Starting May 3, South Korea implemented the Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) pilot program, an optional system for foreign nationals from 21 visa-exempt countries, including the United States. In April, the South Korean Ministry of Justice confirmed the pilot program would continue until August, after which the program would become mandatory for visa-exempt foreign nationals in September 2021.

Continue Reading South Korea Will Mandate Electronic Travel Authorizations for Foreign Travelers Beginning in September

The EU plans to launch its EU Digital Covid Certificate (the “Certificate”) across all Member States by 1 July, although some countries, such as Ireland, may implement it at a later date.

As discussed in our previous blog, the Certificate will facilitate travel within the EU by confirming someone has been fully vaccinated with

On May 27, 2021, the Secretary of State broadened the eligibility criteria regarding categories of business travelers eligible for National Interest Exceptions under Presidential Proclamations 9984, 9992, 10143, 10199, and similar subsequent proclamations related to the spread of COVID-19.  As a result of this determination, together with national interest determinations already in place, travelers subject to these proclamations due to their presence in China, Iran, India, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, who are seeking to provide vital support or executive direction for critical infrastructure, and those traveling to provide vital support or executive direction for significant economic activity in the United States, may now qualify for National Interest Exceptions.

Continue Reading State Department Broadens National Interest Exception Criteria for Business Travel

On May 24, 2021, the US State Department announced that US citizens overseas with U.S. passports which expired on or after January 1, 2020, may be able to use these expired passports to return directly to the United States until December 31, 2021.  According to the US State Department, US citizens qualify for this exception if all of the following are true:

  • The traveler is a U.S. citizen.
  • The traveler is currently abroad seeking direct return to the United States.
  • The traveler is flying directly to the United States, a United States territory, or has only short-term connecting flights through a foreign country on a direct return to the United States or to a United States Territory.
  • The traveler’s expired passport was originally valid for 10 years. Or, if the traveler were 15 years of age or younger when the passport was issued, the traveler’s expired passport was valid for 5 years.
  • The expired passport is undamaged, unaltered, and in the traveler’s possession.


Continue Reading State Department Changes Policy on the Use of Expired US Passports for Travel to the US

Lockdown in the UK is easing at last.  We can meet up with friends, family and work colleagues who we have only seen virtually over the last few months.  Perhaps go for a meal……but will our favourite restaurants be able to re-open?

The UK hospitality industry has been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis. Since March 2020, these businesses have been forced to close during the various periods of lockdown, often leading them to letting staff go unless they could retain them under the furlough scheme. According to the Office for National Statistics, 335,000 jobs were lost in the catering industry in the year to March 2021 alone. A number of these positions had previously been filled by overseas nationals, many of whom have left the UK.  It has now been reported that a number of restaurant owners are now having issues recruiting staff.

However, help is potentially at hand due to the changes made to the UK immigration system on 1 December 2020.


Continue Reading Empty Chairs At Empty Tables

In line with many countries around the world, in order to combat the spread of Covid-19, the EU placed restrictions on travelers entering from non-EU countries.  With increasing numbers of people now being vaccinated, some countries are slowly coming out of lockdown with restrictions on non-emergency travel easing.

Earlier this week, EU Member States came to an agreement regarding entry of visitors from outside of the EU.  The agreement is still pending final approval but it is anticipated that EU countries will soon allow entry to visitors who either have been fully vaccinated with an EU approved vaccine or are from a “safe list” of third countries that have met certain criteria.


Continue Reading EU Getting Ready to Re-Open Borders to Travellers

In order to comply with illegal working rules, all employers must check that their employees have the legal right to work for them in the UK.  If it later transpires the employee does not possess the requisite immigration permission, failure to have carried out a right to work (“RTW”) check, may lead to an employer being charged with a civil or criminal penalty depending on the circumstances.

On 21 April, the Home Office announced that the Covid-19 adjustment to the RTW would come to an end on 17 May 2021.  The end of the adjustment means that employers would once again have to see an individual’s original documents to comply with the RTW requirements.  We discussed this change in our article:  UK Right to Work Checks: Sunset of the Covid-19 Concession and Brexit Impact | The Mobile Workforce

The Home Office have announced today that the Covid-19 adjustment will now continue to 20 June.  This will assist a number of employers with employees who are continuing to work from home in line with current government guidance.


Continue Reading Ending of Covid-19 Adjustment to UK Right to Work Checks Postponed

Further Changes to Right to Work Checks Effective 17 May 2021

Since 30 March 2020, due to Covid-19, the Home Office has allowed an adjustment to the normal right to work (“RTW”) check process which must be undertaken by employers if they wish to avoid any potential liability for employing an individual who does not have the appropriate immigration permission to undertake their employment in the UK.  Under this adjustment, employers can check an employee’s immigration status in the UK by using scans or copies of documents instead of having to see the original documents.  Alternatively, the employer can use the on-line RTW checking service if the employee has one of the following:

a.  Biometric Residence Permit; or,
b.  Biometric Residence Card; or,
c.   status under the EU Settlement Scheme or Points Based System.

As of 17 May, this adjustment will cease and employers will once again be required to check original documents, unless they are able to use the RTW checking service.  Since the on-line service can only be used to check the RTW status of migrant workers, this means that, from that date, in the majority of situations, employers will be required to physically inspect prospective employee’s original documents and carry out the check either in the presence of the employee or via a live video link.  Even if they are using the on-line service, employers will still need to meet the prospective employee in person or via a live video link.


Continue Reading UK Right to Work Checks: Sunset of the Covid-19 Concession and Brexit Impact