Word of partners – Dominique Coenen

I believe that 2020 may turn out to be one of the weirdest summer holiday season we have had in a long time. Many of us planned the holiday already back in January or even earlier. Then in February and March, the plans were tossed into the trashcan and we thought that 2020 would not grant us a summer holiday at all.  Now in July, while the bigger part of the world is still on fire, struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic with an ever increasing infection rate and death count, we, here in the Benelux countries, we are struggling with where we can still safely go on holiday?

Yes here, despite the earlier forecasts, people can again go on holiday. But where to go? Is it safe to travel by train, plane or better safe than sorry and travel by car? Should I just enjoy my holiday in my own country? What if I go abroad, are there any specific rules? What about facial masks? Do I need to get tested first or perhaps go into mandatory quarantine? Planning of your (last minute) holiday has not been that tough in ages and yet most of us still go. I suppose we all need a break from everything that has been going on this year.

Responsible travel is absolutely key here. In that respect the European Commission has released a list of countries which are ought to be safe enough to travel to and for residents of those countries to come to Europe again. The list is updated bi-weekly and at this moment in time only a few non-EU countries are listed, as in most parts of the world, the virus is not under sufficient control.

A recent development is that exemptions have been made in the travel restrictions for highly skilled employees, including researchers, students and their accompanying family members. With the highly skilled migration coming to a near-full stop earlier this year, this positive news has led companies in need of international talent to start recruiting or assigning staff from outside the EU again. Therefore, highly skilled immigrants have found their way again into the EU. Companies need to be mindful though that these exemptions come with certain requirements and limitations and depending on the destination country, one could still face obstacles.

For example, in the Netherlands, all highly skilled immigrants would fall under the exemption, while in Belgium (at the moment this article is written) only Blue Card applicants are being accepted. Nonetheless, the gradual re-opening of the borders is a welcome first step for travellers, companies, for Expat Management Group and other service providers in the mobility industry alike.

For those still planning to travel, please make sure that you travel to a country that is listed as safe (green or yellow zone). Travelling to orange or red zones is often completely on your own risk and finding yourself in a lockdown situation abroad can be problematic in many ways. Contrary to the situation at the start of the Corona outbreak, there will be no government repatriation flight anymore in case you get stuck and many employers will consider your forced absence as ‘unpaid leave’.
So if you are still going on holiday, choose responsibly and enjoy taking a well-deserved break from 2020!

Can we help you?

Contact us at the nearest Expat Management Group office or submit a contactform.