Global Immigration Update – Europe

April 10, 2017 All, Global


Global Immigration Update – Europe

EUROPE Sweden – Processing Delays There are current delays in processing of work and residence permit renewal applications submitted in Sweden. The Swedish Migration Agency is currently prioritising new work…


Sweden – Processing Delays

There are current delays in processing of work and residence permit renewal applications submitted in Sweden. The Swedish Migration Agency is currently prioritising new work and residence permit applications, causing processing times for renewals to take four to six months.

Denmark – Processing Delays

There are processing delays for Pay Limit, Fast Track, Dependents and Work Residence Permit applications. Pay Limit and Fast Track applications are being processed in about five weeks. Dependents’ applications and Work Residence Permit extensions are taking longer than two to three months.

Luxembourg – Implementation of New Immigration Regulations

On 8 February 2017, the Luxembourg Parliament created a new immigration law to be implemented in the following weeks. In an effort to attract foreign nationals the new law introduces two new categories of residence permits for seasonal workers and intracompany transfers (ICTs) in addition to changes to the existing immigration laws. Intracompany transfers on a short notice and for a temporary assignment are eligible for a residence permit. The Residence Permit for Temporary ICTs should allow employees from a company located outside of Europe to be temporarily seconded for occupational or training purposes to a group entity in Europe. Where applicable, it will also facilitate mobility among different host companies in Europe.

Spain – Company Signatory Regulations

With immediate effect, new regulations have been enacted for residence permit applications for Highly Qualified Professionals and Intra-Company Transferees. For these applications, the company representative acting as a signatory for employment contracts must also prove legal residency in Spain or another European Union member state. Employers submitting residence permit applications to the Unidad de Grandes Empresas (UGE) should include proof of the company signatory’s legal residency in Spain or the EU.

Switzerland – Measures against abusive practices on Employment Market reinforced

With effect from 1 April 2017, the Swiss government has introduced stricter penalties and higher fines for non-compliance with the Swiss Minimum Salary. This includes bans against providing services in Switzerland for periods of 1 to 5 years, and an increase in fines from €4,650 to €28,000. Company branches may be required to use standard employment contracts for extended periods in case of repeated and abusive salary undercutting.

Czech Republic – Quota for Fast Track Applicants

The Ministry of Interior fulfills an annual quota of 100 Fast Track applications, which has been met for 2017. The decision to include new applications in the Fast Track project will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Estonia – New Start-Up Visa Category

The Estonian government has begun offering “Start-Up Visas” to non-European Union nationals who wish to work in new and existing start-up companies, or to launch or relocate new foreign start-ups in Estonia. There are fast-track visas with up to two years validity for existing companies, and up to five years validity for new start-ups.

Turkey – Turquoise Card

With effect from 14 March 2017, the Turquoise Card Regulation, introduced through the Law on International Workforce (August 2016) has been implemented. This is a new long-term work and residence permit for highly skilled foreign nationals. A Turquoise Card holder is given up to three years of work and residence authorisation in Turkey. After three years, the foreign national may apply for permanent residency. Applications will be evaluated on a points-based system and will be available to applicants in the following categories:

  • Highly qualified workers,
  • Investors,Preview
  • Scientists and researchers,
  • Athletes and artists and
  • Specialists in Turkey or Turkish culture.

Dependents are also eligible to apply for residence permits.


Russia – Visa Free Travel from South Africa

With effect from 1 April 2017, Russian nationals may travel visa free to South Africa as part of a reciprocity agreement for the purpose of tourism, business or transit. They may enter the country with the intention to conduct work, study or reside in the country without a visa

Israel – Short-Term Work Visas Rejected and On-Site Inspections

The Ministry of Interior has announced that, due to the high volume of applications and to prevent illegal work in Israel, Short-term Visa applications (SEA B-1 Work Visa) for B-2 Visitor Visa holders in Israel will be rejected automatically. Employers should apply for an SEA visa on the applicant’s behalf while the employee is abroad.

Multi-national companies that employ foreign nationals should be prepared for on-site inspections by the National Immigration Authority. These inspections are expected to increase, therefore employers should ensure compliance with immigration laws.



Uganda – Visa Requirement for Irish Nationals

Nationals of Ireland require a visa to enter Uganda. Be advised that processing times for non-eVisa applications is currently 6 business days.

Tanzania – Non-compliance for work permits

The Tanzanian government indicated in February through a Public Notice that there would be stronger enforcement of non-compliance procedures for work permits. All foreign nationals and employers of foreign nationals should have submitted their work permits for verification to the nearest labour offices by 21 March 2017. The government will increase the number of labour inspections to ensure companies are following correct procedure. Any non-compliance can result in harsh penalties including fines, imprisonment, or both.

Ghana – Processing Delays

Foreign nationals should be prepared to face processing delays for in-country immigration applications because of the transition of the new head and deputy of Ghana Immigration Services.

Ivory Coast – Visa Free Travel for Philippine Nationals

Nationals of the Philippines may travel to the Ivory Coast for business and tourist purposes without a visa. They may remain in-country for up to 90 days and are not permitted to conduct productive work.

Nigeria – Immigration Regulations 2017

With effect from 20 March 2017, the Honourable Minister of Interior issued the Immigration Regulations 2017 to create a legal framework for the implementation of the Immigration Act 2015. The regulations define penalties for non-compliance, of which employers should make themselves aware. The regulations affect Business Permits, Residence Permits, Investment Visas, and Residence Permits for ECOWAS Nationals, Temporary Work Permits, Visas on Arrival (VoA), Expatriate Quotas, and Spousal Residence Permits as follows

  • Business Permits and Foreign Worker Quota Provisions: Companies in Nigeria with foreign ownership or shareholders must obtain a Business Permit. Failure to renew a business permit will result in penalties. Companies that have pending renewal applications will not face deportation proceedings until a decision is made.
  • Residence Permits: Residence permits may now be issued for up to two years, as opposed to the previous one year validity.
  • Temporary Work Permits: This is a single-entry work visa valid for two to three months. It may be extended for up to thirty days. Failure to renew the TWP may result in imprisonment or a considerable fine.
  • Investment Visa: Eligible foreign nationals who hold an investment visa are now eligible for a permanent Residence Permit. Further guidance will be issued by the Nigerian government.
  • Visa on Arrival (VoA): This visa is now available to all business travelers. The foreign national must have obtained pre-approval in-country before boarding an aircraft into Nigeria.

For further guidance and specific penalties regarding immigration to Nigeria, please speak with Ferguson Snell & Associates.

Mozambique – Increased Enforcement on Non-Compliance

Immigration and Labour officials have increased audits of employers in areas of Mozambique. Employers of foreign nationals should ensure that they are following correct procedure and have required proof available in case of an audit.

South Africa – Visa Free Travel from Russia

With effect from 1 April 2017, South African nationals may travel visa free to Russia for the purpose of tourism, business or transit. They may not enter the country with the intention to conduct work, study or reside in the country without a visa.



India – New Internship Visa Category

The Indian government has introduced a new Internship Visa Category for foreign nationals interning with companies, educational institutions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for up to one year. The applicant must begin the internship immediately after the applicant’s university graduation, or completion of a post-graduate program. If the applicant has been employed before the internship or has graduated one year before the start of the internship, he or she must apply under the general Entry or Business categories.

India – Biometric Requirement in Pune

With immediate effect, the Foreigners’ Registration Office (FROs) in Pune will collect biometric details of foreign nationals submitting immigration applications. Foreign nationals will be asked to give fingerprints and eye scans as part of their in-country immigration applications including registrations and visa extensions. It is expected that biometrics requirements will be implemented in other FROs in India.

China – New Work Permits System in Shanghai

from 1 April 2017, South African nationals may travel visa free to Russia for the purpose 1 April 2017, the Shanghai Labour Bureau will process new initial work permit applications under the new work permits system. As outlined in previous newsletters, China is rolling out a new work permits system in stages. The Shanghai Labour Bureau is continuing to process work permit renewals, amendments, cancellations, and annual inspections using the current policy until July.

Hong Kong – Visit Visa Applications for Indian Nationals

Indian nationals may no longer apply for visit visas at the Hong Kong Embassy. They will now be required to submit their application by post to the Immigration Department in Hong Kong. This affects Indian nationals who wish to travel to Hong Kong for business or tourism stays of over 14 days.

New Zealand – Minimum Salary Increase for Essential Skills Work Visa

Effective 1 April 2017, foreign nationals applying for an Essential Skills Work Visa with dependents must meet a minimum salary threshold of NZD 37,090.68 per year. Employers should increase the minimum salary for applicants with pending applications.

Australia – Processing Delays

Please be advised that tourist applications for some non-UK nationals may take up to 8 weeks.



Venezuela – Document Legalisation Delays

Due to a change in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are potential delays in processing document legalisations.

Colombia – Visa Cancellation Process

Foreign nationals with visas sponsored by a Colombian entity and their dependents must file an End of Assignment Notification with the Sistema de Informaciόn para el Reporte de Extranjeros (SIRE). As part of this process, they will also need to complete a visa annulment process before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Failure to do so may result in future difficulty in obtaining a new Colombian visa.

Barbados – Visa Free Travel for Croatian Nationals

Nationals of Croatia may travel to Barbados for business and tourist purposes without a visa. They may remain in-country for up to 90 days and are not permitted to conduct productive work.


FSA – Global immigration udpate – 2017

For any further information on any part of this newsletter, please contact your dedicated Immigration Consultant via email on or call us on +44 (0) 20 3668 2700.