KN Global immigration update - December 2017

21 December 2017

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December 2017

In these global immigration updates, we provide brief details on key changes to immigration rules in global jurisdictions.

Please note that all immigration rules are subject to change and whilst correct at the time of publication, they should not be relied upon as legal advice or a statement of accuracy at a later date.


Ireland - GNIB card replaced with new Irish Residence Permit


The Irish immigration authorities have replaced Garda National Immigration Bureau (‘GNIB’) registration cards with a new Irish Residence Permit (IRP). This change is applicable with immediate effect, however, non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss nationals that currently have a valid GNIB card should wait until their card expires before applying for the new IRP.  The cost of the new IRP will be 300 Euros. 

The IRP will include the applicant’s name, photo, date of birth and registration number, a brief description of their immigration permission, their permission stamp number, and a microchip with a copy of their photo, fingerprints and personal details. Non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss nationals who are aged 16+ who will stay in Ireland for over 90 days must  register with the Irish immigration authorities to obtain an IRP. 


netherlands - Changes to minimum salary levels and government fees in 2018 


Effective 1 January 2018, several changes will be enforced in relation to the minimum salary requirements for migrants entering the Netherlands for work purposes and the associated government filing fees  per application. The new requirements must be complied with, for both initial and extension applications submitted on or after 1 January 2018.
Changes to minimum salary requirements
  • Knowledge migrants and EU Intracompany Transferees over 30 years old: EUR 4,324 per month will increase to EUR 4,404 per month
  • Knowledge migrants and EU Intracompany Transferees under 30 years old: EUR 3,170 per month will increase to EUR 3,229 per month
  • EU Blue Card: EUR 5,066 per month will increase to EUR 5,160 per month
Changes to government filing fees
  • Knowledge migrants and EU Intracompany Transferee applications: EUR 926 will increase to EUR 938
  • Blue Card applications: EUR 897 will increase to EUR 909
  • Registrations as an accredited sponsor for companies with 50 or fewer employees worldwide: EUR 2,638 will increase to EUR 2,672
  • Registrations as an accredited sponsor: EUR 5,276 will increase to EUR 5,345



canada - Amendments to list of countries on the immigration medical exam list

The list of designated countries whose nationals must undergo an Immigration Medical Examination (IME) in order to apply for a temporary or permanent residence visa in Canada has been amended.
The changes are as follows:
  • Countries added to the list: Singapore, Fiji, Tunisia and Timor-Leste. 
  • Countries removed from the list: Argentina, Bahrain, Belize, Colombia, Portugal, Seychelles, Surinam, Venezuela and Wallis and Futuna.
The changes impact foreign nationals coming to Canada for six months or more, who have lived in any of the designated countries for at least six months.
Applications already submitted before 23rd November will not be affected by this change, however if applicants are asked to undergo an IME this will be a mandatory requirement of the process.


Brazil – New immigration law clarified

Further to the announcement of the new immigration lawsin Brazil on 21 November 2017, the Ministry of Labour has released guidelines to provide clarification on this.  Twelve key resolutions have been confirmed which establish categories for foreign nationals seeking to enter Brazil for work purposes.  Below is a summary of the key changes noted in the resolutions.
  • Visit visas can now be converted into residence permits which includes work authorisation.
  • Birth certificates and police record certificates (which cover a period of five years, previously one year) which are legalised or apostilled and translated by a certified translator, are required for in-country residence permit applications.
  • Foreign nationals who have an employment contract with a Brazilian company have to meet the following criteria to be eligible for a residence permit: 
    • Technicians - must prove 3 years of experience.
    • Undergraduate professionals (without a university diploma) – must prove 12 years of study plus 4 years of experience.
    • Artists or professionals involved with cultural or similar activities – must prove 3 years of experience.
  • Technical work visas will have a validity duration of either 180 days or 1 year and require a residence authorization from the Ministry of Labour before the visas will be granted by the Brazilian Consulate. Visas valid for 180 days should be approved within five days by the ministry and emergency cases should receive approval within two days.
  • The Technology Transfer Visa is a new category and separate from the regular technical work visa. This covers scenarios in which a foreign national will transfer technical knowledge to a local Brazilian employee according to a formal training plan.  This visa has a validity duration of 1 year.
  • Government processing fees have been increased from 16.93 reals to 168.13 reals (from about GBP 3.73 to GBP 38.05) for all temporary visa applications.
  • Requirements and processes for renewal application will be outlined at a later date.
The transitional period from the old immigration law in Brazil currently remains in effect.  As such, all visas granted under the previous law will maintain their validity until their expiration date. Any pending work permit applications submitted before 21 November 2017 will continue to be processed under the old law.



Kenya –introduction of visa waivers and work permit exemptions for certain nationals


President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced that Kenya will waive visa requirements for all African nationals with immediate effect. This change will include business visitors  travelling to Kenya.  In addition, East African Community nationals (Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda) will not require a work permit in Kenya.  The only immigration requirement for EAC nationals will be to provide evidence of their national identification upon entry. 
This measure is expected to promote intercontinental business travel within Africa and encourage other African nations to consider adopting a similar approach in 2018. 



Singapore - Introduction of mandatory foreign worker orientation course


From the second half of 2018, employers will be required to register and pay for their new Work Permit holders to attend an orientation course. The new “Settling-in Programme” will be comparable to the current course  established for first-time foreign domestic workers.
The  process will involve learning about Singapore’s culture and laws, including the Work Permit holder’s rights and obligations under employment law. It will be similar to the current domestic work programme, which involves a one day course that must be completed within three days of arrival.

The exact date that the programme will commence has not yet been released however it has been revealed that the programme will be rolled out in stages. It will first be implemented for those in the construction sector before being extended to other sectors. Eventually, all new Work Permit holders will be required to attend, with an exemption only for Malaysian Work Permit holders.

Further information is expected to be released closer to the time of implementation.


Hong Kong – Visitors now permitted to deliver speeches and presentations 


Foreign nationals who enter Hong Kong as business visitors are now permitted to provide speeches and presentations at events they are attending without having to obtain an employment permit.  

The following criteria must be satisfied in order to remain immigration compliant when entering Hong Kong for this purpose:

  • The visit must be for under 7 days;
  • The foreign visitor must not be paid for carrying out the speech/presentation (with the exception of reimbursement for travel, food and any other expenses relating to the event ); and

Foreign visitors can only provide a speech/presentation at one event per trip .


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