While it may be hard to believe, we are now about to enter the last month of 2023! Right now, most mobility programs are getting knee-deep into the details of global compensation collection, audit, analysis, and reporting. Expat tax filing is part of that monstrous, pesky goal of keeping your global mobility program clean and compliant and this part of the process is critical. Mobility programs that do this effectively usually have a well-oiled collaborative process with their expatriate tax partners, their relocation management company (RMC) and their own internal stakeholders like payroll, AP, and internal tax. For a closer look at 3 realities of the comp collection process, try this post: Cookie cutters were not made for global compensation programs

Now, like we do in our ICYMI posts every two weeks, let's take a look at some country-specific updates:

  1. China: Cities across China (Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin) have seen a surge in mycoplasma-caused pneumonia, particularly in children. According to internal accounts in China, the outbreaks have swamped some hospitals in northern China, including in Beijing, the Associated Press reported. China’s National Health Commission said late last week that the spread of several respiratory pathogens could converge into a major outbreak between now and next spring. 
     
  2. Germany: Per Crisis24, there is an adverse winter weather forecast across much of Germany through at least Nov. 30th. Hazardous travel conditions likely and are expected to bring strong winds and heavy precipitation to central, eastern, southern, and western Germany. Additionally, Newland Chase has details on how Germany is instituting a number of changes to their Skilled Worker Immigration Act in an effort to attract more foreign workers. Changes include reductions to salary requirements and minimum time periods.
     
  3. Canada: Similarly, Crisis24 reports an adverse winter weather forecast across southeastern Canada and the northeastern US through at least Nov. 29th. This low-pressure system is expected to generate lake-effect snow around the Great Lakes, with snowfall accumulations of up to 60 cm (24 inches) possible in areas downwind of the lakes. A storm system is also forecast to bring strong winds and possible storm surge in Atlantic Canada. Hazardous driving conditions are likely across the affected areas due to icy roads and reduced visibility caused by blowing snow. Also, from BAL, government officials announced a new wage review process for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program that will be in place until Aug. 30, 2024. Employers may see an increase in labor costs and should take the new wage requirements into account when planning their 2024 budgets.
     
  4. Ireland:  Recently, Dublin has experienced its most violent protests in decades as a result of anti-immigration unrest. More than 400 officers, including many in riot gear, were deployed throughout the city center to contain the violence. A cordon was set up around the Irish Parliament building, Leinster House, and mounted officers were dispatched to nearby Grafton Street. The unrest came amid rising tensions over immigration in Ireland, mirroring trends in other parts of Europe.
     
  5. France: New rules that will allow US investors to stay in France for up to four years on so-called talent visas have come into effect. In the past, people from America wishing to live and work in France had to jump through several burning administrative hoops and complete mountains of paperwork. These rules also allow for French investors to more easily stay in the US The new systems, according to a joint statement issued by the two parties, allow American investors and their families to fast-track applications for the four-year French visa, mirroring France’s ‘talent passport’ scheme, while French investors can benefit from four-year US E-1 or E-2 visas, up from a cap of only 25 months previously.  
     
  6. Netherlands: Just as global mobility and business travel programs seek to encourage more sustainable travel options, Eurostar services from the Netherlands to London will be suspended for six months from June next year due to renovation work. Passengers from Amsterdam and Rotterdam to London will now be required to change trains in Brussels. Outbound travel from London to the Netherlands will continue, according to Eurostar.
     
  7. India: As shared by Fragomen, Indian consular posts have resumed issuing electronic business visas for Canadian nationals. See their alert for details.
     
  8. Hong Kong: Travel and Leisure share that HK is currently the most expensive retail destination in Asia and the third most expensive in the world. 
     
  9. United States: According to Fragomen, an additional 64,716 H-2B visas will be made available in Fiscal Year 2024, nearly doubling the number of H-2B visas that would otherwise be available. While housing remains highly unaffordable for so many, it appears the rent growth should be weaker. RealPage also reports that more supply on the horizon should keep rents from dramatically rising. New supply appears to be the strongest deterrent of rent growth at a market (and especially submarket) level. Submarkets delivering the highest share of supply show a clear relationship for weaker rent performance. Conversely, areas delivering less supply have seen larger rent increases. Landlords are focused on keeping units occupied. 

    Additionally, the US announced a 180-day extension of Employment Authorization effective Oct 27. Lastly, per Boundless, international student enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities, driven by a surge in numbers from South Asian countries, including a record-breaking total from India, has experienced its fastest growth rate in over 40 years. The 2022-23 school year saw a nearly 12% increase, with a total of 1,057,188 international students, comprising over 5% of postsecondary enrollment in the United States. Cities in the United States dominate the list of the cities with the highest rents worldwide. New York was ranked as the most expensive city to rent in ahead of Singapore with an index score of 100.
  10. United Kingdom: Significant fine increases for businesses and landlords who hire or rent to foreign nationals who lack the requisite permits are now expected to come into force on January 22, 2024 at the earliest. See the Fragomen alert for details. Additionally, in case you missed it, there has been a change to National Insurance rates. Starting January 6, 2024, 27 million workers will pay 10% on their earnings between £12,571 and £50,270 instead of the current 12% which is expected to be worth £450 a year to a worker earning £35,400. 

And we'll also leave you with these other helpful resources to monitor and survey the landscapes that impact your global mobility programs:

Global Risk Forecast 2024

U.S. State Dept Travel Advisories and Alerts

International SOS Risk Outlook 2024