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Protectionism, extremism and disease top risks facing international employees

Healix highlights eight risks businesses should watch out for in 2020

There are eight major political, security, operational and medical risks that businesses employing overseas workers should watch out for in 2020.

Healix International, the global travel risk management and international medical and security assistance provider, said a key risk is the march towards protectionism, which has been seen most prominently in the escalation of the trade war between China and the US.

Uncertainties regarding the future relationship between the UK and the European Union are also likely to remain prevalent in 2020. 

Protectionism, tariffs and trade disputes are becoming increasingly politicised debates, and Healix International expects this to continue into 2020.

The Risk Oracle 2020 insight report also cites identify politics as a risk, whereby individuals are increasingly demonstrating a tendency to favour political parties and movements associated with a particular religion, race or other self-identifying factor.

For example, in India in 2019, President Narendra Modi focused upon issues of national security and identity politics during the presidential campaign, courting the majority Hindu vote and marginalising the Muslim minority.

US President Donald Trump has used identity politics to appeal to his base, largely based on immigration and trade, which is likely to continue during the 2020 presidential election campaign.
Meanwhile, the risk of far-right extremism has been steadily growing across the Western world, with high-impact attacks in Christchurch and El Paso demonstrating the increased intention of extremists to pursue aggressive actions.

Healix said one of the most concerning trends is the internationalisation of the far-right threat.

Extensive far-right communities have developed using online forums and messaging sites, and are facilitating radicalisation and recruitment. With the online space notoriously difficult to police, further attacks by far-right extremists in the Western world inspired by the growing global movement are likely in 2020, the report warns.

Other political and economic risks to watch out for are tensions between the Gulf States, the potential for the US economy to enter a recession and supply shortages impacting national stability.

Meanwhile, there are also medical risks in the form of measles, which remains a global killer, and dengue fever, which causes an estimated 100 million infections and 10,000 deaths every year. Mike Webb, chief executive of Healix International, said technological advances have meant the world is a smaller place for corporations, with employees working in ever more far flung regions and travelling further for face to face meetings.

β€œIn this context, it is vital that employers have a full insight into the security and medical risks employees may face so that the right mitigation measures can be taken,” he added.