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 - ATYPICAL WORKING SCHEME REQUIRES APPROVAL LETTERS ISSUED WITHIN 90 DAYS
Effective immediately, the Atypical Working Scheme (AWS) in Ireland will now require applicants to use approval letters from the Irish immigration authorities within 90 days of issuance to avoid having a fresh application being submitted. The AWS is allows non-EU nationals to enter and work in Ireland for between 15 to 90 days. The potential impact of this is that visa nationals requiring a letter of approval for entry clearance to Ireland, who do not travel scheduled within 90 days will have to re-start the application process.
ITALY - STRICTER DEFINITION OF ALLOWABLE BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES TO BE APPLIED
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Italy have decided to apply a more strict definition of permitted business visitor activities. The current law states that foreign nationals can make short visits to Italy:
1. to make contacts or conduct negotiations;
2. for learning purposes; or
3. to verify the use and functioning of capital goods purchased or sold under commercial and industrial cooperation agreements
Previously, the Ministry of Foreign affairs in Italy adopted a more relaxed approach to approving business visitor visas that did not specifically fall within the above mentioned business-related activities. Anecdotal evidence now suggests that the above list is being applied more stringently and only those that fall within the defined business purposes are being granted visas.
NETHERLANDS - DUTCH AUTHORITIES TO COMPLETE COMPLIANCE INSPECTIONS AT RECOGNISED SPONSORS
The immigration authorities in the Netherlands have announced that they will be conducting immigration inspections at recognised sponsor companies throughout 2018. Companies will be selected at random and notice will be given, by way of scheduled appointments. The focus of the inspections will be compliance. Failing an inspection, by reason of non-compliance, could lead to sanctions.
Compliance obligations currently required Recognised Sponsors to notify the Dutch Immigration Authority of relevant changes to both their company and migrant workers. The notification requirements include change of business address, change of structure, hiring or terminating employment and reduction in employees’ salaries.
UKRAINE - E-VISA SYSTEM INTRODUCED FOR TOURISTS AND BUSINESS VISITORS
E-visas for tourist and business visits to Ukraine for up to thirty days will shortly be introduced for nationals of certain countries. Applications can be submitted online from three months prior to the planned travel date along with the following documents:
- passport identification page;
- evidence of health insurance;
- proof sufficient finances;
- details of purpose of the visit ; and
- consular fee of USD 65.
Applications are expected to be processed within 9 business days and once approved, successful applicants must then print and have a copy of their e-visa on arrival in Ukraine. The E-Visas will not permit work of any kind.
INDIA - FALSE E-VISA SCAM WARNING FROM GOVERNMENT
The authorities in India have reminded applicants for e-visas only to use the official government website in light of reports of false e-visa websites online. These websites have been collecting personal data and payments for services from unassuming applicants and offering faster processing times. Applicants are reminded that only e-visas from the official government website will be accepted.
THAILAND - SMART VISA ANNOUNCED FOR HIGHLY SKILLED WORKERS
The Thai Board of Investment has introduced a new SMART Visa. The SMART visa can be applied for by highly skilled foreign experts, executives, investors and entrepreneurs whose qualifications are endorsed by the designated agencies from the ten targeted “S-Curve” industries. The S-Curve industries include Agriculture and Biotechnology, Automation and Robotics and Aviation and Logistics.
There are then different categories of the SMART Visa which include Talent, Investor, Executive, and Start-Up. Each of these have specific eligibility criteria, for example for the SMART ‘I’ (Investor) visa, the investor must make an investment of at least THB 20 million.
The benefits of a SMART visa are that:
- It is valid for up to four years for highly-skilled professionals, senior executives and investors, as opposed to one year
- It is valid for one year, with the option to renew for two years, for start-up entrepreneurs
- Requirements on SMART visa holders are less arduous than the requirements for normal visa holders as they are not required to obtain work permits or obtain re-entry permits to exit and re-enter Thailand.
- SMART visa holders are only required to report to authorities every year as opposed to every 90 days.