In these global immigration updates, we provide brief updates 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.
Germany - New Intra-Company-Transfer (ICT) permit to be implemented
Implementation of the EU ICT Directive will take effect from 1st August 2017. The ICT directive will allow non-EU/EEA individuals who are qualified managers, specialists and graduate trainees to work in Germany or any of the EU countries implementing the directive on a temporary basis provided that salary and work requirements are complied with.
The new directive will allow for the assignment of ICT employees to Germany from another EU country to work within a group affiliated company for a limited duration. Employees must have been working for the company group for at least 6 months to be eligible.
Employees who already hold an ICT permit from another EU country will be able to work in Germany for up to 90 days in a 180 day period once a notification has been filed in advance. A separate process will be applicable for assignments which exceed 90 days, whereby an application would need to be made at the Germany Embassy where the employee is residing.
Spain - New EU Posted Workers Enforcement Directive
The EU Posted Workers Enforcement Directive has been implemented in Spain. The Directive makes changes to the existing directive in the country in relation to foreign workers assigned to work temporarily in Spain.
The changes are as follows :
- Online Notification System
A new online registration portal has been introduced by the Spanish Ministry of Employment and Social Security. The purpose of this is to ensure that companies enter relevant labour and social security related details for each worker before the start of their assignment.
- Designated Representative
It will be mandatory to have a designated contact within the host company in Spain that is responsible for liaising with the Ministry of Employment and Social Security. It will be a requirement to provide the name and contact details of the designated representative.
- Document Retention
The following documents must be kept available prior to the assignee being transferred to Spain:
i. Employment contract;
iii. Confirmation of employee’s working hours; and
iv. Work permit.
All documents concerning the individuals being assigned to work in Spain must be translated into Spanish.
Portugal - Newly implemented EU Directive on the Posting of Workers
Portugal has implemented the 2014 EU Directive on the posting of workers.
EU based employers who assign workers to work in Portugal must notify assignments to the Authority for Labour Conditions. Employers must complete the notification at least 48 hours prior to the employees' start date.
Employers must submit the following information via email:
- Service provider’s identity;
- The posted worker’s identity and number;
- Identity of the liaison in Portugal who can be contacted in the event that further details are required regarding the assignment ;
- Estimated start/end date and duration of assignment;
- Address of the work location; and
- Details justifying the posting
New document retention requirements
The sending company and the host company are now required to keep hard and soft copies of the following documents for the entire duration of the workers’ posting:
- Employment contract;
- Proof of payment (e.g. payslips); and
- Evidence of working hours
The above documents must be in Portuguese or must be accompanied with a certified translation.
A designated representative must be available to act as a point of liaison with the Authority for Labour Conditions in Portugal.
AuSTRALIA - New immigration changes implemented from 1 July 2017
Changes to immigration laws have now taken effect. These include the following:
- Police clearance requirement – All 457 visa applicants are required to have Police Clearance Certificates for any country where they have lived for at least 12 months in the past 10 years
- English language requirement – High earning applicants of 457 visas who earn $96,400 are no longer exempt from English Language proficiency standards.
- Stricter English language requirements – All applicants of permanent employer-sponsored skilled visa streams will be subject to a higher language standard to meet the minimum English language requirements
- Visa application charges (VAC) to increase – VACs have been increased effective from 1st July 2017
- Permanent visas for New Zealanders – A new route to permanent residency has been created that will allow New Zealand nationals who have resided in Australia on or before 19th February 2016 and have continued to reside in Australia for a minimum period of five years and meet minimum salary requirements.
- Amendments to the 457 permit occupations lists – The Federal Government has released updated skill lists for the employer sponsored visa programmes in Australia. These lists are effective from 1 July 2017. Twelve occupations have been removed from the occupations list. There are now 36 additional occupations available for the 457/186 program.
Malaysia - Business and tourist e-visas available for certain nationals
Immigration authorities in Malaysia are now offering an e-visa option for nationals of 10 countries. These e-visas will be suitable for those who are travelling to Malaysia for business and tourism purposes.
The e-visa programme is available for nationals of the following countries:
- Sri Lanka;
- Serbia; and
Specific details of allowable activities on the e-visa and the number of applications that can be made within a one year period are to be confirmed and we will update further on this in future editions of our newsletter.
Qatar - Several Middle Eastern countries introduce entry, residency and transit ban for Qatari nationals
Several Middle Eastern countries have dissolved their diplomatic relationships with Qatar and have imposed entry, residency and transit bans for all Qatari nationals. Moreover, these countries have withdrawn their diplomatic staff from Qatar. Land, airspace and marine borders with Qatar have been closed.
The countries who have undertaken this action against Qatar are: Bahrain; Egypt; Saudi Arabia; United Arab Emirates; Yemen; Libya, the Maldives, Mauritius, Mauritania, Comoros, and Senegal.
The following details highlight the impact of this collective action –
- Qatari nationals will be denied entry, transit and residency through Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE.
- Qatari diplomatic staff in UAE were required to leave within 48 hours of the announcement of this action and Qatari nationals had to leave within the following 14 days
- Bahraini and UAE authorities have banned their nationals from travelling, transiting or residing in Qatar
The relationship between Kuwait, Oman and Qatar currently remains unchanged.
North and Latin America
Canada - Implementation of Global skills strategy programme
The Canadian government have implemented the Global Skills Strategy (GSS) effective from 12th June 2017. This includes the following initiatives:
- Foreign workers may be eligible to apply for the newly introduced two week work permit. The requirements for qualifying for this work permit processing are as follows:
- The foreign worker is Labour Market Impact Assessment exempt under the International Mobility Programme;
- The worker must apply from outside of Canada;
- Their job is either managerial or professional (as ranked by the National Occupation Classification – NOC) or is employer specific; and
- An offer has been submitted by the employer using the Employer Portal and they have paid the compliance fee
- Their Labour Market Impact Assessment is positive for an employer specific job which is eligible for the two weeks processing. This can be done through the Global Talent Stream
Global talent stream
An employer may be eligible for Category A of the Global Talent Stream if:
- They have been referred to the Global Talent Stream by one of the partners of the Employment and Social Development Canada; and
- They are looking to hire ‘unique and specialised talent’.
Category B may be an option for employers if they are seeking to hire highly skilled foreign workers to fill positions in occupations that are found on the Global Talent occupations list
Work permit exemptions
Foreign nationals, who are in occupations that are mentioned in NOC classifications, will be permitted to work in Canada for 15 days in a 6-month period, or alternatively, 30 days in any 12-month period, without the need to apply for a work permit.
Additionally, researchers at publicly funded degree granting institutions who are undertaking projects will not require work permits for up to 120 days in a 12-month period.
United States - President Trump’s travel ban implemented
President Trump’s travel ban has been partially enforced against nationals from 6 countries and refugees. Nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and refugees from any country are subject to the travel ban and therefore prohibited from entering the US. Nationals from these countries will be exempt from the ban should they have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship to a person or entity in the US. It is likely that the majority of employer sponsored foreign nationals should be exempt from the ban.
Additionally, the travel ban does not apply to foreign nationals who:
- were inside the US as of 26th June 2017;
- had a valid US visa as of 8pm EDT on 29th June 2017; or
- had a valid US visa as of 5pm EST on 27th January 2017
Those who do not fall within these exemptions will be barred for 90 days and refugees will be barred for 120 days, unless they are granted a waiver or they are exempt.
The individual’s nationality will be determined by their passport when they attempt to enter the US. The department of Homeland Security has stated that no visas will be revoked on the basis of this travel ban.
If an individual’s valid US visa expires or they leave the US, the foreign national will not be subject to the ban when they apply for a new visa. However, they must meet all the standard admissibility requirements.
In order to qualify for the waiver, the individual will be evaluated on a case- by-case basis. To qualify for the waiver, the individual must show that it is in the US’ interest to admit you into the country. Additionally, it must be proven that they do not pose national security threats and that denying them entry would cause extreme hardship. This waiver can be requested at the individual’s consular visa interview.