17th September 2021
Restrictions in many countries around the world have been eased to some degree, with many people now having received their vaccinations across different age groups. As a result, opportunities are opening up for global contractors, with demand for specialist expertise soaring in many industry sectors. That being said, independent professionals looking to move abroad to take advantage of the economic landscape must not only be aware of the latest travel news but also remain compliant with local regulations and ensure that they are set up correctly and pay the right amount of tax. In our latest blog, we take a look at the latest travel news and contractor management global trends.
Visa application challenges
The first bit of news comes from France which according to SchegenVisaInfo.com experienced a cyberattack in August targeting its visa application website. This criminal activity only came to light in September as authorities had to take necessary measures to ensure that they had stopped the threat but also let the 9,000 or so people whose data was affected know of the attack. Government authorities were quick to point out that this was a minor breach of security and no financial information was leaked.
Previously, French authorities had announced that as of 9th August any visiting travellers must present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours if they want to attend public attractions or visit any hospitality venues. The French Parliament had also approved a draft law requiring French citizens to hold a health pass or ‘pass sanitaire’ if they want to access any of these places, which includes restaurants and hotels as well as museums and weddings. Like many other EU nations, France recognises all the vaccines which have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) as well as the Covishield vaccine manufactured in India.
Meanwhile neighbour Spain has banned entry for non-vaccinated US travellers although they are still allowed to visit if their trip is for essential purposes. This followed an EU Council recommendation to tighten restrictions for travellers from the US and five other countries – Israel, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Lebanon – who were removed from the EU’s safe list. Now all travellers from Italy and France must also present a proof of vaccination certificate, negative COVID-19 test result or evidence that they have since recovered.
Spanish tourism website Visit Spain clarified the status regarding minors, stating that “children under the age of 12 do not have to present any kind of certificate. Between the ages of 12 and 18, they must have a vaccination certificate, i.e. they cannot enter with a certificate of a diagnostic test or a certificate of recovery, apart from the exceptions”. Spain has enjoyed a bumper year with its national statistics institute (INE) reporting that tourism was up by 78.3% year on year.
COVID travel latest for international contractors
In other news, Detlef Scheele, Head of the Federal Employment Agency in Germany said that the country needed 400,000 new workers to plug skills gaps across a range of industries. Immigration would play its part in helping to fix this worrying labour shortage. He said, “Germany can only solve the problem by qualifying unskilled workers and people whose jobs have been lost due to technical change – and above all by bringing immigrants into the country”. Germany has already introduced its Skilled Immigration Act in 2020 to provide easier access for foreign nationals.
The country’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI), part of the Federal Ministry of Health, also added a further seven countries to its list of high-risk destinations. This means that travellers from Albania, Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Japan, the Palestinian territories, Serbia and Sri Lanka must present vaccination certificates or negative test results upon arrival into the country. In its most recent update, it specified that “In addition, when entering the Federal Republic of Germany after a stay in a foreign high-risk area or virus variant area, special registration, proof and quarantine requirements must be observed”.
August was a turning point for fellow German speaking country Austria, as it opened up its borders for international travellers who have been fully vaccinated – even in cases where they have had jabs with different vaccines – and therefore don’t pose a public health risk. The only exception applies to those who have had the Sinopharm of Sinovac vaccine; these individuals are not allowed access to hotels, restaurants and other services. Local authorities had been concerned by a spike in Coronavirus cases from citizens returning from their summer holidays in Croatia.
Malta is now accepting vaccination certificates from Egypt and Lebanon as valid documentation and proof of immunity against COVID-19. However, the country’s Health & Tourism Authorities have stipulated that 14 days must have passed since the last dose and that the vaccines must be approved by the EMA. Two different vaccines, as along as the right timeframe is observed, will also be considered to be acceptable. The country’s National Statistics Office (NSO) had previously reported that the number of its citizens travelling abroad had fallen sharply by over 50%.
Cyprus has also increased its restrictions for four countries now considered to be high risk and added them to its red list. Visitors from Norway, Slovenia, Kuwait and Romania will be subject to testing and quarantining if they have not been fully vaccinated and cannot prove that they have recovered from the virus. The island state has imposed a double testing requirement, with a test to be carried out within 72 hours of departure and another once they have entered the country. Cyprus has connected to the EU Digital COVID Certificate gateway, so certificates from EU countries will be recognised.
With restrictions lifting as countries begin to open their borders in a bid to boost tourism and trade, but also with the demand for skills growing across the EU given acute skill shortages, the tide is turning for jobs and employment prospects, with international contractors looking for work overseas set to benefit. Clearly though, they must take great care to adhere to local employment and tax legislation. For all your contractor compliance needs, just talk to our 6CATS international experts.