Happy New Year from Steve Burson 2022

Dec 31, 2021

Happy New Year from Steve Burson 2022

Well, another year has passed for the H&R Group (including Relo Japan) and Relo Network Asia companies. We must be thankful that we are managing our way through this pandemic and will be much stronger on the other side.

For Japan, it has been a particularly tough year. We lived it in preparation for border openings that give or take a few weeks of relaxation, never happened. With the border still closed, our business lines in Japan have suffered, our clients unable to move in many of their people. There have been some exceptions, and we are pleased to service those clients who have been allowed entry into Japan. Still, it has been a frustrating year, made all the more difficult by less government support and the rising costs of doing business. However, the future is definitely not doom and gloom, with 100s of assignees waiting outside Japan for our help once the borders do open. We look forward to getting busy soon, as we manage an influx of those keen to begin or re-start their Japan experience.

In contrast, for Relo Network Asia, the business has boomed. We end the year having surpassed 2019 initiations and completed services close to that of 2019 levels. Of course, many restrictions exist, and some countries are more open than others, but it is encouraging to see governments across Asia balancing public health policies with allowing legitimate businesses to live with COVID and move people where they are needed. While we can see that Omicron might mean a period where some restrictions take a step back, we feel confident that 2022 will top 2021 in terms of activity. Our teams are growing in line with this anticipation.

I want to take this opportunity to send a heartfelt thank you to our teams in both Japan and Asia. The last two years have been a real roller coaster, and all of you have done a fabulous job staying positive and flexible. I am grateful for everyone’s dedication and commitment.
I look forward to working with you all in the coming years as better times are on their way.

The way we provide our services has changed dramatically in the last two years. Some changes will be permanent, and some perhaps more temporary, but we realize that we need to change our approach to be meaningful. We are very much on that journey, as many factors continue to challenge us.

To list a few:

  1.  The time it takes to assist our clients with COVID entry procedures before service provision
  2.  Lengthened times in providing services due to COVID restrictions
  3.  Hot property markets with limited availability and rising rental prices (Singapore and Korea especially)
  4.  Increasing costs of doing business due to COVID factors and/or growing inflation,
  5.  The difficulty in the transfer of vaccination records between countries that affects the activities of our assignees
  6.  The constant changes in entry procedures by country or region
  7.  Changes in local COVID policy (public health or other)
  8.  Changes or delays in immigration procedures.

Couple this with the need to be much smarter with how we use technology both in service provision and our back-end administration; one can only feel that 2022 will be a hectic year!! If nothing else, we do enjoy a challenge as we look for the best approach to continue to assist all our clients across Asia!

In closing, thank you to all our clients and partners for your ongoing support in 2021. We very much look forward to working with you all in 2022!

Steve Burson
H&R Group / Relo Japan
Relo Network Asia

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The H&R Group was founded to provide comprehensive support in Japan for international assignees, their families, and their employers.

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