2nd February 2022
Contractors working internationally: COVID travel restrictions
As international travel begins to pick up thanks to a progressive easing of travel restrictions, 2022 should be a better year for the tourism sector and particularly for contractors looking to work in the UK or overseas. While fully vaccinated citizens will be able to move more freely across the EU, there is still trepidation regarding the continuing spread of COVID and its variants. Global contractors for their part – must ensure that they remain fully compliant with local employment laws wherever they are located to ensure that they are paying the correct amount of tax.
We start our round-up of the latest travel restrictions in Spain, where the Ministry of Health have decided to remove seven countries from its safe list from 24th January. Visitors from Bahrain, Colombia, the UAE, Kuwait, Peru, Qatar and Uruguay will now have to present a valid certificate or recent COVID test as proof of their vaccination status. Citizens from these countries wanting to enter Spain will need to have been vaccinated within the last 270 days as of 1st February and provide evidence that they have received a third booster dose. A health control form must also be completed by all travellers over the age of 12.
Meanwhile, attempts by migrants to enter Latvia from its border with Belarus, have forced local authorities to consider extending the state of emergency affecting the Kraslava, Ludza and Augsdaugava regions as well as the city of Daugavpils. “Latest developments at the border between the EU and Belarus demonstrate the need to also work on amendments to the Schengen Border Code, which would enable the Member States to respond appropriately to any future hybrid threat instrumentalising migration,” said Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edgars Rink?vi?s. Latvia continues to regularly update its list of affected countries with Vatican City deemed the only safe state on its green list.
Given the rise in Omicron numbers, neighbouring Lithuania announced that all travellers from the EU and Schengen Area nations would continue to remain in the grey and red lists until 30 January. All unvaccinated and unrecovered travellers will have to have to take a test before entry and quarantine for seven days. An entry form must also be completed two days before travelling. In the case of fellow Baltic state Estonia, the period of self-isolation has been set to 10 days for unvaccinated travellers. A passenger declaration form is also mandatory for all visiting passengers.
Contractors working internationally during COVID
Germany has tightened up its restrictions considerably. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the centre for disease prevention and control, has added over 90 foreign countries to its high-risk list of countries. Visitors from these territories must either present evidence of full vaccination, have recovered from the virus or demonstrate negative test results. The RKI also stated that there is a “special obligation to register and quarantine” by those travellers who have stayed or passed through these high-risk area countries. Unless vaccinated or recovered, travellers from affected countries will have to quarantine – however, a negative test on day five can end their self-isolation period.
Elsewhere, Belgium’s Consultation Committee has decided to significantly reduce the validity period of vaccine certificates from 270 to 150 days as of 1st March. What this means is the validity will expire for those who have been fully vaccinated before 1st October but who haven’t subsequently taken their booster dose before 1st March. It has also decided to increase the validity period for recovery certificates from 90 to 150 days – with all changes applicable to those over 18 years old only. The Committee also specified that organised group activities were also now legally acceptable with up to 80 people allowed indoors and 200 for outdoor events.
Despite lower death rates, countries across the EU are remaining cautious with strict travel restrictions and requirements still in place given the surge in Omicron infection rates. The economic recovery in the Eurozone will lead to jobs and opportunities in 2022 for global contractors, who must, however, always adhere to all corporation tax, social security, legal and employment obligations or face financial penalties. Our 6CATS International experts can advise on all local contractor compliance requirements.