Effective from 4th May 2020 the internal movement restrictions in the country were lifted, whilst maintaining the social distancing rules.
Therefore, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) resumed its normal opening hours on Monday 4th May 2020.
However, the FSA has advised that whilst it has resumed its normal opening hours, it shall still be abiding by the medical recommendations, in particular the maintenance of physical distancing. Therefore the FSA is continuing to encourage the use of digital modes of communication for the conduct of certain transactions such as the submission of documents for filing and settling of payments.
The FSA, the Registrar for International Business Companies (IBCs) is resuming its normal opening working hours as from 4th May 2020.
Filings in respect of IBCs or other offshore entities can be carried out as normal, including filings of Charges for Registration over assets of IBCs, save that there is no courier services until after 1 June 2020.
Registrar of Companies (RoC) –RoC is still not offering any physical file search services to the public at this time.
2. Can Searches be conducted?
Searches can be conducted from the FSA; as yet no searches are available from RoC and Court Registrar until further notice.
3. Certificates of good standing (CGS)– if and how these are being conducted
CGS for IBCs are available from the FSA.
CGS for domestic companies are not available.
For good standing of a company one may rely on a Director’s Certificate or Certificate of Incumbency issued by the Company Secretary or Registered Agent, if available and at client’s own risk.
4. Other searches – how are these being conducted?
No other applicable company search is available in the Seychelles; other than land searches and the Land Registrar’s office is also closed for the time being, until further notice.
5. Court sessions and position (including filings and hearings)
The Court Registrar issued its re-opening guidelines (as approved by the Ministry for Health
The guidelines outline the policy for the phased re-opening of legal services which were resumed from 4th May 2020 with amended practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The priorities of all service providers in the legal system is to ensure the reduction of the likelihood of contracting the COVID-19 virus through the implementation of best practice standards, including:
- Promoting good levels of personal safety and hygiene for clients and employees;
- Ensuring the maintaining of safe social distances;
- The protection of vulnerable clients and employees; and
- Encouraging and adopting technologies to reduce the need for gatherings.
6. Any travel restrictions – updated
From 1 June 2020:
(1) The airport will reopen for commercial flights in line with guidance issued by the Department of Health. Private jets and chartered flights (whose passengers are going to transit directly onto the island resorts) are being favoured above commercial flights which are deemed as high-risk at the moment. Domestic flights and cargo flights have resumed services.
(2) Seychellois will be able to travel abroad as per guidance and regulations issued by the Department of Health – so far this is strictly limited.
(3) Leisure boats and yachts will be able to enter Seychelles territory, respecting any guidance from the Department of Health– thus far 15 applications for entry by foreign vessels and leisure crafts have been received to resume their activities in Seychelles.
The Department of Health has published a list of 19 countries identified as low-risk and anyone requesting entry from these countries would be allowed in provided they have spent 14 days or above in a low-risk country.
When the Seychelles reopen its borders, strict medical surveillance shall be put in place to detect any new cases and take the necessary steps needed to contain the virus.
With these 3 pillars: (1) strict border controls, (2) rigorous contact tracing and (3) testing, they will continue to minimise risks and keep the situation under control.
NB: Only DHL courier services are available into and out of Seychelles for the time being but with extended time for deliveries.
7. Other Temporary Regulatory Measures – updated
On 27th April 2020 the President of Seychelles officially announced the gradual lifting off of certain measures to address the COVID-19 situation as follows:
From Monday 4 May 2020:
- all restrictions on the movement of people within the Country has been removed to a certain extent.
- religious services, including funeral services, are resuming under the guidelines of the Department of Health.
- all shops are be able to stay open until 8pm in the evening.
- the majority of services and businesses has reopened; tourism establishments are being encouraged to open their doors to Seychellois holiday-makers, whilst there are no tourists visiting from abroad as yet. Construction companies can resume their work as per guidance issued by the Department of Health.
From 11 May 2020:
All child-minding and day-care services, all post-secondary institutions including A-Levels, Guy Morel Institute and University of Seychelles, have reopened under the guidelines of the Department of Health.
From 18 May 2020:
All primary and secondary schools will reopen under the guidelines of the Department of Health.
From 1 June 2020:
- the airport will reopen for commercial flights in line with guidance issued by the Department of Health.
- Seychellois will be able to travel abroad as per guidance and regulations issued by the Department of Health.
- leisure boats and yachts will be able to enter Seychelles territory, respecting any guidance from the Department of Health.
- sporting activities can resume, following guidance from the Department of Health.
All other measures will stay in force until further notice.
Even if certain measures have been lifted, we are advised to continue to practise physical distancing and maintain good hygiene, in line with guidance from the Department of health.
The Central bank of Seychelles (CBS) has established a Private Sector Relief Scheme (financed by the CBS for assistance to eligible micro, small and medium business (MSMEs) facing financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic financial crisis. The Private Sector Relief Scheme is to assist the MSMEs meet their critical expenditures such as rent, utilities, salaries, taxes and good and services contract to the extent not covered under other public measures put in place by the Government. The credit facilities shall be granted for a maximum period of 3 year term, including a 6 months moratorium of the loan repayment, with an interest rate of 1.5 per annum.
The Employment (Amendment) Act 2020 – this was assented by the President on 1 June 2020. The aim is to suspend the right of an employer to initiate negotiations procedures to make their Seychellois employees redundant until 30th June 2020. Thus, lay-off or redundancy of Seychellois workers can only be effective as at 1 July 2020 and in certain circumstances only. This amendment is not applicable to expatriate workers during this period. The amendments also regulates the deferment of payment and reduction of the wages of a worker pending termination of the government programme for salary support to workers as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
8. Implications for economic substance compliance and residency
No announcements have been made in that respect.