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Navigating the Impacts of the Ukraine Crisis on Talent Mobility

As the situation in Ukraine and Russia unfolds, we recognize the many layers of impact the devastation and destruction have on people and their families. We are committed to helping our clients, their employees, our employees, and our supplier partners in every way possible.

Businesses around the world have been deeply impacted as they work to ensure the safety of employees in the region, navigate sanctions and deal with the economic fallout, resulting in significant challenges for the mobility industry. It’s imperative we continue to stay nimble as the situation develops. I’ve outlined the top five impacts this issue is having on the mobility industry so far and how Graebel is responding to ensure the safety and well-being of our clients and colleagues around the world.

  1. Travel Challenges: Right now, the top priority is evacuating clients’ employees and their family members from Russia and Ukraine to ensure their safety. We’re navigating challenges with air travel as airlines reroute flight paths to avoid Russia and Ukraine and as Russian flights are restricted from airspace. The key limitation is on available flights given the number of flights suspended in the region. We’re working to secure a safe exit for all employees who need it and to overcome the challenges of a situation that changes by the hour.
  2. Limited Housing: More than 1.5 million refugees have fled Ukraine, with many more also leaving Russia. This has placed severe constraints on available housing. Once we get people out of the danger zone, we’re working to secure housing in safe places like Dubai and Turkey. We’ve seen challenges securing housing in Dubai, for example, where there has been an influx of Russians in an already tight housing market.  
  3. Restricted Finances: The Russian Central Bank is limiting the amount of money foreigners can move out of the country and the U.S. and other allies have moved to block some Russian banks’ access to the SWIFT international payment system. Russians also are limited in the amount they can take out of Russia and are not allowed to wire money to overseas bank accounts. Evacuees need to have open bank accounts in non-sanctioned banks and can access their funds once they leave.
  4. Required Documentation: Once people flee Russia and Ukraine, they may need additional documentation to resume work elsewhere, like a visa or work permit. They may also need original school records to register their children in the countries where they end up relocating. We’re providing the latest information available regarding required documentation and working with our partners to help mobile employees secure the documentation they need to relocate. 
  5. Constant Uncertainty: As the situation unfolds, we don’t know what will happen next. We must anticipate the needs of our clients’ mobile employees and be ready to act should the unrest spread or begin to impact other geographic regions.

During challenging times like these, our Duty of Care guides us as we focus on people-first mobility. We are committed to supporting our clients who have people in Ukraine and Russia, whether on assignment, extended business travel, or permanent residents. We are working diligently to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those in the region.

We are monitoring the situation closely, staying in constant communication with our clients and supplier partners and offering strategic solutions based on their needs. If you have any questions about your employees or mobility program during these challenging times, contact us.

About the Author

As Executive Vice President, Bill Nemer oversees Graebel operations in the Americas. With more than 30 years of experience in the relocation industry, Bill has held a variety of leadership positions in operations, client relations, network management, quality and process management and thought leadership. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at industry events and serves on a WERC relocation management company subcommittee, most recently focusing on helping the industry navigate impacts and solutions to changing real estate professional commissions.

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