KN Global immigration update - June 2018

29 June 2018

June 2018

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.

Europe

Belgium - JOINT WORK AND RESIDENCE PERMIT IN THE PIPELINE 

 

Belgian authorities are in the process of finalising legislation to introduce a single work and residence permit. This change is being driven by an EU directive issued in December 2011, (Directive 2011/98/EU) which requires EU member states to adopt a single application procedure to enable non-EU nationals to live and work in the EU.

It is expected that this legislation will come in to force no earlier than October 2018, and will impact non-EU nationals who want to work and live in Belgium for more than 90 days. The aim is to simplify the process for applicants, who will only need to submit one application to obtain a dual work and residence permit. Those who are on short-term employment of up to 90 days will continue to use the ‘dual’ system of applying for separate work and residence permits. Those non-EU nationals who have existing work permits will not need to apply under the new system until their current permit expires. 

 

Africa

KENYA - PILOT PROGRAMME FOR DIGITAL BIOMETRIC SYSTEM ANNOUNCED

 

A pilot programme has been announced by the Department of Immigration Services (DIS) with the view to introducing a new digital Biometric Foreigner Registration (BFR) process.  This will  work alongside the existing manual biometric registration system for Foreign Nationals Certificate (“Alien Card”) applications. The purpose of the digital BFR is to reduce the processing times to obtain an Alien Card.

Applicants who are selected must submit fingerprints and a photograph digitally but will still need to obtain and complete the same document requirements as per the manual system including the online application form through the electronic Foreign National Service (eFNS).  They will then receive a confirming the registration has been processed.  Foreign national employees staying in Kenya for over 90 days must still need to be registered with the eFNS.

Nigeria - BIOMETRICS REQUIREMENT INTRODUCED FOR VISA-ON-ARRIVAL HOLDERS 

 

On 13 June 2018, a new process was introduced in Nigeria, requiring all visa-on-arrival visitors to submit their biometrics upon arrival. Upon arrival, these entrants will have to pay $90 USD to have their biometrics taken, in addition to the mandatory visa fee.

may lead to financial penalties.

 

Americas

CANADA - UAE CITIZENS NO LONGER REQUIRE VISIT VISA 

 

Since 5 June 2018, UAE citizens no longer need a visa to visit Canada. Upon presenting a valid UAE passport and an Electronic Travel Authorisation (“eTA”), UAE nationals will be granted entry to Canada for up to six months. This will allow UAE citizens to visit Canada for the purposes of business, tourism, or family visits. People travelling to Canada for the purposes of employment or study will still need a visa. The requirement to obtain an eTA when travelling to (or transiting through) Canada was introduced in November 2016. Obtaining an eTA is an automated process that allows Canadian authorities to screen passengers before their arrival in Canada, to determine the eligibility of visitors to enter the country, and to determine whether that individual poses a security risk. The eTA process costs $7 and is generally issued on the same business day when the application is made.

COLOMBIA - AUTHORITIES PROCEED WITH MEASURES TO INCREASE FOCUS ON COMPLIANCE AND PENALTIES  

 

Further to a resolution which took effect on 16 May, immigration authorities in Colombia have implemented new measures to enforce stricter immigration penalties and compliance rules. 

For example, changes to a foreign national’s visa status must be reported in the online SIRE platform.  Penalties for non-compliance with immigration regulations have increased significantly and employers will not be permitted to make changes to the mandatory reporting of foreign workers in the SIRE system after 90 days.  It is advisable for companies to review their current policies to ensure that they are in compliance with the new regulations.

Foreign nationals who do not have the correct valid visa may be subject to deportation and other offences that are deemed to be less serious 

MEXICO - IMMIGRATION VERIFICATION VISITS SET TO INCREASE 

 
 
The National Institute of Migration (the “INM”) has recently announced that it will be increasing the number of verification visits it carries out. The purpose of these visits is to ensure that companies who employ migrants can prove the status of those foreign employees, that migrant employees have the proper immigration documentation, and to ensure the company’s existence. The INM has also unveiled a list of factors which might increase the chance of an immigration verification visit being carried out. This might include when: 
 
  • the employer obtains or updates its Employer’s Registration Certificate;
  • the previous immigration verification visit took place over a year ago; or
  • immigration applications are submitted on behalf of migrant workers.
As a result, pending immigration applications may be delayed while the INM carries out these immigration verification checks. 
 

 

 

Asia Pacific

AUSTRALIA - GOVERNMENT VISA FEES TO INCREASE ON 1 JULY

 

Government visa fees for a range of application types will increase after 1 July 2018 in line with inflation. Changes to the visa fees are noted in the table below:

Visa Type

Current VAC (AUD)

New VAC (AUD)

Temporary Skill Shortage - Short Term Skilled Occupation List - Subclass 482

$1150

$1175

Temporary Skill Shortage – Medium and Long-term Term Strategic Skills List - Subclass 482

$2400

$2455

Employer Nominations Scheme/Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme - Subclass 186/187

$3670

$3755

Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) - Subclass 400

$280

$285

General Skilled Migration - Subclass 189/190

$3670

$3755

 

 

Middle East

Israel - changes announced for HI-TECH EMPLOYEE VISAS  

 

The Israeli Minister of Interior has updated regulations regarding the work authorisation process for hi-tech and cyber experts. In February 2018, the Hi-Tech (“HIT”) visa was introduced to attract more foreign talent. Previously, hi-tech employees were exempt from the requirement to undergo the consular processing requirement when applying for a visa, which meant that visa applications were typically processed in around six business days. However, all migrant hi-tech employees must now undergo consular processing before their arrival. It is expected that the processing time will now be between 30-45 days, and the process may involve medical and police clearance checks. 

Further, under Israel’s current short employment authorisation (“SEA”) process, employees can apply for a maximum duration of 45 days per calendar year. However, hi-tech and cyber companies can now apply for a visa for up to 90 days, although they will be required to meet the minimum salary threshold of NIS 19,604 per month. This is double the current average salary in Israel. Applications under the SEA process are expected to take up to 6 business days to process. 

Israel - GOVERNMENT UNVEILS PLANS FOR UNANNOUNCED WORKPLACE INSPECTIONS 

 

The Population and Immigration Authority (“PIA”) of the Israeli Ministry of Interior has announced plans to conduct unannounced inspections of companies that employ migrant workers and refugees. Inspections are set to begin over the next few weeks and will involve a review of employer compliance with labour and immigration law regulations, including checks on work permits and place of work limitations. The PIA has warned that companies found to be in violation of labour or immigration law may face legal action. 

 

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