Argentina: New rules to make it easier for Venezuelans to obtain temporary residence
Criminal record checks have been delayed for months by the Venezuelan authorities and this is causing a black market to appear in the supply of false documentation for people who have submitted temporary residence applications to the authorities in Argentina. To counteract this, starting on 14 February 2018, the Director General for Immigration has been permitted to simplify and even waive relevant documentary requirements, as long as this does not jeopardise public safety. (Disposition DNM 594/2018)
Austria: Supreme Administrative Court: Reference to ECJ for a preliminary ruling concerning cross-border service personnel in passenger trains
Employees of Hungarian companies were deployed in the cross-border passenger train transport to Austria (e.g. in the on-board restaurant, cleaning, etc). The Austrian Supreme Administrative Court (VwGH) raised several questions to the ECJ regarding the applicability of Directive 96/71/EC (Posting of Workers Directive) and the compatibility of restrictive national regulations with EU provisions in such scenario.
The ECJ’s pending decision could be of significance for cross-border land and air transport personnel.
Belgium: Exemption from retaining certain social documents and appointing a liaison officer for certain posted employees
Since 1 February 2018, for posted employees for whom the employer is exempt from making a LIMOSA declaration, there is now also an exemption from the need to retain certain social documents (in particular, equivalent foreign salary documents, a copy of the employment contract, information about the currency in which the employee is paid, an overview of working time and proof of payment).
Note however, that this exemption does not apply to employees in international transport, the assembly and/or installation of goods and urgent machine maintenance work or repair.
There are also new rules on how liaison officers must be appointed for certain categories of employees for who there is an exemption from making a LIMOSA declaration.
Brazil: New Migration Law
The new Brazilian Migration law went into effect on 21 November 2018, introducing significant changes. Since then, the National Council of Immigration has issued 25 new Normative Resolutions and another two are expected to be published during March, regulating the different types of work visas and residence permits. In addition, the Ministry of Justice has just issued seven “Portaria Interministerial”, regulating the obtaining and renewal of different types or residence permits.
There are now only five types of visas: visitor’s (which can be used for tourism, business, transit and certain types of work for up to 90 days); temporary; diplomatic; official and courtesy. In addition to visas, there are the residence permits, which can be used in conjunction with all types of temporary visa.
Now it is also possible to change a visitor’s visa into a residence permit, without the need to go abroad to apply for a work visa, as was the case in the past.
Canada: New Short-term Work Permit Exemption
In June 2017, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada introduced a short-term work permit exemption for certain high-skilled workers entering Canada. The work must be for up to 15 consecutive calendar days in a six-month period, or 30 consecutive calendar days in 12 months, and must be in an occupation listed either as skill type 0 (management roles) or A (professionals) under the National Occupation Classification.
This is a welcome addition to the options available for foreign workers entering Canada.
Colombia: New developments for visa-exempted nationals, plus reciprocity fees
On 14 February 2018 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued Resolution 1128. It entered into force on 24 February and updates the list of non-restricted nationalities to the effect that citizens of
Bosnia & Herzegovina, Qatar and Serbia may enter Colombia without a visa and can obtain an entry and stay permit upon arrival.
The same Resolution requires ‘reciprocity fees’ for Nicaraguan nationals who enter the country without a visa. This means that Nicaraguan citizens entering without a visa will be required to pay an entry fee equivalent to USD 10 at the port of entry. However, because it is meant to be reciprocal, if Nicaragua charges Colombian citizens a different amount, the fee charged by Colombia could change.
Czech Republic: Applicants from outside the EU can now apply for visas for seasonal work
With effect from 15 August 2017 the EU Directives on the conditions of stay and work permits of third-country nationals were transposed into Czech law (Directives 2014/36/EU and 2014/66/EU)
Third-country nationals may now apply for a long-stay visa to do seasonal work for a maximum of six months. They may also apply for an Intra-Company Employee Transfer Card if they are managers, specialists or employed interns.
European Court of Justice (ECJ): fraudsters can no longer hide behind A1 certificates
The ECJ ruled on 6 February 2018 in the case of Altun (C-359/16) that host Member States are not bound by fraudulently obtained E101 (now known as ‘A1’) certificates exempting their holders from the host state’s social security.
Following this, the courts will be entitled to rule that workers posted from other Member States are subject to the host’s social security regime if they establish fraud and the sending state has failed to reconsider the A1 certificates.
Finland: Residence permits for entrepreneurs and highly skilled people
From April 2018, there will be new grounds for residence in Finland: a residence permit can be issued if someone sets up a new ‘growth company’ in Finland.
In addition, it will be possible for a residence permit based on entrepreneurship to be issued regardless of the legal form of the company, and entrepreneurs may also be employed without needing a separate residence permit for an employed person.
The maximum duration of a residence permit for highly skilled professionals has been extended to two years and when extending the permit, there is no need to provide fingerprints again.
Greece: Employers must demonstrate income before hiring from countries outside the EU or EEA
There is now an additional financial requirement on employers to produce a tax summary report showing annual taxable income of at least EUR 20,000 per prospective employee if the employee is an individual or the job is in agriculture, or at least EUR 60,000 if the employer is a legal entity.
This will make it harder to bring specialised labour into the country from outside the EEA, especially for small and medium sized businesses.
The law was changed via Ministerial Decree No 11134/2017, amending Ministerial Decree No 66224/2014. It came into force on 16 March 2017.
Italy: Clarification on unemployment benefit
The National Social Security Body (INPS) clarified in Notice No 177/2017 of 28 November 2017 that if someone on unemployment benefit moves to another EU country to seek employment, they can only continue to receive the benefit for a further three months.
Italy: Clarification on how expat industrial injuries claims will be calculated
The National Institute for Insurance against Industrial Injuries (INAIL) clarified in Notice No 15/2018 of 6 March 2018 that so-called ‘conventional pay’ is the basis for making calculations for insurance prizes for all expatriate employees, including senior executives.
Note that ‘conventional pay’ is the basis for the calculation of the tax and social security contributions for employees who are resident in Italy but working abroad for more than 183 days per year.
Latvia: Government approval of list of professions to which preferential conditions apply
On 20 February 2018 the Cabinet of Ministers of Latvia adopted a list of professions for which there is a labour shortage and for which there will be preferential conditions for obtaining a European Union Blue Card. The list consists of 237 professions in fields such as the natural sciences, IT, manufacturing, construction, shipping and aircraft navigation.
The aim of the regulations is to speed up the process for obtaining work permits and to increase the number of highly skilled professionals available to employers in Latvia.
Netherlands: The Dutch Immigration Authority will from now on carry out inspections of employers employing highly skilled migrants
The Dutch Immigration Authority (IND) is required to supervise ‘recognised sponsors’, i.e. employers who have registered as employing highly skilled migrants. But the supervision has been found to be ineffective and therefore the IND decided to visit and inspect recognised sponsors starting in January 2018. During the visits, it checks whether the recognised sponsor is in compliance with its legal requirements, including whether it is meeting its duties of notification, administration and care.
Oman: Prohibition on expatriate work to be extended
On 28 January 2018, the Ministry of Manpower issued a temporary six-month freeze on work permits and visas for expatriates in 87 jobs over ten different sectors. During the six months, expatriates already employed in Oman can continue to work as long as their work permit and visa are valid, but if they need to renew, they will be unable to do so and will have to find alternate work or leave the country.
Peru: Immigration Authority: Fines for immigration matters may be paid in instalments
By a new rule dated 26 February 2018, some immigration fines may be paid in up to 24 monthly instalments. Note however, that not all fines may be paid in this way.
Peru: The deadline for Venezuelan citizens to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (PTP) has been extended.
Venezuelan citizens who legally enter Peru by 31 December 2018 have until 30 June 2019 to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (PTP) to regularise their immigration status.
PTP holders are allowed to study, work, access health services, open bank accounts, amongst other matters. A PTP is valid for one year.
Poland: Intra-corporate residence permits
A new type of residence permit known as the intra-corporate transferee residence permit (ICT residence permit) came into force on 12 February 2018. A foreigner who holds that permit may (after fulfilling some additional conditions) – work not only in Poland, but also in other EU Member States.
In addition, foreigners who hold ICT permits issued by an EU country other than Poland may – after completing some extra formalities – also start working in Poland, with no need to seek a separate permit from the Polish authorities.
The new permits are available to managers, specialists or trainees who meet certain conditions regarding their professional qualifications and experience. The length of the permit depends on the nature of the work. For managers and specialists, it is issued for three years and for trainees, up to one year.
Poland: Changes to procedure of obtaining work permits and simplified short-term work permits
As from 1 January 2018 there have been new requirements for obtaining work permits. There is a requirement to submit a signed statement confirming that neither the employing company nor its managers have a criminal record for crimes related to the employment of foreign nationals. Documents must also be submitted for applications, to confirm the applicant has relevant qualifications.
Immigration offices now have broad discretion to refuse a work permit application, for example, if they suspect it would be used for purposes other than stated in the application.
The procedure for obtaining a simplified short-term work permit (for nationals of neighbouring countries allowing work for up to six months within a 12-month period) has also changed from 1 January 2018. The maximum duration of the process has been extended to 30 days and a fee of PLN 30 has been introduced for each application. Generally, although obtaining a short-term work permit is still easier than obtaining a regular work permit, the administrative burden of meeting the requirements has increased.
Poland: New “seasonal work permit”
An altogether new type of a work permit was introduced as of 1 January 2018 – a seasonal work permit. It applies only in certain industries where work is dependent on the time of year and weather conditions. It allows work in Poland for a maximum of nine months per a calendar year.
Poland: Higher fines for illegal employment of foreigners
As of 1 January 2018, the maximum fines imposed for the illegal employment of foreigners have been increased from PLN 10,000 to PLN 30,000.
Russia: Registration of foreign citizens during the 2018 World Cup
Due to the 2018 FIFA World Cup to be held in Russia, all foreign citizens arriving in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, Sochi, Kaliningrad, Kazan, Rostov-on-don, Volgograd, Samara, and Saransk between 25 May and 25 July 2018 must register at an address in Russia within one day of crossing the Russian border.
This applies to all foreign citizens, including highly qualified specialists and citizens of Eurasian Economic Union member countries (i.e. Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia) – who normally benefit from simplified requirements.
This requirement was introduced as a security measure.
Saudi Arabia: Prohibition on expatriate work to be extended
The Saudi Ministry of Labour and Social Development
will prohibit work in 12 additional sectors for expatriates from September 2018. The aim is to retain jobs for country nationals and is part of a wider trend restricting access to work in Saudi Arabia for foreign workers.
Spain: Rules on notifying the authorities about the posting of workers
The implementation of the EU Directive 2014/67 on the posting of workers came into effect on 29 May 2017. It provides for electronic filing to be set up to notify postings. In practice, there is no system in place yet, but meanwhile, transfers can be notified through the public platform REDSARA.
The law provides that certain information is required upon notification, including identification and contact details of someone in Spain representing the foreign company involved; an employment contract, payslips, a registry of working hours and a work permit.
Turkey: Companies required to register for a KEP electronic signature account in order to file work permit applications.
A new online system has been created by the Telecommunications Authority so that communications can be electronic from now on. Since Monday 26 February 2018 no new work permit application filing can be made without an electronic account.
United Arab Emirates: Requirement to produce a Certificate of Good Conduct for all new work visas
Since 4 December 2017, all new applications for work permits and residence visas (for employment) require candidates to provide a Certificate of Good Conduct (or similar) from their home country or the country in which they have lived in the last five years. If the applicant has lived in more than one country in the last five years, he or she will need to obtain a certificate from both or all countries.
The certificate must be submitted during the work permit application process and this is likely to slow down new employees joining organisations in the UAE.
United Kingdom: A busy month in immigration: fee changes, Brexit direction and a new visa application system
The UK government has announced that the Immigration Health Surcharge will be increased from GBP 200 to 400 for each year a non-EU migrant wants to temporarily live in the UK. The student rate and Youth Mobility Scheme rate will rise from GBP 150 to 300. The Immigration Health Surcharge is payable by any migrant obtaining a visa with a validity of six months or more. This significantly increases the fees associated with temporary UK visas.
The government has released a policy paper offering clarity on what UK immigration policy may look like for EU citizens after Brexit. It appears the UK government plans to implement a registration system that will allow EU citizens who move to the UK throughout the Brexit process to complete the five-year residence condition required to establish long-term residence in the UK. While the specifics of the plan are not yet finalised, this is the first piece of information from the UK government that provides direction for EU migrants who wish to live in the UK post-Brexit.
The Home Office has rolled out a new method of visa application for Tier 2 and Points Based System applicants called Access UK. Access UK will replace Visa4UK. The benefits to Access UK are shorter application forms, intelligent questioning, streamlined appointment and payment processing and the ability to use a mobile device to complete an application.