Public Policy Roundup: Extended Travel Restrictions, China’s New Data Privacy Law, and More

Here are the important updates to public policy that impact workforce mobility.

US Extends Travel Restrictions for Canada and Mexico Borders

On 20 August, the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced another 30-day extension of its land and sea travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada and Mexico. While Canada previously announced that it would open its border with the U.S. for non-essential travel earlier this month, the U.S. will not follow suit, instead extending its restrictions on non-essential travel through 21 September.

China Passes New Data Privacy Law

On 20 August, China passed a new data privacy law designed to protect online users. Going into effect by 1 November, the policy will instruct tech giants to better secure user data storage, while laying out specific conditions under which companies can collect personal data. This includes obtaining individual consent and clearly stating a reasonable purpose for obtaining one’s data. Handlers of personal information must also designate an individual to oversee periodic audits to ensure compliance.

US State Department Proposes Online Passport Renewal System

Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department published a proposed rule that would give qualified applicants the option of renewing their U.S. passports online. There is currently a large backlog and long turnaround time for passports due to the initial hold on processing passports at the beginning of the pandemic and then increase in number of applications with the resumption of travel. Applicants must first meet eligibility requirements before using the Online Passport Renewal (OPR) system, which will first apply to individuals from the U.S. before rolled out to applicants from abroad. This new system proposes more flexibility, as the current system requires a mail-in process for passport renewals. The proposed rule is open to public comments until 8 October.

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How This Impacts Mobility

Eased travel between countries is crucial for the workforce mobility industry, however the U.S. remains committed to traveler safety as the country grapples with rising COVID-19 rates. In the meantime, the State Department’s proposed rule for online passport renewal could significantly ease the passport renewal process for U.S. passport holders. Finally, China’s new data privacy law follows such legislation as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and those passed by individual U.S. states representing a global shift toward personal data privacy that businesses must be aware of to remain legally compliant.

Registration for the 2021 Global Workforce Symposium is Now Open!

Global Workforce Symposium 202One is about bringing the industry together as one and it’s time to celebrate all that global mobility professionals do to keep the world moving. We’re excited to welcome the entire industry under one roof for the first time in two years! Don’t miss this year's largest global mobility meeting. Just as we've done for many years, we're bringing together verticals across the mobility and relocation industry for an event that will feature all of the parts you've come to love over the years plus a few new surprises! Register now for GWS: 202One, taking place 19-22 October in Chicago, Illinois here!