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| 5 minutes read

ICYMI: May 29-June 12

In case you missed it, airfare costs are continuing to rise. According to AP News, that’s the word from the International Air Transport Association, which held its annual meeting Monday (June 3) in Dubai, home to the long-haul carrier Emirates. A number of things are contributing to rising prices, including high jet fuel costs, a backlog of aircraft in production, and high taxes and fees being imposed on airlines by the countries they are operating in. The sheer number of people traveling have also led to higher ticket prices. According to the article, “there will be 4.96 billion travelers on airplanes this year, with total expenses for carriers reaching $936 billion — another record high.”

Additionally, this article from CNBC explained that airline ticket prices significantly outpacing inflation. “In the last year, the consumer price index for airline tickets has shot up by 25% — the largest jump since the Federal Reserve of St. Louis began tracking the index in 1989. In April alone, airfares spiked 18.6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.” 

High airfares mean higher global mobility costs for companies. Lump sums for long-distance moves also won't go as far for relocating employees who need to travel by air. 

Now on to other global updates since our last ICYMI post:

  1. European Union: The European Union will increase Schengen Visa fees beginning on June 11, 2024 according to Corporate Immigration Partners. These fee changes will include the following rates: Adults: €80 to €90 and children aged six to eleven: €40 to €45. All visa applications lodged worldwide on or after this date will be subject to the new visa fee. 
     
  2. Thailand: Per Envoy Global, Thailand will introduce several short-term and long-term measures and changes to its immigration laws, starting on June 1. Some of the first changes include  a new list of countries with visa-free entry permissions, a new digital nomad visa called the Destination Thailand Visa (DTV), and some student visa improvements.
     
  3. Canada: Supply Chain Drive reports that unionized employees of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) have postponed a possible strike until June 12. Negotiations with management are slated for June 7-12, and the strike may still happen if no agreement is reached. If this happens, moving companies (and their customers) moving freight between the U.S. and Canada on trucks may be faced with lengthy border delays. Crisis24 also notes that international travel and other freight disruptions are possible. 
    Canada also published a number of immigration updates in May, including category-based selection for Express Entry and enhancements to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. These changes include streamlining processes to make it easier for employers to hire foreign workers in sectors experiencing significant labor gaps. 
    Lastly, the government of Canada introduced new proof of fund requirements for express entry applicants under the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Federal Skilled Trades Program, which will become effective on June 2.  Also, consider this “data points” update from AIRINC. It shares that rents are up in Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary and in other cities moderately across Canada.
     
  4. Israel: The Israeli Ministry of the Interior will require all visa-exempt nationals to have a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA-IL), “Marom ETA-IL”, obtained through the electronic portal, beginning on August 1. The system will open for applications on July 1. You can ge more information from Fragomen here.
     
  5. Finland: Effective May 13, Finland introduced more relaxed EU Blue Card rules. Key changes include new professional experience eligibility pathways, reduced mandatory employment contract durations, and reduced minimum salary levels. Fragomen has more details through their site.
     
  6. Denmark: Per Envoy Global, Denmark will allow extensions to be made under short-term tracks of the fast-track residence permit scheme. This will enable work continuation to be granted for stays that do not exceed 90 days per year. Employees on the fast-track scheme can now apply for extensions without needing new biometrics or ID checks, streamlining the process for companies and employees. 
     
  7. Portugal: In an attempt to attract more global talent and tighten immigration rules, Portugal is introducing a number of changes and initiatives on immigration regulations. The plan includes 41 measures focused on four key areas: regulating immigration, attracting skilled talent, facilitating integration for newcomers, and streamlining government processes.
     
  8. China: BAL shared on June 5 that Chinese officials announced the extension of its visa-free policy to nationals of 12 countries, effective through 2025. In December 2023, the Chinese government initially opened a unilateral visa-free policy to six countries: France, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Spain. Officials later expanded the policy to include six additional countries: Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.
     
  9. UAE: The United Arab Emirates introduced a new ten-year blue residency visa for certain foreign nationals working in environmental conservation and sustainability. Specifically, the visa aims to support members of international organizations, companies, associations, NGOs, global award winners, and distinguished activists and researchers. For additional insights on eligibility and the application process, you can find the details here.  
    AIRINC also updated housing costs in the UAE, showing increased rents in Dubai due to high demand and limited supply. Even lower end properties in less desirable areas have seen price increases. A similar situation in Abu Dhabi has seen rents increase sharply due to supply and demand imbalances.
     
  10. United States: Per Envoy Global, On June 25, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will launch a trial of E-Verify+, which integrates the E-Verify employment verification process and Form I-9. The E-Verify+ Program allows employees to directly add their documentation and personal information to the E-Verify+ portal. Employers can then review and approve the documentation. Once the employee and employer have electronically signed Form I-9, the form is complete and can be downloaded or archived. 
    Additionally, Apartments.com updated their rent trends data: The average rent in the United States is now up to $1,518/month, 0.7% higher than this time last year. The states with the largest year-over-year rent increases include North Dakota, Vermont, and Mississippi. In North Dakota, rents are 5.2% higher. Vermont rent prices average around $1,732/month, which is an increase of 4.9%. In Mississippi, renters pay an average of $939/month, which is an increase of 4.7%. It's also interesting to note that the average rent for 1 bedroom is slightly less than a studio apartment.  

And finally, there's an upcoming learning opportunity from WERC - a webinar on U.S. Buyer Broker Compensation with Insights From Mobility Industry Leaders. This session is on June 11, 2024  at 2 p.m. ET. You can learn more and register here

ExpatRide shares their latest white paper on “Driving Sustainability: The case for Eco-Conscious Assignments in Global Mobility”. It offers a holistic perspective on Global Mobility and its climate impact. It goes beyond the relocation phase, considering the entire assignment period.

Also, here's a resource for learning more about global driving reimbursements. AIRINC has shared insights into how to reimburse personal and company auto use consistently across the globe.
 

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The cost of your next flight is likely to go up. That’s the word from the International Air Transport Association, which held its annual meeting Monday in Dubai, home to the long-haul carrier Emirates. While carriers recover from the groundings worldwide from the coronavirus pandemic, industry leaders told journalists that there are several costs likely to push those ticket prices ever higher.

Tags

airfares, inflation, price increases, budgeting, country updates, immigration, visas, schenghen, digital nomads, Destination Thailand Visa, strike, proof of funds, rental updates, Marom ETA-IL, EU Blue Card , fast-track scheme, Denmark, canada, israel, thailand, US, UAE, Finland, portugal, china, sustainability, Expatride, AIRINC, Envoy Global, Fragomen, Corporate Immigration Partners, Crisis24 , BAL