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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 : Legislative changes anticipating a possible no-deal Brexit

The Austrian parliament passed a law on 27 February 2019 to ensure that citizens of the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland), who currently live and work in Austria can still live and work in Austria for at least the six months following Brexit, even in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Further, affected individuals will be granted easier access to the ‘Rot-Weiß-Rot‘ Card, which allows third-country nationals to live and work in Austria for a limited period of two years (this permission can be extended upon request). The act shall enter into force at the time the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland) withdrawal from the EU becomes effective in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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

Argentina : New requirement for certificate indicating temporary residence applicants have no criminal record

From 6 March 2019 for temporary residence applications, Argentinean Immigration Authorities are requiring applicants to provide an apostilled certificate indicating they have no criminal record, issued by the national authorities of any country where the applicant has lived for more than 12 months.

The certificate must contain the applicant’s personal data in a complete and clear way, as well as perfectly individualised evidence that the applicant has no criminal record, covering the last ten years.

Florencia Funes de Rioja, partner at Funes de Rioja & Asociados

German Capoulat, associate at Funes de Rioja & Asociados

Belgium : Draft no-deal Brexit legislation

A draft Brexit Act has been submitted to Parliament to cover the worst short-term consequences of a no-deal Brexit. The Act would only enter into force if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and provided the UK reciprocates. It provides for a transitional period until 31 December 2020 during which:

  • The residence rights of UK citizens residing in Belgium (electronic E(+) card) or who have applied to reside in Belgium before ‘Brexit Date’ are guaranteed. Draft Royal Decrees are being prepared to allow those UK citizens to continue to work without a work authorisation (salaried employee) or a professional card (self-employed).
  • Family reunification with UK citizens falling under the first bullet point above will be treated according to the applicable rules before ‘Brexit Date’, even if the application is made after Brexit Date but before 31 December 2020.
  • EU social security Regulations continue to apply.


UK citizens who do not reside in Belgium or who have not applied to reside in Belgium on Brexit Date will be considered as third-country nationals and require authorisation to work and reside unless an exemption applies. In Flanders a no-deal Brexit decree has also been adopted providing exemption from the requirement for a work permit or professional card until 31 December 2020 for UK citizens working in Flanders for a maximum of 90 days, provided similar measures are adopted by the UK.

Both the draft Act and the Flemish Decree provide that the transitional period can be shortened, adapted or amended depending on further developments.

Sophie Maes, partner at Claeys & Engels

Canada : Changes to Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit Programme facilitate the transition from international student to temporary foreign worker

Through the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) programme, international students having studied and completed a programme of at least eight months at certain academic institutions in Canada are eligible for open work permits.

Previously, students had 90 days to apply for their PGWPs after receiving their notices of graduation. As of 14 February 2019, students now have 180 days to apply and are not required to hold a valid study permit at the time of application. Among other things, this means that international students are now able to apply for their PGWPs from outside of Canada.

These changes give international students more time and flexibility in preparing to become temporary foreign workers in Canada.

Katie Van Nostrand, partner at Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP

Krista Antonio, associate at Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP

Chile: Registration codes for foreign nationals

For a two-week period, the Department of Foreign Affairs has introduced terminals in its premises so foreign nationals can obtain a registration code.

This registration code will subsequently (most probably during the second semester of 2019) allow them to apply online for the following:

  • permanent residence;
  • visa extensions;
  • nationalisation.


This should make these procedures more user friendly, as foreign nationals should no longer need to send all required paperwork by courier.

(Note: After this two-week period, foreign nationals can request their registration code from the Civil and Registration Service offices).

Marcela Salazar Flores, partner at Munita & Olavarría

Colombia: Venezuelan nationals may enter, transit and depart from Colombian territory with an expired passport

Pursuant to Resolution 0872 of 2019 issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Venezuelan nationals may enter, transit and depart from Colombian territory, by showing an expired Venezuelan passport. They may also apply for a visa in accordance with current Colombian immigration laws. This measure applies for two years following the expiration date of the passport.

Catalina Santos, partner at Brigard & Urrutia AbogadosDiana Monsalve, associate at Brigard & Urrutia Abogados

Finland: New legislation on residence-based social security benefits

A new Act on Residence-Based Social Security (16/2019) will apply to individuals who immigrate to Finland or emigrate from Finland. It establishes conditions for a person working or studying in Finland to receive residence-based social security benefits. The new Act also sets out the assessment criteria for establishing whether a Finnish person residing abroad is still entitled to receive such benefits from Finland.

Previously, foreign workers had to wait for four months before they could receive residence-based social security benefits. Following the reform workers immigrating to Finland will now have the right to receive these benefits if they earn at least EUR 696.60 (2019) per month when working in Finland.

A person who has worked in Finland for six months may also retain the right to residence-based social security benefits for up to three months after they stop working in Finland.

A person emigrating from Finland may be entitled to residence-based benefits if he or she resides abroad for a maximum of six months. Previously the limit was one year.

All amendments enter into force from 1 April 2019.

Seppo Havia, partner at Dittmar & IndreniusIisa Koskela, associate at Dittmar & IndreniusSamuel Brusila, associate trainee at Dittmar & Indrenius 

Finland: Special Act to protect UK citizens’ right of residence after Brexit

UK citizens’ right of residence in Finland will be guaranteed to continue for a fixed term under a special act, to be prepared in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The special act would allow UK citizens who have registered in Finland no later than 29 March 2019 to maintain their right of residence in Finland until the end of 2020.

Should the UK approve the Withdrawal Agreement, UK citizens living in Finland will be able to continue residing in Finland without any legislative changes until the end of 2020.

The special act has not yet been ratified, but it is intended to enter into force as soon as possible in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Seppo Havia, partner at Dittmar & IndreniusIisa Koskela, associate at Dittmar & IndreniusSamuel Brusila, associate trainee at Dittmar & Indrenius 

Italy: Employers can be required to evaluate geopolitical risks specific to a workplace location when assigning employees abroad

According to the Court of Rome, the evaluation of risks in the workplace that the employer is required to carry out includes risks linked to characteristics of the country in which work is carried out. This includes, for example, so-called ‘general aggravated risk’ linked to the country’s geopolitical situation (civil wars, attacks, etc.). This can trigger criminal and administrative liabilities.

Valeria Morosini, partner at Toffoletto De Luca Tamajo e Soci

Italy: No ‘jurisdictional immunity’ for foreign institutions

An English language institution claimed an Italian judge lacked jurisdiction in litigation initiated by an employee domiciled in Italy as a consequence of the so-called ‘jurisdictional immunity’ given to foreign states and government entities. However, the Italian Supreme Court rejected the claim, affirming that this immunity does not apply to a claim with only economic content and stating that a decision with only financial consequences would not interfere with the exercise of sovereign powers.

Valeria Morosini, partner at Toffoletto De Luca Tamajo e Soci

Italy: Five years of residence is a disproportionate condition to qualify for Lombardy’s ‘baby bonus’

According to the Court of Appeal of Milan, the condition of five years of residence established by the Lombardy Region for both parents to enjoy a financial bonus related to the number of children they have is not reasonable. According to the Court, once an administration decides to intervene in relation to a social need, it cannot introduce disproportionate residence requirements.

Valeria Morosini, partner at Toffoletto De Luca Tamajo e Soci

New Zealand: Confirmation of Electronic Travel Authority requirements

The New Zealand Government has confirmed the introduction of Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) requirements later this year. From 1 October 2019, all air travellers from ‘visa waiver’ countries and all cruise travellers (who are not in general required to obtain a visa before entering New Zealand) will be required to obtain an ETA and pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy. Travellers will be required to complete a simple form and pay their ETA fee and Levy online before travelling to New Zealand. By introducing the ETA, the Government intends to enhance security; facilitate entry at the border; and reduce immigration, smuggling and biosecurity risks. New Zealand citizens travelling on their New Zealand passports and holders of valid temporary or resident visas will not need an ETA.

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

Poland: Higher salary requirement for Blue Card applicants

On 11 February 2019 a new minimum salary requirement for Blue Card applications came into force. The new minimum salary is PLN 6,877.55 gross per month (as opposed to PLN 6,407.27 applicable previously).

The new threshold applies to all applications submitted from 11 February 2019 onwards, and to applications which were pending on the date. It does not apply to Blue Cards issued before 11 February 2019. An employer who has an employee who holds a Blue Card issued before that date does not have to adjust the employee’s salary to meet the new threshold.

Tomasz Rogala, senior associate at Raczkowski Paruch sp. k.;Kinga Polewka, trainee at Raczkowski Paruch sp. k.

Russia: Ministry of Internal Affairs to apply checklists during migration compliance inspections

From 11 March 2019, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation has started to apply special checklists when conducting compliance inspections in organisations to ensure they comply with migration legislation requirements.

The checklists contain ten questions related to organisations’ migration compliance. In particular whether:

  • a company has a permit to employ foreign nationals;
  • a company has concluded a labour or civil contract with a foreign national;
  • a company has notified the local body of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on conclusion of a labour or civil contract with a foreign national;
  • any employee who is working without permission documents is a citizen of a member state of the Eurasian Economic Union.


The checklist also contains questions in relation to organisations that act as hosts or invite individuals to Russia.

Irina Anyukhina, partner at ALRUD Law FirmMargarita Egiazarova, PhD in Law, associate at ALRUD Law Firm

Slovakia: Proposed changes to certain Acts in relation to Brexit

A draft was delivered to Parliament on 13 March 2019 which it is proposed will take effect from the day the UK stops being an EU Member State.

Under the proposals:

  • Individuals who have continuously resided in Slovakia for at least five years will be considered permanent residents and able to stay in Slovakia indefinitely.
  • Those with less than five years continuous residence, will be automatically considered long-term residents (for five years) if they meet the conditions for staying in Slovakia for over three months (work, study, busiss), based on a presumption their residency is in the national interest. If they subsequently reach five years of legitimate continuous residence, they can apply for permanent residence.
  • An employer may employ a UK citizen and family members who have resided and been employed in Slovakia prior to the UK leaving the EU no longer than 90 days after the UK leaves.
  • Individuals with long-term or permanent residence for at least five years in Slovakia will keep the same legal status in legal relationships as Slovak citizens in relation to access rights to employment services.
  • It is proposed residence documents issued to UK citizens and family members prior to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will remain in force until 31 December 2020.


Dajana Csongrádyová, associate at Nitschneider & Partners

United Kingdom: UK government releases plans for post-Brexit immigration system

The government’s ‘white paper’ on the post-Brexit immigration system was published on 21 December 2018 and will be followed by a year of stakeholder engagement before new Immigration Rules are laid.

The paper proposes not to give preference to EEA/Swiss citizens, unless this is negotiated in trade deals. Instead, some of the existing restrictions in the skilled work category will be relaxed, including removing the annual limit and resident labour market test, and dropping the minimum skill level to ‘A-level’ (i.e. high school) equivalent. A review of the shortage occupation list is also planned.

For a transitional period, it is envisaged that low-skilled migrants will be able to come to the UK on an unsponsored basis for up to 12 months, with a 12-month cooling-off period. There are also plans to expand the scope of the youth mobility scheme to include a reciprocal EU-UK scheme.

Andrew Osborne, partner at Lewis Silkin LLP