ATB). There will be no restrictions on the purpose of travel, and no need for a controlled itinerary for travellers under the ATB. Travellers 12 years old and below are exempted from taking the pre-departure COVID-19 test

India:  By presenting a negative Covid-19 test result within 72 hours of travel a 14-day quarantine at home can be used in place of the 7-day institutional placement

Singapore:

  • ‘Tech.Pass’ Introduced: A new work authorisation program to enable foreign nationals to enter Singapore for up to four years (initial period of two years) will be introduced on 1 January, 2021. Qualifying individuals, with a minimum of five years’ experience, will be eligible to perform specific activities such as investing in companies, starting or operating businesses and lecturing in institutes of higher learning.
  • Inbound travellers: The Pre-Departure COVID-19 PCR test requirement, taken 72 hours before departure is now required has been extended to travellers from more countries from 17 November 2020. Review the latest guidance prior to travel
  • Hong Kong "Air Travel Bubble": See above

Spain:

  • Sanitary/health control: New measures will come into force on 23 November 2020. This is to enable entry through Spain’s maritime and air borders (not land). Measures include temperatures, document and visual checks
  • Individual Taxation: Changes increasing tax rates for individuals has been introduced via Spain’s General Budget Law. International assignees will be affected, especially those earning income exceeding EUR 600,000

Slovakia: Mandatory registration on a government website for those entering Slovakia has been introduced. A government arranged free COVID-19 test will be provided. Individuals must remain in quarantine until a negative test result has been confirmed

Sweden: New regulations, effective 1 January 2021, impacting the factors considered when determining the economic employer of an individual have been approved. Previously the primary factor considered was who bore the employee’s salary. Employers should assess their population and take action if required

United Kingdom:

  • National Lockdown: National lockdown restrictions continue in England with an expected end date of 2 December 2020 although no confirmation of an end to restrictions has been announced
  • Brexit: With the United Kingdom set to end the transition period and officially leave the EU on 31 December 2020, a deal is yet to be reached. The impact to businesses will be significant and those businesses with business travellers and workers moving between the EU and the UK should ensure that plans are in place to adapt to the changing circumstances