Difficulties in immigration & travel in times of Covid-19

Global Mobility professionals have rarely lived in more volatile times when it comes to Immigration. What was a solid project and travel plan last week is impossible today. 

An uncontrollable virus changes the map quickly and plans have to be redrafted an rethought, and replanned… This is not least acute for the UK at the moment with a new virus strain detected and many countries have within hours closed their borders to flights from the UK. We can assume that soon other countries will detect this virus strain as well and additional measures will be put in place.

We can expect countries to collectively want to find means to allow safe travel and collaborate around containing the virus as best they can. Those that have taken the vaccine will be in a better position to get clearance.   

Already measures will be taken into consideration such as quarantine before departure or upon arrival, testing at airports, health declarations, etc. as part of travel. 

Rarely before has the need to re-evaluate the situation this quickly and it causes a great deal of stress on the individuals, corporations, and not least Global Mobility heads around the world. 

In order to provide a reasonable planning mode a few things can be done. 


Allow more time for travel. You always know if a person was able to leave a destination, but you can never know how and when the person is able to return. Same things goes for planning for a potential quarantine or canceled flights.

Traveling á la minute

Anyone that had travel reservations this spring knows that cancelation was the norm rather than the exception. Is travel on land doable? If yes, perhaps that is a more reliable form of travel.  


What work needs to be done in person? Can an expert guide a local person online or via link? Having done virtual home findings for many years we know that a lot can be done without physical presence. 

How can I be sure that I’m allowed entry on a business visa? 

The long and the short of it is that you can’t be sure. The border police will decide what they think is essential work or a valid reason to enter. 

Holistic Planning

It’s not rare that a relocation starts with the principal worker going into the location while the family/children finish the school year in the home country expecting to have weekend travel as a way of maintaining the relationship in the months before a full move takes place. What happens if the landscape of travel changes dramatically in the meantime? What if it’s no longer feasible for the family to enter the new country? Can the employee return to the home location and work remotely? 

Remote Work

The legal space has been struggling with this for years. The solutions are now needed more than ever given that restricted travel is in place. Reporting to work in Sweden must be done within 4 months after the first day of the work permit validity. Hence, remote work isn’t a real option for work permit holders since they will get a denial for renewal if this requirement has not been met. No, there are no Covid-19 exceptions for too late entrance in Sweden. The only way to comply in this case is to cancel the current permit and apply for a new one. Taxation is front and center in these decisions along with a physical office in the home country.

Options for Remote Work/Economic Employer Agreement Solutions

Workers that can’t travel or be united with their families may cancel their assignments, yet they can be valued workers and sorely needed. Large companies with branch offices in many countries are in a better position to recruit from anywhere in the world and can offer local employment until borders open without bumping into compliance issues. Smaller companies find that it’s hard to be compliant in these situations. We cooperate closely with payroll and PEO companies that can facilitate and make it possible to have a remote work situation or payroll solutions. 

Call the expert

Planning immigration is complex these days, it’s never easy, but an expert knows the layers that need to be explored apart from the obvious. Immigration is like a game of domino, each action results in a change of the playing field.   

Immigration and relocation is never a straightforward field to be in, there’s always something around the globe that can change the situation quickly. The tsunami in Japan caused a serious rise in rent in Bangkok is one example. Yet, this year has been harder since the virus has no borders. The silver lining for us is that we have had much closer contact with our clients, the value we provide has gone beyond very detailed advice on immigration to Sweden to also discuss options and Plan B and Plan C.

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