Furry friends on the move – the value of pet-friendly mobility policies

Australia is a pet-loving nation with close to seven million households having a furry or feathered family member. But we also have some of the strictest pet importation and quarantine rules in the world, creating a confusing situation for those relocating here on assignment with a precious pet in tow.

As such, what you offer in the pet relocation space as a part of your mobility policy could be the difference between an employee accepting or rejecting your offer. It holds the power to set you apart from your competition, ensuring you take the top spot in the ever-present race to be an employer of choice.

What follows is a rundown of the pet importation regulations coupled with expert advice from Sally Graham, the National Corporate Services Manager for Jetpets, a specialist pet transport company. You’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of what’s involved in the pet relocation process, along with reasons why you should consider incorporating it into your assignee relocation packaging, both for employee retention and new talent attraction.

Australian pet relocation regulations

The Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry sets the rules when it comes to pet importation. When returning to Australia or coming to our shores for the first time, pets:

  • Must be returning from a department approved country (group 1, 2 or 3)
  • Must have resided in an approved rabies free country (group 1 or group 2) since birth; or since arriving from Australia; or for at least 180 days before returning
  • Can’t be under quarantine restrictions at the time of leaving
  • Can’t be more than 30 days pregnant or suckling young when leaving
  • Can’t be a restricted breed

Dogs and cats in non-approved countries aren’t allowed directly into Australia. They have to go to an approved country first and stay there for 180 days.

The general pet relocation process requires:

  • Obtaining an import permit from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry with the right documents supplied (proof of vaccination, health certificate and microchip information)
  • Choosing the appropriate transportation for the pet
  • Booking a quarantine spot at Melbourne’s Mickleham facility

While it sounds quite straightforward, there are many tricky moving parts involved, ones that can stump pet owners. Let’s take a closer look at some of these.

Changes and challenges associated with pet relocation

Sally from Jetpets says the first change that has presented quite a challenge to the pet relocation industry relates to the length of quarantine.

“Prior to 2022, the Government only required a 10-day quarantine period for pets. Since the new regulations came into effect in 2023, many pets may be required to stay for a mandatory 30-day quarantine period.”

It’s not only the lengthy stay that’s arduous, it’s also how long the process takes.

“On average, it can take seven to nine months from the time the importation process commences, to when pets are cleared through quarantine and reunited with their owners,” she says.

“When employees have to leave immediately, long term boarding may also need to be used. While it can add significant costs, it’s also heartbreaking for the parents leaving their fur babies behind.”

Cost is another challenging area. Sally says, “The government has significantly increased permit, clearance and quarantine fees, and these all impact the overall costs for importing pets into Australia. This is on top of us having higher relocating pet costs to begin with thanks to our strict requirements around vaccinations.”

Sally says airlines have also felt the brunt of rising costs due to inflation and aviation fuel prices jumping by up to 75%. Much of this has been passed on to pet parents, making the process of relocating their precious animal that much harder.

While not much can be done about the length of quarantine, much of the stress of pet relocation can be taken off the shoulders of your assignees by including the service within your mobility program offering.

The benefits of including pet relocation in your mobility program

A recent survey by Animal Medicines Australia illustrates just how important pets are to their human families:

  • 85% said their pets make a ‘very positive’ impact on their life
  • 50% said they regularly talk to them
  • 43% allow them to sleep in the same bed
  • over 30% refer to themselves as their pet’s parent
  • one in five rearrange personal commitments around them
International pet transfer

These statistics underscore the vital part pets play in the family unit, particularly when it comes to nurturing mental wellbeing. When you consider the two biggest barriers to successful corporate relocations are employee reluctance to go and their wellbeing during assignment, including pet transportation sends a clear message about how much you value your employees’ emotional health.

As pet relocations to Australia are often confusing, taking this burden off your employees’ shoulders allows them to focus on their work transition, a key stage in the assignment process. Providing pet relocation support also helps ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations, avoiding potential legal issues for both the employee and your company.

While demonstrating a commitment to employee wellbeing by including their furry companions in their relocation is a powerful engagement tool, it can also attract new talent. It assists in cultivating a positive employer reputation that not only boosts your brand, but interest from potential candidates.

Further pet mobility support

It’s clear incorporating pet relocation as part of your mobility policy can contribute to a positive employee experience, support talent management efforts, and enhance your reputation as a caring and responsible employer.

As the process is complicated and rife with opportunities for things to go wrong, engaging with a mobility management specialist with expertise in pet relocations is extremely beneficial.

Here at Crown World Mobility, we work in partnership with Jetpets. They oversee the entire pet relocation process, from navigating the documentation minefield, right through to ensuring pets settle into the quarantine facility, all at highly competitive rates.

Connect with us to discuss how we can support you in helping get your assignees’ and their pets here to Australia with minimum fuss.

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