COVID-19 Impact on International Relocation

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many (ever-changing) global travel restrictions and travel bans. The virus has already taken over 700,000 lives worldwide and over 160,000 lives in the United States. The Coronavirus is spread through contact with contaminated surfaces as well as persons who are infected with it. Since the virus spreads so easily, it is no wonder that there are restrictions impacting global mobility and international companies at large. COVID-19 is affecting multiple industries in varying degrees but have you wondered to what extent is COVID-19 affecting international relocations?

The international relocation industry is one that has been hit hard by COVID-19. Keeping up with the ever-changing environment is, in and of itself, one monumental task. Many relocation companies have become innovative since it’s been difficult (nearly impossible!) for them to properly carry out their tasks. For example, they have had to take many of their operations virtual with things like home surveys, house tours (i.e open houses and walkthroughs), closings, and notaries. Regulation continues to change daily which results in delays in obtaining visas and other documents from immigration departments due to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions as of August 2020

If the relocation companies are being impeded then of course travelers are having issues too. Global travel is quite restricted as of August 2020.

Citizens of the United States, for example, can only travel freely to eight countries which include:

  • Albania
  • Dominican Republic
  • Kosovo
  • Maldives
  • Mexico
  • North Macedonia
  • Serbia
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey

Several other countries, mostly in the Caribbean will accept U.S. Citizens who meet certain criteria such as a recent negative test.

However, U.S. citizens are banned completely from many other countries, including most of Europe. As the United States continues to produce emerging Coronavirus “hot spots,” it’s pretty evident why travel bans are in place.

U.S. citizens aren’t the only ones banned from various countries. The EU is only allowing travel from countries with lower rates of infection such as Japan, New Zealand and Australia. They have banned travel from countries like Brazil and the US.

There are people scattered all over the world that were just about to relocate before the pandemic hit and travel was restricted. Many of these people have already sold their houses and are in holding spaces while others are at home waiting on the pandemic to go away and restrictions to lift.

Should I Still Travel If the Country I Want to Relocate to Allows It?

Travelling in the middle of a pandemic if you can is a personal choice. However, many countries still have lockdown protocols and social distancing measures in place. Travelling right now is very risky and you may risk exposing yourself and your family to the virus. In addition to that, it’s not as though you can go to most countries and live life normally anyway. You may not be able to send the children to school, you may be required to work from home and there are restrictions in the activities you can do.

When Will Restrictions Be Lifted? 

There’s no way of knowing this. Restrictions are put in place whenever a country’s government deems it to be a necessary step in controlling the spread of the virus. At this point, it’s a waiting game. Many people want to get into countries like Russia, Japan, Brazil and India. However, these countries are busy dealing with and trying to contain the spread of COVID-19. Companies may opt to put international relocations on hold until they’re able to safely proceed.

How Can I Prepare for My International Relocation in the Meantime? 

There are many things to do in the meantime such as brushing up on your language learning skills virtually. Some people are working with their language tutors like those at Fluency Corp to improve their communication skills while they wait to move. Working on your target language is a great way to spend the extra time that you have at home. If you were planning to relocate with your whole family, getting them their own private tutor virtually can be a great way to prepare for life in the new country. In addition to that, you can prepare for your relocation by learning the customs and culture for the area of the country you’ll be moving to. Don’t forget to STAY positive no matter where you’re at in your relocation process!  If you’re already an expat, make sure you stay positive and cope with the reality of COVID-19. 

Talk to your boss about corporate language training or, if you’d like to prepare your employees for the eventual move abroad, get in touch with Fluency Corp today.