6th June 2022
EU travel update: latest COVID-19 news for contractors
With entry restrictions being lifted across many EU states, especially for fully vaccinated travellers and those with EU digital COVID or equivalent vaccine certificates, travel, as we knew it is pre-pandemic, is resuming with gusto. Contractors looking to take advantage of the many job opportunities on the continent must still, however, respect local laws and remain tax compliant at all times! Here we round up some of the latest updates and changes you need to be aware of pre-departure.
Travelling for work in the EU
Our first story as reported by SchengenVisaInfo.com relates to Spain and the Ministry of the Interior’s decision to do away with its travel ban on non-vaccinated travellers arriving from outside the EU intending to visit for non-essential purposes. This means that both vaccinated and non-vaccinated visitors from outside the EU will now be treated the same by Spanish authorities. Up to this point, only those who had been fully vaccinated could enter the country. As we reported in our recent blog, the changes came into effect on 21 May with all individuals having to show proof of recovery or present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test.
Global contractors travelling to Spain from EU and non-EU countries will still need to have either;
1) a certificate to prove their COVID-19 status and that they have received a second or a third booster dose within the last nine months
2) a certificate of recovery issued after 11 days with evidence of a PCR or antigen test administered by an authorised professional, or;
3) a negative PCR test result from the last 72 hours or a rapid antigen test took 24 hours prior to departure.
Children under 12 are exempt while EU COVID digital certificate or equivalent holders won’t have to complete a health control form.
Greater freedom of movement in the EU for contractors
Belgium has also followed suit, with the government scrapping the tighter rules as of 23 May affecting those wishing to travel to the western European country (officially a kingdom) from outside the EU. Previous mandatory legal obligations have also been removed, including a 10 day quarantine period with testing on days one and seven upon arrival. “However, this does not apply to travellers coming from a country with a new variant of concern. For them, the current rules continue to apply,” prime minister, Alexander De Croo stressed.
While mask-wearing is no longer obligatory on public transport and in some public areas in Belgium, it is still a requirement when visiting hospitals, doctors, dentists or pharmacies as well as any other professional treatment practice such as physiotherapy, counselling or speech therapy. Masks must also be worn in busy, crowded locations and venues. The country’s Risk Assessment Group (RAG) has also reacted quickly to the news of the spread of the Monkeypox viral disease, becoming the first EU country to introduce a quarantine period of three weeks for those with symptoms.
Given the lower number of COVID cases and high vaccination take-up rates, the popular tourist destination island of Madeira has also abolished its requirement to wear masks in most indoor and outdoor venues. However, global contractors should note that these changes do not apply to all health-related facilities, public transport and airports. Those who have tested positive must also wear a mask for 10 days if venturing out from their isolation. Portugal, however, still maintains its restrictions, with visitors having to show their vaccination certificates, proof of recovery or negative test results.
The easing of entry restrictions means that visitors can now travel more freely throughout the EU. However, there are still local rules in place, so individuals must ensure they meet all vaccine, PCR and antigen test requirements. Global contractors must, of course, also remain fully compliant with local employment and tax legislation, so please get in touch with our 6CATS International experts should you need advice on any tax, legal, employment, social security or immigration matter or want to know more about our range of contractor services.