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Immigration and Global Mobility Update
April 2023

Global
19.04.23
10
Written by
Claeys & Engels offers reassurance in the full range of human resources matters and fast, efficient and pragmatic legal advice.
See below our Immigration and Global Mobility Update, which shows the changes in global mobility and immigration from around the world over the past two months. We hope you find this information useful and we aim to continue to update you regularly.
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Immigration & Global Mobility Update

Every two months, our experts from around the world put together an update on immigration and global mobility practice, setting out recent changes to the law, policies and procedures. See our Update for February 2024, with the new rules for 23 jurisdictions.

Austria

New bilateral framework agreements for teleworking with the Czech Republic and Slovakia

Temporary EU rules governing which social security system applies in cases of regular telework were implemented due to the specific circumstances and travel restrictions during the Covid-19-pandemic. Those temporary rules will expire on 30 June 2023. In anticipation of this deadline, Austria had already established a bilateral social insurance framework agreement with Germany at the end of last year (see our update from December 2022). Similar agreements have now been concluded with the Czech Republic (30 January 2023) as well as with Slovakia (1 March 2023).

The aim of these framework agreements is the bilateral amendment of the general rules for determining the applicable social security system for employees in cases of regular cross-border work between two countries. Under these new specific agreements for cross-border telework, employees may work up to 40% of their total working hours remotely from their home state while staying within the social security system of the country in which the employing entity has its place of business.

Birgit Vogt-Majarek, Partner, Daniel Theiner, Associate,
Schima Mayer Starlinger Rechtsanwälte GmbH

Bulgaria

Changes regarding EU Blue card procedure 

In January 2023 the Bulgarian Parliament adopted a number of changes to its immigration laws, most of which were introduced to implement the EU Directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purpose of highly qualified employment (i.e. the EU Blue Card). The changes include:

  • New eligibility criteria as an alternative to the 3-year university education for EU Blue Card candidates (i.e. certification by a competent authority evidencing equivalent professional experience). The new eligibility criteria cannot be applied in practice yet, and it is unclear if they will be applied in practice at all, due to a lack of clarity as to what official documents could evidence professional experience comparable to higher education.
  • The minimum term for the applicant’s employment contract has been reduced from 12 to 6 months.
  • The maximum term of validity of the EU Blue Card has been increased from 4 to 5 years.
  • All applications for EU Blue Card approval can be filed at the central Migration office in Sofia, irrespective of the address of the employee in Bulgaria. Electronic filing of applications is also expected to be introduced, but only after the needed technical infrastructure is implemented.
  • After the expiration of 12 months of employment as an EU Blue Card holder in Bulgaria, the employee may change employers without necessity of a new permit. The only requirement will be for a notification at the Migration office about the change of employer. (This new facilitated process cannot be applied in practice yet, as the authorities must first approve a standard notification form.)
  • EU Blue Card holders can work remotely, if this is provided in the employment contract or an annex thereto. The employer must notify the Migration office when an employee starts working remotely.
  • Some of the terms for internal exchange of documents between various institutions in the EU Blue Card process have been shortened.
  • Holders of EU Blue Cards issued in another EU country are entitled to enter and stay in Bulgaria for 90 days within a 180-day period and to perform certain limited work activities.
  • EU Blue Card holders are enrolled in the public health insurance system, which means that the employer pays health insurance contributions for them to the Bulgarian State and the employee can use public medical services like Bulgarian nationals.

 

Nedyalka Novakova, Boyanov&Co

Chile

Tourists in Chile

Foreigners who enter Chile as tourists must prove they have sufficient daily funds of a minimum of USD 46 to cover their expenses.

This could be demonstrated, for example, through a certificate from an employer stating the foreign monthly salary, a bank account statement, or payslips, among others.

 

Marcela Salazar, Partner, Munita & Olavarría

Czech Republic

Extension of free access to the Czech labour market for temporary protection holders

Following the extension of temporary protection and tolerance visas issued in relation to the war in Ukraine (until March 31, 2024), free access to the Czech labour market for temporary protection holders has been extended until that same date.

 

Ladislav Mádl, Attorney-at-law, Randl Partners

Europe

How binding are A1 social security certificates?

On 2 March 2023, the European Court of Justice decided a case on the binding value of A1 certificates that were issued by the Slovak and Lithuanian social security authorities for drivers in international transport.

In the past, the European Court of Justice has consistently held that an A1 certificate issued by a Member State binds the other Member States so long as it has not been withdrawn or declared invalid. However, an A1 can be set aside by a national court in certain cases involving fraud.

In the case at hand, the Belgian Social Inspectorate contested the validity of the supposedly fraudulently obtained A1 certificates and initiated criminal proceedings. Following a request to withdraw the A1 certificates, the Slovakian Authorities provisionally withdrew the A1 certificates but kept the employees subject to Slovakian social security until a final assessment would be made after the criminal proceedings.

A question was raised to the European Court of Justice to clarify the binding value of provisionally withdrawn A1 certificates and the impact of fraud.

The court decided that provisional withdrawal at the request of another Member State does not affect the binding value of the A1 certificate. However, a national criminal court of that Member State can be entitled upon certain conditions to set aside the A1 certificate in cases of fraud.

DRV Intertrans BV (C-410/21 and C-661/21)

 

Sophie Maes, Partner, Claeys & Engels (Belgium)

Greece

New Migration Code

A new Migration Code was published on 1 April 2023 and will enter into force on 1 January 2024. Its main points are the following:

  • the centralization of all permits and residence titles provided for in Greek immigration legislation in a single text;
  • the implementation of the 2021 EU Directive on the conditions for entry and residence of non-EU citizens for the purpose of highly skilled employment;
  • the digital submission of documents for the granting or renewal of residence permits; and
  • the general rationalization, restructuring and simplification of the current legal framework.

 

Among other provisions, seasonal workers who are non-EU citizens are now entitled to apply for a residence permit type E6, valid for five years, in order to reside and work in Greece for a period of up to nine months per year.

 

Marilia Pavli, trainee lawyer, Kremalis Law Firm

Ireland

Irish Minister for Justice extends immigration permission for Temporary Protection beneficiaries

The Irish Minister for Justice has extended immigration permissions for all beneficiaries of Temporary Protection to 4 March 2024. From 16 February 2023, non-nationals living in Ireland with a Temporary Protection Certificate will not need to apply for a new Temporary Protection Certificate. Expired certificates may be used as proof of entitlement to temporary protection and related state services until 4 March 2024.

 

Declan Groarke, Senior Associate, Lewis Silkin Ireland

Italy

New immigration regime for entry to Italy

On 10 March 2023 the Italian Government published a decree changing how frequently entry quotas will be set for non-EU citizens to be admitted to Italy for employment (including seasonal) and self-employment purposes. The quotas will be set by the Prime Minister’s Decree every three years (2023-2025) rather than every year.

In addition, the maximum duration for renewals of residence permits issued for indefinite-term employment, self-employment or family reunification is increased from two to three years.

Finally, regardless of the limits established by the entry quotas, entry will be permitted for foreigners who have completed (in their country of origin) professional and civic-linguistic training courses organised by the Ministries of Education and Labour, on the basis of the needs expressed by the trade associations of the industry concerned.

 

Valeria Morosini, Partner, Toffoletto De Luca Tamajo

Poland

Citizens of Ukraine under temporary protection can apply for temporary residence permit (TRP)

As of 1 April 2023 citizens of Ukraine who are under temporary protection in Poland (persons with issued ‘UKR PESEL’) will be able to apply for a TRP if the purpose of their stay in Poland is:

  • work;
  • work in a highly-qualified profession; or
  • conducting business activity in Poland.

 

Normally a TRP is granted for a period of up to three years if all requirements are met. Nonetheless, if a citizen of Ukraine does not meet the requirements for a TRP due to the declared period of stay, a TRP will be issued for one year.

 

Michał Kacprzyk, Senior Associate, Head of Immigration & Global Mobility Practice, Raczkowski

Slovakia

National visas for bus drivers and truck drivers from third countries

In March 2023, the Slovak Government adopted a regulation specifying the conditions for issuing 150 national visas for bus drivers and 5,000 national visas for heavy truck drivers (international and national transport). These visas are for drivers who are citizens of Belarus, Serbia, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, or Uzbekistan. The regulation entered into force on 6 April 2023.

The core conditions for granting and keeping these visas are:

  • the Applicant, at the time of applying for a visa, cannot have temporary residence in Slovakia for the purpose of employment, nor an application for such residence;
  • visas are purpose-based and are valid for a maximum of one year, and they cannot be renewed;
  • once the visa is issued, the employee cannot work for an employer other than that specified in the visa.
  • In addition, the employer employing the Applicant must fulfil the following conditions:
  • is a carrier established in Slovakia for at least ten years;
  • has had no property or personal connection to a foreign legal entity/person for the previous ten years;
  • is not in bankruptcy, liquidation, or restructuring;
  • has not been listed as an illegal employer in the previous five years; and
  • has no debts for taxes, social security, and health insurance contributions.

 

Dajana Csongrádyová, Partner & Marek Bugan, Senior Associate NITSCHNEIDER & PARTNERS, advokátska kancelária, s. r. o.

Sweden

Swedish legal implementation of the new Blue Card EU directive

An EU Blue Card is a residence and work permit for highly skilled foreign employees who want to work within the EU.

The Swedish Government has initiated a legal investigation on how to implement the new EU Blue Card directive into Swedish law. The goal is to improve Sweden’s ability to attract and retain highly skilled employees and facilitate the mobility of these individuals within the EU. In summary, the proposed legal changes are that an EU Blue Card can be granted to a foreigner who has been offered a highly skilled employment with a duration of at least six months. (Previously, the foreigner had to have an offer of employment lasting at least one year.) Further, it is proposed that a foreigner who has been granted an EU Blue Card should also be able to change profession or employer without the obligation to submit a new application to the Swedish Migration Agency. Instead, there is a proposed obligation to simply notify the agency of a change of employer or if there are other changes that affect the conditions of the permit.

The legal changes are proposed to enter into force on 18 November 2023.

 

Annika Aus, Associate, Elmzell Law Firm

United Kingdom

Spring 2023 immigration rule update increases salary thresholds for sponsored workers

The UK Government’s regular Spring Immigration Rule update includes changes to the salary requirements across work routes for certificates of sponsorship assigned on or after 12 April 2023. Changes include (but are not limited to):

  • an increase to the general annual salary threshold for the Skilled Worker route from GBP 25,600 to GBP 26,200 per year;
  • an increase in the general annual salary threshold for the Senior or Specialist Worker (intra-company transferee) route from GBP 42,400 to GBP 45,800 per year;
  • an increase in the minimum hourly rate for the Skilled Worker route from GBP 10.10 to GBP 10.75 per hour;
  • amendments to occupation-specific salary thresholds in line with the most recently published UK salary data .

 

Employers should check the new requirements and ensure their salary offers for sponsored workers are in line with the new rates.

 

Stephen O’Flaherty, Partner, Lewis Silkin

Ukraine

Foreign IT specialists can become e-resident entrepreneurs in Ukraine and pay taxes online

The law on e-residency has come into force in Ukraine. The project will soon be tested for government agencies, after which it is expected to attract about 1000 e-residents. This is an opportunity for e-residents to transfer funds to their account abroad in foreign currency.

The launch of the e-residency project will allow foreigners to:

  • become entrepreneurs in Ukraine with a few clicks;
  • manage their business remotely using modern technologies;
  • sign documents with an electronic signature;
  • open and manage bank accounts remotely; and
  • pay taxes on preferential terms.

 

Note that citizens of Russia and countries on the FATF’s ‘gray’ or ‘black’ lists will not be able to become e-residents.

 

Valeriya Bezpala, Partner, Vasil Kisil & Partners

Authors
Sophie Maes
Partner - Belgium
Claeys & Engels