Tesco and Icon Relocation awarded 2018 FEM EMEA EMMAs winner of Best Vendor Partnership – Relocation Management Company of the Year

By Icon Relocation, TIRA Member, UK

Forum for Expatriate Management (FEM) EMEA EMMAs (Expatriate Management & Mobility Awards) 2018

On Friday 9 November 2018, the winner of this year’s Vendor Partnership – Relocation Management Company of the year award was announced at a glittering awards ceremony at the InterContinental O2, London.

The FEM EMMAs are the premier awards for the global mobility and International HR industry and on Friday night, following a highly successful two-day Summit, key figures and leaders gathered to celebrate the brightest and the best in the EMEA region.

Claire Tennant-Scull, Global Head of Content and Events Director at FEM said: “The EMMAs are the premier Awards ceremony for Global Mobility in EMEA and across the globe, with the greatest breadth of categories for both corporate professionals and service providers.

This year more than ever too, I think we can claim that our Summit and Awards truly reflect global mobility right across EMEA, as we have seen a huge increase in entries from all parts of Continental Europe, as well as Turkey and the Middle East.

EMMAs entries are rigorously judged by a team of fiercely impartial, highly experienced, senior figures in the industry, who are drawn from a range of disciplines across the EMEA region and who give up their own free time to carry out a very thorough and demanding process. So, these awards carry tremendous kudos. It’s so important to receive recognition among your peers for innovation and hard work and so I think the winners and all those on the shortlist should feel extremely proud.

This year too, we have received entries from individuals and companies who have never taken part in the EMMAs before, so it’s invigorating to have so many new faces at the awards and to see how the industry is developing and bringing on new talent. I think the results were very interesting, and reflective of the change that is occurring across the industry. We were so pleased to receive such good feedback on many of the entries from the judges.”

This year the FEM EMMAs saw entries across a diverse set of categories, and the independent judging panel made up of industry experts remarked on the high standard of the entries.

Judged against a strict set of criteria, the competition for this award was fierce.

The judges commented on Tesco and Icon Relocation’s entry: “An innovative approach to a common problem for major companies. I have seen this model attempted before with very limited success, so I could see this being something other companies look to do in the future.”

FEM is very grateful to the EMMAs sponsors: Alchemy, Directors Languages, ECA, Equus Software, Fragomen Worldwide, FIDI, Icon Relocation, Oakwood and Santa Fe also to our esteemed panel of judges for all their hard work and careful consideration of every entry.

This article was originally published here.


More about Icon Relocation

ICON Relocation Ltd, was formed in 2001 and is one of the leading UK based relocation companies with offices in Sussex and Hertfordshire.

The company is a specialist on destination services for both UK and global based clients as well as many of the world’s leading relocation management companies. Services provided include a wide range of home search solutions, schooling, settling in, property management, payment services and move management requirements.

Twitter: @IconRelocation
LinkedIn: Icon Relocation
Facebook: Icon Relocation


More about TIRA
TIRA is an aligned network of quality mobility service providers. The network provides access to leading mobility experts from around the world that provide local solutions to global challenges. Network members exchange best practices and share this value with the industry through benchmarking exercises.

Twitter: @TIRAORG
LinkedIn: The International Relocation Associates (TIRA)
Facebook: The International Relocation Associates (TIRA)

European investors expect rising house prices

In many parts of Europe local economies are still struggling to recover from the 2007/8 economic downturn. Indeed we only need to look at Spain to see the amount of repossessed properties from the downturn although thankfully many have now been resold. The recent ING International Survey Homes and Mortgages 2017 report casts a very interesting light on the European market and expectations in the short, medium and longer term.

The survey takes in 15,000 individuals from 15 different countries and enquiries about their attitudes to the housing market and how they expect house prices to perform in the future.


In general European house prices are expected to rise over the next 12 months with 59% of those who responded to the survey reflecting positive expectations. This is the first increase in two years with the figures for 2015 and 2016 stuck stubbornly at 56%. If we go back to 2014 only 53% of those who responded to the survey had expected house prices to increase over the following 12 month period. It may be a relatively small increase in confidence but thankfully there is finally some positive movement.

When you compare this to the US which saw an increase of two percentage points between 2016 and 2017 (57% and 59% respectively) and Australia where there was a six percentage point increase between 2016 and 2017 (50% and 56% respectively) this is not too bad.


Many will be surprised to learn that recent confidence in the Romanian housing market is highest among European countries. The corresponding figure in 2016 was 52% although this has jumped to a phenomenal 72% in 2017. So, a staggering 72% of those who responded expect the Romanian property market to increase over the next 12 months. Could we be seeing a re-emergence of emerging markets?

As we touched on above, there has been some improvement in the Spanish housing market over the last 12 months with a jump in confidence from 52% up to 66%. The corresponding figure for the Czech Republic is an increase of 13 percentage points from 52% up to 65%. Poland at 51%, France at 54% and Luxembourg had 86% are the next three markets which have shown a significant increase on the corresponding 2016 confidence figures.


47 percent of highly-skilled EU workers contemplate leaving UK by 2020

More than a million expat workers in Britain – most of them from the European Union – are considering leaving the country over the next five years, according to a study published on Tuesday by Deloitte.The global accountancy and business advisory company found that 36 per cent of 3.4 million non-British workers currently in the UK are contemplating moving out of the country by 2022, with 26 per cent preparing to do so by 2020.

47 percent of highly-skilled EU workers contemplate leaving UK by 2020

Among highly qualified and skilled workers from EU countries, the proportion is even greater with 47 per cent contemplating relocating over the next five years. The survey – conducted before the government announced its plans on Monday to guarantee the right to remain of EU nationals living in the country for five years or more – found that a third of skilled workers would change their minds about leaving if they heard more positive statements on their status from the government.Yet the survey, ‘Power Up – The UK Workplace‘, which also questioned workers based outside Britain, found that the UK still rated as the most desirable place in the world for people seeking to work abroad.

UK employers face a potential skills shortage

But Deloitte added: “The UK could be faced with a potential skills shortage – high-skill workers are most mobile and, therefore, in the short term there is likely to be a greater pressure to fill these vacancies.”David Sproul, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte NW Europe, said: “Overseas workers, especially those from the EU, tell us they are more likely to leave the UK than before.”That points to a short-to-medium term skills deficit that can be met in part by upskilling our domestic workforce but which would also benefit from an immigration system that is attuned to the needs of the economy.”


Immigration changes around the world : France, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Sweden & Switzerland

FRANCE | Social Security Coverage Details Added to Posted Worker Declaration Requirements
Effective July 1, companies posting or seconding their foreign employees on assignments to France will be required to indicate the country in which the employee is covered by social security. This information will be required as part of the requisite déclaration préamble de détachement or pre-posting declaration (also known as the “posted worker declaration” in many European Union [EU] countries). In France, this declaration is submitted to the Ministry of Labor (MOL) and applies to all foreign nationals employed by companies outside France who are assigned to work temporarily in France but will remain on foreign payroll. Included in these types of assignments are temporary detachments as service providers, self-employment, and what are commonly referred to as intra-company transfers (ICTs).


IRELAND | INIS Eases “De Facto Partnership” Requirements
Without any formal announcement of the change, the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service (INIS) updated its website guidance on De Facto Partnership Immigration Permission (DFPIP) applications for an unmarried partner of an Irish resident or citizen to obtain residence authorization in the country. While the process and most requirements remain essentially the same, one significant change does stand out: applications for unmarried partners filing for Irish immigration permission now require “dated documentary evidence of living together continuously over a period of one year in a common place of residence.” (emphasis added) Previous versions of the same guidelines required evidence of cohabitation for at least two years.


ITALY | Schengen Agreement Suspension and Border Control Imposition Continue until May, 30
The temporary suspension of the Schengen Agreement and imposition of border controls in Italy continues through May 30. The Schengen Agreement is the international agreement of 26 European countries whereby many foreign nationals can travel visa-free without internal border checks between countries or after obtaining a Schengen visa to enter the external border. Through May 1, however, travelers entering Italy should carry their applicable IDs, passports, and visas, as well as expect to submit to document checks and allow additional time for border crossings at airports, land crossings, and seaports.

The measure was introduced pursuant to provisions of the Schengen Agreement which allow members to temporarily re-introduce border controls for public policy and security reasons. Italy is exercising the provision ahead of this month’s G7 Summit in the resort city of Taormina on the island of Sicily from May 26-27. The heads of state of the U.S., the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan, as well as an estimated 20,000 members of their delegations and the media will be in attendance in the small resort city.


RUSSIA | June 1 – July 12: All Foreign Nationals Must Register Within One-Day if Arriving in Certain Cities
Effective June 1 through July 12, all foreign nationals who will be visiting, staying, or residing in the Russian cities of Kazan, Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Sochi will be required to register their place of stay with the local Ministry of Internal Affairs authorities within one day of their arrival in those cities. This new temporary shortened registration deadline applies to all foreign nationals arriving in those cities during this six-week period starting June 1, regardless of the purpose of their visit or immigration status: including all temporary and permanent foreign residents – whether on work or business visas and permits – as well as their accompanying family members. During this time in affected cities, this special one-day registration deadline will replace the normal 7-day and 90-day registration requirements applicable to holders of general and “highly skilled” work permits. Therefore, holders of visas and permits that state the standard, longer registration deadlines should still plan to register within the one-day window if they are staying in one of the four affected cities.

This new shorter registration deadline – applicable only in these four cities – is being imposed by Presidential Order No. 202 of 2017 as an enhanced security measure for the upcoming FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 and FIFA World Cup 2018. From June 17 to July 2, the four cities will play host to matches between the nine qualifying international football teams participating in the Confederations Cup. Planning ahead, foreign nationals should also expect a similar registration requirement to be imposed in the eleven Russian cities hosting World Cup matches in June and July of 2018.


SWEDEN | New Work Permit System Accelerates Processing Times
Starting with applications submitted after May 2, the Swedish Migration Board (SMB) (Migrationsverket) launched a new work permit processing system which purports to adjudicate and issue initial work permits in less than 10 business days and renewals/extensions of current work permits in less than 20 business days. This is a major improvement over the recent norm which saw initial applications for work permits typically taking two months and in-country extensions taking up to seven months. Reportedly, in implementing the new system, the SMB also committed additional resources to guarantee the new shorter advertised processing times. Note, however, that applications lodged prior to May 2 will unfortunately continue processing under the old system and be subject to the significant backlog already amassed.


SWITZERLAND | Bulgarian and Romanian Nationals Once Again Subject to Labor Market Restrictions
Effective June 1, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals will once again have restricted access to the Swiss labor market. The Swiss Federal Council invoked the “safeguards clause” of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (“the Agreement”) between the European Union (EU) and Switzerland. For the 12-month period beginning June 1, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals on Swiss employment contracts will once again be required to obtain work/residence authorization. If the employment contract is for a duration of over one-year, or for an open-ended length, they must apply for long-term B residence permits, subject to a quota of 996 permits available in four quarterly allocations. For employment contracts with a duration less than one-year, short-stay L permits will be available without a quota. Note that Bulgarian and Romanian nationals working in Switzerland on temporary assignments but remaining on foreign contract are not affected.

The “safeguards clause” permits Switzerland to impose quotas on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals working in the country if the immigration levels from those nations exceeds 10 percent above the median of the past three years. The migration numbers for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals in Switzerland combined to 3,300 work/residence permit holders in 2016, double that of the previous year. At the same time, migration from other EU/European Economic Area countries declined in 2016.


UNITED KINGDOM | Prime Minister May’s Conservatives Pledge to Double the Immigration Skills Charge if Re-Elected
On Thursday, United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Theresa May announced her Conservative Party’s campaign doctrine for the upcoming June 8 general election, and the manifesto contains more bad news for companies in the UK sponsoring foreign national employees. One of the 10 key points of the Conservatives’ platform calls for a doubling of the new Immigration Skills Charge on foreign employees. If re-elected, PM May pledges to increase the levy from the current GBP £1,000 per employee per year of sponsorship to £2,000 per employee per year. This proposal to double the levy comes only six weeks after the Immigration Skills Charge was first introduced on April 6 of this year. For more details, see our Global Brief of March 21 and Immigration Dispatch of March 13.

Even with a recent five-point bump in the polls for the Labour Party, the Conservatives maintain a 13-percentage point lead over their rivals, and most UK political observers not only expect PM May to be a shoe-in to retain the office with a commanding mandate, but her party may add as many as 30 seats to its majority in the House of Commons. Thus, while the proposal is still campaign rhetoric at this time, it gives international companies in the UK cause for concern. Also included in the manifesto was the Conservatives’ long-standing general pledge to reduce UK immigration levels by the “tens of thousands.”


Immigration changes around the world

AUSTRALIA | Citizenship Rules Changed – Along with Major Changes to Employment-Based Immigration
There were huge changes in corporate immigration this past week in Australia. Last Tuesday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that the popular but controversial Subclass 457 Visa – Australia’s most common employment-based immigration stream – would be eliminated in March 2018 in favor of a more-narrow Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa with tighter eligibility criteria. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) then followed this announcement with specific statements covering the immediately-narrowed eligible occupations lists and the timetable of other changes for phasing out the 457 Visa. No sooner had Pro-Link GLOBAL issued its extensive Global Brief on all the changes, when the Australian government reconsidered the abrupt changes to the occupations lists and appeared to be withdrawing the changes, then re-reconsidered, and finally decided to proceed with the changes as originally planned. For an extensive discussion of all of the immediate and upcoming changes to Australia’s employment-based immigration system, see our complete Global Brief of April 19.


INDIA | Aadhaar Cards Now Required for All Foreign Nationals in India Over Six Months

The Indian Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) announced April 5 that foreign nationals residing in India for more than 182 days are now required to apply for Aadhaar Cards. While foreign nationals falling into this category have long been required to pay Indian domestic income tax, this announcement adds the additional requirement of obtaining an Aadhaar identification number and card in order to file the requisite tax return and pay any tax due.

India’s Aadhaar Card system, instituted by statute last year and administered through the newly-formed Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEIT), has quickly become the world’s largest biometric identification system with over 99 percent of adult Indians already registered. With a 12-digit identity number classifying holders based on extensive demographic and biometric data, it is also the world’s most sophisticated national ID system; and it is precisely that sophistication that has made the Aadhaar Card also perhaps the world’s most controversial such system.


UNITED KINGDOM | Home Office May Now Conduct Sponsor Checks at Third-Party Worksites
On April 17, the British Home Office released an updated “Tiers 2 and 5: Guidance for Sponsors.Causing concern among companies employing foreign workers in the UK, Paragraph 17.3 in the Compliance section now contains a broad statement providing the Home Office with authority to perform sponsor checks by visiting not only the sponsor’s place of business but also the places of business of third-parties where sponsored foreign workers are performing services. Paragraph 17.3 specifies that it is the sponsoring company’s duty to “ensure that the third party is aware of the possibility of the unplanned and unannounced visits and checks being conducted at their premises and ensure their full cooperation.


VIETNAM | New Online Work Permit Application System Coming Soon
The Vietnamese Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA) is in the process of transitioning to an online work permit application and processing system. The new electronic system is reportedly already being piloted in Dong Nai and Vung Tau City and will be rolled out nationally as a mandatory process on July 1. The new system will allow company representatives to complete immigration applications and upload scanned copies of the required documents via the online system. Once the new system is fully implemented, the processing times for work permit applications is expected to drop from seven business days to five business days, and applications for job position approvals are expected to drop from fifteen business days to ten business days.