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Welcome to the latest edition of our global immigration news bulletins. These bulletins provide readers with the most recent 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.

Australia
Changes to immigration health policy

On November 20, 2015, a new health policy was applied to applicants for Australian visas.

What’s changed?

  • Under the new policy, an individual’s country of origin will have one of only two risk levels (requiring health examinations or not) rather than one of the three categories (high, medium and low risk) in use until now
  • For nationals and recent residents of higher-risk countries, the duration of stay from which a medical assessment is required has been raised from three to six months
  • Applicants for Subclass 457 visas will be treated the same as other temporary visa applicants. Previously they only had to undergo a chest x-ray examination, and were exempt from the general medical examination requirement for stays of over 12 months

Applicants from countries of lower risk who are applying for temporary visas will generally not be required to undertake health examinations. Permanent stay applications will, however, require various health examinations.

Medical assessments will not be required for individuals who are applying for a temporary visa and intend to remain in Australia for less than six months (even if they are a national of a higher-risk country, or have spent three or more consecutive months during the last five years in a higher-risk country).

Nationals or recent residents of higher-risk countries will be required to undergo a medical examination and a chest x-ray if they are applying for a temporary visa but intend to remain in Australia for six months or longer.

Other requirements

TB testing for children

Children under 11 years of age, who are applying for a temporary visa and declare close family contact with TB in their visa application or My Health Declarations form, will have to undergo TB testing (TST or IGRA).

Previously children under 11 had to undergo a medical examination (rather than a chest x-ray examination) where required.

Additional health examinations

Additional health examinations will be required where the “special significance” rule applies. This rule applies to individuals from any country who:

  • Intend to work as a doctor, dentist, nurse or paramedic
  • Are likely to work at an Australian childcare center
  • Are likely to enter a healthcare or hospital environment
  • Are pregnant and intend to have their baby in Australia
  • Are aged 75 years and older

Since November 20, 2015, “special significance” no longer applies to individuals who have applied for a student visa and/or are likely to be in a “classroom situation” for more than three months.

Provisional or permanent visas

The current health requirements will continue to apply to all individuals who apply for provisional and permanent visas – with the exception of the introduction of a new TB screening test (TST or IGRA) requirement for children aged between two and 10 years from countries of higher risk.

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

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

 

 

China
HR presence required for Alien Employment License registration and Work Permit de-registration

Beijing

Effective immediately, local Human Resources (HR) representatives are required to appear in person for Alien Employment License registration and Work Permit de-registration at the Beijing Labor Bureau. Client HR representatives are advised to take note of the new requirements. 

This summary was prepared using information obtained from eBeijing’s website

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

 

 

Indonesia
Amendment to recent rules on employee ratios and business activities

On October 26, 2015, a new regulation (35/2015) was issued, amending the regulation 16/2015 implemented in August 2015.

The amendment:

  • Eases the required ratio of foreign to local workers (from one foreign worker to 10 local workers, to one foreign worker to one local worker). If a company employs fewer than 10 local workers per foreign worker, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) may request that the company hires more locals, or issue temporary work permits to foreign workers for up to six months
  • Allows business meetings without a work permit
  • Clarifies that foreign national Directors of Indonesian companies require work permits but not stay permits to travel to Indonesia for business meetings
  • Clarifies activities requiring a work permit
  • Clarifies activities that do not require a work permit    

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

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

 

 

Malaysia
New Special Pass and photo requirements introduced

On November 1, 2015, the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) implemented the following new requirements:

  1. Special Pass applications
    The Immigration Department of Malaysia will now accept Special Pass (SP) applications three working days before the applicant’s pass is due to expire. A SP is issued to someone with special immigration circumstances – for example, someone who has already overstayed their visa. To avoid a SP application, the Immigration Department has advised that the standard pass application set is submitted no later than the morning of the forth working day before the applicant’s pass is due to expire.
  2. Photo requirements
    Printed passport photos are no longer required post-arrival at the immigration pass endorsement stage (also known as stage two). Applicants should now upload their photo digitally via the immigration portal, which can be accessed using the company’s log in details. Photo specifications can be found here.  

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

 

 

Singapore
Work Pass exempt activities limited to 90 days in a calendar year

Effective immediately, foreign nationals can work in Singapore without a Work Pass, providing activities are eligible for a Work Pass exemption and meet the conditions established by the Ministry of Manpower.

The duration for which Short Term Visit Pass holders can perform Work Pass exempt activities is capped at a cumulative total of 90 days in a calendar year.

Foreign nationals must apply for a Work Pass if they wish to work beyond 90 days in Singapore.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Ministry of Manpower’s website.

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

 

 

The Philippines
New rules for the issuance of Employment Permits and revised immigration forms

Effective immediately, two updates have been made to the immigration process for the Philippines.

Employment Permit requirements

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued a Department Order on revised rules for the issuance of Employment Permits to foreign nationals. Under the revised rules, foreign nationals are now required to conduct an Understudy Training Program (UTP) to transfer their knowledge and technical skills to two Filipino workers on the assumed role. The new policy is already in effect at most of the DOLE’s regional offices, including Manila.

A copy of the Department Order is available online. Clients can request a UTP template from Crown Philippines. 

Revised immigration forms

The Bureau of Immigration has revised its Consolidated General Application Forms (CGAF) for:

The immigration authorities are now accepting the revised CGAFs for visa applications and require the revisions of all forms that have already been submitted.

For more information, please refer to Department Order No. 146-15.

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

 

 

Canada
Government announces 2016 foreign national quotas in Quebec

The Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion recently submitted next year’s immigration plan to the National Assembly, which determined the foreign national quota in Quebec for 2016 to be between 48,500 and 51,500. The quota remained the same as in 2015.

The accepted volume of foreign nationals are broken down into the following categories:

  • 31,500 – 33,500 in the economic immigration category
  • 25,500 – 27,000 in the skilled workers category
  • 5,200 – 5,500 in the business traveler category
  • 10,500 – 10,900 in the family class category

The government expects between 6,000 and 6,600 refugees in 2016, thus the quotas for other categories were adjusted with the exception of the economic immigration category. The annual immigration plan for Quebec can be found here.

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

 

 

Canada
John McCallum appointed Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced his new cabinet, including a new Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, John McCallum.

McCallum served as Liberal Party critic for Citizenship and Immigration, and has previously served as Minister of Defense and Minster of Veterans Affairs. Before being elected as an MP in 2000, McCallum served as Chief Economist at the Royal Bank of Canada and has held several academic posts, including Dean of Arts at McGill University in Montreal, and as a professor of economics.

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

 

 

The United States
Senate Bill to restrict employers’ use of H-1B and L-1 visas

Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., introduced bipartisan legislation in the Senate seeking reform of the H-1B and L-1 visa programs. 

This Bill would prohibit companies from hiring H-1B employees if they employ more than 50 people and more than 50 percent of their employees are H-1B and L-1 visa holders. The duration of H-1B visas would be reduced from six to three years unless the holder has an approved immigrant petition.

The Bill would also give the Department of Labor and the Department of Homeland Security increased oversight and mandatory information sharing between U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The Bill would give the Department of Labor enhanced authority to investigate and penalize fraud or abusive conduct. The Labor Department, DHS and the State Department would be required to submit annual reports, including lists and details of employers who petitioned for H and L visas.

L-1B visas would be subject to a more restrictive statutory definition of “specialized knowledge.” Employers would be subject to stricter job advertising rules and have to meet higher wage criteria for H-1B visas.

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

 

 

Georgia
New employment regulations for foreign nationals

Companies that employ workers who require residence permits must adhere to new labor contract requirements and employment terms.

Contracts must be drafted in a language understood by the foreign national and translated into Georgian (compliant with Georgian law). The contract must also contain the foreign national’s personal information, including:

  • Full name
  • ID or residence permit
  • Georgian address

It is the responsibility of the employer to terminate the employment with the foreign national if they do not have valid immigration status – including, but not limited to, situations whereby the foreign national continues to reside in Georgia after their residence permit has expired.

Please note that the Social Service Agency requires notification from an employer on each foreign worker within 30 days of the contract signing. 

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA, Vladimir Dziak.

 

 

Germany
Federal Registration Act enforced

On November 1, 2015, the Federal Registration Act was introduced to replace existing registration laws and harmonize registration times.

The new law requires residents and foreign nationals to register at a local town hall within two weeks of taking up residency in Germany. The two-week deadline also applies for de-registration – residents must de-register within two weeks of leaving their accommodation.

In addition, residents (including foreign nationals) registering after November 1, 2015, must obtain a confirmation letter from their landlord. Local town halls will supply confirmation letter forms (also available online).

Foreign nationals traveling to Germany for up to three months are exempt from the above requirements (providing they maintain their residency in their home country). Visa-exempt nationals requesting work authorization should proceed with registration, so that the appointment for their work permit can be arranged. 

Non-compliance may result in administrative fines.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA, Vladimir Dziak.

 

 

Hungary
Quota introduced for non-EEA national workers

In October 2015, the Hungarian government introduced an annual quota on work authorizations for citizens from non-EEA countries. Going forward, new quotas will be announced every year.

The current quota, introduced in August 2015, allows 59,000 work permits (or combined work and residence permits) to be issued to non-EEA nationals until the calendar year-end. 

In addition, employers must now provide a headcount statement, stating the number of non-EEA nationals (assigned or locally hired) for the previous quarter, instead of one for the previous calendar year.

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

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA, Vladimir Dziak.

 

 

Ireland
New online booking system for re-entry visas at Dublin Immigration Office

On 16 November, 2015, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) introduced an online booking system for Multiple-Entry Visa application appointments at the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) office in Burgh Quay, Dublin.

Further to the new queuing arrangements introduced in September, the new booking system aims to reduce the number of people queuing at the GNIB office in Burgh Quay.

To book an appointment, the applicant will need a copy of the stamp received at the port-of-entry in Ireland and their GNIB number. The GNIB number is normally issued with the applicant’s GNIB card, but may be given at the port-of-entry on arrival.

There is no requirement to attend the appointment in person and an authorised representative may attend in place of the applicant.

This process does not affect re-entry visa applications submitted by post.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

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, EMEA, Vladimir Dziak.

 

 

Israel
New visa category introduced for pre-approved technology companies

According to the Ministry of Economy, a new visa category, Entrepreneur High-Tech visa, will soon become available for select foreign nationals working at established and pre-approved technology companies. The main benefit of the visa is that employees may not require company sponsorship and there will not be minimum salary requirements.

In an announcement, the Ministry of Economy highlighted that 50 Entrepreneur High-Tech visas will be available. Each visa will be valid up to two years, with the possibility of renewal.

A committee made up of representatives from the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Economy will issue regulations in the coming months. Afterwards, local companies interested in pre-approval for the program may request participation.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Ministry of Economy.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA, Vladimir Dziak.

 

 

Switzerland
Work permit quotas for 2016 announced

The Swiss government has announced the quotas for highly qualified workers from non-European Union/European Free Trade Agreement countries, as well as for assignees from EU/EFTA countries. The quotas announced are the same as those for 2015.

2016 quotas for non-EU/EFTA nationals

In 2016 companies in Switzerland can recruit foreign national specialists from non-EU/EFTA countries up to the following national quotas:

  • 4,000 L permits
  • 2,500 B permits

As in previous years, half of the quota will be allocated to the cantons, with the other half kept as a Federal Reserve.

2016 quotas for EU/EFTA national assignees

The quotas for assignees from EU/EFTA countries to Switzerland for more than 90 and 120 days have also remained the same as for 2015:

  • 2,000 L permits
  • 250 B permits

These quotas will be allocated to the cantons on a quarterly basis, as before.

Please note the quotas for 2016 and expect a continuation of the strict qualifying criteria seen in 2015. Plan, as always, to submit work permit applications in good time to avoid issues. 

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the ch.ch website.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA, Vladimir Dziak.

 

 

United Arab Emirates
Streamlined UK business visa program introduced for select companies in the UAE

Offering an express service, Business Select reduces documentary requirements and processing times to up to three weeks. The program was recently introduced for select companies operating in the UAE for at least 18 months with more than 40 employees. There is no membership fee but direct invitation is required. Eligible businesses will benefit from a dedicated Account Manager for all inquiries and less stringent requirements that enable easier business travel.

For further information, visit the UAE Embassy’s London website.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA, Vladimir Dziak.

 

 

United Kingdom
Right to rent immigration checks effective 1 February, 2016

The Home Office recently announced that all private residential landlords will be required to verify that their prospective tenants have the legal right to reside in the U.K..

Landlords should check and photocopy tenants’ documents before renting out their property.

Landlords will incur a penalty of up to £3,000 if they fail to make the checks.

Please note that these checks have not been introduced across other parts of the U.K. (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). A discussion is due to take place in Parliament.

For more information, please visit GOV.UK.

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, EMEA, Vladimir Dziak.

 

 

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