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Monthly Archives: May 2010

The World Tunes in for the World Cup – but stand by for potential delays

Along with millions of other people around the world, I am looking forward to the World Cup that will be played in South Africa beginning June 11. I currently work in Cartus’ Danbury office, but I am a native of Brazil. Brazilians are crazy about football – or soccer, as they call it here in the U.S. I can’t help but point out that Brazil is the only country to have won the Cup five times, with the last championship coming in 2002.

This will be a fun event, but I want to point out to our clients who have employees working in South Africa that there might be an administrative hiccup that will affect travel to and from South Africa. Cartus’ immigration services provider, Fragomen, advises that processing times for work permit and related applications submitted from within South Africa are currently delayed up to 60 days due to an administrative slowdown at the country’s Department of Home Affairs and will likely be further postponed over the coming months due to the World Cup. (more…)

Not Just Passing Through: Setting Up a Group Move to Panama

Recently I found myself standing at the Panama Canal, totally awestruck by the beauty of the Canal and the act of moving huge shipping vessels through it. Accompanying me on this visit were approximately 25 employees of a major corporation and their spouses/partners.  Most were North Americans, but there were a few Mexicans, Guatemalans and even one individual from Hong Kong. These employees have been asked by their company to move to Panama for three-year assignments while the company builds a Latin American headquarters there. Cartus, which has managed the moves of 850 assignees to Panama in the last two years, is helping the company plan and implement a group move. (more…)

South African Strike Continues

MAY 27 UPDATE: The strike ended after an agreement between workers and Transnet was reached. The original post follows.

Operations at national ports in South Africa (Durban, Cape Town, and East London) are at a standstill due to a national strike by approximately 50,000 workers of the state-owned rail and port operator, Transnet, Ltd. This includes rail system service from the port to inland terminals within Southern Africa. While negotiations are taking place between the parties, we do not have an anticipated resolution date. For Cartus customers, the port strike will cause the extension of transit times for international freight. Cartus’ international freight forwarders are actively reaching out to communicate any transit delays to assignees on shipments already in process. Cartus clients and customers are also encouraged to call their account executives or consultants with any questions.

HIPs No Longer Required for UK Home Sellers

The new UK Coalition Government has announced today that the requirement for homeowners to provide a Home Information Pack (HIP) when selling a home in England and Wales has been suspended with immediate effect. This move is part of delivering a key manifesto commitment made by both parties before the UK’s recent General Election.

Home sellers however, will still be required to commission an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), but they do not have to receive it before commencing marketing on the property.  Properties offered for sale in Scotland are not included in this suspension and will still require a Home Report as before.

As a result of today’s announcement, Cartus will no longer be instructing HIPs as part of the process within our Home Sale relocation service in England and Wales. However, we will continue to commission an EPC on each home in England and Wales that we market on a client’s behalf. 

This potentially provides a welcome cost saving for employers relocating staff within England and Wales on permanent transfers involving a home sale. Whilst the EPC is still required as part of the sale process, the cost of this item is lower than that of a HIP.

For more information, see Communities and Local Government’s announcement of the change as well as questions and answers.

Keeping Track of Real Estate: RESPA Reform, Foreclosure Rates, and Maybe a Recovery

Those interested in the U.S. real estate market have had a lot to discuss lately. The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in March, rose 5.3 percent from February. Investing guru Warren Buffett said he expects to see a “sustainable recovery” in the U.S. housing market within one year provided that policymakers do not try to artificially stimulate sales activity and create an oversupply of homes. RealtyTrac reported that, although the overall number of foreclosures remains high, foreclosure filings in April declined 9% from the previous month.

In Cartus’ April 28 eLearning Real Estate: Look at the Markets, recorded for those who missed the live session, presenters Donna Barber, Renee Carnes-Rook, and Kevin Russell discuss real estate and mortgage trends including shadow inventory, price changes, and the impact of the homebuyer tax credit. Donna and Lina Paskevicius have also recorded a podcast, RESPA Reform – What You Need to Know, in which they describe the impact updates made to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act will have on relocation.

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