Over the last few months, countries around the world have re-opened their doors to routine business travel and tourism, signaling the resumption of economic activity near pre-pandemic levels. Yet, the mobility landscape remains radically changed by the Covid-19 pandemic and continues to require knowledge of a complex web of travel requirements and special considerations. WR Immigration invites global mobility professions to watch our video which provides a brief introduction to mobility trends this summer as well as tips to navigate the changing landscape.
Our global immigration team also encourages global mobility professionals to consider 5 key takeaways as they shift their mobility plans into gear:
- No longer “mobility by exception.” Global mobility professionals are ramping up for sizeable travel this summer after numerous countries have opened their doors to business travel and tourism. Even Hong Kong, which limited entry to residents for nearly two years, is now a potential destination for international business travelers and tourists. The shift suggests that companies may be able to restore business travel and mobility at scale this year. This trend stands in stark contrast with the broad travel bans and extensive entry restrictions that characterized the mobility landscapes in 2020 and 2021.
- Quarantines and covid-related health screenings have been scaled back. Covid vaccinations continue to be a widespread requirement for international travel, but other practices, such as covid testing, mandated quarantines, and health screenings, have been lifted or scaled back in many countries. Employees should be aware of the specific public health requirements for entry at an international destination as the requirements differ from country to country. Global mobility professionals should also note vaccine exceptions for children and employees with certain medical conditions, and be aware of the option to present documentation of covid recovery.
- Stay vigilant: The pandemic is not over. Just a few weeks ago, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director of the World Health Organization, cautioned that covid-19 cases were on the rise in 110 countries as highly contagious Omicron subvariants continue to spread across the globe. Employees should be encouraged to keep up to date with vaccines and have information about the health resources available in their destination country. Global mobility professionals might also consider travel insurance for employees, as coverage often includes medical emergencies, trip cancellation/interruptions, and medical evacuation, among other benefits.
- Many points of entry are now open. During the pandemic, entry through maritime ports and land borders was often more difficult than entry through airports due to widespread shutdowns and limited access to covid screening infrastructure. Currently, a variety of entry points (land, sea, and air) are available at most commercial hubs, enabling mobility professionals to plan more efficiently and create journeys best suited for the project.
- Keep lines of communication open with your employees and track their movement. Public health policies across the globe are not fixed and continue to evolve as covid cases wax and wane in a country or jurisdiction. Tracking your employees, even business travelers, is essential for safety, tax, and immigration compliance purposes, and allows mobility professionals to disseminate information quickly to employees who need it.
In addition, mobility professionals may want to start a dialogue with foreign national employees about their personal travel plans. Travel abroad may require the renewal of a home country work visa stamp, advanced permission to travel, or have ramifications for a pending visa application, so it is important for foreign national employees to provide ample notice to their employers. WR Immigration helps prepare employees for international travel by educating them on the many facets of the visa process, including the required documentation for travel, the process and timeline for obtaining a visa stamp, and screening procedures at international ports of entry.
WR Immigration wishes all our clients an exciting season of summer travel! For questions, contact your WR Immigration attorney, and stay tuned to WR Immigration for all the latest news and guidelines.