Please select the country

Welcome to the August 2014 edition of our global immigration news bulletins. These bulletins provide readers with the latest global immigration news and developments. Questions and comments are always welcome and can be directed to Angie Volz, Global Immigration Program Manager, avolz@crownww.com.

Asia Pacific

Indonesia

Cessation of Provisional Temporary Stay Permit

Indonesia has terminated the 30-day Provisional Temporary Stay Permit. The 30-day provisional permit was used previously by many expatriates to extend their stay in Indonesia beyond the expiry date of their work permits in order to file for renewal.

The common practice of using the provisional permit between the date of work permit expiry and submission of a renewal application was widely-used by foreign workers in the country. Work permit holders can no longer use the provisional permits to cover their stay when their work permits expire while waiting for renewals. Companies and their foreign employees must plan to submit work permit renewal applications well in advance to ensure that the original work permits do not expiry before extensions are approved.

Japan

Revised Embarkation/Disembarkation Card

Foreign residents must now check one of two boxes on Japan’s Embarkation/Disembarkation Card (ED Card) when they leave the country to indicate whether they will return to Japan within one year. A Re-enter Permit is required for those who will return to Japan for over one year.

The ED card must be filled out upon departure from or entry to Japan. The “Departure with Re-entry Permission” box on the ED card should be checked for foreign residents who will return to Japan after one year. A Re-Entry permit will be required.

The “Departure with Special Re-entry Permission” box on the Ed card should be checked for foreign residents who will return to Japan in less than one year. Travelers will need to present his/her residence card or special permanent resident certificate before departure.

Singapore

Fair Consideration Framework to Take Effect August 1, 2014

The Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM)’s Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) came into effect on August 1, 2014. The FCF requires large companies to give fair consideration to Singaporeans through local advertising before hiring foreign national Employment Pass (EP) holders. There have been some additional exemptions made to the advertising requirement since the FCF was first announced last year, namely for intra-corporate transfers and short-term jobs.

Advertising

The FCF requires employers to advertise their job vacancies on a new job bank administered by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) for at least 14 days before a new Employment Pass application is submitted.

Exemptions

Two new categories of jobs have been made exempt from the advertising requirement since the FCF was announced last year.

Intra-corporate Transfers

Jobs to be filled by intra-corporate transferees (ICTs), as defined by the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (WTO GATS), are exempt. An ICT must hold a senior position (Manager or Executive) in the organization or be a specialist with an advanced level of expertise. Additionally, under WTO GATS, an ICT must have worked for the firm outside Singapore for a period of not less than one year before being posted to the branch, affiliate or subsidiary in Singapore. Entry for these ICTs under WTO GATS is limited to a three year period that may be extended for up to two additional years, for a total term not exceeding five years.

Short-term jobs

Jobs that are necessary for short-term contingencies (i.e. a period of employment in Singapore of not more than one month) are also exempt from the advertising requirement. In this case, the Employment Pass (EP) holder will not be eligible to renew the EP nor apply for a new EP for a period of three months after the expiry of the previous EP.

Other exemptions

Companies with 25 or fewer employees, and jobs with fixed monthly salaries of at least S$12,000 will also be exempt from the advertising requirement unless the employing company is identified as having discriminatory hiring practices.

Extra scrutiny

Firms identified as having HR practices favoring foreign nationals will be required to provide additional information to MOM, outlining their hiring practices and plans for reducing reliance on Employment Pass holders. In general, such firms would be those with a very high ratio, compared to others in their industry, of foreign to Singaporean workers, or firms about which the MOM has received complaints regarding discriminatory practices.
If these firms are unresponsive, they will face greater scrutiny and longer processing times for their EP applications, and may even have their work pass privileges curtailed.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Peregrine Immigration Management.

Vietnam

New immigration law will take effect January 1, 2015

The National Assembly of Vietnam approved a new immigration law on June 14, 2014. The new law is expected to come into effect on January 1, 2015. Key changes include: a complete new structure of visa types; new durations for visas and temporary residence cards; visas may not be converted from one type to another in-country; the introduction of new prohibited conditions for entry and exit.

New visa types and durations

A complete new structure of visa types has been approved, with 20 different categories including a work visa (LĐ), a business visa (specifically defined as for attending meetings (HN)), and a dependent visa (TT).

No in-country change of status

According to Article 7, point 1 of the new law, a visa may not be converted from one purpose to another. For instance, someone entering Vietnam with a tourist visa (DL) may not be able to convert it to a work visa in country (LĐ).

New prohibited conditions for entry and exit

Prohibited conditions for entry

  • Any person that was deported from Vietnam within the last three years
  • Any person that was compelled to leave Vietnam within the last six months
  • Any person presenting forged papers or providing false information to obtain entry/exit/residence permit
  • A child under 14 years of age traveling without an accompanying parent or custodian

Prohibited conditions for exit

A foreign national’s exit will be suspended (for up to three years) in the following cases:

  • Their tax obligations have not yet been fulfilled
  • They are obliged to comply with an administrative sanction
  • They have been criminally charged or must serve a criminal sentence
  • They are a defendant or a person with related rights and obligations in a civil, economic, labor, administrative or marriage litigation case

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further enquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, Asia, Kit Tang: kittang@crownww.com

North America

United States

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) PERM processing times updated

As of August 4, 2014, DOL was conducting reviews for PERM applications filed in/prior to March 2014 and processing audited cases filed in/prior to March 2013. DOL is working on standard reconsideration requests submitted in/prior to August 2014.

U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv resumes visa processing

Following a suspension of visa operations in July 2014, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, has resumed limited visa application processing. Services for U.S. citizens, however, remain cancelled until further notice.

New Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) form expands definition of family member

A new CBP declaration form has been released with the term "family" defined as "members of a family residing in the same household who are related by blood, marriage, domestic relationship or adoption."
It also clarifies the term domestic relationship which includes two adults who are in a committed relationship including long-term companions and couples in civil unions or domestic partnerships where the partners are financially interdependent. Family members include foster children, stepchildren, half-siblings, legal wards and other dependents or guardianship relationship.

U.S. Department of State clears most visa application backlog from database outage

The U.S. Department of State has made significant progress clearing a worldwide backlog of Consular visa applications. The database is not yet working at full capacity, however most of the backlog has been cleared. The Bureau of Consular Affairs is prioritizing immigrant visas, adoption cases and emergency non-immigrant visa cases.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further enquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Crown’s Regional Immigration Manager, Americas, Laura Taggart: ltaggart@crownww.com

Canada

Dependent maximum age reduced to 18

Effective August 1, 2014, the maximum age for a child to qualify as a dependent for immigration purposes for Canada changed from under 22 to under 19. The exception for full-time students to continue to qualify as dependents is also being removed. However, dependent children aged 19 or over who are dependent on their parents due to a mental or physical condition will continue to be considered as dependents.
The change brings Canada in line with most other countries, the majority of which have a cut-off age of 18 for children to qualify as dependents (although there are exceptions).

Transitional measures

All permanent residence applications already under processing with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will be considered under the old rules.
Additionally, certain applicants under multi-step permanent resident immigration programs who are already in the immigration process, but who have not yet submitted their application for permanent residence, will be permitted to have their applications completed based on the previous definition of dependent child.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Peregrine Immigration Management.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further enquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, Americas, Laura Taggart: ltaggart@crownww.com

Latin America

Argentina

National Identity Card upgrade

Argentina has announced an upgrade of National Identity (DNI) cards. The new National Identity Card will be issued to all Argentine citizens, and those foreign residents who are eligible by migration status, in a plastic format with safety features to ensure its legitimacy. The older version DNI card booklets will no longer be accepted. The new cards take effect January 1, 2015. Applicants will receive new cards as first-time applicants and when older cards are renewed.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further enquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, Americas, Laura Taggart: ltaggart@crownww.com

Europe, Middle East, Africa

Russia

Changes to Highly-Qualified Specialist program

There are upcoming changes to Russia’s quota-exempt Highly Qualified Specialist (HQS) work permit program. The Highly Qualified Specialist (HQS) program was introduced in 2010 and allows companies in Russia to employ foreign national workers for up to three years with various benefits including a simplified application process and exemption from quotas.

Representative offices

Starting January 1, 2015, representative offices of foreign companies in Russia will have the right to hire foreign national workers under the HQS program. At present, the HQS is only available to Russian companies and branch offices of foreign companies. Federal Law No. 106-FZ dated May 5, 2014 has changed the accreditation procedure for representative offices of foreign legal entities operating in Russia and extended the HQS to such companies. Further details of how representative offices should register as such within Russia for the purposes of the HQS program have yet to be confirmed.

IT companies

Registered IT companies will soon be able to engage foreign nationals on the HQS program with a lower minimum salary of one million rubles (about USD28,000 or EUR21,000). This is half of the standard minimum salary normally required to qualify for the HQS program. This change came into force at the end of June 2014, but has yet to be put into practice by Russian officials. Further details and an implementation date are expected soon, and there may be processing delays as officials get used to the new rules. Registration of IT companies at the Russian Ministry for Communications and Mass Media is an established procedure, and many companies are already registered there.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Peregrine Immigration Management.

Israel

Immigration benefits for spouses in same-sex marriages with Jewish applicants

Israel’s Ministry of the Interior has declared that it will extend immigration benefits and issue citizenship to legally married same-sex spouses of Jews who immigrate to Israel.

According to the Israeli Law of Return, all Jews are entitled to immigrate to Israel and receive citizenship as well as apply for citizenship for their close family members (regardless of their religion). Foreign nationals of the Jewish faith are exempted from the Population, Immigration and Border Authority application stage (B1 Work Visa). These individuals may enter Israel as tourists and then submit an application to the MOI for a change of status to B-1 worker. Upon approval, the MOI will issue a B-1 work permit which is not employer specific and the applicant may go on to apply for citizenship. Until August 12, 2014, the right to citizenship for accompanying spouses was only granted to heterosexual couples, but effective immediately, immigration authorities will no longer differentiate between married same-sex and heterosexual couples. Note that there are no changes to the dependent categories for the standard B1 Foreign Expert Visa.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Peregrine Immigration Management.

United Arab Emirates

New fees for various visa categories

A new visa fee system has been launched by the Ministry of Interior as part of a plan to organize the entry of foreigners and unify visa fees in the country’s seven emirates.
The new fees are in line with the Cabinet decision No. 22 for 2014, regarding the regulation and development of the naturalization, residency and checkpoints sector. The new measures will include new types of entry permits and visas, such as multiple entry permits for visit or work. The new Cabinet decision also sets up a fund for the deportation of violators of the residency rules.

Norway

Minimum salary increase for non-EU workers

The minimum salary requirements for new and renewal Residence and Work Permit applications for non-EU workers have increased.

For holders of a bachelor’s degree, the minimum salary requirement is NOK 380,300 per year. For those holding a master’s degree, the minimum salary is now NOK 409,700. The change is effective for all Residence and Work Permit applications and renewals submitted on or after July 1, 2014.

The Netherlands

Removal of passport registration sticker requirement for EU citizens

EU/EEA citizens and Swiss nationals who reside and work in the Netherlands no longer need a registration sticker of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service for their passports, as of 2014. The duty to report for EU nationals was lifted on January 6, 2014. The purpose of the duty to report was to check the right of residence.

A valid passport or ID card is sufficient proof that residence in the Netherlands is lawful. If necessary, EU citizens who are registered in the Municipal Personal Records Database can prove that they intend to stay in the Netherlands longer than four months. This registration obligation in the Municipal Personal Records Database continues to apply.

Family members of EU citizens who do not hold EU nationality must, however, register with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service. When assessing third-country nationals, a declaration of registration of the principal foreign national remains necessary.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this immigration alert is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further enquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Crown’s Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA.

Free Moving Quote

The First Step on Your
New Adventure

  • Your enquiry is handled by an expert advisor
  • Form only takes one minute to complete
  • Crown operate in over 200 locations worldwide
..everything went like clockwork and times were all on schedule..;