Global contractor compliance: what you need to know about covid travel restrictions

28th January 2022

Independent contractors working internationally have long had to keep abreast of rules around worker classification in different jurisdictions, local tax laws, visa requirements and other legislative nuances in order to operate successfully. However, since the dawn of covid, there has been another challenge to contend with: the ever-changing travel requirements and restrictions of each of the world’s 195 countries.

As the recent case of Novak Djokovic being deported from Australia due to his vaccination status highlights, failure to grasp local travel rules can quickly put a dampener on your plans. If you are an international contractor looking to travel soon for your next assignment, here are some of the latest updates you need to be aware of in order to keep on top of global contractor compliance:

Argentina, Australia & Canada removed from EU’s ‘safe’ list

Following rising covid rates in Argentina, Australia and Canada, the Council of the European Union has taken the decision to remove these countries from its ‘safe third countries’ list. In doing so, the body is advising the Member States to reinstate travel restrictions on travellers from these three areas.

Under the previous recommendation from the Council, travellers from Argentina, Australia, and Canada were able to travel to the EU Member States without being subject to strict entry restrictions. Providing that the recommendation is adopted, travellers from the three above-mentioned countries will no longer be considered epidemiologically safe and will have to follow entry rules when reaching the EU Member States. Since each EU Member State has the right to decide on its own entry rules, travellers from Argentina, Australia, and Canada may face different entry rules depending on their destination country.

Currently, all EU countries require travellers to present a valid vaccination certificate that indicates that the holder has been fully immunised against the virus. Certificates that prove that the holder has recovered from the virus are also recognised.

Austria abolishes list of ‘virus variant’ countries

Until Monday the 24th of January 2022, contractors travelling to Austria from countries including the UK and Denmark faced stricter restrictions when entering the county. Today, however, there is no longer the requirement for fully vaccinated travellers to quarantine on arrival.

Entrants from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway will be eligible to enter if they meet one of the following: they have received a covid-19 booster shot; they have received two jabs and present negative results of a PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival in Austria; they are vaccinated against covid-19 and have taken at least one covid-19 shot, or they have recovered from covid-19 recently and present negative results of a PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival in Austria. Children under 12 are exempt from these requirements.

Switzerland ditches pre-departure testing requirement

Contractors entering Switzerland are no longer required to take a pre-departure Covid test if they are fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus in the last 270 days. This won’t, however, apply to those who have not been jabbed or recently infected.

In addition, the requirement for a follow-up test to be performed on days four to seven upon arrival has also been abolished, meaning that the “3G” rule that applies in Germany and Austria is also valid in the Swiss territory. The so-called “3G” rule means that the public spaces are open only to those that are vaccinated, recovered or tested (geimpft, genesen, getestet). In addition, a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) will now have to be completed only by those travelling to Switzerland by plane or on a bus for long-distance destinations. However, contractors should be aware that the requirement to work from home remains effective until at least the end of February.

The Netherlands reclassifies South Africa as ‘very high-risk’

While counties including Italy have recently removed bans on travellers from South Africa, the Netherlands has reclassified the country as a very high-risk zone. Contractors arriving in the Dutch Republic from SA are required to self-quarantine for ten days and must complete and sign a quarantine declaration. In addition, all passengers over the age of 12 are obliged to present a negative result of the covid-19 PCR test or a negative antigen test no older than 24 hours before departure.

Travel rules now integral to global contractor compliance

Regardless of whether you are working through a managed service or employer of record provider, global contractor compliance in a pandemic-hit environment has never been more complex. While a number of EU and Schengen Area countries are now easing entry restrictions, things can change quickly. As such, independent professionals and full-time employees who travel for work overseas must thoroughly understand local requirements around covid testing, vaccination and quarantine in their intended destination, or risk ending up in hot water. And at a time when even international sports stars are falling foul of local laws, you can’t afford to be less than 100 per cent certain that you are compliant with today’s travel rules.

If you are a global contractor travelling across borders, get in touch with 6CATS today.

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