Argentina – Update on coronavirus restrictions on travel and mandatory home isolation
Argentina’s borders will remain closed until 11 October 2020 included, for non-resident foreign nationals.
Airline operations are still suspended. Airlines operating in Argentina are waiting for confirmation of the new date from the National Civil Aviation Administration (ANAC) and the Ministry of Transportation to resume commercial flights. As of 1 September, airlines can sell tickets, but the numbers of the COVID-19 cases have delayed the start date of flights.
International flights: although Argentina has planned a series of frequencies to Europe, the US and Latin America for September and October, these are services that continue to be ‘special’; that is, they do not respond to the regular itineraries of the airlines but to an exception planning that must be authorized in each case by the authorities and that does not allow companies to have a longer-term horizon to plan their operations.
Mandatory home isolation remains in place until 11 October 2020, exclusively for people who reside or are in the metropolitan area (the City of Buenos Aires and Greater Buenos Aires), the Department of General Pueyrredón, Bahía Blanca y Tandil (Buenos Aires Province), the Departments of Manuel Belgrano, Ledesma, El Carmen, Palpalá, Susques, Yavi, Rinconada and San Pedro (Jujuy Province), the department of La Rioja (La Rioja Province), the agglomerates of the cities of Bariloche and Dina Huapi and the department of General Roca (Río Negro Province), the agglomeration of the city of Río Gallegos (Santa Cruz Province), the departments of Capital and Banda (Santiago del Estero Province), the departments of Río Grande and Tolhuin of the Province of Tierra del Fuego, Antartida and the South Atlantic Islands.
The rest of the country remains in the ‘social, preventive and compulsory distancing’ phase, during which a minimum distance of two metres must be maintained between people, and all sanitary measures must be complied with.
Anyone arriving in Argentina (nationals and residents) must home isolate for at least 14 days.
(Border restrictions: Decree 274/2020, Decree 331/2020, Decree 365/2020, Decree 409/2020, Decree 459/2020, Decree 493/2020, Decree 520/2020, Decree 576/2020, Decree 605/2020, Decree 641/2020, Decree 677/2020, Decree 714/2020 and Decree 754/2020. Domestic restrictions are contained in Decree 260/2020, Decree 325/2020, Decree 355/2020, Decree 408/2020, Decree 459/2020, Decree 493/2020, Decree 520/2020, Decree 576/2020, Decree 605/2020, Decree 641/2020, Decree 677/2020, Decree 714/2020 and Decree 754/2020. Home isolation provisiosn are in Decree 260/2020.)
Argentina – Coronavirus update on consular procedure and immigration
The suspension of consular visa applications remains in force until further notice.
The National Directorate of Migrations has partially reopened. Only temporary residence extension and permanent residence applications of foreign nationals already in Argentina are being processed. The processing of new residence applications in Argentina is suspended until 11 October 2020.
The National Directorate of Migrations has arranged to extend the validity of provisional, transitory, and temporary residence permits expiring between 17 March and 12 October for an additional 30 days.
(Suspension of visa applications: Disposition 1644/2020. Extension of permits: DNM provision 1714/2020 – DNM provision 1923/2020 – DNM Provision 2205/2020, DNM Provision 2434/2020, DNM Provision 2631/2020, DNM Provision 2916/2020 and DNM Provision 3126/2020)
Austria – COVID-19-related entry restrictions to Austria extended to year end
The following restrictions are in force regarding entry into Austria until 31 December 2020:
Austria – Planned simplification of Austrian Settlement and Residence Act
According to a new government draft dated 2 September 2020, the Austrian legislator currently plans the following simplifications, which are supposed to become effective on 1 January 2021.
‘Red-White-Red’ Card: the requirement on the applicant to prove s/he has local accommodation when requesting a ‘Red-White-Red’ Card will be removed.
People in the extended circle of relatives of EEA citizens will already be allowed to pursue independent gainful employment based on a ‘settlement permit’ from the beginning of their stay in Austria. This category includes life partners who can prove the existence of a durable relationship and other relatives of the EEA citizen who have already received actual financial support from the EEA citizen in his or her country of domicile; who have already shared a home with the EEA citizen in the country of domicile; or for whom serious health reasons make personal care absolutely necessary.
These individuals will be able to submit their application for a residence title in Austria (instead of applying from abroad). In addition, the proof of local accommodation previously requested will no longer be required and the maximum decision period of authorities about the application will be reduced to 90 days. After two years of legal settlement and if the legal requirements are met, these individuals will be eligible for ‘Red-White-Red-Card plus’ residence status irrespective of any quota.
Birgit Vogt-Majarek, partner, Lisa Hittinger, associate, Schima Mayer Starlinger Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Belgium – Additional obligations in some sectors for employers or users of employees living abroad who temporarily work in Belgium
In the framework of the combat against the consequences of the coronavirus, since 24 August 2020, employers and those who temporarily use employees or self-employed individuals living or residing abroad to perform work in Belgium in the construction, cleaning, agriculture, horticulture and meat sectors have been obliged to keep an updated register from the start of the work until the fourteenth day after the end of the work. It must contain the following data:
The obligation to register does not apply to the employment of frontier workers, nor does it apply if the employee or self-employed person living or residing abroad stays less than 48 hours in Belgium.
The data may only be used to combat the spread of the coronavirus and must be destroyed 14 days after the end of the work.
In addition, if applicable, the employer or user must ensure that the Public Health Passenger Locator Form (https://travel.info-coronavirus.be/public-health-passenger-locator-form) has been effectively completed before the start of the work.
These measures currently apply until 31 October 2020.
Belgium – Visas and essential travel to Belgium from outside the EU, the Schengen states and the UK
Since the end of August 2020, Belgian embassies and consulates are once more issuing type D- B34 visas in addition to type D’s – B 29 (European Blue Card Holders) visas. As a result, visas for highly skilled employees and other employees who have been granted a single permit to work in Belgium for more than 90 days are being issued again. Employees with this type of visa can travel to Belgium again from outside the EU, Schengen States or the UK.
In addition, since 11 September 2020, essential travel from outside the EU, the Schengen States and the UK has also been extended to:
For travel and stay for more than 90 days, a type D visa is required for third-country nationals.
For travel and stay for less than 90 days, a certificate of essential travel issued by the relevant Belgian embassy or consulate is required for third-country nationals who are exempt from a Schengen visa or who have a Schengen visa issued before 18 March 2020.
Travellers to Belgium must complete a Public Health Passenger Locator Form and comply with the applicable sanitary measures (COVID-19 test and quarantine).
Chile – Requirements for online applications eased
From 6 August 2020, some of the requirements for online applications for Permanent Residence, Temporary Visa Extensions, Nationalisation Cards, Duplicates of the Permanent Resident Certificate, and for modifying registration data, have been rescinded.
For example, a personal photograph will no longer be required by the Department of Foreign Affairs to apply for a Permanent Residence, Temporary Visa Extension or Nationalisation Card.
For more information about immigration requirements please visit here.
Catalina González, associate, Marcela Salazar, partner, Munita & Olavarría
Chile – New Electronic Visa Stamp Certificate introduced
From 23 September 2020, all foreign nationals whose visas have been granted but not yet stamped into their passports, will have to obtain an Electronic Visa Stamp Certificate.
The Electronic Certificate must be obtained through the immigration office website. It can be requested by main visa holders or their dependents. Dependents can only can request the certificate from one week after the main holder has obtained his or hers.
China – Restrictions on entry of foreign business travellers due to COVID-19 relaxed
Though the temporary restriction on the entry by foreign nationals holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits in place since 28 March 2020 has not yet been officially cancelled, the Chinese government has now opened up a reciprocal ‘fast track’ to business and government official travellers from certain countries (e.g. Korea, Germany, Singapore). Under this system, qualified individuals can travel between two countries if they follow the required application procedure.
On 12 August 2020, the State Council announced that the government is taking measures to further facilitate the entry of foreign business travellers who come to China to engage in necessary economic, trade, scientific and technological activities by opening up the ‘fast track’ to more countries. This announcement reveals that restrictions on entry of foreign business travellers have been loosened gradually, but in practice, whether or not a foreign individual’s entry to China is allowed should still be examined on a case by case basis, depending on the applicable policies and practices.
China – Entry by foreign nationals with three categories of valid Chinese Residence Permits allowed from midnight on 28 September
On 23 September 2020, the Chinese government issued an announcement regarding entry by foreign nationals holding valid Chinese residence permits.
According to this announcement:
Germany – West Balkan Immigration Regulation will probably be extended and amended
The West Balkan Immigration regulation currently enables citizens of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia to obtain a combined work/residence permit for Germany if they apply for it at the competent German mission abroad (s19c paragraph 1 of the Residence Act, s26 paragraph 2 of the Employment Regulation). The required consent of the Federal Employment Office can be granted for any work (e.g. on a local employment contract or on a secondment) regardless of the person’s qualification, but is subject to a labour market test.
As the West Balkan regulation is limited in time until 31 December 2020, it is set to be extended until 31 December 2023, with a new maximum number of 25,000 Employment Agency consents to be issued per year. The German Federal Council (Bundesrat) is expected to approve the extension and amendment on 9 October 2020.
The West Balkan Immigration Regulation does not concern applications for other work/residence permits from citizens of the above-mentioned countries, such as for students and (highly) skilled workers (e.g. Blue Cards).
Hungary – Entry ban on travel to Hungary in force until 1 November
The Hungarian Government has introduced new travel restrictions with regard to the coronavirus pandemic, which regulate entry into Hungary from 1 September 2020.
The restrictions do not apply to border crossing by freight traffic or with an official passport, and for those who can prove they have contracted COVID-19 within six months prior to the border crossing.
Hungarian citizens and foreign nationals with equivalent status must submit to a possible medical examination upon entry, followed by a ten-day mandatory quarantine. Exemption from quarantine may be granted after two negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR tests.
Non-Hungarian citizens cannot enter Hungary using passenger traffic. There are exceptions from this general rule regarding business and economic purpose travel, commuters, travellers passing through Hungary, military convoys, and sports and cultural events.
The relevant police authority may also authorise entry into Hungary upon request of the foreign national for certain personal and official reasons defined in the legislation. The rules regarding possible medical examination upon entry, mandatory quarantine and the conditions for exemption from quarantine also apply.
On 1 October the ban was extended to 1 November.
Italy – Italy has implemented the revised Posted Workers Directive
On 15 September 2020, Italy implemented the revised Posted Workers Directive 2018/957 of 28 June 2018, with Legislative Decree no. 122/2020.
The aim of the new Italian law is to strengthen equal treatment between ‘local’ and posted workers. In particular, in order to do so, the new regulation:
extends the list of employment conditions for which the law of the host Member State (Italy) must be applied;
Kazakhstan – Kazakhstan gradually eases quarantine but restrictions still in place
In June-September 2020, Kazakhstan resumed flight connection with a group of countries (international regular and non-regular (evacuation and charter flights).
Individuals arriving in Kazakhstan from abroad must take a COVID-19 test within 48 hours from the date of arrival (unless they have a negative COVID-19 test result (PCR method) dating from within five days before crossing the Kazakhstan border) or stay in home isolation for 14 days. There is an exception for those individuals arriving by air from China, South Korea, Japan, Georgia, Thailand, Hungary, India, Germany, Czech Republic, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Belorussia, Turkey, Egypt, Ukraine, Netherlands and Russia. Travellers from these places must only to fill in the questionnaire and pass temperature monitoring.
Until 1 November 2020, the unilateral visa-free regime for citizens of 57 countries has been suspended (except for the EAEU countries and other countries with visa-free entry under international agreements).
Expired visas, temporary and permanent residence permits, and work permits will be valid until 1 November 2020. Foreign nationals will be able to leave Kazakhstan according to these documents. Penalties will not be applied until this date. However, in order to stay in the country after this date, foreign nationals and their employers should extend their expired permits on the usual grounds before it.
The rules for obtaining work permits, temporary and permanent residence permits, as well as providing information on foreign nationals staying in Kazakhstan have also changed.
Luxembourg – Immigration derogation measures in the context of COVID-19 extended
In June Luxembourg introduced a temporary extension to the effects of certain derogatory measures taken in the context of the fight against COVID-19 in immigration matters. The provisions are as follows.
The stay of third-country nationals holding a short-stay visa was considered as ‘regular’ until 31 July 2020. This also applies to third-country nationals not subject to any visa requirements whose stay has just exceeded ninety days after 1 March 2020.
Luxembourg – Current restrictions on travel to Luxembourg
Following the European Commission recommendations on temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU, the Law and related regulations also provide for:
Since 12 August 2020, any citizen of a third-party country aged eleven or over who would like to travel by air to Luxembourg from a third-party country for which temporary restrictions have not been lifted must present a negative test result for Covid-19, failing which they may be refused entry to the country.
The test must have been carried out within the 72 hours prior to the flight; if applicable, it must be accompanied by a translation in one of Luxembourg’s official languages or in English.
Family members of a citizen of the European Union, the United Kingdom, San Marino, Andorra, Monaco and the Vatican/Holy-See, as well as other states that have signed up to the European Economic Area Agreement and the Swiss Confederation who have a right to stay in one of the member states listed above are not affected by this measure.
Since 23 September 2020, to track the evolution of the spread of COVID-19, any passenger entering Luxembourg by air must, within 48 hours before arrival, fill in the passenger tracking form established by the Ministry of Health. This contains: identification data (surname, first names, date of birth, sex) of the person and of any legal representatives; contact details (address, telephone number and email address); the social security scheme to which they are affiliated and identification number; nationality ; passport or identity card number; country of origin; date of arrival; flight number and seat occupied; address of residence or the place of stay if the person stays more than 48 hours in Luxembourg.
Air carriers automatically send the Director of health or his delegate the tracking form for any passengers entering Luxembourg by air. The data of individuals concerned is anonymised 14 days after receipt.
The Netherlands – Lower salary threshold for knowledge migrants after ‘search year’ relaxed
A condition for recent graduates in possession of a ‘search year’ residence permit was that they should find a knowledge migrant role before the expiration date of the search year permit to remain eligible for the lower salary threshold.
‘Knowledge migrants’ are employees who do not have EEA or Swiss nationality who come to the Netherlands to carry out paid employment based on a local employment contract and earn a minimum monthly gross salary of EUR 4,612 excluding holiday allowance or a minimum monthly gross salary of EUR 3,381 excluding holiday allowance when the employee is younger than 30 (these amounts change every year in January). The salary for the function in the Netherlands should conform to Dutch market standards. The salary for knowledge migrants after ‘search year’/graduation should be at least EUR 2,423 gross per month excluding holiday allowance (changes in January).
These conditions were relaxed from July. The lower salary threshold will also apply when graduates meet the following conditions:
New Zealand – New border entry exceptions for critical roles and changes to Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme
The New Zealand Government is taking steps to address critical workforce gaps in the wake of COVID-19 border restrictions.
The Government has established border exceptions for a limited number of veterinarians, deep sea fishing crew, as well as agricultural and horticultural machinery operators to enter New Zealand to fulfil urgent industry needs.
Additionally, the Government has announced that Supplementary Seasonal Employment (SSE) visas will be automatically given to approximately 11,000 working holiday visa holders in New Zealand with visas expiring between 1 October 2020 and 31 March 2021. These visas will allow those individuals to work in horticulture and viticulture roles where there are not enough New Zealanders available to do this work. Employers can take on these workers when there are unfilled Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme spaces with an RSE employer, or there are unfilled roles available with an accredited SSE employer.
Simon Lapthorne, Executive Partner, Anthony Kamphorst, Solicitor, Kiely Thompson Caisley
Peru – Limited border opening for Peru from 5 October 2020
Starting from 5 October, Peru will open its borders to a few specific Latin American countries and cities: Guayaquil, La Paz, Quito, Bogota, Santa Cruz, Cali, Medellin, Panama, Asunción, Montevideo, and, Santiago. It has been indicated that it will be a requirement that passengers flying into Peru from these countries provide a negative PCR test for COVID-19 valid for 48 hours, however the specific protocols have not yet been published. At the moment, international flights to and from countries in Europe, Asia and the United States are not allowed.
Poland – Current COVID-19 travel restrictions in Poland
From 13 June 2020, Poland has restored full border traffic within the internal borders of the EU. Travellers coming from EU countries have the right to enter and transit through Poland. They do not have to undergo quarantine.
The restrictions on entry of foreign nationals to Poland and quarantine still apply at the external borders of the EU (i.e. Ukraine, Belarus and Russia). The Polish authorities have prepared an exhaustive list of categories of individual who may enter Poland. Some of them can be exempted from the quarantine obligation if they cross the border in the course of professional activities.
International flights are no longer suspended, however airline operations from restricted countries are banned from landing in Poland. The list of restricted countries changes every two weeks. Domestic air traffic is possible.
International rail traffic within the internal borders of the EU is open, however, the restrictions still apply to international rail travel outside the external borders of the EU.
Portugal – New residence card model approved
On 29 September, a new residence card model for foreign nationals entitled to reside in Portugal as well as to British nationals that benefit from the rights set forth in the Withdrawal Agreement was approved (by Ordinance 225/2020). In addition, the new residence registry certificate and residence card pursuant the Citizens’ Right Directive were also approved.
Romania – Some exceptions introduced to work permit requirements for foreign workers
According to a new piece of legislation, if the other conditions prescribed by law for employment of foreign individuals are met, no employment authorisation is required for citizens of Moldova, Ukraine and Serbia who are employed in Romania based on a full-time individual employment contract. This exception is limited to a maximum period of nine months in a calendar year.
As a side note, the rule regarding the prolongation of validity for residence permit for the duration of the state of alert in Romania and a further period of 90 days from the moment the state of alert ends, still applies. This has currently been prolonged for another 30 days starting 15 September 2020).
Russia – Suspension of migration terms extended
On 23 September 2020, the Russian President signed a Decree extending a temporary suspension of migration terms set previously on 18 April.
According to this Decree, the validity period of migration documents (such as visas and residence permits) for all foreign nationals legally residing in Russia, is automatically extended if they expire from 15 March until 15 December 2020.
Russia – List of states whose citizens can enter Russia while borders are still closed extended
Starting from 1 August 2020, the Russian Government has gradually supplemented the list of countries whose citizens can enter Russia from the state of their citizenship/residence (in addition to individuals with a residence permit. As of 29 September 2020, this list includes the following states:
Travellers arriving from these countries and Russian citizens are exempted from the compulsory 14-day COVID-19 self-isolation. However, foreign and Russian citizens must undergo COVID-19 testing within three days after arrival (or provide a valid negative test result).
Russia – New unified electronic visa introduced
On 11 August 2020, the Federal Law introducing the new type of visa for entering Russia came into force.
A unified electronic visa is a single-entry visa for following purposes: guest, business, tourism, scientific, cultural, social and political, economic and sportive actions or corresponding ties and contacts.
This visa may be used for 60 days from the date it is issued. The permitted duration of stay in Russia is up to 16 days starting from the day of entry.
This electronic visa is issued for foreign citizens from a list of states that will be defined by the Russian Government. The Government will also establish the procedure for issuing this visa. The first unified electronic visas will be issued beginning from 1 January 2021.
Sweden – Updated service for employers reporting posted workers
The Swedish Work Environment Authority has presented an updated service for employers to make it easier to provide the right information relating to posted workers.
As described previously, the information requirement changed after 30 July 2020 and an employer who is about to post an employee must, for example, report it no later than the day the employee begins the work in Sweden. The form for the application and other relevant information are now available through the Swedish Work Environment Authority’s webpage.
UK – Three-month countdown for the UK’s new immigration system
Employers should ramp up their preparations ahead of the UK’s post-Brexit immigration system launching on 1 January 2021, including: