Word of partners – Nihat Kurt – New Year, New Hope

This was not the year we were planning for when we were ringing in the new decade at the end of 2019. Instead, this year has presented challenge after challenge in our world of Global Mobility and, as business owners and service providers, we have had to adapt our companies and our lives to navigate it all. As we enter 2021 with resolutions to the pandemic, it can feel like there is a lot of uncertainty that lies ahead.

Earlier this year, in March, it was not yet clear the extent to which COVID-19 would take its toll on our collective epidemiological, social, and economic health. It was very clear that people were frightened and businesses were preparing for down-side scenarios. With restrictions to mobility, our world of Global Mobility became more narrow.  Beyond the panic and anxiety, increasing disruption from travel bans, with Brexit around the corner, and work from home mandates, deferral of non-strategic investments and a general recession-like climate surely already impacted our day-to-day business-as-usual. Luckily, soon after the first lockdown, exemptions were made in the travel restrictions for mainly highly skilled employees, including researchers, students and their accompanying family members.

In an exceptionally hot Summer, we only hoped for the best: That a second wave of corona would not become a reality and that measures taken by governments would help to reduce the spread of the virus. In the midst of this global situation, most enterprises, communities and people were adopting a “new normal.” in the meantime. However, it clearly remained an effort by everyone to adhere to the rules (Black Friday shopping, really?), to act in a responsible and solidary manner.

Now, at the end of December, Christmas in a hard lockdown is the reality as all non-essential businesses have been shut down until at least January 19th 2021. Travel restrictions still apply for tourists or non-critical business visits. In the Netherlands, the maximum number of guests outside of your household during Christmas is three per day. This means a smaller Christmas than we are used to, especially for expats who planned on visiting or receiving family over the holidays. December has always been a time for traditions, old ones and new ones, and the need for holiday spirit might be even greater this year after months of social distancing. Most of us may agree that a hard lockdown is a necessary measure to regain control over the Covid-19 infections. And if there’s any group of people who know what it is like to adapt to a new reality, it is expats!

New Hope
Let’s look ahead. The mobility world is an industry full of movers and shakers. While there is no guaranteed “post-pandemic” timeline to hitch your horses, the best thing you can do during limited mobility regulations is to safeguard your business and your mobility programs, look for and invest in creative and highly skilled staff and ensure that you are prepared for the peaks and valleys of what may lie ahead.

This holiday season is unlike any other, to cap off a year unlike any other. Throughout this season, and as we move into a new (and hopefully better) year with new business opportunities ahead, Expat Management Group wishes you moments of peace amid the difficulties, connections with family and friends even if they can’t be with you in person.

This past year has been one for the books! We want to say how thankful we are for your support this year, and on behalf of the entire team at Expat Management Group, wishing you all the best as we enter a brand new year!

Nihat Kurt, Partner with Expat Management Group
Lecturer Expatise Academy and Erasmus University Rotterdam

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