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| 4 minutes read

ICYMI: GM updates to help you navigate!

If you manage global talent, it's essential to remain informed about anything that could potentially disrupt relocations and assignments. Many employees and hiring managers often lack awareness of the numerous elements that can influence the relocation or assignment process. That's why we provide these bi-weekly updates, designed to simplify and explain the global events that might have an impact on your global mobility program. 

So let's see what's happening around the world. In case you missed it, here's what's affecting mobility right now:

  1. China: We'll start with an interesting insight into expat daily life challenges. Per our friends at Relo Network Asia, new arrivals in China are struggling to adapt to local habits, especially the standard digital payment for all daily expenses via apps. This includes meals and transportation. Some apps are only available in Mandarin, enhancing the issues for those who cannot speak or read the language. Setting up a bank account is another top priority in order to be able to use the apps and settle in to practical daily living. Additionally, China has extended preferential IIT tax policy for foreign professionals through the end of 2027. This means that non-China domiciled tax residents (i.e., people who do not have a domicile in China but live for 183 days or more in China in a given tax year) can continue to enjoy tax exemptions on things like housing rent payments, dependent educational costs, and relocation expenses. See this for full details.
  2. Germany: From EuroNews, local transportation will be disrupted throughout March as 90,000 employees from local transport companies in Germany are striking on various days from Feb 26 - March 1. March 1 will see the most disruption. Plan for major disruptions to bus, tram, and metro networks, and check local transport websites for full details. Strikes will impact Hamburg, Bremen, Lower Saxony, Göttingen, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Berlin. 
  3. Canada: Fragomen reports that effective Feb 29, 2024, at 23:30 (local time), nationals of Mexico will no longer be visa exempt when entering Canada for tourism, business, or transit and will need to instead obtain a temporary resident visa online via a consulate. Mexican nationals who hold an eTA tied to a Mexican passport AND hold a valid work or study permit will still be able to travel to Canada using a current eTA. Also, housing costs are an ongoing barrier for young Canadians and those relocating to Canada. A recent report from Statistics Canada shows that as debt levels rise, these Canadians are facing the biggest pinch, and barriers to homeownership could be one of the key factors.
  4. United States: A short-term government spending bill has avoided an impending government shutdown, and will fund some federal agencies (including immigration) through at least March 22. Also from Fragomen the official launch of USCIS’ new online organizational accounts means employers can now create new organizational accounts or upgrade existing accounts for the upcoming H-1B cap registration season. This new system allows multiple people within a company or organization to collaborate and prepare H-1B registrations, H-1B petitions, and associated requests for premium processing. Note that a new organizational account is required to participate in the H-1B Electronic Registration Process starting in March 2024.
  5. Spain: Rail travel across Spain will be severely disrupted this month from a staff walkout in the first half of March. There will be three days of 24-hour strikes on March 1, 2, and 12. During February train strikes in Spain, hundreds of trains were cancelled but a skeleton service still operated. This is because under Spanish law, a minimum service must be maintained.
  6. Singapore: For those moving talent into Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has confirmed that the local qualifying salary will be raised to SGD $1,600 (about USD $1,190), effective July 1. Per BAL, the local qualifying salary determines the number of local employees who can be used to calculate a firm’s Work Permit and S Pass quota entitlement. Previously known as the full-time equivalent salary, the local qualifying salary is reviewed regularly to keep pace with rising local wages and maintain quota controls. Additionally, the MOM announced that from March 1, 2024, COVID-19 vaccination requirements are no longer required for all work pass holders.
  7. England: London Overground strikes will take place on March 4-5, union RMT has announced. The 48-hour walkouts by over 300 security, station, revenue and control staff come after RMT members rejected a below-inflation pay offer. Rail services across the country will be disrupted by strikes in March. You can track which train lines and locations will be impacted here.
  8. Brunei: Demand for housing in Brunei has increased, putting pressure on the limited expatriate property sector. Per Relo Network Asia, this is resulting in lower availability and inflated rental pricing. This situation is anticipated to continue over the next 3 - 6 months.

To close, we always like to share additional valuable resources that might help you navigate your mobility  world, so here are a couple extras for this post:

  • WERC's Mobility Minute: Welcome to the latest issue of Mobility Minute, a newsletter created by WERC. Every week, this newsletter will land in your inbox to keep you up to date on news from and about the talent mobility industry. Sign up!
  • CERC webinar: Celebrate International Women's Day (March 8) with this CERC webinar on March 7! CERC will profile women leaders from the CERC community who will share their stories in a very special webinar broadcast.
  • Ramadan update: As a great reminder from our friends at Fragomen, foreign nationals and their employers can expect immigration processing delays from the beginning of March through the beginning of April in the Middle East, North Africa, Türkiye and parts of Asia during the observance of Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr. Many government offices worldwide reduce their hours and/or close during Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr. Processing delays could continue in the weeks following Ramadan, due to application backlogs that accumulate during the closures.
  • Plus's Spotlight webinar and “encore session”: We recently enjoyed the intellect, knowledge and humor of Eric Loff from GTN on a recent Spotlight webinar. You can watch that here. You can also now join us for an Encore session as Eric answers some of the questions that we weren't able to cover during the live Spotlight webinar.



Strikes are a regular occurrence in Europe, as employees withhold their labour to fight for better pay and conditions. Walkouts are sometimes planned months ahead but others are announced last minute, showing that it always pays to check before you travel. Luckily, we have gathered all of the strike information together below.


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