What recruiters need to know: The latest travel developments in Schengen zones

Passport - recruiters travel Schengen

7th July 2020

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the 6CATS team has been dedicated to keeping its readers up to date on the latest tax laws and regulation changes happening around the world. Travel restrictions within countries and across borders has certainly impacted the contractor workforce and how it operates. This has put added pressure on recruiters that are helping their clients and expat contacts work through this tough and uncertain period, and also made it more difficult to juggle placements abroad, with individual circumstances changing rapidly. However, as lockdown measures are beginning to ease around the globe, we are starting to see more countries open borders and welcome workers back to the office. These are the latest travel developments in Schengen zones that recruiters should be aware of when tapping into the international contractor marketplace. This information is correct as of July 3rd and has been sourced from the Schengen Visa website.

Switzerland Permits Entry for Workers from Third Countries

As of July 6th, third-country citizens will be allowed to enter Swiss territory. This is an action taken by the Swiss government in an attempt to relax some of the restrictions which were implemented to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic. Of course, closing the borders of the Nordic country hugely impacted contractors on placement in Switzerland or with upcoming projects there, but with some movement soon to be permitted, it looks like many will once again be able to turn to this destination for their next opportunity.

Spain to Reopen Borders with Morocco

In June, Spain’s government announced that it will be restricting all arrivals from the Schengen Area and implementing a mandatory two-week quarantine for travellers entering the country to help lessen the spread of Covid-19. However, recruiters should be aware that from June 21st, Spanish borders have been open for all European Union and Schengen Zone countries, however with restrictions in place.

More recently the Spanish government has revealed that its borders with Morocco are now open as of July 1st. While this is fantastic news for recruiters placing contractors in the area, it seems as if the reopening of the border will only benefit professionals interested in crossing into Spain, as it is expected that Morocco’s government will keep its border closed for several more months to all countries, including its neighbour.

According to a statement released by the US Embassy and Consulate in Morocco, all regularly scheduled commercial flights to the country and vice versa will continue to be suspended for an indefinite period.

Stranded Schengen Visa Holders in Germany Permitted to Stay and Seek Employment

As the world went into lockdown with barely any notice or adequate time for anyone, including contractors to prepare, a number of professionals found themselves stuck abroad, with no confirmation of when they can return home. While several of those impacted have been able to fly back to their country since restrictions were imposed, there are still many people in this unfortunate position.

Luckily, for those individuals stuck in Germany, though, the Federal Ministry of the Interior, has announced that stranded Schengen visa holders in the country are permitted to stay and seek employment until September 30th.

As you can imagine, this news comes as a sigh of relief for both the individuals who have found themselves in this unfortunate circumstance and the recruitment agencies that were dealing with their placements.

The Netherlands Removes Entry Ban for Residents of 15 Third-Countries

In a similar move to Switzerland, as of July 1st, the Netherlands removed entry bans for residents of certain third-countries. The decision was made following the publication of the recommendation of the European Council on June 30th. The countries that have been marked as safe, and therefore permitted to enter the Netherlands include; Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

What the Schengen zone travel developments mean for recruiters

While all of this information is correct at time of writing and publishing, it’s important that recruiters are aware of the latest updates when dealing with contractors working overseas. As we have seen in the last few months, information is prone to change often and without much notice. To avoid any complications, it’s advisable to seek expert guidance and information which is relevant to your firm and the contractors it places.

However, one thing that remains the same despite changes to travel is compliance with local tax regulations and law. Even in the face of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, authorities are still clamping down on tax misdemeanours and are investing resources in collecting lost revenue. To avoid falling on the wrong side of the law, recruiters engaging with contractors should ensure that they’re aware of all local tax rules.

This can be particularly challenging in the current climate, as many contractors have found themselves stuck in a destination longer than planned. Being unable to return to their home country at the end of their visa and extending these beyond initial plans has resulted in many contractors having their tax status determination questioned. It’s crucial that contractors and the recruiters they are partnering with are aware of these alterations, as failing to comply with the changes can lead to severe fines and consequences.

For recruiters, the risks remain – the likes of the Criminal Finances Act 2017 (CFA) is still in place, which means if a contractor makes a simple administration error due to their change in circumstance, the recruitment agency is at risk of possible fines due to their association with the individual.

Understandably, keeping up to date with the changes happening around the world, and with your contractor’s circumstances can be challenging for recruiters. Here at 6CATS, our team of experts are experienced in dealing with these matters and have been keeping their finger on the pulse with the changing landscape.

We can offer you support you with all of your compliance needs for clients and contractors in destinations around the globe. No matter where in the world your contractors are operating, we have a team of experts on hand that can help you.

For further information, do not hesitate to give our team of specialists a call.


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