It has been a year of ups and downs as countries around the world have addressed the ebbs and flows of local, regional, national and global surges in COVID-19 infections. In some ways, to consider a year in review of immigration is like going back to look at those ups and downs of infection rates globally. Reactive travel safety measures put in place by authorities have been a primary protective strategy and continues now as the world awaits clarity on how the Omicron variant has mutated and it's degree of infectiousness. Many countries have taken measures to restrict travel into their countries already. But there is much yet to learn over the next month as we close out 2021 with regard to the nature of this variant and how it will impact the next phase of global mobility as we continue to live with this virus into 2022.
But the good news is that 2021 offered new methods and approaches for managing borders amidst a pandemic. Talent has been less restricted than it was in 2020, and it felt like the impact of vaccines was leading us to new optimism for the future of global mobility. While many are now extremely concerned about what's to come as we head into 2022, many feel that 2021 has seen vast improvements with immigration processes around the globe.
With the report below from Envoy Global, we can rewind the year and review how we moved along globally to reopen borders. The article explores some of the latest developments in immigration like the creation of digital nomadic visas and remote-work programs, new directives within the EU, and new policies in the UK, Middle East and Africa. Per the report, "This past year has also seen the addition of new technologies and processes to immigration systems worldwide, many of which were spurred on because of COVID-19 restrictions and application backlogs."
As we move into future, staying on top of the latest happenings will remain a key endeavor for global mobility programs. We will be working to continue to provide updates here to make you aware of how your mobility program may be impacted. Additionally, tap into the latest immigration blog posts from our friends at Envoy Global. There is a webinar that will highlight these topics on Dec. 14.
With nearly every country on the globe imposing travel restrictions, border closures and more, 2021 has still been a remarkable year for global immigration and mobility. In 2020, when the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic and the threat of the virus became apparent, some of the world’s largest global economies shut their international borders — with many remaining closed for nearly nine months. Countries, including Sweden, Ireland and India, stopped processing visas at some point throughout the pandemic and immigrants everywhere were met with strict entry requirements and restrictions. Despite these hurdles, 2021 has seen vast improvements with immigration processes around the globe. With more countries gaining access to vaccines, the gradual lifting of entry restrictions and the introduction of vaccination passports and certificates, people are once again gaining the ability to move and travel more freely.