Following the announcement by the WHO that COVID-19 is a Pandemic, the world has changed, and we all are encountering significant change. Governments, sporting and business communities are taking unprecedented steps including the closure of borders, crowd free sporting events, travel suspension and periods of isolation.  Whilst we understand the need to take these critical steps, the economic fall-out globally may be significant.


The 1Recruit team will continue to work remotely with minimal impact to our range of services and have restricted staff travel.  In our 20 years of operations, we have lived through numerous economic and medical crisis including the GFC, SARS and MERS.  We therefore have experience in managing and maintaining a level of calmness for our clients and candidates in the face of growing uncertainty.


So … what does all of this mean to expatriate recruitment …


The expatriate recruitment markets are very much in a “look and watch” space and are more reactive, than proactive as this is a “World and Industry First to this scale”.  As countries continue to close all borders and impose 14-day self-isolation periods, the effects economically, socially and financially to companies in the short to medium term will be significant.  Many governments and central banks are now proposing sizeable stimulus packages to ward off a national or international global recession … so we must remain hopeful.  We have seen a 20% slowdown in expatriate recruitment and some clients are now retrenching.  We expect this downward trend to continue specifically if, after 60 days, COVID-19 doesn’t start to diminish.   Currently the greatest challenge for candidates and clients is being able to obtain work permits for expatriates across the Middle East.  Many countries have frozen visa processing until borders reopen, and reviews on borders are being determined on a 2-weekly basis.


Further, clients are now moving to flexible working arrangements, from remote working to distancing in the workspace or in some cases, complete closedowns on a 2-week rotational basis. This applies to current staff and, in some cases, to new hires dependent on the urgency and scope of the role.


Notably, most of our clients are still progressing open vacancies and we are currently prioritizing candidates that are based in-country or that are Country Nationals so we can overcome border challenges.  However, there is discussion now that even in-country visa transfers may also be delayed.   The challenges do continue …  For those candidates that are in shortlist phases with our clients, we will keep you periodically updated on progress periodically.


We would like to remind you of our ability to provide assistance through our Resume Optimization Service in case you need to upgrade your resume to be recruitment ready.  For further information, please visit


Our team is ready and willing to support you and we are happy to support you and provide transparent guidance as you need.  Keep safe and well everyone and lets all hope the COVID-19 Curve bodes the results we all seek.  From us all at 1Recruit, we wish you and your family all the very best during this time of uncertainty.



Bronwyn Wiskens

CEO – Global Projects