KN Global Immigration Update – April and May 2021

28 May 2021




‘Working in Belgium’ platform implemented

A new platform which enables the electronic filing and monitoring of applications for Single Permits, EU Blue Cards and EU Intracompany Transfer permits is being introduced to help improve the Belgian immigration system.



Streamlined immigration system introduced in Bulgaria

Bulgaria’s immigration application process is being streamlined, effective from 1 June 2021. As a result application deadlines will become tighter and new checks are being introduced. Processing times may increase whilst the new system is being implemented.



New French work permit application programme

Since the beginning of April, French employers have been required to submit work permit applications online using various new online platforms.  Technical issues are being expected as the authorities get to grips with the new systems.



Automatic renewal of immigration permissions in Ireland

Irish authorities have announced that foreign nationals’ with permissions due to expire between 21 April 2021 and 20 September 2021 will automatically be extended until 20 September 2021 due to processing delays incurred by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Government facility quarantine introduced in Ireland

People arriving in Ireland from high-risk countries without a negative Covid-19 PCR test will be required to quarantine in a government facility. Failing to do so when required will result in penalties being imposed.



Netherlands expands activity rights for UK national business visitors

UK national business visitors are able to perform a greater number of business activities in the Netherlands than those generally permitted for business visitors. The activities are based on the EU-UK Free Trade Agreement and include the ability to undertake technical, scientific and statistical research; receive training in techniques and work practice amongst other now permitted activities.




USCIS likely to suspend the need for biometric appointments

Whilst an official announcement is yet to be made, it is anticipated that USCIS will not require biometrics for certain applicants (H-4, L-2, and E spousal employment authorization documents) from mid May 2021 to mid-May 2022.

USA Covid-19 travel ban extends to India

India has been added to the list of countries already under a US travel ban (including Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, countries in the European Schengen Area, South Africa, and the UK). From 4 May, foreign nationals who have been present in India within 14 days of travel to the USA will now be forbidden from entering, unless exempt.

Final Action Dates to be honoured for Employment-Based Categories by USCIS

Foreign nationals will be able to submit employment-based adjustment of status applications with a priority date that is earlier than the Final Action Dates included in the State Department’s May 2021 Visa Bulletin.




New domestic job advertisement requirements imposed on employers in the Philippines

Filipino employers are now required to publish vacancies in a newspaper at least 15 days before making an application for an Alien Employment Permit for a foreign worker. A notarised affidavit confirming that there were no suitable Filipino applicants for the role will have to be submitted. Any foreign nationals currently holding an AEP who change position or employment will have to apply for a new one. Anyone found flouting the rules will be barred from filing AEP applications for 5 years and could face fines.



Rules on obtaining re-issued Overseas Citizens of India cards are relaxed

The majority of OCI cardholders will no longer have to obtain a new OCI card each time they obtain a new passport. Those whose cards were issued before they reached the age of 20 will however still need to notify the government, as will those who are over 50 years old and OCI cardholders married to Indian citizens or other OCI cardholders.



Dependants of most foreign nationals seeking work in Russia are no longer eligible

Only Highly Qualified Specialist (HQS) Permit holders will be able to sponsor eligible dependants in Russia following a change of legislation. Dependants for all other (non HSQ) workers can stay for 90 days out of 180 under a guest visa. Those holding dependent status currently will not be allowed to renew their status on expiry.


Middle East

Immigration delays due to Eid

Delays are expected in the processing of foreign nationals’ immigration applications in mid-May in MENA states, Turkey and parts of Asia due to Eid-al-Fitr celebrations.

Saudi Arabia

Details released about Saudi Arabia Labor Reform Initiative

Saudi authorities have announced new details addressing process requirements for employment sponsorship transfers, Exit Re-Entry Visas and Final Exit Permits in relation to the Labor Reform Initiative implemented in March 2021.



No sponsorship required for UAE remote working visa

Like the remote work scheme introduced for Dubai in October 2020, discussions are underway about a new Remote Working Visa which would permit foreign nationals to live and work anywhere in the UAE for 1 year whilst being employed by foreign based companies.


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