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Everyone is experiencing constraints during the pandemic that has plagued people worldwide for what is now beginning to feel like forever. Apart from everyday troubles and concerns about the safety and health of family members and youngsters, the plight of the business traveller is undoubtedly one of the most frustrating.

How are these restrictions affecting the business traveller? Which countries have the strictest policies? We have done some research and bring you the regulations by country and discuss the five most pressing problems you can expect while travelling for business.

EUROPE

Every European Union member executes individual measures to curtail the spread of the disease. At the time of writing, the primary limitations include:

Primary restrictions

  1. Travellers must wear masks at all times.

  2. Upon entry into most EU countries, travellers must present a negative PCR test, complete locator (tracking) forms and self-isolate for at least ten days.

  3. The EU has indicated plans for vaccine passports or Digital Green Certificates to allow only vaccinated people to enter a country. Greece is one of the first countries to demand negative certification before entering.

USA

In the United States, several Presidential proclamations have banned the entry of non-citizens into several states. As with the European Union countries, each state has exceptions and various additional measures. However, these are the most prevalent constraints on travel:

  1. Foreign nationals from the following countries may not enter the United States:

    • China

    • United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)

    • India

    • Iran

    • Republic of Ireland

    • Brazil

    • South Africa

    • European Schengen Region (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Vatican City)

  2. As in Europe, there is a mandatory testing protocol. Each traveller must present a negative test result before entry is allowed. These tests must be no older than three days, and entrance will not be possible for those not prepared to be tested.

  3. Masks are mandatory.

  4. Please visit the CDC (Centre for Disease Control) official website for regular updates regarding mandatory quarantine or self-isolation duration and protocols.

  5. For continuous and latest updates, please visit the Business Travel News website.

CANADA

You may only enter Canada if you are:

  1. A legitimate Canadian citizen or a permanent resident

  2. A dual Canadian citizen with a valid Canadian passport or special authorization. You can discover how to apply for special permission at the Government of Canada’s official website.

  3. A person registered under Canada’s Indian Act. There are numerous sites with information regarding this act for those who are interested.

  4. A protected person. This endorsement means you are someone with refugee protection

  5. Like United States (US) citizens, foreign nationals can travel to Canada only if they’re eligible.

There are countless restrictions on foreign nationals who want to enter Canada, such as:

  1. You must be an immediate family member or extended family of a Canadian citizen

  2. An authorized health agency official may enter for compassionate reasons.

  3. For detailed information regarding exemptions to foreign nationals entering Canada, please visit this website.

AUSTRALIA

Australia has closed borders and only passengers who have exemptions are able to travel.There are also caps on flights entering Australia, particularly from high-risk countries.  

Unless you are automatically exempt, you must apply for a travel exemption and meet the strict categories. Making an application early is advisable, despite the system indicating to apply at least two weeks, but not more than two months in advance. Some of the exemptions include:

  1. Australian citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family.

  2. Holders of Business Innovation and Investment (subclass 188) visas.

  3. Foreign nationals travelling on invitation from the Australian Government to assist with Covid-19 related issues.

Your first order of business once you have the travel exemption and ready to fly will be to complete an Australia Travel Declaration. Additionally, all travel to Australia requires a pre-flight PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test. Whether you’re visiting Australia or passing through, you must present a negative test, not older than 72 hours. Upon entry into the country, all travellers must:

  1. Complete official declarations and documentation for quarantine arrangements

  2. Remain in isolation at an official facility for 14 days in their city of entry

  3. Agree to contact tracing in the event of a positive COVID-19 test.

NEW ZEALAND

Like Australia, New Zealand has closed borders, and you can expect disruptions to your travel plans if you wish to cross the border. The situation can change rapidly, so we advise you keep an eye on the New Zealand Immigration website to remain up to date.

Entry to New Zealand remains under strict control:

  1. You must present a negative Covid-19 test result.

  2. You must also obtain a Managed Isolation Allocation voucher confirming your place in a managed isolation facility for 14 days.

  3. On 17 May 2021, quarantine free travel between The Cook Islands and New Zealand was reinstated.

  4. There is also a list of critical purposes to enter New Zealand, such as partners and dependent children of temporary Visa holders, essential health and other workers, as well as travel to and from pacific islands.

SINGAPORE

As an international hub, Singapore is gradually opening its borders while maintaining control and safety restrictions.

If you have approval for entry, please refer to the process for Safe Travel lanes as entering Singapore does have health control prerequisites.

  1. Negative PCR tests remain mandatory, and travellers must be tested before departing for Singapore.

  2. Self-isolation and segregation protocols are also in place for travellers from low-risk countries.

  3. If you’re arriving from a high-risk country, the Government will allocate you an available SDF (SHN Dedicated Facility) upon arrival.

  4. You cannot choose your isolation facility or self-isolate; at the time of writing, there was not a list of official SDFs due to the fluctuating situation.

  5. Every visitor to Singapore must have travel insurance to the value of at least S$30,000 to take care of Covid-19-related medical treatment in Singapore, should an infection occur.

  6. During the isolation period, whether self-isolating or at an official facility, you will have to carry an electronic device to monitor your movements.

The Singapore Safe Travel website has a list of helpful, frequently asked questions to support those entering their country.

As mentioned, most regulations and bans remain in flux and we advise you do a final check on the relevant websites to avoid unnecessary frustration and disappointments.

Top Business Travel Frustrations

Apart from frustration and logistical nightmares, business travellers have complained about:

  1. Considerable time wasted with booking ‘quarantine hotels’.

  2. Wearing a mask for prolonged periods has been reported as not only unhealthy and stifling, but most people find this regulation problematic.

  3. Many travellers are still in the throes of struggling to redeem money spent on tickets that were cancelled at the onset of travel bans.

  4. The loss of income due to cancelled meetings and other business deals is evident.

  5. Those in the hospitality and accommodation industry find that the duty of care to travellers has increased dramatically. The task of protecting staff and guests in establishments and employees who must travel is more complex than ever.

  6. Many employers find that staff freedom has become a challenge and based on the duty of care, find it challenging not to micro-manage their teams.

  7. Business owners in all travel-related industries who have been fortunate enough to do business despite lockdown regulations are enduring various staff issues. There have been reports of an escalation in internal HR procedures due to public complaints regarding mask wearing, social distancing and other virus-related safety protocols.

This update is only valid on the date of issue and due to COVID19 changes worldwide, we recommend all travellers check the local country specifics close to any travel.

Please contact our office should you have any Australian visa requirements or requests.
 

Author: Linda Pendlebury, MARN 1386281