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| 5 minutes read

ICYMI: A few countries to keep an eye on

Crisis24 offers country reports and global risks maps. They assign a risk rating on countries that reflects the degree of risk in each country for travelers. Ratings can be "minimal", "low", "medium", "high", and "critical".  There are currently 13 countries that they have listed as "critical risk" and 34 listed as "high risk". These reports offer profile information on security, infrastructure, the environment, health and medical, and political assessment. That means that approximately 20% of their reports fall into these 2 most extreme and dangerous locations. Is your company sending talent into any of these locations?

Every two weeks we bring you the latest on where things are happening around the world that just might have an impact on your global mobility program. While many of these are not dangerous, check out the latest changes in these locations:

  1. United States: Last Thursday (May 11), the national COVID-19 public health emergency expired, a change that affects some immigration policies. Per BAL, nonimmigrant foreign nationals are no longer required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter the country by land, air, or sea. Vaccine requirements remain in place for immigrant visa applicants. There has also been updated guidance on F-1 students as they can no longer count online classes toward a full course of study. Form I-9 flexible measures will also be coming to an end. The flexible measures that have allowed some employers operating remotely to inspect Form I-9 employment eligibility documents virtually will expire July 31. Also, a reminder from Worldwide ERC, with the end of the Covid-19 national emergency on 11 May, relocation reimbursements will no longer be able to be claimed under the emergency as non-taxable. These expenses now have to be treated as taxable and companies will need to review their programs yet again to determine the impact of this transition and any steps, if any, they need to take as a result.  
  2. Canada: Reuters reports that "The Canadian passport is ranked fourth globally for its mobility score by the Passport Index, alongside seven other countries including the United States, Australia, and Japan. It is ranked 26th globally for its visa characteristics, which authorizes passport holders visa-free entry into 115 countries, with 51 countries permitting a visa on arrival." And it is getting an upgrade - a new design with advanced security features including a new series showing His Majesty King Charles III. 
  3. India: The "Trusted Traveller Programme" aims to make the immigration clearance process simpler and quicker with the help of technology. It is similar to the U.S.'s "Global Entry Program", which allows for expedited security and immigration clearance of pre-approved, low-risk travelers. The scheme will be open only for Indian passport holders and there is no consideration of extending the scheme to those with other passports. It will start as a pilot program at the Delhi and Mumbai airports this year.
  4. Germany: More rail strike disruptions are set to occur. Travelers in Germany will face a 50-hour strike from Sunday (May 14) to Tuesday (May 16) by the EVG rail and transport union, which represents 50 rail companies. The strike will have a “massive impact” on all German rail operations, including long-distance passenger traffic and pan-European freight traffic. 
  5. Israel: Heightened security and transport disruptions are likely in Israel and adjacent Palestinian territories for Jerusalem Day celebrations on May 18-19. Allow extra time for travel throughout Israel, particularly Jerusalem, during the holiday period. Recommendations to travelers include ensuring all travel and vehicle documents are in order, heeding the advice of authorities and officers at security checkpoints, and avoid loitering near security checkpoints and main entrances to hotels, restaurants, or government buildings.
  6. South Korea: Crisis24 notes that South Korea will lift its seven-day quarantine requirement for COVID-19 cases effective June 1. There will be minimal domestic and international curbs in effect at that point. Visa-free and visa-waiver programs have resumed, with some exceptions. Passport holders from eligible countries must obtain an electronic travel authorization (K-ETA) at least 72 hours before entry. Authorities encourage all incoming travelers to register their travel information on the Q-Code platform before departure for South Korea. To access the platform, click here.
  7. China: AIRINC ran sessions at the 2023 Global Mobility Conference organized by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Shanghai. There were more than 100 global mobility professionals from both multinational and Chinese companies that came together for this full-day event. One trend looked at was the Local Plus policy. The results of the polls reinforced the trends that they saw from their AIRINC Local Plus benchmark survey. If you are interested in knowing more about the survey or trends for the region, please feel free to reach out to AIRINC.
  8. Mexico: Per Fragomen, the Mexican government is expected to lift the country's COVID-19 health emergency soon. Once this occurs, COVID-19-related concessions will end, and foreign nationals should be prepared to comply with immigration-related deadlines. See their COVID website for more information. Also, Yucatán is seeing a real estate boom due to low crime rate which is boosting its population and investment into the region. Yucatán, the southeastern state known for its Mayan ruins, has a homicide rate more than 90% lower than the national average! Real estate company Inmuebles24 reported average sale prices went up 14% in Mérida in the first 10 months of 2022.
  9. Myanmar: The Guardian is following a deadly cyclone, Cyclone Mocha, which made landfall this past Sunday. It has disrupted communities for thousands of people and killed a number of people at this point. Wind speeds reached 130 miles per hour and tore roofs from buildings, damaged electrical transformers, cell phone towers, boats and lampposts in Sittwe, Kyaukpyu, and Gwa townships. 
  10. Japan: Our friends at Newland Chase note that on 26 April 2023, the Japanese Government laid out its plans to attract highly-skilled foreign talent and is considering implementation of an immigration framework for digital nomads in a bid to compete for talent, overseas investments, and be known as Asia’s largest startup hub. 
  11. United Kingdom: From Envoy Global, the U.K.'s High Potential Individual (HPI) visa is a relatively new and worthy option to consider. First, hiring or relocating an employee on an HPI visa generally requires fewer company resources than going through the U.K.’s employer-sponsored license. The HPI visa may also be ideal for filling entry- and mid-level roles with top talent. The visa has a validity period of two years, and all applicants must have received their degree from a leading global university within the past five years. It could open up a talent pool that companies have not considered as there are over 144,000 international students who are currently attending U.S. universities that qualify for the HPI.

Lastly, please join us on this Thursday, May 18 as I get the chance to speak with Susan Benevides and our special guest Dick Burke, President and CEO of Envoy Global, to shine a spotlight on trends and changes in immigration. Bring all your questions for a live Q&A at the end of the session. You can even earn a CRP and GMS credit through Worldwide ERC®!

Register now:

The White House announced Monday that it will soon end the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for nonimmigrant international air travelers. The Department of Homeland Security announced it would end the vaccination requirement for non-U.S. travelers entering the U.S. via land ports of entry and ferry terminals. Key Points: Beginning May 12, the United States will no longer require nonimmigrant foreign nationals to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the country by land, sea or air. Between now and May 12, most nonimmigrant foreign nationals entering the country must continue to show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Further details related to ending these requirements will be released in the coming days. Background: The Biden administration first introduced the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for international air travelers and those crossing at land borders and ferry terminals in November 2021.


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