Without a doubt, the coronavirus pandemic is an extreme example of the types of things that fall under the definition of the term VUCA (which stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity).
As we continue to monitor and share the possible impact of numerous events and activities around the world on your global mobility program — especially the ongoing responses to COVID-19 — here is a look at some recent changes (thanks to many of our immigration friends in the industry for the updates) that you can review and consider as you keep your company up to date (please note that information is evolving regularly, so the updates below are all subject to change):
- Australia: The ban on international travel continues, but quarantine-free flights from New Zealand resumed as of Feb. 20. Since Jan. 22, all travelers to or through Australia (other than those on quarantine-free flights from New Zealand) must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test to their airline, taken 72 hours or less before their scheduled departure. All travelers, other than those on quarantine-free flights from New Zealand, are still subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities (for example, a hotel) at their port of arrival. (Newland Chase)
- Austria: The country extended its ban on the landing of flights from Brazil, South Africa and the UK (except for repatriation flights) through March 7. For more specifics on restrictions coming into Austria, review these details at Austria.org
- Canada: New public health measures for air and land travelers to Canada went into effect as of Feb. 22. See details from Erickson Immigration Group for travelers coming to Canada by land border crossings or air. (EIG)
- Ireland: The DOJ published its strategy for improving Ireland’s immigration system, which will include a roadmap to take all services online, create a new website with content in multiple languages, improve quality and measurements, and create a new committee to support consistent decision making. (Fragomen)
- Italy: Italian authorities have extended existing travel restrictions for travelers from Brazil until March 5, but have also carved out exemptions for residents and certain officials. Most air travel from Brazil will remain suspended until at least March 5. Entry is prohibited to travelers who have been in Brazil in the 14 days before attempting to enter Italy. (BAL)
- Kuwait: Effective Feb. 24 to March 20, land and sea borders are closed for all except shipping operations and their workers, and the return of Kuwaiti citizens, their first-degree relatives and their house maids. Go here for further details. (Newland Chase)
- North America (U.S./Canada/Mexico): Having been closed since March 2020, the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders will remain closed until March 21 due to COVID-19. Travel restrictions apply to boat, train and passenger ferry travel, but not to sea and air travel. Only essential travel is permitted while border closures remain in effect. These border closures were set to expire on Feb. 21. (Envoy Global)
- Norway: As of Feb. 22, Norwegian employers who make accommodation available to foreign employees must be pre-approved by the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority. Additionally, the suspension of entry for non-resident foreign nationals has been extended until Feb. 28. (Newland Chase)
- United Kingdom: On Feb. 23, the UK government launched a smartphone app to enable applicants for the British Nationals (Overseas) Route, or BN(O), to scan their passport, rather than attend an appointment at a visa application center. (Fragomen)
- United States: Our World In Data offers some excellent charts for tracking the number of COVID-19 vaccination doses administered and the number of doses per 100 people across the 50 states. While California has administered the most vaccine doses, it ranks 20th when you look at those doses per 100 people. Maybe the most interesting chart to me was the one that shows the share of available COVID-19 doses that have been used, which illustrates how well each state is doing at taking what they have and getting it administered. (Our World In Data)
Keeping an eye on virus surges, variants and vaccine rollout issues will help you set expectations for those being supported by your global mobility program as we recover over the course of the next year. Stay safe and stay aware. Let us know if you have specific locations you are concerned about, and understand that due to constantly changing conditions, restrictions are being adjusted and international business travel and assignment plans will often be impacted.
Since 31 December 2019 and as of week 2021-7, 112,348,223 cases of COVID-19 (in accordance with the applied case definitions and testing strategies in the affected countries) have been reported, including 2,484,324 deaths.