5 August 2020
As borders begin to re-open for international travel, governments around the globe are introducing new requirements for incoming travelers and workers.
With this in mind, Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following recent updates in global immigration.
Russia: COVID-19 entry test
From 1 August, additional changes clarifying the procedure for entering the Russian Federation for foreign and Russian citizens came into force. These changes include a coronavirus testing requirement.
What are the changes?
- The option for COVID-19 testing after arriving in Russia is no longer available. When boarding the plane and when crossing the Russian border, foreign citizens must present a negative COVID-19 test result from a PCR testing method. Such test needs to be carried out no later than three calendar days before arriving in Russia.
- If it is not possible to present test results in English or Russian language, it can be issued in the official language of the country where the medical institution is registered. In this case, the translation must be certified by a Russian consular officer.
- Before crossing the border, foreign citizens will be obliged to fill in a questionnaire for arrivals.
For foreign workers, the following additional requirements apply:
- Foreign citizens entering Russia for work purposes must undergo an obligatory 14-day quarantine period, regardless of their test results
- Employers must verify that their foreign employees have negative test results for COVID-19, with the test itself passed no later than three calendar days before their arrival in Russia.
Sweden: Posted Workers
Effective 30 July, the Swedish Work Environment Authority (SWEA) has announced some changes to the rules on posting workers from abroad.
The purpose of the changes is to give posted workers stronger protection and conditions that are more like the ones held by those who work as employees in Sweden. They are also intended to facilitate the work of employee-representative organisations and authorities to ensure that the rights of posted workers are fulfilled.
- All postings must be notified to the SWEA no later than the date the posting begins. Previously, employers only had to notify postings that lasted longer than five days.
- If a posted worker is working at a client site in Sweden, a copy of the SWEA notification must be sent to the client (the recipient of the service). If the client does not receive a copy of the notification within three days of the work starting, they are required to report this to the SWEA, otherwise they will be fined. This requirement does not apply for services received privately.
- Employers must now inform a posted worker who is replacing another posted worker to perform the same service in the same location, about the total length of the posting period. This is so that the posted worker can safeguard their rights to the extended working conditions and terms of employment that apply to a posting longer than 12 months.
- The salary that the Swedish employee-representative organisation may require in collective agreements may be more than a minimum salary. The employee may also have the right to compensation for travel, room and board during the posting in Sweden, as well as a right to accommodation.
- Employee-representative organisations are expected to work out special collective agreements with terms for long-term posting (over 12 months).
The rule changes mean that employee-representative organisations are expected to work out special collective agreements with terms for long-term posting.
Singapore: Electronic monitoring for incoming travellers
As Singapore gradually reopens its borders to international travel, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Ministry of Education (MOE) will introduce an additional measure to enhance compliance with the Stay-Home Notice (SHN) regime and thereby reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 by incoming travellers to the local community.
With effect from 10 August 2020, 2359hrs, all incoming travellers, including Singapore Citizens, Singapore Permanent Residents, Long-Term Pass holders, Work Pass holders and their dependants, entering Singapore who are serving their SHN outside of SHN dedicated facilities (SDFs) will need to don an electronic monitoring device throughout the 14-day SHN. Those aged 12 and below will be exempted from this requirement.
Use of the Electronic Monitoring Devices:
- On arrival in Singapore, travellers serving their SHN at their place of residence will be issued with an electronic monitoring device at the checkpoints, after immigration clearance. They will need to activate the electronic monitoring device upon reaching their place of residence. If the device is not activated as required, the authorities will follow up to determine their location, and assist to resolve any technical difficulties, or take enforcement action.
- During the 14-day period, persons wearing these devices may receive notifications on these devices and need to acknowledge them in a timely manner. Any attempt to leave the place of residence or tamper with the electronic device will trigger an alert to the authorities, who will conduct follow-up investigations, except when the person is leaving his/her place of residence for his/her appointment for the COVID-19 test. After serving their SHN, they need to deactivate the device and dispose of or return it in accordance with the instructions.
- The devices use GPS and 4G/Bluetooth signals to determine if persons on SHN are within the range of their place of residence. The devices do not store any personal data and do not have any voice or video recording function. Data transmitted from the devices to the authorities’ backend system, such as the GPS and 4G/Bluetooth signal data, is protected by end-to-end certificate-based encryption.
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