Published on October 23, 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 surpass supply for air cargo, there has been the introduction of congestion surcharges (CGS) to some major shipping lanes and a temporary blocking of new bookings at congested ports. With these disruptions to standard services, consider reviewing costs or budgets to ensure that estimates reflect actual costs and policies, and that especially lump sums are sufficient to cover shipping costs.

Avoiding W2c's: To minimise the need for W2c’s, ensure that you have documentation of your employees' whereabouts and especially review those who expected to have broken tax residency, however have met the substantial presence test by staying in or returning to the US earlier than planned.

Repayment Agreements: As assignment start dates are delayed or assignments commence in the home location in advance of relocating, consider reviewing repayment agreement wording to ensure that it is still fit for purpose, e.g., full repayment 6 months after assignment start date rather than date of relocation.

Future Proofing Your Service Delivery

  • UK Withdrawal Agreement:
    • Residence Permit: UK nationals and their family members residing in Europe and those planning to enter before 31 December 2021 must apply for a permit by 1 July 2021. To support applications, The French government has opened the online portal to register for French residence permits.
    • Bank Accounts: Rule changes which may impact UK assignees living in EU member states may result in the closing of bank accounts and credit cards as the end of the withdrawal transition period on 31 December 2020.
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:

  • USCIS Fees: We are closely monitoring the potential re-imposition of travel restrictions into New York following an announcement by Mayor Bill de Blasio that he intended to “rewind” the reopening of nine neighborhoods in New York City that have had a testing positivity rate of more than 3 percent over the last 7 days.
  • Housing Update: We continue to see a healthy and robust housing market with recent reports showing a monthly increase of 2.4 percent in sales, with the annual rate jumping by 10.5 percent.

Argentina: Mandatory lockdown rules for the Buenos Aires metropolitan region have been extended until 25 October 2020, impacting many aspects of daily personal life and business life in the metro region.

Belgium: Minimum salary levels relating to foreign workers have increased. Employers must increase salaries for current and new staff and notify authorities of increases for pending applications.

Costa Rica: Restrictions are relaxing for all individuals arriving by air from any country, beginning 1 November 2020.

Israel: Visitors are required to download the contact tracing mobile app and mask wearing is mandatory in most cities. Designated “Containment Zones” have also been introduced with additional restrictions.

Japan: Japan has successfully expanded the "Business Track" to include Korea and Brunei in addition to the existing 8 locations, facilitating essential business travel.

Myanmar: The flight ban has been extended through 31 October 2020 as a preventative measure.

United Arab Emirates:

  • Visa Waiver: A deal with Israel has been signed allowing citizens to enter each other’s countries without applying for a visa. This is notable as it is the first such agreement between Jerusalem and an Arab state.
  • Virtual Working Program: The UAE have introduced the first remote working visa in the Middle East. Foreign nationals who meet the entry requirements, which include a minimum salary of USD 5,000 per month, may apply to work remotely while remaining employed in their home country without the need for a local employment contract.

United Kingdom:

  • Rapid Test: As more countries classify the UK as high-risk and require proof of a negative test result before arrival, passengers at Heathrow can now pay GBP 80 for a rapid COVID-19 test when flying to Hong Kong and Italy.
  • Local Lockdowns: A three-tier approach has been introduced in the United Kingdom with several local lockdowns introduced impacting movement within and into many major northern cities.

Green Lanes: As Indonesia eases movement controls in Jakarta, a reciprocal green lane with Singapore will implement from 26 October 2020 to facilitate business travel. Plans are also progressing between Korea and the Philippines.