In May 2019’s global immigration update, we provide brief details on key changes to immigration rules in global jurisdictions including Europe, Africa & The Asia-Pacific.
IRELAND - Ireland and Uk Sign memorandum of understanding to consolidate reciprocal rights
Ireland and the United Kingdom have consolidated the reciprocal rights in the Common Travel Area (CTA). Previously the CTA rights were based on interpretations of various pieces of legislation and bilateral agreements. This is the first time the rights have been put on a formal footing. The agreement confirms the existing rights and provides that the two countries’ governments will work on new arrangements to ensure equal access to healthcare and education. Irrespective of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, there should be no impact on the CTA and it has been accepted by the EU that Ireland and the UK may seek their own arrangements for free movement between the two countries.
UK nationals travelling to Ireland & Irish nationals travelling to the UK are able to:
- travel freely without passports in the CTA (though some carriers require passports for identification);
- reside in either jurisdiction;
- work in either jurisdiction without needing a permit or similar;
- access social security benefits and health services; and
- vote in local and national parliamentary elections in whichever jurisdiction they are resident in.
GERMANY - Additional requirements set for work permit renewals to confirm minimal salary levels are fulfilled
Immigration authorities in Germany are now requesting documents for the work permit renewal process. Effective immediately, employers of foreign nationals in Germany must now submit copies of the employee’s first two and last two most recent payslips with work permit renewal applications. This is for work permits for categories requiring approval from the Federal Employment Agency which includes ICT and Staff Exchange Categories. German employers employing non-EU national must ensure that these employees are paid at least as much as their German counterparts. This requirement forms part of an initiative by German authorities to ensure that employers are in compliance with minimum salary requirements for non-EU employees.
SOUTH AFRICa - Short-term work authorisation limited to 180 days per calendar years
A new directive has been introduced to limit the short-term work authorisation (s11(2) endorsement) which allows foreign nationals to carry out short term assignments in South Africa. Additionally, in-country renewals of short-term work authorisations will be limited to one per year. A “cooling off” period has been introduced to prevent applicants from immediately applying for successive 11(2) endorsements from abroad.
The s11(2) visa is a popular route for companies to use to send their employees on short-term assignments to South Africa. Companies needing to send employees on short-term work assignments for more than 180 days per year will now have to consider other visa categories including the intra-company transfer work visa or critical skills work visa.
Asia - Pacific
CHINA - Process for obtaining passports and travel permits simplified
Applications for Chinese passports and permits to travel from mainland China to Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan can now be made at any Public Security Bureau in China. Previously, it was a requirement for applications to be made at the office in the district where an applicant’s residence was. The immigration administration has also launched a new online portal for mainland Chinese citizens in need of entry-exit application services, including scheduling appointments at the Public Security Bureau.
NEW ZEALAND - Electronic travel authority system to be introduced from 1st October 2019
Nationals of 60 visa-waived countries will need to obtain an ETA before traveling to New Zealand from 1 October 2019 onwards. This includes those who are just transiting through New Zealand. Australian citizens will be exempt from this requirement.
The process for obtaining an ETA involves a short online application form and paying a fee.
The ETA for New Zealand (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority) is an electronic visa waiver which will become a mandatory requirement for nationals of 60 countries from 1 October 2019.
The process to obtain the ETA will involve completing an online application form. Once approved, the New Zealand ETA will be valid for 2 years and can be used for multiple visits. Applicants will be required to pay a processing fee and tourist tax.
The online application form will include a series of questions such as details of the applicant’s full name, address, date of birth, passport details and travel plans. There will also be sections on the New Zealand ETA form related to health and security.
TAIWAN - potential immigration impact further to legalisation of same-sex marriage
Effective, 24 May 2019, same-sex marriage has been made legal in Taiwan. The effect on the immigration law remains unclear, however, it is possible that same-sex spouses who are nationals of countries which also recognise same-sex marriage and who registered their marriage in their home country may apply for a dependant Alien Resident Certificate. The other spouse will need to obtain a work permit in Taiwan. Currently, same-sex spouses have to make separate applications for their own work permit or student visa.
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.