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Immigration and Global Mobility Update

United Kingdom
See below our Immigration and Global Mobility Update, which shows the changes in global mobility and immigration from around the world over the past few months. We aim to update you regularly.
Austria: To obtain a residence permit, proof of full health insurance cover is required

When applying for a residence permit in Austria, the applicant must prove they have full health insurance cover for the entire duration of their stay. According to the Austrian Supreme Administrative Court, the mere possibility of future insurance is not sufficient. Full health insurance cover must be in place at the time of application.

Birgit Vogt-Majarek, partner at Schima Mayer Starlinger Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Stefan Burischek, associate at Schima Mayer Starlinger Rechtsanwälte GmbH

Belgium: New ‘Single Permit’ soon?

Currently non-EEA/Swiss employees need a work permit and a separate residence permit to be allowed to work in Belgium. This will change once the European Single Permit Directive is implemented in Belgium. According to the new rules, only one procedure will need to be followed to obtain a single permit governing permission to both work and reside in Belgium. But whereas currently it takes an average of four to six weeks to obtain a work permit, the new rules give the authorities four months to make a decision. Employers will also need to allow more time to prepare the application, as unlike today, a criminal record check must be submitted at the beginning of the process. In practice, these records take time to obtain.

There is no official confirmation as to when the new rules will enter into force but they could come in from 1 January 2019 (or even earlier). Applications made before the new rules come into force will be processed under the old ones.

Sophie Maes, partner at Claeys & Engels

Chile: Free voluntary return to Haiti

The Chilean Government has launched its ‘Humanitarian Plan for Orderly Return to Haitian migrants. The Plan was made at the request of leaders of immigrant communities, given the vulnerability and lack of adaptation of some migrants within Chilean society.

The plan is intended for Haitian migrants who are living in Chile but have failed to settle in the country, for example, because they cannot learn the language, get used to the climate, find a job, etc. Yet they do not have the financial resources to enable them to return to Haiti.

To qualify, the migrants must not have any cases pending with the courts in Chile and they must sign a notarised declaration in which they undertake not to return to Chile for the next nine years.

On 7 November 2018, the first Chilean Air Force plane took off, destined for Puerto Principe, Haiti with 160 Haitian migrants.

Marcela Salazar Flores, partner at Munita & Olavarría

Colombia: Registration of foreign workers now required by the Ministry of Labour

On 9 October 2018, the Ministry of Labour issued Resolution 4386, bringing into existence the Unique Registry of Foreign Workers in Colombia (RUTEC). This identifies, quantifies and monitors labour immigration in Colombia and fulfils certain international and national commitments to establish a labour migration policy catering for rising immigation.

Registration of foreign nationals in RUTEC is mandatory for all public and private sector entities hiring foreign personnel in Colombia and it must be done within 120 days of the conclusion of the contract with the foreign worker. For those already in the country, registration must be made within 120 days of 9 October 2018.

The RUTEC must be updated within 30 days, for example when a foreign national changes address.  If a contract is renewed, a new registration must be made.

Fines for breaches range from 1 – 5,000 times minimum wage.

Catalina Santos, partner at Brigard & Urrutia
Diana Monsalve, associate at Brigard & Urrutia

Greece: Court decision on tax residency

The Dispute Resolution Division ruled on 19  October 2018 that even if someone has worked at a University in Greece, made a living in this way and kept tax records, this does not necessarily make them a Greek tax resident.

The court ruling that the Administration must make an overall assessment of criteria beyond financial or professional activities, including: where the person’s principle residence is and the centre of their vital interests.

This ruling follows previous court decisions, which allowed someone who lives abroad but does paid work in Greece, not to be considered Greek tax resident. This enables them to submit to Greek tax only for income obtained in Greece, so avoiding double taxation.

These decisions have clarified that the centre of vital interests is not the only criterion for determining tax residency. Therefore, the centre of vital interests means the personal, financial and social relations of a person. The Administration must assess all other elements, including: being present in the country, the presence of family members, the exercise of professional activity, political activity etc.

Sofia Lakiara, senior associate at Kremalis Law Firm

Hungary: Changes to rules relating to the relocation of third country (non-EU) citizens to Hungary

For temporary assignments of non-EU citizens within a company group, the employees now need to obtain a special permit specifically for assignments, instead of the general residence and work permit. The Hungarian entity must provide evidence that the home and host entities belong to the same group and that the employee was employed by the home company for at least three uninterrupted months immediately prior to the  transfer. The permit may last one year, or for key-personnel and executives, up to three years.

This is part of a new regime, according to which, different permits are issued based on their purpose (traineeship, job-search, entrepreneurship etc.).

Henrietta Hanyu, senior assoicate at CLV Partners

Italy: The so-called “Decreto Salvini”, a decree that tightens up the Italian immigration system is already in force and will be converted into law by 4 December 2018

Decree Law 113/2018 (the “Decreto Salvini”) , entered into force on 5 October 2018, introducing sweeping changes to asylum, immigration and citizenship.

The residence permit for humanitarian reasons has been abolished and replaced by a limited number of residence permits for “special cases”. Further, the public system called “Sprar” for receiving immigrants has been abolished in favour of the Extraordinary Reception (CAS), which tends to offer lower standards.

The reform is already creating concern within the Immigration Association: it argues that a tightening of the regulations on residence could increase those staying in Italy illegally, jeopardising social cohesion and making it more difficult for companies to find workers with a valid right to remain.

Valeria Morosini, partner at Toffoletto De Luca Tamajo e Soci

New Zealand: Changes to pay thresholds and to Immigration New Zealand fees and levies

As part of Immigration NZ’s annual review, remuneration thresholds will increase on 26 November 2018.  This will affect prospective applicants for Essential Skills work visas and Skilled Migrant Category resident visas.  The new thresholds are based on New Zealand’s revised median salary and wage rates, which have increased by 2.9%.

On 5 November 2018, new fees and levies for most visa applications took effect.  Application fees were increased under most visa categories, although a small number were decreased and refugee applicants are now exempt from paying an application fee.

For example, this means that:

  • The fee under the Skilled Migrant Category has increased from NZD 2,470 to NZD 2,710 for applicants in New Zealand; and
  • The fee under the Essential Skills Work Visa (online application) has increased from NZD 298 to NZD 495.

Simon Lapthorne, executive partner at Kiely Thompson Caisley
Hannah King, senior solicitor at Kiely Thompson Caisley

Peru: Only Venezuelan Citizens who have entered Peru by 31 October 2018 can request a Temporary Permit of Permanence

From 1 November it will no longer be possible for Venezuelan citizens to request a Temporary Permit of Permanence, as the last date of entry for this is 31 October 2018.

Those who enter Peru from 1 November will do so for a limited time as tourist, and will be required to apply for any other migratory status.

Jose Antonio Valdez, partner at Estudio Olaechea

Peru: Venezuelan citizens who have a Temporary Permit of Permanence (PTP) must notify the migratory authority when certain changes occur

Venezuelan citizens in Perú under a Temporary Permit of Permanence (PTP) must notify the migratory authority, Migraciones, when certain information changes. They must do so within 30 days of the change. The types of changes requiring notification can be found at www.migraciones.gob.pe.

Migraciones has indicated that non-compliance may result in refusal of a request for a Temporary Permit of Permanence that was in progress, or even the cancellation of a card already issued.

Jose Antonio Valdez, partner at Estudio Olaechea

Portugal: Tech Visas

The Portuguese Government has announced a new programme to attract highly qualified employees to work in Portugal: the Tech Visa.

It focusses on technological areas of activity and complements the Startup Visa (a residence visa for non-EU-Schengen startup entrepreneurs).

The new regulation is scheduled to come into force on 1 January  2019, but has not had full approval yet and therefore the specific terms of its implementation are unknown for the moment.

Bruno Barbosa, partner at pbbr



Russia: New criminal liability for fraudulent migration registration


A law amending the Russian Criminal Code in relation to the fraudulent migration registration of foreign citizens and stateless persons came into force on 23 November 2018.

The law treats the following as fraudulent migration registration:

  • providing knowingly false information or documents;
  • registering at a place of residence with no intention by the migrant of living there and no intention by the host of hosting them;
  • registration at the place of work, when the migrant does not actually work there.

Fraudulent migration registration may involve criminal liability. The penalties include fines of up to RUB 500,000 (approximately  EUR 6,559) or up to three years’ salary; community service for up to three years, along with suspension of the right to hold certain positions or perform certain activities for up to three years; or imprisonment for up to three years, with a similar suspension of rights for up to three years.

Irina Anyukhina, partner at ALRUD Law Firm
Anastasia Petrova, associate at ALRUD Law Firm



United Kingdom: The one thing that is settled in the Brexit deal – Settled Status System for EEA nationals testing phase results


The Settled Status System for EEA nationals and their family members has finished its first stage of private beta testing. The system should automatically gather existing data from government agencies to confirm the applicants’ residence in the UK and thereby their right to stay.

The results have been promising with 96% matched and approved without further intervention required. However, a significant percentage of applicants (1.4%) could not be matched to tax or pensions records due to data entry errors. A further 3% had issues being matched to existing records but we are told that these have since been corrected by entering further search formulas to account for certain name variations common among some nationalities, which are sometimes entered into the UK system differently e.g. “von Hoffen” or just “Hoffen”.

The system is so far on schedule and expected to be fully operational and open to all applicants by 29 March 2018. The Home Office publicly acknowledges that this system will be used even in the event of a no deal situation. The IT development process is too far along not to use it and there are insufficient resources for arranging anything else.

Naomi Hanrahan-Soar, Managing Associate at Lewis Silkin LLP