blogs / 16 MAR 2022
Ukraine: Cartus Supplier Services Update
When you operate globally, a tragedy like the one currently unfolding in Ukraine can't help but hit close to home, no matter where you call home. Here, we outline the impact the crisis is having on our global supplier network services and the steps we are taking to support clients and relocating families impacted by this ongoing crisis.
Our first priority is safely relocating assignees out of Ukraine and Russia. Once in a temporary location, decisions are then made regarding more permanent solutions and visa requirements.
European Union (EU) member states currently have the most generous and helpful immigration arrangements for those leaving. The Temporary Protection Directive is an exceptional measure that provides immediate and temporary protection to displaced persons from non-EU countries and ensures the right to stay for one to three years in an EU member state, the right to work, as well as access to education, housing, and medical assistance.
Following are key immigration considerations for organizations relocating employees out of Ukraine and Russia:
Ensure you have an up-to-date record of assignee populations in the region, with identified exit routes for each (e.g., airports, land crossing).
Ensure employees collect all valid documents and have them readily available for travel, including COVID-19 vaccination status and proof.
Expect travel delays as the United States, Canada, EU countries, and other European countries have closed airspace for flights out of Russia.
If you have not begun to do so, consider developing a mobility policy to support impacted employees and their families.
Cartus and our immigration services providers are here to guide you with policy design and immigration services support.
Where service and customer experience was once paramount, this unprecedented situation has meant that fulfilment and safety has become the top priority, as our temporary housing providers negotiate the following key challenges:
Limited or no property choice across the region, especially larger accommodation-types.
Limited information available on property profiles.
Limited information about the families requiring assistance. Where organizations can do so, it is important to provide as much information as possible when requesting accommodations (e.g., number of guests, number of units, arrival dates, length of stay).
Lack of communication channels. Limited to no telephone lines and internet services means it is difficult to contact properties directly. The lack of online booking facilities also means we cannot ascertain the full scope of accommodation availability.
Specific customer service requests (e.g., a ground floor apartment) are unable to be fulfilled, as we focus on the safety and security of the families in need of housing.
The speed in which bookings must be made. In many cases, there is a maximum of 30 minutes to review and book a property.
To meet these challenges, we are working closely with our supplier partners on the ground to source accommodation for immediate availability and placing families in pre-vetted properties that we know are safe. Hotels are a good alternative to consider in areas where temporary housing is significantly limited. Block booking accommodation also continues to be a more flexible way for organizations to secure housing without having to provide individual guest names.
Shipment of household goods into and out of Russia has been severely impacted by shipping companies halting trade in region. Online surveys are recommended for speed, and transit times will be very extended. Pet shipments and air shipments are also impacted by the significant reduction in available flights.
Some companies are providing vacant property management services to satisfy lease and insurance conditions, while others are considering moving household goods into storage. Cartus’ local supplier network is actively supporting our clients with departure and ongoing property support.
The border between Belarus and Poland remains open, but drivers cannot be of Russian nationality. Cartus freight forwarder partners are able to accommodate truck shipments, but equipment shortages and driver capacity mean this mode of transport may not be readily available.
Our network of on-the-ground destination services partners can assist with departures from Russia and provide assistance to those evacuating to the surrounding countries from Ukraine. Assistance may include food parcels, voucher purchase, and transport to other European locations.
Schools in Dnipro and eight regions of Ukraine (Lviv, Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi, Khmelnytsky, Zaporozhye, Odessa, and Kirovohrad) re-opened on Monday, March 14. International schools remain closed. Cartus’ education partner, Bennett International, has provided guidance for Ukrainian families leaving the country with children who were in public/state schools, as well as expatriate families relocating out of Belarus, Russia, or Ukraine.
Organizations relocating employees out of the region should ensure assignees keep all identification documents (even expired ones), funds, medication, and power banks with them at all times.
In Russia, a number of multinational organizations are closing offices and ceasing services, with many Cartus clients looking to move their employees out of the country as a result. Assignees planning to leave a property in Russia will have to notify their landlord, regardless of whether they plan to return. Assignees should also ensure all bank accounts are closed and financial obligations are settled.
Local housing markets in locations receiving high numbers of evacuees are also being impacted, with availability of lower-cost housing greatly reduced and short-term accommodations almost fully booked. In Poland, Warsaw and Krakow have reached capacity for the number of evacuees they can house and are requesting that people travel to smaller cities in Poland. Availability of public school placements in Poland is also limited, although international and private school placements remain available.
For more information regarding duty of care, travel implications, and financial implications for impacted organizations, please read our previous blog, Ukraine.
Cartus continues to monitor the situation and will provide ongoing updates. We strongly support all efforts to bring peace to Ukraine as swiftly as possible. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our supplier partners in the region, who have demonstrated their total commitment to supporting our clients and their relocating families during this difficult time.
Our parent company, Realogy, has opened a fundraising campaign for the American Red Cross with 100% of contributions supporting the people of Ukraine. Any contribution, no matter how small, makes a difference.
Note: The information presented in this blog was accurate at the time we went to press. As the situation in Ukraine and Russia is changing rapidly, please consult your Cartus account manager or other trusted sources for the most up-to-date information. You may also email email@example.com to connect with a Cartus representative.