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ICYMI: The latest impacts for global mobility programs to consider as we head toward re-entry

Until destination cities across the world are able to enjoy more stable environments with reduced quarantine measures, increased testing capabilities, higher percentages of vaccinations and improved data sharing, seamless international travel won't be springing back (no pun intended). However, the extended forecast is optimistic! Until then, bring on the rapid antigen testing, travel bubbles, vaccinations and immunity passports! 

In case you missed it, here are some of the latest locational considerations that global mobility programs should be aware of:

  1.  United States: At this time, routine processing for a U.S. passport is taking 10-12 weeks and expedited processing is taking at least 4-6 weeks. U.S. passport applicants should anticipate current processing times to remain the same. Jonathan Nagel, from BAL, suggests that U.S. nationals should take steps now to prepare for upcoming travel, even if they are not planning to travel for several months. (BAL)
  2. United States: Is Mike Osterhom right that the country is in the "eye of the hurricane" right now? With the U.S. averaging roughly 60,000 new cases daily in the past week, governors easing restrictions and Spring Break around the corner, many are concerned the country will see another dangerous COVID-19 spike, particularly fueled by the variants. (CNN)
  3.  Global: The OECD has updated its guidance from last April with regard to how governments and taxing authorities should handle compliancy issues related to issues such as work-from-home arrangements, displaced workers and remote workers stemming from COVID-19. The update addresses permanent establishment (PE), residency rules and taxing rights over income from employment. (OECD)
  4.  United Kingdom: The UK government has published a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules that builds upon the new immigration system, which was opened on Dec. 1. Fragomen summarizes the changes and explains that the UK will be opening a "New Graduate Route" on July 1, has expanded the "shortage occupation list for Skilled Workers" and has "streamlined Global Talent visa access for winners of specific awards." (Fragomen)
  5.  South Africa: According to the Daily Maverick, South Africa’s COVID-19 second wave is officially over and lockdown restrictions are to be further reduced, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Feb. 28. Under Alert Level 1, the curfew will be relaxed, more types of gatherings are permitted and alcohol can be sold according to normal hours. (Daily Maverick)
  6.  Spain: Erickson Immigration shares that Spanish authorities are applying a 10-day quarantine period for travelers from Brazil and South Africa, and as of March 8, to Botswana, Union of Comoros, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Peru and Colombia. The quarantine requirement will apply for 14 days and then be reevaluated. This requirement may be shortened if, on day seven, the person undertakes a COVID-19 test with a negative result. (EIG)
  7. Portugal: Travelers who fly through Britain or Brazil on their way to Portugal have to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before departure and quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. Direct commercial and private flights from Brazil and Britain have been banned since January. These measures will be reviewed on March 16. (EIG)
  8.  France: Per Envoy Global, additional entry restrictions have been implemented due to COVID-19. UK posted workers, non-resident UK nationals and intra-company transferees are no longer permitted to enter France. The latest entry restrictions are in place until further notice. Find out more on who can and cannot enter France currently here. (Envoy)
  9. Brazil: Per CNN, "A second wave of COVID-19 is ripping through Brazil, pushing hospitals and ICUs toward collapse and claiming record numbers of daily deaths." Brazil has broken its own record three times this month for number of deaths in a 24-hour period. The situation has been created by the P1 variant (which is more transmissible), slow vaccination rollout, and a lack of mitigation and suppression measures. (CNN)
  10. Hong Kong: Just as the city was emerging from social restrictions and venue closures, a new outbreak in Hong Kong has spread from a gym to international schools and other fitness centers as well as banks, per this report from Bloomberg. This latest shares more related to expats being impacted. (Bloomberg)

While hope is not a strategy, here's hoping that as we move down the path of "next normal" that re-entry is smooth and less dramatic. We'll continue to share updates to keep you aware of how the pandemic is continuing to disrupt and impact locations around the world so that you can navigate your mobility program as effectively as possible. 

U.S. nationals should take steps now to prepare for upcoming travel, even if they are not planning to travel for several months. If their passport is set to expire this year, they should renew immediately and not wait for a return to “normal,” as the pandemic remains fluid and continues to threaten normal processing times. Travelers should also check their passport’s expiration date and make sure that it will remain valid beyond their travel. Most countries require an inbound traveler’s passport is valid for at least three months beyond the travel dates; and other countries require six months. Additionally, some airlines do not allow passengers to board if their passport does not meet the validity requirements. Travelers should confirm the individual requirements of the destination country as well as the rules of their airline regarding passport validity.


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