Switzerland removed from UK’s covid-19 travel corridors list

Czech Republic, Jamaica and contracts hub Switzerland have been removed from the UK’s covid-19 travel corridors list, meaning contractors returning from the trio must self-isolate.

In fact, since 4 a.m. on Saturday, all contractors arriving in England having worked in any one of the three countries have been required to spend 14 days indoors without leaving.

The order from the UK government, issued in attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus, follows flare-ups in the number of confirmed cases in each of the three nations.

Jamaica has seen the biggest upswing of the three in terms of weekly cases in percentage terms, rising from 4.3 cases – per 100,000 -- on August 20th, to 20.8 cases on August 27th.

But unless they are holidaymakers returning from the Caribbean, UK contractors will be more concerned by the flare-ups in Czech Republic, and Switzerland, as they work there in greater numbers.

'Not an appealing prospect'

A glance at business networking websites indicates that already, the removal of Switzerland from the UK’s travel corridors list is having an impact.

Recalling an early morning telephone call from a technology recruiter, one contractor said: “I'm fine with remote working, I've done a lot of that.

“But [this time] the actual work….would have to be done remotely…from within the [client] country. Since the other country is Switzerland, this was not an appealing prospect.”

'Difficulty finding anyone interested'

The contractor added that, unfortunately for the agent, there was little financial incentive to further consider the Zurich-based opportunity.

“The rate was only about 25% of what I would have needed,” the contractor said.

“The recruiter said she was having difficulty finding anyone interested and I did not express any surprise.”

'No relaxation in Spain's residency test'

But it's not just contractors touching down in England from Switzerland who are feeling the effects of the pandemic – it’s those from Spain too, despite Spain still featuring on the travel corridors list.

Tom Wallace, head of tax investigations at WTT Consulting explained: “The Spanish authorities have announced that there will be no relaxation of their residency test to take account of days spent in Spain due to movement restrictions caused by Covid-19.

“Now more than ever, those that are in danger of becoming tax resident in a state due to days spend there as a result of Covid-19, need to seek advice as to their position and the records they will need to keep.”

The advice comes after Cuba was added to the UK’s travel corridors list after covid-19 cases there decreased, meaning anybody arriving from Cuba to England after 4 a.m. on August 29 no longer needs to self-isolate.

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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