Public Policy Roundup: DACA Ruling, COVID and Travel Updates, and the latest in Tax and Data Privacy

Here’s what you need to know about public policies currently impacting the workforce mobility industry.

As of earlier this month, an estimated 3.3 billion COVID-19 vaccines have been administered around the globe, enabling many parts of world to gradually return to pre-pandemic modes of living and working. At the same time, there remain concerns over variants, which are now impacting travel in certain areas. In other news, a U.S. district court judge has issued a ruling against DACA, while various data privacy and tax measures are making headway. That’s not all, so read on to learn about more public policy updates that impact workforce mobility:

COVID and travel updates: Canada, UK, and US

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced that fully vaccinated Americans could begin non-essential travel to Canada as soon as 9 August. Trudeau also aims to welcome vaccinated travelers from all countries beginning in September, citing Canada’s position as the country among the G-20 with the highest vaccination rate at 80% for those receiving their first dose. U.S. President Joe Biden meanwhile recently extended the moratorium on non-essential travel through land borders with Canada and Mexico.

On 17 July, England made significant changes to its COVID restrictions. Social distancing is no longer required, workers may gradually return to the on-site workplace, and businesses and large events can return to full capacity. However, the rest of the U.K. remains within its usual safety measures, such as limited capacity at events, among concerns of COVID variants.

Variants are also of concern in the U.S., with the major city of Chicago putting travel restrictions back into place for unvaccinated travelers from certain states. Those traveling to Chicago from Arkansas, Missouri, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming who are unvaccinated must provide a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before arrival, or quarantine for 10 after arrival.

U.S. District Court judge in Texas issues ruling against DACA

Last week, a U.S. district court judge in Texas ruled the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) unlawful under the reasoning that the Obama Administration did not follow proper procedures when it created the program. The ruling blocks the approval of new applicants but does not affect the current DACA beneficiaries or their employment authorization. The Biden Administration has vowed to appeal the ruling, and the Department of Homeland Security is working to publish a proposed regulation in the coming months. While the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of DACA last year, Worldwide ERC® believes the best solution is a permanent solution achieved through bipartisan legislation that provides legal status for DACA recipients.

Data Privacy Updates: Colorado enacts data privacy law & Schrems case goes to Europe’s top court

On 7 July, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed SB21-190 into law, a data privacy bill that will allow people to opt out of data collection on websites. Set to go into effect in July 2024, it will also require companies to be clear on what data they collect, what they do with the data and how long they keep it. There are some exceptions for financial institutions, and regulations will differ depending on the size of the company. This makes Colorado the third state after California and Virginia to enact a data privacy law.

Activist Max Schrems’ privacy case against Facebook is headed to the Court of Justice of the European Union. The civil case asserts that Facebook deprives its users of critical rights and protections under the EU’s data privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Austria accepted Schrems’ request to hear the case and refer key questions to the EU’s top court, which could potentially impact the data privacy of Facebook’s users.

Louisiana creates a “digital nomad” income tax exemption

Earlier this month, Louisiana codified an individual income tax exemption for “digital nomads,” who are defined as individuals who establish residency in Louisiana after 31 December 2021 and work remotely on a full time basis for a business based outside of Louisiana. Effective 1 January 2022, the exemption will apply to 50% of the employee’s gross wages, not to exceed $150,000, and will only apply for two taxable years from 2022 to 2025. There is also an annual threshold of 25 days for nonresident employees working in Louisiana before the employer must withhold Louisiana income tax from the employee.

B20, Business at OECD, and IOE joint paper on post-pandemic economic recovery

Following the B20-OECD-Business at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) annual meeting on 16 July, the B20, the Business at OECD (BIAC) and the IOE published a joint paper proposing three concrete recommendations to the G20 in support of access to Trade Finance:

  • Promote the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) as a worldwide unique identifier standard to facilitate more effective counterparty identification and verification on a global scale.
  • Legally recognize digital documentation to allow for a greater use of digital documents in trade finance processes, thereby helping to reduce friction, monetary and environmental costs.
  • Leverage digital technologies by establishing well-defined security principles and minimum requirements to make digital platforms trusted ecosystems for Global Value Chains (GVCs) implemented consistently across jurisdictions.

These recommendations are thought to be critical to businesses as they work to create sustainable and inclusive cross-border working environments. Enacting such policies, security standards, and operational mechanisms can enable efficiency and productivity, especially when combined with domestic and international cooperation.

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How This Impacts Mobility

The easing of travel restrictions in Canada and the implementation of new travel restrictions in Chicago, alongside varying policies in the U.K., represent just how different policies around the world continue to be, which will only continue to impact workforce mobility. New developments in Colorado and the EU represent how data privacy of individuals remains a paramount concern around the world. While the DACA ruling won’t impact existing DACA recipients, the pause on new DACA recipients may be cause for concern, as Worldwide ERC® calls for a permanent solution in Congress. Louisiana’s new digital nomad income tax exemption is just one way states are finding solutions for remote work when it comes to taxes. Finally, the new report from the B20, Business at OECD, and IOE represents innovative solutions for post-pandemic economic recovery.

Should any members have questions regarding these updates, please reach out to our Vice President of Member Engagement and Public Policy Rebecca Peters, rpeters@worldwideerc.org.

Join Our 5 August Webinar!

Join Worldwide ERC® Public Policy Leaders virtually on 5 August, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. ET as we discuss what to expect in the coming months and how you can play a part in our advocacy efforts in the webinar “Will the U.S. Business Tax Rate Change – and Will It Affect You?”

As we emerge from the global pandemic, we find ourselves already half-way through the first year of the Biden Administration and the 117th Congress. Will federal policymakers be able to reach agreement on top issues of concern to the global mobility and relocation industry – and what might the implications be on U.S. businesses? Will the business tax rate change? What is the current state of all-things real estate and mortgage? What other public policy surprises could be on the way?

Sign up today for the 5 August Worldwide ERC® webinar and gain valuable insight into where public policy is going and how you can help shape it. The following Worldwide ERC® public policy leaders and staff will be a part of the conversation:

  • Real Estate and Mortgage Forum Chair Jay Hershman, Baillie & Hershman
  • Tax Forum Vice Chair, Jen Stein, GTN
  • Regulatory and Compliance Vice Chair Jeff Margolis, SIRVA
  • Rebecca Peters, Worldwide ERC® Vice President of Member Engagement and Public Policy (moderator)