e b r u a r y 2 0 2 1 F s s u e C W 5 I PCR TEST AND NEGATIVE ENTRY FORM ELECTRONIC EMPLOYEES "STRANDED" TO COVID-19 DUE STATES: UNITED THE MODERNISING N e w s f r o m t h e w o r l d o f g l o b a l m o b i l i t y In its meeting on January 27, 2021, the Swiss Federal Council decided on a new, extended testing and clearance strategy, according to which people without symptoms are also able to test free of charge. The government also covers the costs in the case of a test at the pharmacy. The quarantine period of 10 days can be shortened if the infected person can show a negative rapid antigen test or a PCR test after 7 quarantine days. After that, the person must wear a mask outside their accommodation and keep 1.5m distance until the end of the 10-day quarantine. From February 8, 2021, all air travellers to Switzerland will have to show a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours before boarding. This also applies to passengers from nonrisk areas. Air travellers from risk areas must then observe the 10-day quarantine obligation. After 7 days, the quarantine can be left if a negative rapid antigen test or a PCR test is available. Until now, only the contact data of all entrants from risk areas were recorded. Now, the Federal Council has decided to record the contact data of all entrants, including those from non-risk areas, by means of an electronic entry form in order to identify potential chains of infection immediately and to interrupt them at an early stage. From February 1, 2021, violations of measures to combat the epidemic will be explicitly punished with administrative fines of CHF 50 to CHF 200. Even though the number of SWITZERLAND: QUARANTINE, SHORTENED cases including hospitalisations and deaths is decreasing, intensive care units are still overloaded. Therefore, compliance with the applicable rules is important and violations will be punished. With a bill on the U.S. Citizenship Act 2021 by President Biden, the existing immigration laws are about to be adjusted. The draft immigration bill has been submitted to U.S. Congress and is intended to promote economic growth and border management. The proposed law changes include the following: Workers who have been employed in the U.S. for several years are to be given the opportunity to acquire citizenship. In future, undocumented persons will be given the possibility to obtain a temporary residence permit and to apply for a green card after five years. Family members will be allowed to join their family in the United States while the family waits for the green card to be issued. The numbers of diversity visas will be increased from 55’000 to 80’000. Likewise, IMMIGRATION SYSTEM the limit for visas per country will be increased. A new directive issued by the UK tax authority HRMC states that employees will not be taxed in the UK if they are involuntarily "stranded" in the UK due to the pandemic situation. The following conditions must be met to benefit from the tax exemption: The individual is not resident in the UK; The working days are taxed in the employee's home country; The individual was seriously stranded in the UK due to COVID-19 restrictions; and The person left the UK again as soon as possible. If the conditions are met, employees are not taxed in the UK for the period between intended and actual departure. Unfortunately, the HRMC nevertheless require employees to file a complete tax return BRITAIN: GREAT GUIDANCE ON HRMC in the UK. In practice, this requires employees to register with HRMC. In addition, as non-residents, they cannot currently use the online version of HRMC. Therefore, their only options are to file their tax return by mail, to use the services of commercial tax software or engage a tax advisor. GERMANY: DEDUCTIBILITY OF RETIREMENT PROVISIONS FOR TAX-EXEMPT SALARIES FROM SWITZERLAND TAX In Germany, the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) has recently published a circular letter. It confirms that contributions to the German pension insurance can be declared as deductible special expenses if, in the context of an assignment from Germany to Switzerland, a tax-free salary is received from Switzerland. Until now, a special expense deduction ban applied to pension contributions according to article 10 paragraph 2 of the German Income Tax Act (EStG). However, an employee with residency in Germany had appealed against this regulation, as the tax office denied him tax deductibility as a special expense on a portion of his income earned tax-free in Switzerland. The German Federal Fiscal Court (BFH) ruled that the previously applicable ban on deducting pension expenses violated the principles of free movement of workers and equal treatment under the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons, which also applies in relation to Switzerland. The decision is judged as beneficial for employees with a tax liability in Germany.