In response to the thwarted terror plot to send concealed explosives in parcels mailed to Chicago-area synagogues, the U.S. government has enacted emergency protocols and is revisiting security measures required for international flights bound for the United States. While not a direct legal issue, employers that transfer personnel from foreign operations or hire persons from abroad may want to take note of the resulting inconvenience faced by such employees.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a press release on November 8 confirming that a temporary ban on air freight bound for the United States was being imposed. The ban reportedly will last for at least 30 days and will include all air cargo from Yemen and Somalia and high-risk cargo on passenger jets. All high-risk cargo will undergo enhanced screening as well. Household goods and personal effects are included in the definition of “high risk.” Industry analysts indicate that the impact of this will be to delay and raise costs of shipments of personal belongings made by persons relocating to the United States. Delays may continue for several months as security measures are updated and an expansion of layered detection systems are analyzed and implemented. Employers and their transferees should contact their household goods providers for more information.

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