In these global immigration updates, we provide brief details on key changes to immigration rules in global jurisdictions.
New rules announced for Intra-Company Transfers
The French government has introduced new rules relating to intra-company transfers (ICTs) which will increase the restrictions placed on ICT work permits. This is pursuant to the implementation of France’s 2018 Asylum and Immigration Law, which comes into effect on 1 March 2019.
Under the new law, an assignee must have at least 6 months experience with the relevant employer to be eligible for an ICT work permit (the previous requirement was a minimum duration of 3 months).
A cooling-off period is also being introduced, which will require employees on an ICT permit to leave France on the expiration of their ICT card; they will then have to wait a minimum of 6 months before they are able to apply for a new card.
It is advisable that employers of foreign workers in France consider whether their employees will be affected by the new restrictions and plan accordingly.
Update on dependant status for same sex couples
In our last update (KN Global Immigration Update - January 2019) we discussed the signing of a decree directing government agencies to guarantee equal rights to same-sex couples. Following on from this, the Costa Rican government has issued two new temporary decrees.
The first decree allows Costa Rican citizens, as well as foreign nationals, to include their same-sex partners (married or unmarried) as a dependant on all immigration categories. This means that same-sex partners can now accompany the main applicant to Costa Rica as their dependant without having to apply for a separate status. For foreign nationals, the relationship or marriage must be considered legal in the country where the marriage or civil partnership took place.
The second decree relates to gender identity recognition meaning that foreign nationals will now be able to choose their gender identity on their identification card (DIMEX), and can amend their card to reflect changes in their name, picture or gender. They must be able to provide a document from their home country which recognises any changes.
Fast-track migrant visas available in regional areas
Australia’s Immigration Minister has announced that skilled migrants moving to regional parts of Australia will have the option to expedite their visa application. This is part of a $19 million initiative to improve congestion in Sydney and Melbourne and to help local businesses in regional areas attract more skilled workers.
Under the new proposal, employers will receive priority processing for visa applications for foreign workers in regional Australia. Designated Area Migration Agreements will also be expanded which will assist in regional recruitment of foreign workers.
Government eases requirements for SMART visa program
The Thai government has amended the SMART visa program with a view to relaxing the application process and eligibility requirements for foreign workers entering Thailand. The amendments were approved by the government in November 2018 and their implementation remains on going. Additional fast-track services are to be available to SMART visa holders at international airports that already have a fast-track lane.
The purpose of the changes is to allow for the development of new industry within Thailand and allow for an increase in the number of foreign experts, executives, entrepreneurs and investors entering the country. The SMART visa program, launched in 2018, was developed in order to encourage the immigration of foreign workers to Thailand. The SMART visa has been specifically developed to target workers to work within ten innovative industries, also commonly known as “S Curve” industries. These industries include: next-generation automotive, intelligent electronics, advance agriculture and biotechnology, food processing, tourism, digital, robotics and automation, aviation and logistics, biofuels and biochemical and medical hubs. Recently added industries include alternative dispute resolution services, human resource development for science and technology, and renewable energy and environmental management.
Electronic Visa Rules for Tourists and Business Visitors to be Relaxed
Effective, 15 February 2019, the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Home Affairs in India has released a series of amendments to the e-visa regulations applicable to both individual tourist and business visitors. The system is usable in an additional two airports (Bhubaneswar and Port Blair), raising the total number of airports with e-visa capacity up to 28. Further, foreign nationals who fall ill while on either visa are now able to receive medical treatment without being required to transfer their status to a Medical visa.
A key change to the system is the granting of E-Tourist and E-Business Visas for up to one year with the ability to incur multiple entries. This is in contrast to the old visa which was granted for a maximum of 60 day period with possibility of only two entries.
Under the modifications to the regime, the visa holder’s continuous stay shall not exceed 90 days with the exception of nationals of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan. For these citizens the length of continuous stay during a single visit should not exceed 180 days. No registration is required for any E-Tourist visa holder.
The period of continuous stay under a single visit should not exceed 180 days for those eligible for an e-business visa. Registration will not be required for a stay less than 180 days.
The amendments should contribute to an increased saving of time, cost and resources for both tourists and business visitors. While no information has been released as to the start date for the amendments it is clear that moving forward the Indian government will continue to develop new systems to ensure ease to and from India.
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.