Global Immigration Update – August 2017

August 7, 2017 All, Global
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Global Immigration Update – August 2017

France – Tech Visa for Start-ups Start-up founders, employees and investors are now able to use a simplified, fast-track Tech Visa process. Under this route, tech talent can obtain a…

France – Tech Visa for Start-ups
Start-up founders, employees and investors are now able to use a simplified, fast-track Tech Visa process. Under this route, tech talent can obtain a renewable “Passport Talent” residence permit for four years for themselves and their immediate family without requiring a separate work permit. The application can be made for themselves and their immediate family without requiring a separate work permit. There are three tech visa types for which the French government has outlined specific qualifying criteria regarding minimum wage, project scope, and approval by the Directe, a French public organisation.

Netherlands – New Work Permit Waiver
With effect from1 July 2017, the government of the Netherlands enforced a regulation that allows qualifying foreign nationals to perform project-related activities that involve the delivery of goods and services without a work permit. The employing Dutch company must register the project and fulfil certain conditions.

Ukraine – Visa Exemption for Albanian Nationals
Nationals of Albania may travel to Ukraine without a visa for stays of up to 90 days within a 180 day period for business and tourism purposes.

Russia – New Application Form
Russia has released a new application form which requires UK nationals to provide more detailed answers in addition to disclosure of their social media platforms.


Nigeria – Temporary Work Permit Pre-Approval
With immediate effect, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has implemented the option to apply by email for pre-approval for a Temporary Work Permit (TWP) in an attempt to reduce processing times. The NIS has indicated that its goal is to grant approvals within two working days of receipt. The TWP is a short-term visa that allows foreign nationals to perform specialised work activities in Nigeria for stays of up to 90 days. The Nigerian sponsor company must submit the pre-approval application for a TWP by email to oa@nigeriaimmigration.gov.ng. Approvals will be sent to the Nigerian Embassy, High Commission, Consulate or visa application centre where the foreign national is resident. At this stage, the foreign national can submit a visa application with supporting documents in person or by post.

Tanzania – United Kingdom Nationals Require Visa
Although certain nationalities may enter Tanzania with a visa exemption for short stays, United Kingdom nationals must obtain a visa for business or tourism purposes.

Mauritius – Visa Exemption
Nationals of Benin, Georgia and Ukraine may now enter Mauritius without a visa for stays of up to 90 days for business and tourism purposes.


Saudi Arabia – Expat Levy Expanded
With effect from 01 July 2017, a monthly levy of SAR 100 must be paid for each foreign national dependent resident in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, beginning January 2018, companies whose foreign national employees exceeds the number of Saudi employees will have to pay double the monthly levy that is now required per foreign national. The new monthly levy will be SAR 400. Finally, a new monthly levy of SAR 300 will apply to companies whose foreign national employees do not exceed the number of Saudi employees. Levies are expected to continue to increase over the next three years.

Foreign nationals who wish to apply for a Saudi Arabian visa must complete and submit an E-Number application form.

Oman – New eVisa System
With effect from 19 June 2017, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) officially launched a new eVisa system for business and tourist visas. Nationals of 67 countries and nationals of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries within one of 116 designated professions are eligible to apply using the new online system for tourism or business travel.

Iraq – Business Visa Application Requirements
Foreign nationals applying for a business visa to Iraq must also submit certificates of HIV and Hepatitis test results. All medical certificates must be apostilled by the appropriate government body prior to submission at the Embassy.

Uzbekistan – Submission Requirements
Foreign nationals applying for a visa to enter Uzbekistan must submit a clear colour photocopy of all passport pages.

Pakistan – Business Visa Application Timelines
There has been an increase in processing times for business visa applications to three weeks.

India – Mandatory Biometric Enrolment in South Africa and Fee Increases
The Indian government has enforced sweeping visa fee increases as a reciprocity measure following fee increases by other countries for Indian nationals.

Effective 17 July 2017, the High Commission of India in Pretoria, South Africa has announced that applicants for all India visa categories are required to register their biometric data at a VFS Global Indian Visa Application Centre in Johannesburg, Durban or Cape Town. Foreign nationals who hold an e-Visa must submit biometric data upon arrival at the port of entry in India. South African nationals and residents of South Africa will be asked to schedule a biometrics appointment when submitting an online visa application. Applicants who are under the age of twelve or over the age of 70 will not be required to submit their biometric details.

The Visa transfer service has currently been suspended.


Thailand – Increased Penalties for Illegal Work
With effective from 23 June 2017, the Royal Decree on Managing the Work of Foreigners has a significant impact on penalties awarded to foreign nationals working in Thailand who commit a variety of offences. Employers and Employees must beware of the new obligations and fines (below) if found to be non-compliant in addition to individual penalties that may be incurred.

For Employers:

  • There is a new obligation to notify labour officials within seven days of the end of a work permit holder’s employment.
  • Confiscating the work permit or identification document of a foreign national can result in a fine of up to THB 100,000 being imposed.
  • Employing a foreign national without a valid work permit or in a prohibited occupation, or in conditions different from those specified in the work permit, can result in fines being imposed ranging from THB 400,000 to up to THB 800,000;

For Employees:

  • Working in a prohibited occupation or without a work permit can result in a fine from THB 2000 to up to THB 100,000 and/or up to five years’ imprisonment;
  • Working on an urgent and necessary basis without a work authorisation can result in a fine from THB 20,000 to up to THB 100,000.

Philippines – Chinese Applicants and New Document Requirement
China nationals who wish to apply for a Philippines visa must do so in person at the Consulate.

With effect from 29 June 2017, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) is requiring an additional document in support of applications for conversion of a 9(a) tourist visa or a temporary visa to a 9(g) Pre-arranged Employment Visa (Commercial). The 9(g) Employment Visa (Commercial) is available for companies not registered with the Board of Investment (BOI) or Philippines Economic Zone (PEZA) to fill executive, technical, managerial or highly confidential positions for at least one year. The additional requirement for this visa category is the submission of proof that the applicant’s approved Alien Employment Permit (AEP) application has been published in a national newspaper. This proof may be submitted in the form of an original newspaper clipping or a Certification of Publication issued by the Publisher.

Mongolia – Submission Requirements
Applicants must submit a copy of their travel insurance for all tourist visa applications.

South Korea: Online Visa Application
Applicants must upload a photo in order to submit a visa application form online.

Taiwan – Visa Exemption for New Countries
With effect from 12 July 2017, nationals of eleven countries from Latin America and the Caribbean are now eligible for visa-free travel to Taiwan. Nationals of Belize, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Saint Vincent, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Saint Lucia may travel to Taiwan for stays of up to 30 days. Nationals of Paraguay, El Salvador, Haití, Honduras, and Nicaragua may travel for stays of up to 90 days. Travellers must hold a passport with validity of at least 6 months and proof of return travel.

Australia – Further Changes
The Medium and Long Term Skilled Shortage List (MLTSSL) offers visa holders a pathway to a 4-year 457 visa and/or permanent residence. The Department of Education and Training (DET) revises this list each year.

The Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) offers availability for a 2-year 457 visa with the possibility of a 2-year extension. This list does not offer visa holders a pathway to permanent residency.

The Subclass 461 visa has been made redundant as New Zealand citizens now have equivalent status to Australian permanent residents. New Zealand citizens are able to sponsor family members for a permanent resident visa through the Family Stream of the Migration Program.

Eligibility for the Subclass 417 Working Holiday visa has been altered. The age requirement is now between 18 and 35 years old. The Subclass 462 Work and Holiday Visa age eligibility has also been increased to 35 years old for certain countries with whom Australia has negotiated a reciprocal age increase.


Canada – New Work Permit Rules for Hiring Foreign Global Talent
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada introduced a 2-year pilot project called the Global Talent Stream on 12 June 2017 within the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The Global Talent Stream is part of a Global Skills Strategy to attract foreign talent to firms in Canada, given there are no Canadian citizens or permanent residents to fill these skilled positions.

The Global Talent Stream is available to two categories of employers. Category A employers are firms that are innovative and can demonstrate a need to hire unique and specialised temporary foreign workers for the purpose of growth. These must be referred to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program’s Global Talent Stream by an Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) Designated Partner. Firms that need to hire foreign workers for highly skilled in-demand occupations for which there is an insufficient domestic labour supply and are found on ESDC’s Global Talent Occupations List fall into Category B.

Employers must demonstrate labour market benefits and commit to a Labour Market Benefits Plan that will have a long-lasting positive effect on the Canadian Labour Market. Employers must commit to both mandatory benefits and complementary benefits. The employer’s Labour Market Benefits Plan will be monitored/audited regularly by the ESDC to patrol the effectiveness of the Global Talent Stream and to determine an employer’s continued eligibility. Further company documentation will be required to prove employer eligibility either under Category A or Category B.
In continuation with the Global Skills Strategy, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada introduced two new work permit exemption categories on 12 June 2017. These will enable high-skilled individuals to enter Canada for legitimate short-term work. The new categories are:

  • Occupations that qualify under either NOC 0 or NOC A Categories. Foreign nationals must be highly skilled workers who are needed for either:
    • One short-term work assignment of up to 15 days (once every six months); or
    • One short-term work assignment of 30 days (once every 12 months).
  • Foreign nationals who are researchers with an invitation from a publicly-funded degree granting Canadian post-secondary institution or affiliated research institution may enter Canada for 120 days in a 12 month period.

Foreign nationals who qualify in either of these categories must still obtain proper entrance visas or eTAs, as applicable. For more questions regarding work permit exemptions, please contact Ferguson Snell & Associates.

The Government of Canada has passed a bill which creates several amendments to the Citizenship Act. The changes affect citizenship application requirements. These amendments include the physical presence at the time of filing an application, filing Canadian income tax, the intent to live in Canada after citizenship has been granted, and a change to the language and knowledge requirements. In 2018, the Federal Court will adjudicate all citizenship revocation cases, unless the individual makes an alternate request for the Minister to make a decision.


Argentina – Visa Exemption for Belarus Nationals
Belarus nationals are now able to travel to Argentina for tourism or business purposes without a visa for stays of up to 90 days.

Uruguay – Visa Exemption for Belarus Nationals
Belarus nationals are now able to travel to Uruguay for tourism and business purposes without a visa for stays of up to 90 days.

Chile – Visa Free Travel to Guyana and Travel to Tibet
Guyana nationals are able to travel for tourism and business purposes visa free to Chile. Stays may not exceed 90 days. Mongolia nationals are required to obtain a visa to enter Chile.

Applicants travelling to Tibet must submit an additional declaration form when applying for a visa.

Venezuela – Response from Latin American Countries to country’s crisis.
Venezuelan nationals in Colombia and Argentina will be able to request temporary residence permits and have access to expedite processes for residence permits. Similar responses are expected from Brazil and Peru.

 

FSA – Global Immigration Udpate August 2017

If you would like further information on any part of this newsletter, please contact your dedicated Immigration Consultant via email on comms@fergusonsnell.co.uk or call us on +44 (0) 20 3668 2700.