Massive emigration stressing European transit systems borders

Posted on Oct 15, 2015

The recent mass migration of residents of Syria and other unstable countries to parts of Europe has seen an exceptional amount of news coverage. The many aspects of the dangerous trek from a war-torn country to much safer lands in the European Union has fueled discussions of policy, practicality and response, along with plenty of human interest stories and comparisons of different countries' responses.

There's one aspect that hasn't been covered as widely and is still vitally important for business travelers and companies concerned with duty of care planning, however. Emerging issues with travel, open borders and other problems that may impact local and international business operations have yet to calm down. Companies that don't consider the current state of affairs in Europe aren't doing their due diligence in terms of protecting their staff.

"Europe had 381,000 asylum seekers enter its borders this year, an increase of almost 100 percent from 2014."

The scope of the concern
One of the most significant differences between the current wave of immigration and similar actions taken by citizens of other unstable nations in recent years is the large size of the refugee population. Another is the wide range of countries where these emigrants either wish to reside or are currently located. While it's difficult to accurately count the total number of refugees who left Syria and nations facing similar situations, The Washington Post said Europe had 381,000 asylum seekers enter its combined borders this year, an increase of almost 100 percent from the 2014 figure.

This jump in immigration would be hard for any nation or group of countries to deal with if it were an orderly, organized process. That isn't the case, however, as waves of hopeful immigrants arrived en masse and placed major stress on the countries where they first land as well as those where they ultimately intend to reside. Neither of these major variables - the size of the immigrant population nor the number of countries they go through - will change in the short term. The issue of large-scale immigration in Europe will likely endure for months or even years.

The problems for business travel and duty of care
What issues does this surge of immigrants pose for employees traveling to Europe on business? While there's been little violence and peacekeeping actions haven't turned violent in any significant way, there are plenty of logistical issues for which travelers must prepare. As just one example, Hungary, which many migrants used as an attempted crossing into Germany, faced severe stress on its transportation infrastructure, especially in terms of rail travel inside and outside of the country. Crowding in cities where the migrants gathered also caused problems in terms of freedom of movement and access to both travel and local resources.

Recent changes
A recent border crackdown on the part of Hungarian officials has complicated the situation further, according to NBC News. Hopeful immigrants will now have to enter a travel center and officially apply for asylum. This closure - a significant reversal of previous policy - has left a number of refugees in neighboring Serbia, which may experience problems of its own. Adding to the stress and confusion are the drastically different immigration policies implemented by the many countries of the European Union and, in the case of Germany, severe, short-term changes to regulations.

Business travelers and the companies they work for have to remain informed of potential and existing hazards. A powerful solution for intelligence and communication, such as NC4 Risk Center, provides the security and level of interaction that's needed to maintain duty of care obligations and make each business trip as safe as possible.

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