Published on October 09, 2020

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The CapRelo Insider provides a glimpse at news, trends and happenings in the global mobility industry and those affecting the 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.

Allowance Calculations
  • Cost of Living Allowance (COLA):
    • U.S. Domestic: COLA values are fluctuating significantly to reflect both the decrease in cost of housing in some cities and an increase in the cost of some goods with changes evident on a monthly basis. To reflect this, consider adjusting the timing of calculations to as close to departure date as possible.
    • International COLA: Consider revising the current review cycle to reflect fluctuations.
    • Housing Allowances: Where demand for accommodation in urban and historically tourist areas has decreased, housing costs have adjusted to reflect excess supply. Housing allowances may therefore be lower than in previous periods. Consider revising calculation timing and review cycle to reflect this potential cost saving.

Future Proofing Your Service Delivery

  • U.S. Passport Renewals: The U.S. Passport office has reopened their “mail back” services for couriers meaning that U.S. adult passport renewals can once again be processed. With non-urgent travel currently halted, where an employee has less than 6 months on their passport, consider encouraging them to renew now. The renewal processing time is slowly decreasing and is currently 4-6 weeks which is a positive movement following the cessation of many expedited service support over the summer where renewals were taking up to 5 months.
  • UK Sponsor License: To ensure that top global talent, including EU nationals, can be employed in the UK following 31 December 2020, organisations must be a Home Office Licensed sponsor. Employers are encouraged to review their current licence to ensure compliance for 2021.
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:

  • New York: 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.
  • Expedited Premium Services: Legislation, providing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with a new source of funding has been introduced. Once in effect it will enable individuals who currently have to wait several months to receive immigration benefits through standard processing, to maintain continuous status in the U.S. and avoid gaps in work authorization. USCIS is required, with associated fees, to permanently expand premium processing service to include many immigration applications and petitions previously ineligible for expedited adjudication. The legislation also extends E-Verify, the EB-5 Regional Center program, and other expiring programs through to 11 December 2020.
  • USCIS Fee freeze: Longer term regulation that significantly increases USCIS filing fees and introduces new forms for applicants and employers has been delayed following a nationwide temporary injunction.  Until resolved, USCIS must continue to use its current fee schedule, accept the current version of all forms and honor the shorter premium processing timeline.
  • Electronic PERM Labor Certifications: Temporary adoption of the electronic issuance of PERM labor certifications to employers and their authorized attorneys or agents due to expire at the end of September 2020, has been made permanent.

China: Most activities have returned to normal with restrictions limited to high risk areas only. A clear green, yellow, red health code is in place to enable access to transportation and businesses.

Canada: We continue to monitor the potential travel restriction exemptions for extended family members and compassionate grounds to enter Canada. Following the announcement by Prime minister, Justin Trudeau, on 2 October 2020, further details are expected shortly.

Japan: New visa applications are now being accepted and approved for select foreign nationals. A non-mandatory contact tracing app has also been introduced.

India: 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.

Singapore: Effectively immediately, the 7-day Stay at Home Notice has been replaced with a COVID-19 Swab upon arrival for Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long-Term Pass holders returning from Australia (except Victoria State) and Vietnam.

Switzerland: Daily cross-border commuters into Switzerland from Italy will continue to be subject to the social security regime they were subject to prior to COVID-19 until 31 October 2020.

United Kingdom: The UK government has released an official contact tracing app, available to those aged 16 and over which uses Bluetooth technology. Significant privacy concerns mean that the app does not hold personal information and no personal data is shared with the government.