mobility
  • Insights

Immigration and Global Mobility Update / Feb 2021

Authors
Germán Capoulat
Partner - Argentina
Funes de Rioja & Asociados
Birgit Vogt-Majarek
Partner - Austria
Schima Mayer Starlinger
Lisa Hittinger
Associate - Austria
Schima Mayer Starlinger
Sophie Maes
Partner - Belgium
Claeys & Engels
Elitsa Pophlebarova
Associate - Bulgaria
BOYANOV & Co.
Catalina González
Associate - Chile
Munita & Olavarría
Catalina Santos
Partner - Colombia
Brigard Urrutia
Diana Monsalve
Brigard Urrutia
Andrej Žmikić
Attorney - Croatia
Divjak Topić
Bahtijarević & Krka
Ladislav Mádl
Attorney - Czech Republic
Randl Partners, advokátní kancelář, s.r.o.
Karina Paatsi
Partner - Estonia
COBALT (Estonia)
Heili Haabu
COBALT (Estonia)
Guillaume Bordier
Partner - France
Capstan Avocats
Catherine Leung
Catherine Leung
Partner - Hong Kong
Lewis Silkin (Hong Kong)
Henrietta Hanyu
Managing Associate - Hungary
CLV Partners
Vijay Ravi
Vijay Ravi
Senior Partner - India
Kochhar & Co.
Sabrina Sawhney
Kochhar & Co.
Declan
Declan Groarke
Solicitor - Ireland
Lewis Silkin (Ireland)
Valeria Morosini
Valeria Morosini
Partner - Italy
Toffoletto De Luca Tamajo
Yuliya G. Chumachenko
Partner - Kazakhstan
AEQUITAS Law Firm
Simon Lapthorne
Executive partner - New Zealand
Hannah King
Associate - New Zealand
Kiely Thompson Caisley
Ximena Ramos
Associate - Peru
Estudio Olaechea
Michał Kacprzyk
Senior Lawyer - Poland
Raczkowski
Bruno Barbosa
Partner - Portugal
pbbr
Gabriela Dinu
Managing Associate - Romania
Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen (NNDKP)
Teodora Gogu
Associate - Romania
Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen (NNDKP)
Irina Anyukhina
Partner - Russia
ALRUD
Margarita Egiazarova
Senior Associate - Russia
ALRUD
Milena Jakšić Papac
Partner - Serbia
Karanovic & Partners
Marek Bugan
NITSCHNEIDER & PARTNERS
Dajana Csongrádyová
NITSCHNEIDER & PARTNERS
Andrew Osborne
Partner - United Kingdom
Lewis Silkin
United Kingdom
08.02.21
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Argentina

Current COVID-19 restrictions on travel

Argentina’s borders will remain closed until 28 February 2021 included, for non-resident foreign nationals.

Administrative Decisions (2252/2020, 2/2021 and 44/2021 issued by the Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers) have amended the rules on travel and quarantine in Argentina.

Until 28 February 2021 the following applies:

The pilot test for tourism from neighbouring countries (introduced by Administrative Decision No. 1949/20) has been suspended.

Authorisations that had been granted for direct flights on air routes from and to the UK and Northern Ireland are suspended for passengers. The Decisions also provide that the Ministry of Transport (through the National Civil Aviation Administration) may expand the list of countries on prior intervention from the national health authority.

Authorisations that had been granted for entry and exit through authorised border crossings are suspended, except for the entry of Argentine residents and citizens and special authorisations granted by the Immigration Office for working reasons (paragraph 2, article 1 of Decree 274/20 and its amendments). The border crossings of San Sebastián and Integración Austral, both located in the Province of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and the South Atlantic Islands, are exempt from this suspension.

The following categories of people are authorised to enter Argentina:

  • carriers or crew members of any nationality;
  • nationals and residents of Argentina;
  • foreign nationals expressly authorised by the National Directorate of Migrations to carry out work or commercial activity; to fulfil an official diplomatic mission; to participate in sporting events, or for family reunification with Argentines or residents;
  • foreign nationals declared to be in transit to other countries who will remain at the international airport for less than 24 hours.

 

Conditions for entry to Argentina

For the very limited categories of traveller authorised to enter Argentina currently (see above), the following conditions apply.

Electronic Affidavit for entering Argentina

All travellers must submit an Electronic Affidavit. It is available on the official site of the National Directorate of Migrations and must be completed 48 hours before boarding.

PCR tests

All travellers must take a diagnostic test 72 hours prior to international travel and receive a negative result for COVID-19 to present with the Electronic Affidavit, except:

  • Carriers and crew members.
  • Individuals who have received a COVID-19 diagnosis in the 90 days prior to entering the country, confirmed by laboratory, will not need to present a negative PCR test. Instead, they must prove the results of the diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2 and also provide evidence of medical discharge after more than ten days have passed since the diagnosis.

 

Those who cannot take a PCR test where their journey originates for a duly justified cause must have a medical certificate that proves that they do not have symptoms compatible with COVID-19, also issued at least 72 hours before travel. This must accompany the Electronic Affidavit. These individuals must also take a PCR test at their destination.

Quarantine

All travellers must comply with a ten-day quarantine after the negative PCR test was performed.

Those who are required to have a negative PCR at source issued within 72 hours before boarding, must serve seven or more days of quarantine at their destination up to a maximum of ten days from the date the test was carried out.

Those who cannot take a PCR test where their journey originates must prove they do not have symptoms with a medical certificate and take a PCR test at their destination as soon as possible upon arrival in Argentina. They must complete a mandatory ten-day quarantine.

Exceptions to the quarantine requirement are as follows:

  • international carriers and crew members in the exclusive exercise of their activity;
  • diplomats and officials exclusively to carry out an official mission authorised by the National Directorate of Migrations;
  • athletes only to participate in sporting events authorised by the National Directorate of Migrations, with protocols proposed by the organisers, approved by the national health authority and supervised by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports;
  • Non-resident foreigners expressly authorised by the National Directorate of Migrations to carry out an essential work or commercial activity;
  • Argentinian nationals or foreign nationals in transit to other countries remaining for less than 24 hours in national airports.

 

These exceptions only apply to the extent the individuals concerned comply with the protocols set or to be set by the health authority in a timely manner.

The health authority may order additional measures at any time during the stay of any of the excepted individuals listed above when it suspects the existence of a risk of spreading the virus, especially when these individuals come from countries where the new viral variant is circulating.

Other and local conditions

Other requirements relate to special traveller insurance for non-resident foreign nationals, the use of the CUIDAR app for nationals or residents in Argentina or for foreign nationals, the requirements of local destination jurisdictions in Argentina and the strict control of these measures by local jurisdictions.

The national health authority may adapt the requirements set out in the Annex according to the evolving epidemiological situation.

Coronavirus update on consular procedure and immigration

Consular visa applications remain suspended until further notice. Argentine Consulates abroad are only authorised to issue transitory or temporary visas with a special authorisation from Immigration Office.

The National Directorate of Migrations has arranged to extend the validity of provisional, transitory, and temporary residence permits expiring between 17 March 2020 and 10 January 2021 for an additional 30 days.

Austria

Amended requirements on COVID-19-related entry to Austria

The new Entry Regulation, which came into force on 19 December 2020 and is (currently) applicable until 31 March 2021, has introduced substantive amendments to the requirements for entry to Austria during the COVID-19 pandemic: The evidence to be provided (i.e. evidence that the person has stayed in Austria or in a state listed in Annex A in the last ten days prior to arrival, PCR-test, ten-day home quarantine) depend on whether the person is entering Austria from a country listed in Annex A of the Regulation or from another country, or if the person is covered by an exception to the entry measures. Hence, in certain cases it is possible that the person may free him or herself from quarantine with a negative test result.

Please also note that since 15 January 2021 basically every individual who intends to enter Austria must register online with a ‘Pre-Travel Clearance Form’ which is available in German and English.

Simplification of the Austrian Settlement and Residence Act

According to recent amendments of the Austrian Settlement and Residence Act the following simplifications apply since 24 December 2020:

  • People in the ‘extended circle of relatives of EEA citizens’ will 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 to an EEA citizen 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 or who have already shared a home with the EEA citizen in the country of domicile or for whom serious health reasons make personal care by the EEA citizen absolutely necessary. These individuals are allowed to submit their application for a residence permit while already being in Austria (instead of having to apply from abroad). In addition, proof of local accommodation is no longer required for the application and the maximum period within which the authorities must decide about the application is reduced to 90 days.
  • The requirement for applicants to prove that they have local accommodation when requesting a ‘Red-White-Red’ Card also ceased on 24 December 2020.
Belgium

2021 salary thresholds for work authorisation in Wallonia

Non-EEA and non-Swiss employees must obtain authorisation to work in Belgium (a work permit up to 90 days; single permit if more than 90 days). Our previous Alert here. provided the updated salary thresholds that will apply in 2021 in Flanders and Brussels. The Walloon Authorities have now also published their thresholds for 2021:

  • highly skilled employees: EUR 43,395;
  • leading personnel: EUR 72,399;
  • European Blue card: EUR 56,112.

 

Professional travel to and from Belgium during ban on non-essential travel

From 27 January 2021 until 1 March 2021, non-essential travel to and from Belgium is prohibited again. However, this temporary prohibition does not apply to essential travel. ‘Professional travel’ by nationals and residents of the EU/Schengen states and residents of some third countries is considered an ‘essential’ movement provided these individuals have a declaration of honour (model on the info-coronavirus.be website). Other third-country nationals must hold an essential travel certificate issued by a Belgian diplomatic mission or consular post, unless the essential nature of the travel is proven by documents in the traveller’s possession.

In addition, the following measures currently apply:

Quarantine and testing after a stay abroad

  • Belgian residents returning from a red zone after a stay of more than 48 hours: mandatory ten-day quarantine and a mandatory COVID-19 test on days one and day seven. The duration of the quarantine can be shortened to a minimum of seven days if a negative test is obtained on day seven.
  • Non-Belgian residents returning or travelling to Belgium from a red zone after a stay of more than 48 hours (with the exception of travellers from the UK, South Africa and South America, see below): mandatory ten-day quarantine and a mandatory COVID-19 test on day seven. The duration of the quarantine can be shortened to a minimum of seven days provided that a negative test is obtained on day seven.
  • Non-Belgian residents must also have a negative test that is a maximum of 72 hours old regardless the duration of their stay in Belgium and abroad. There are some exceptions, for example for travellers who do not come to Belgium via air, rail, water or road carrier if their stay abroad lasted a maximum of 48 hours or if they will stay less than 48 hours in Belgium.
  • All travellers from the UK, South Africa and South America to Belgium: mandatory ten-day quarantine, a negative test result no more than 72 hours old and a mandatory COVID-19 test on days one and seven.
  • In addition, all employees or self-employed individuals residing or staying abroad who will remain in Belgium for more than 48 hours to perform activities must have a negative result from a test taken no more than 72 hours before their departure to Belgian territory (regardless of whether they come from a red zone or not).
  • These rules do not apply to frontier workers.

 

Public Health Passenger Locator Form (PLF)

This is a mandatory Form for anyone returning to Belgium by plane, boat, train or bus. For travel by other means, the Form should only be completed if the stay in Belgium lasts more than 48 hours or the preceding stay outside Belgium lasted more than 48 hours. If the traveller is travelling to Belgium from outside the EU and Schengen states, this Form must be filled in regardless of the length of the stay abroad and in Belgium, i.e., even if it is less than 48 hours.

Business Travel Abroad (BTA)

The BTA Form must be completed online by the Belgian employer, the Belgian principal or the international organisation established on Belgian territory if it concerns travel abroad for professional reasons and before the departure of the employee concerned. This Form can only be used for:

  • Travel for files or projects that require limited on-site intervention (no time limit).
  • Travel to Belgium: this form cannot be used by non-residents of Belgium for travel to Belgium for the purpose of temporary or permanent employment, but it can be used for a limited business contact related to a concrete project or file, with a maximum duration of five days.

 

This Form generates a certificate number that must be entered in the PLF Form to activate the professional travel section. It may give rise to an exception to mandatory quarantine.

A general obligation also applies to anyone present in the workplace to comply with COVID-19 measures.

It is strongly recommended to check the applicable rules at the time of departure as this matter is constantly subject to change.

Bulgaria

Posted Workers Directive changes implemented

These are the key changes as of 22 January 2021:

  • Posting agreements should govern the minimum additional remuneration which is due to an employee along with the conditions of workers’ accommodation if provided by the employer during the posting.
  • The employer is obliged to accrue and pay the posted employee not only the basic pay but also any additional remuneration of no less than the remuneration payable for this or a similar position in the host country.
  • The employer must pay travel expenses and accommodation allowances in the amounts laid down in the legislation of the host Member State when the employee performs part of his or her work outside the place to which they were originally posted.
  • Once a posting to Bulgaria exceeds 12 months the employee is entitled to certain employment-related compensations under Bulgarian law. These include free food and/or energy drinks; periodical medical examinations; free work and uniform clothes; occupational social and cultural services.
Chile

New COVID-19 restrictions on entry to Chile

From 31 December 2020, any individual who enters Chile, regardless of the place of origin and region of destination in Chile must complete a mandatory ten-day quarantine upon entering Chile or until s/he leaves the country if the stay is less than ten days.

This measure can be ended earlier if the individual can provide a negative PCR test for COVID-19 that was taken after 144 hours (six days) from their arrival in Chile.

In addition, from 8 January 2021 anyone entering Chile, must have proof of a negative PCR test for COVID-19. The test must have been performed a maximum of 72 hours before entry to Chile and must have been carried out by a recognised health authority laboratory in the country where it was conducted.

These new measures apply to all travellers entering Chile, whether they are Chilean, foreign residents or visiting foreigners.

Colombia

Requirement for a negative PCR test to enter Colombia reinstated

The Colombian Ministry of Health has modified the biosecurity protocol for the international air transportation, adding the following measures:

  • Airport operators must prohibit the consumption of food and beverages in immigration or emigration areas.
  • Airlines must require a negative PCR test result prior to boarding in the country of origin, regardless of the age of the traveller. The result must be issued no more than 96 hours before the flight.
  • Passengers with fever or respiratory symptoms associated with COVID-19 will not be allowed to board.
  • Airlines should recommend the use of type N95 masks to those over 60 years of age or those with comorbidities.
  • Airlines should only allow boarding for travellers who do not present a negative PCR test result in the country of origin when they state that they had difficulties in taking it or obtaining the result in the time period stipulated for the flight. In these cases, the airline must inform the traveller that once they enter the country, they must take a PCR test and stay in preventive isolation for 14 days. Isolation can end earlier if the PCR test result is negative.
  • Airlines should recommend people remain silent to avoid infection.
  • If operational terms permit, there must be an empty seat between passengers.

 

(Resolution 2532)

Croatia

UK nationals and family members in Croatia after Brexit: what are the new rules?

An amendment to the Act on EEA Member State Nationals and their Family Members became effective on 1 January 2021 and is predominantly focused on status of UK nationals post-Brexit.

UK nationals and their family members who had a valid temporary or permanent residence in Croatia on 31 December 2020 will maintain their entitlement to reside in Croatia. However, they will need to apply for a new temporary or permanent residence permit (under the same conditions applied to EEA nationals) between 1 January 2021 and 30 June 2021.

The same rules apply to those UK nationals who did not have a valid temporary or permanent residence permit on 31 December 2020, but who were lawfully residing in Croatia on that date and continue to do so.

If UK nationals who were not physically present in Croatia on 31 December 2020 meet the criteria for continuity of residence under the Withdrawal Agreement, they can submit their application within six months from the date of next entry into Croatia.

UK nationals arriving in Croatia after Brexit are in the position of third country (non-EEA) nationals, and the same rules as for any other third country (non-EEA) nationals according to the Foreigners Act apply.

New Foreigners Act adopted

The new Foreigners Act was adopted by the Croatian Parliament on 2 December 2020 and became effective on 1 January 2021.

The new legislation abolishes the model of government quotas for issuing residence and work permits to third-country (non-EEA) nationals and introduces a new model based on a so-called ‘labour market test’ conducted by the Croatian Employment Fund (HZZ). Specifically, according to the new legislation, employers will need to conduct a ‘labour market test’ before HZZ (except in exceptional cases prescribed by law). Only if HZZ determines that there are no unemployed individuals in Croatia who meet the employers’ requirements will the employer be able to apply for a residence and work permit for a third country (non-EEA) national from the Croatian Ministry of the Interior.

Another important novelty is the introduction of a so-called ‘digital nomad visa’. This is a temporary residence permit which can be issued for a period of up to one year to a third-country (non-EEA) nationals performing work remotely for a company, which is not registered and does not operate in Croatia.

Croatia has implemented the Posted Workers Directive

In mid-January 2020, a proposal for legislation to implement the Posted Workers Directive (Directive (EU) 2018/957 amending Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of employees in the framework of the provision of services) was put into the public consultations procedure.

According to the published proposal, it was planned for this legislation to be adopted and become effective in Croatia on 30 July 2020.

In view of the COVID-19 situation, the legislation proposal from January 2020 was withdrawn and the new legislation proposal was put into public consultations procedure in October 2020. Legislation was finally adopted by the Croatian Parliament on 11 November 2020 and became effective on 1 January 2021.

The aim of this new legislation is to provide a higher level of protection for employees posted or assigned to Croatia from abroad (with a temporary exemption for road transport employees). It is also designed to prevent and combat abuse and circumvention of the applicable rules on posting of employees by certain service providers more efficiently.

Czech Republic

Update on COVID-19 travelling restrictions in the Czech Republic

With effect from 30 January 2021, the Czech Government has issued a general prohibition on foreign nationals travelling to and staying in the Czech Republic for reasons other than those specified in the government resolution on free movement restrictions (e.g. journeys to work, ensuring basic life needs, childcare or animal care, etc.).

Starting from 5 February 2021, a new Ministry of Health protective measure became effective. Countries are now divided into four groups (green, orange, red and dark red) based on the risk of COVID-19 infection. With the exception of green countries (currently only six countries worldwide), anyone returning from abroad will need to submit an antigen or PCR test upon arrival and those who arrived from red or dark red (i.e. risky) countries need to undergo another PCR test in the Czech Republic within the stipulated deadlines.

Denmark

Implementation of the revised Posted Workers Directive

In order to implement the revised Posted Workers Directive into Danish law (vis-à-vis workers posted to Denmark) the Act on Posting of Workers has been amended.

One of the major changes relates to postings of a duration of more than 12 months. After 12 months, workers will generally be entitled to all the Danish employment law rights that would have applied had the workers been employed directly with a Danish employer. These workers will not, however, be covered by the Danish statutory provisions that concern ‘procedures, procedural issues and terms in connection with conclusion and termination of employment contracts, including non-competition restrictions, as well as payments to occupational supplementary pension schemes.’

If a special notification is sent to the Register of Foreign Service Providers (RUT) before the time when the posting reaches 12 months’ duration, the effects of the new provisions will not come into force until after 18 months. Contrary to what applies in various other EU countries, the notification does not have to state any reason for the request for an extension of the 12-month period to 18 months.

It is, however, not always the length of an individual worker’s posting that determines whether or not the posting will be considered to have a duration of more than 12 months. If a posted worker replaces another posted worker in order to perform the same work in the same place, the length of the joint posting period will be decisive for the question of whether the posting will be deemed longer than 12 months.

The amendments to the Act on Posting of Workers entered into force on 1 January 2021.

However, for workers who have been posted to Denmark as from 30 July 2020, or a later date prior to 1 January 2021, and who were carrying out the same work in the same place on 1 January 2021 as before 1 January 2021, the part of the posting period falling between 30 July 2020 and 31 December 2020 will be included in the calculation of whether the posting exceeds 12 months. This special rule is a consequence of the fact that the revised Posted Workers Directive should have been implemented into Danish law by 30 July 2020.

Requirements for COVID-19 tests when travelling to Denmark

Due to COVID-19, entry into Denmark is subject to restrictions. These restrictions have recently been tightened and testing requirements for all travellers, including cross-border employees travelling to Denmark have been introduced.

Since spring 2020, various restrictions have applied to entry into Denmark. First, travellers must show that they have a valid purpose for travelling to Denmark. With the recently tightened restrictions, business trips and job interviews are no longer considered a valid purpose. It is, however, still possible for foreign nationals to provide services in Denmark.

Second, all individuals travelling to Denmark must now present proof of a negative COVID-19 test (either a PCR test or an antigen test) taken within 24 hours before departure.

Cross-border employees travelling to Denmark have, until now, been encouraged to take an additional PCR test within 72 hours after arrival in Denmark, but with effect from early February 2021, employers employing these workers are subject to a legal obligation to ensure that the employees take a PCR test after entry into Denmark.

In addition, self-employed individuals travelling to Denmark to provide services are also required to take a PCR test after arrival.

Stricter restrictions apply to individuals travelling from certain countries, including the UK.

To date, all COVID-19 restrictions apply until 28 February 2021.

Estonia

New residence rules for UK citizens from April

Following the end of the Brexit transition period, from 1 April 2021, the Estonian Aliens Act will apply to UK citizens. This means they will have to apply for a residence permit with the Police and Border Guard Board in the same way as other third-country nationals. An immigration quota will not be applied to UK citizens.

Finland

Brexit: UK residents in Finland must apply for a new right of residence by 30 September 2021

As a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, UK citizens, who have registered their EU right of residence in Finland have to apply to exchange their previous registration based on the right of residence in the EU for a right of residence under the Withdrawal Agreement (WA). In this way, Finland can verify that UK citizens fulfil the conditions of the right of residence under the WA.

Some UK citizens may already have a permanent EU right of residence in Finland, if they have resided in Finland for at least five years. Those UK citizens who have a certificate demonstrating their permanent EU right of residence are not required to apply for a right of residence. However, the application (free of charge) is recommended for those UK citizens as well, so that they can demonstrate their right of residence as conveniently as possible when going about their business in Finland and at the Schengen external border.

Applications for the right of residence under the WA can be submitted to the Finnish Immigration Service from 1 October 2020 to 30 September 2021. The adopted act affects approximately 5.000 UK citizens living in Finland.

After having been granted a right of residence under the WA, UK citizens may continue their stay in Finland following the end of the transitional period on 31 December 2020. The right of residence is granted for life. It is only valid in Finland.

France

Consequences of the withdrawal of an A1 certificate

The French supreme court ruled on 4 November 2020 that if an A1 certificate exempting holders from the host member state’s social security is withdrawn by the institution of the home member state, posted workers are subject to the legislation of the member state in which their salaried activity is carried out.

As a result, a foreign employer that did not comply with its obligations to affiliate its employees to French social security while they are working in France can be sued by the French authorities for ‘concealed work’ (illicit employment) which may result in the payment of fines as well as damages.

In addition, a client established in France which has been informed in writing by the labour authorities or a labour union of this situation, and has not immediately ordered his service provider to remedy it can be found jointly liable to pay any tax, social contributions, late payment penalties and public subsidies as well as remuneration due from the foreign employer to its employees.

Given the significant financial and penal risks, it is important for foreign employers that intend to post workers in France, as well as for companies established in France that intend to contract with foreign service providers, to be aware of their obligations under French law and act accordingly.

Effect of an S1 certificate

The French supreme court ruled on 12 January 2021 (Cass. Soc. 12 January 2021, n°20-80647) that an E106 (now S1 certificate) has the sole purpose of enabling an employee to receive sickness and maternity benefits in the territory of the Member State of his residence, while s/he is affiliated with the social security of another member state in the territory of which his or her employer is located.

As a result, an S1 certificate does not create any presumption that the employee has regular affiliation to the social security of his or her home country, unlike the A1 certificate, which certifies the affiliation of the employee to the social security system of the state in which his or her employer is established.

Therefore, the foreign employer can be sued in France for ‘concealed work’.

Greece

Update on COVID-19-related immigration measures

The validity of asylum registration cards for Applicants for International Protection has been extended until 31 March 2021, independently of the expiry date of these cards under article 156 of Law 4764/2020 (amending article 136 of Law 4251/2014),

The validity of definitive residence permits as well as of certificates of submission of an application for a residence permit (blue certificates) of third-country nationals that have expired or will expire from 1 January 2020 to 31 July 2020 has been automatically extended until 31 March 2021. The validity of these documents that have expired or will expire from 1 August 2020 to 31 March 2021 is automatically extended for eight months from their initial expiry date.

The definitive residence permits that will be issued to renew the above documents will enter into force the day following the expiry date of the extended residence permit. This does not apply to either definitive residence permits or blue certificates that have already been renewed at a later date.

Update on COVID-19-related travel measures

Residents from EU countries as well as from Switzerland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Iceland, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, UAE and United Kingdom are allowed to travel to Greece. Permanent residents of other countries are allowed to travel to Greece only for essential travel.

However, temporary restriction on flight connections with Turkey and Catalonia in Spain have been imposed. In addition, there is no sea connection from or to Turkey and Albania, with only cargo ships exempt from this prohibition. In general, arrivals by sea by private vessel and any other professional tourist ship, regardless of flag or destination abroad, as well as disembarkation of passengers from these boats is prohibited. With respect to land borders and in view of the epidemiological situation in the Balkans and Turkey, all Greek external land borders are only open to ‘essential travellers’ apart from Promachonas BCP in Bulgaria, which is also open to travellers from the countries listed above.

As of November 2020, anyone travelling to Greece from foreign countries should be aware that Greece is in lockdown and they will be required to have a negative PCR test result for COVID-19, performed a maximum of 72 hours before their arrival in Greece. This includes air and land arrivals into Greece. Moreover, all travellers entering Greece from 7 January 2021 to 8 February 2021 will be required to self-isolate (at their home or temporary residence) for seven days upon arrival.

Hong Kong

Special arrangement introduced for accepting extension of stay applications from outside Hong Kong

The requirement that visa holders looking to extend their stay in Hong Kong must be physically present in the city at the point of submission of their extension application has been relaxed by the Immigration Department for those who have been unable to return due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This arrangement, introduced on 31 December 2020, allows applicants, whose stay is to expire in four weeks or has expired for less than 12 months, to apply for extension outside Hong Kong. Upon approval, applicants will be issued entry visas to enable their return to Hong Kong, meaning they will no longer need to wait for the visitor ban to be lifted before being able to return.

Hungary

Amendments to Hungarian immigration legislation following Brexit

Immigration legislation changes in connection with Brexit were published on 18 December 2020 in Hungary. All amendments took effect on 1 January 2021.

The rules differ depending on whether the person lived or had employee or self-employed status in Hungary prior to 1 January 2021.

For UK citizens and their family members with third country citizenship who lived or were employed/self-employed in Hungary prior to 1 January 2021, the following rules apply:

  • Registration certificates and (permanent) residence cards remain valid until 31 December 2021.
  • Citizens with these certificates or cards or who can credibly prove they habitually resided in Hungary with valid travel documents before 1 January 2021 may request a national long-term residence permit in a facilitated procedure until 31 December 2021.
  • Individuals continuously employed or self-employed in Hungary prior to 31 December 2020, but habitually residing outside Hungary may request a residence permit for the purpose of work/earning income in a facilitated procedure until 31 March 2021. This permit will be valid for five years and may be extended by an additional five years.

 

Admission and stay of UK citizens and their family members with third-country citizenship entering Hungary after 1 January 2021 will be governed by legislation on third-country nationals (the Act II of 2007 on the Admission and Right of Residence of Third-Country Nationals).

India

Travel restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19

In an order dated 21 October, 2020 the Ministry of Home Affairs permitted the following categories of individuals to enter the country:

  • All Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders and PIO cardholders holding passports from any country.
  • All foreign nationals intending to visit India for any purpose (including their dependents on a dependent visa), except those on Tourist Visas.
  • All existing visas, except electronic visas (e-Visa), Tourist Visas and Medical Visas, which remained suspended, are restored with immediate effect. If the validity of these visas has expired, the foreign national may obtain a fresh visa of the appropriate category/sub-category from the Indian Mission/Post concerned.

 

If any foreign national not covered by the categories mentioned above needs to visit India urgently due to any family emergency, the Indian Missions/Posts are authorised to issue single entry X-Misc visa for the appropriate period.

All passengers coming to India from UK till 15 February 2021 must undergo an RT-PCR test upon arrival. Individuals found positive will be isolated according to official protocol and individuals who test negative shall be required to be kept in institutional quarantine for seven days and thereafter, must remain in strict home quarantine for an additional seven days. Alternatively, individuals testing negative could also be kept under strict home quarantine for 14 days.

Ireland

Ireland

50:50 Rule amended following Brexit

When applying for an employment permit in Ireland, an employer is obliged to comply with the 50:50 rule under the Employment Permits Act 2006. This rule sets out that an employment permit will not be granted unless the Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment is satisfied that on the date of application at least 50% of the employer organisation’s workforce in Ireland are nationals of one or more EEA member state or the Swiss Confederation or a combination of both.

The Irish legislature recently enacted the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2020 (the ‘Act’). The Act amended the 50:50 rule to ensure that from 1 January 2021, employees who are UK nationals will also be counted amongst nationals of EEA member states and the Swiss Confederation when calculating whether the employer organisation satisfies the 50:50 rule.

This maintains the pre-Brexit status quo and will be a relief to employers operating in Ireland who have UK national employees and need to satisfy the 50:50 rule for the purposes of applying for employment permits for non-EEA nationals.

Italy

Consequences of Brexit in the Italian labour market: UK citizens will be third-country nationals

From 1 January 2021, UK citizens will be assimilated to third-country nationals (Law Decree no. 22/2019). As a consequence, among other new rules, the following previsions apply:

  • UK citizens can enter and stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in any rolling 180-day period.
  • UK nationals will need permission to work and stay in Italy.

 

New agreement between Italy and Switzerland on taxation of frontier workers

On 23 December 2020, Italy and Switzerland signed a new agreement on the taxation of frontier workers to manage employees who reside in one of the two states and work in the other (additional details regarding the frontier workers’ definitions are provided in the agreement).

The main provisions agreed are the following:

  • New tax system: tax is withheld in the state where the work activity is carried out, not exceeding 80% of the income tax provided in that state. No double tax applies and non-discrimination must be respected. Additional details are provided in the agreement.
  • Transitional regime: this applies to workers living in Italy who have been working in Switzerland as frontiers workers between 31 December 2018 and the date when the new agreement enters into force. Taxes continue to be paid in Switzerland and Switzerland pays 40% of the income received to the Italian municipalities on the border.

The new agreement should be ratified internally by the two states.

Automatic extension of the validity of residence permits until 30 April 2021

In view of the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, the validity of residence permits is automatically extended until 30 April 2021 (Law Decree no. 2/2021).

This provision also applies to additional administrative terms such as the one for the request for conversion of a residence permit and for the validity of nulla osta for seasonal activity, etc.

Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan preserves restrictive quarantine measures with gradual easing

When crossing the state border of Kazakhstan, all travellers arriving must submit a certificate with a negative PCR test result for COVID-19 that is no more than three days old (see here).  Children under the age of five are exempt from this requirement, provided that the people accompanying them have certificates.  Аll travellers must fill in the questionnaire and pass temperature monitoring.

Starting from 1 November 2020, Kazakhstan resumed issuing visas and other permitting documents for foreign nationals’ stay in Kazakhstan.

Until 1 May 2021, 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).

The procedure for staying in the Kazakhstan is determined by special algorithms for each category of organisation, depending on the specifics of activities.

Kazakhstan preserves restrictive quarantine measures with gradual easing

When crossing the state border of Kazakhstan, all travellers arriving must submit a certificate with a negative PCR test result for COVID-19 that is no more than three days old (see here).  Children under the age of five are exempt from this requirement, provided that the people accompanying them have certificates.  Аll travellers must fill in the questionnaire and pass temperature monitoring.

Starting from 1 November 2020, Kazakhstan resumed issuing visas and other permitting documents for foreign nationals’ stay in Kazakhstan.

Until 1 May 2021, 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).

The procedure for staying in the Kazakhstan is determined by special algorithms for each category of organisation, depending on the specifics of activities.

Luxembourg

Current restrictions on travel to Luxembourg

Following the European Commission recommendations on temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU, a Law and related regulations provide for:

  • The extension of the temporary ban on entering Luxembourg for third-country nationals, until 31 March 2021 inclusive.
  • There is an exemption from this ban for citizens of San Marino, Andorra, Monaco and the Vatican/Holy See, and their family members.
  • The categories of third-country nationals who are authorised to enter Luxembourg territory due to their status or the purpose of their travel have been updated.

There is a regularly updated list of third countries for which the temporary restrictions have been lifted and whose residents are exempted, from 1 July 2020, from the temporary ban on entering Luxembourg. Since 11 January 2021 it covers: Australia, China (subject to confirmation of a reciprocal agreement with the European Union), South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, Thailand.

From 28 January 2021 to 28 February 2021, the following health measures apply:

Anyone, regardless of nationality, aged six or over, wishing to travel by air to Luxembourg must present a negative COVID-19 test (paper or electronic) at the time of boarding, carried out less than 72 hours before the flight. The negative test result must be presented, if necessary accompanied by a translation, in one of the administrative languages of Luxembourg or English. This applies to all departures to Luxembourg, including those from EU states or the Schengen area.

Anyone travelling by air from a third country will have to submit to an additional test on arrival at Luxembourg airport. If the person refuses to submit to a test, s/he will remain in quarantine for 14 days. This quarantine may be terminated at any time, as soon as a negative test result is obtained. The obligation to present a negative test result and to submit to an additional test on arrival now also applies to individuals residing in a third country currently exempt from the ban on entering Luxembourg, including for non-essential travel (see above).

The following are exempt from these obligations:

  • Individuals employed in the transport sector and airport transit passengers;
  • Individuals making a return air journey, for less than 72 hours, from Luxembourg to a Schengen or EU Member State, provided that they have not left the Schengen area or the territory of EU Member States during this period;
  • Members of the diplomatic corps, staff of international organisations and individuals invited by international organisations whose physical presence is required for their proper functioning, military personnel, personnel in the field of development cooperation and humanitarian aid, and civil protection personnel in the exercise of their functions, provided that their stay in Luxembourg does not exceed 72 hours;
  • Individuals who have had a recent SARS-CoV-2 infection within three months prior to travel and who have completed the isolation period imposed in the relevant country who no longer have symptoms of infection. These individuals can present a medical certificate attesting to these facts, allowing them to board a flight to Luxembourg without having to undergo a new PCR or antigen test.

 

Since 23 September 2020, to track the evolution of the spread of COVID-19, any passenger entering Luxembourg by air must fill in the Ministry of Health passenger tracking form within 48 hours before arrival. The data of individuals concerned is anonymised 14 days after receipt.

New Zealand

Border update

New Zealand’s border remains closed to almost all travellers who are not New Zealand citizens or residents. Some exemptions are in place (e.g. for those with a critical purpose for travelling to New Zealand) and new exemptions are being introduced from time to time.

However, there are additional requirements for entry even for individuals to whom a border exemption applies.

In January, the New Zealand government introduced a requirement for travellers to New Zealand to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result returned no more than 72 hours before their first scheduled international flight. Exemptions apply to travellers from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands and children under two years of age.  Alternative requirements apply to travellers who cannot be tested due to medical reasons and to travellers from certain locations where suitable COVID-19 testing is not available.

All travellers are required to enter government-managed isolation and quarantine for 14 days upon arrival and must secure a place in a facility prior to travel. Places are extremely limited and currently travellers are reporting significant difficulties in securing places to align with desired travel dates.

 Peru

Entry ban for travellers from Europe, South Africa and Brazil

Entry of passengers from Europe, South Africa and Brazil or passengers that made connections in those places, has been suspended until 28 February 2021. There are specific exceptions for airline crew members; organisations that require the services of foreigners; travellers who have connections within 16 hours; and travellers with connections of more than 16 hours who must stay in temporary quarantine.

Peruvians and foreign nationals must comply with a 14-day quarantine following their arrival. Six days after their arrival, the quarantine can end if a PCR test is performed and the result is negative.

 Poland

Current COVID-19 travel restrictions in Poland

Travellers arriving from EU countries have the right to enter and transit through Poland. Generally, external (non-EU) borders of Poland remain closed for tourists. The Polish authorities have prepared an exhaustive list of travellers who may enter Poland. Exceptions apply to foreign nationals travelling in the course of professional activities and specified third-country nationals (such as: Belarus and UK).

Quarantine

Quarantine lasts for ten days. Individuals who have a negative result of a PCR test for SARS-CoV -2 performed within 48 hours before crossing the border counted from the moment of the test result are released from the quarantine obligation. RT-PCR test results must be ready for inspection when crossing the border. Test results must be available either in Polish or in English. Additionally, having confirmation of having received a COVID-19 vaccination will release travellers from the quarantine obligation.

Additional exemptions apply to individuals coming from Schengen countries. Foreign nationals will be released from the quarantine obligation if they are able to prove a professional motive for travel. An employment contract must be presented to prove the aim of travel upon request. Only individuals travelling by an organised form of transport are subject to the quarantine obligation. Crossing the border by private car will also release travellers from the quarantine obligation.

Portugal

Update on COVID-19-related immigration measures

Control of travellers on the Spanish border with Portugal has been reinstated.

With some limited exceptions, cross-border rail traffic is currently suspended, as well as river transport between Portugal and Spain.

Portuguese citizens and holders of residence permits in Portugal are allowed to enter the country.

Romania

Current conditions for entering Romania in the COVID-19 pandemic

In principle, individuals entering Romania from a list of high epidemiological risk countries must stay in quarantine at home for a period of 14 days (subject to certain conditions). The official list and the specific conditions and exceptions are upgraded regularly by National Committee for Emergency Situations decision.

A series of exceptions apply to quarantine rules on arrival in Romania. They include the following:

  • Travellers who stay for up to three days and bring a negative COVID-19 test performed within 48 hours before entering Romania will be exempt from quarantine.
  • Travellers staying for longer than three days can quarantine for 14 days or be released from quarantine after the tenth day if they test negative for COVID-19 on the eighth day of quarantine and do not show specific symptoms.

 

In addition, individuals coming to Romania from areas of high epidemiological risk or who are direct contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case are exempt from quarantine:

  • if they have been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 virus, including the second dose; and
  • if at least ten days have passed from the administration of the second dose to the date of direct contact or the date of entry into Romania.

 

Proof of vaccination, including the date of administration of the second dose must be provided through ta document issued by the health unit that administered it, in Romania or abroad.

Russia

Terms for migration permissions further prolonged

On 15 December 2020, the Russian President signed a Decree prolonging the temporary suspension of migration terms that was set on 18 April 2020.

According to this Decree, the validity period of migration documents (such as visas and residence permits) for foreign nationals legally residing in Russia is automatically extended if they expire from 15 March 2020 until 15 June 2021.

A special regulation has also been established for foreign nationals from states with which air traffic has been resumed. For them, the extension of the period of validity of migration documents is only authorised until 15 March 2021 or 90 days from the date of the resumption of flights with the relevant country.

Family members of Highly Qualified Foreign Specialists may come to Russia

On 28 December 2020, the Government amended the Decree regulating migration during the pandemic. Under the new rules, family members (spouses/parents/children) of Highly Qualified Foreign Specialists (HQS) are allowed to enter Russia once. Previously, this was only possible based on an ad hoc decision of the Russian Government and its officials.

Flights to the UK suspended

On 21 December 2020, the Russian Government decided to suspend air traffic with the UK (which was opened from 1 August 2020) in order to block the spread of the new COVID-19 variant. Currently, the suspension is valid until 1 February 2021 inclusive.

In addition, all travellers coming from the UK (special categories permitted to enter Russia, e.g., HQS) must undertake obligatory 14-day self-isolation.

Serbia

New procedures for requests for resident and work permits in Serbia

Two rulebooks regarding applications for residence and work permits for foreign nationals have been recently adopted:

The first rulebook introduces the possibility of filing a unified request for approval or extension of temporary residence permits and work permits. Despite this possibility of filing a unified request for both permits, the procedures for obtaining a temporary residence and work permit are still two formally separate procedures and separate authorities decide on these requests, which results in the issuing of two separate permits.

The second rulebook introduces the possibility of submitting a request for approval or extension of temporary residence permits electronically, via the eUprava portal. Requests can be submitted by foreign nationals either from Serbia or from abroad. The Rulebook will take effect from 1 April 2021.

Slovakia

Brexit and residence permits

Slovakia has opted for a declaratory system of residence under Brexit. That means that UK citizens and their family members who credibly exercised their right to free movement before 1 January 2021 and registered their residence with the relevant Foreign Police Department, have a right of residence directly by law. Residence granted continuously for more than five years is transformed into permanent residence for an indefinite period. Residence granted for less than five years is transformed into permanent residence for five years.

UK citizens who have resided in Slovakia without registration of residence before 1 January 2021 may only register their permanent residence for five years if they can credibly prove that they have met and continue to meet the conditions applicable to EU citizens for registration of residence in Slovakia before 1 January 2021. The same applies to registration of residence of their family members.

UK citizens must request the issue of new residence permit card by 30 June 2021 or earlier, if their current one expires before this date.

(Amendment to Act No. 404/2011 Coll. on Residence of Foreigners, as amended)

Prolongation of COVID-19 exceptions to residence rules

In April 2020 Slovakia adopted several special provisions on the validity of residence status and associated documentation due to the COVID-19 pandemic and state of emergency. The state of emergency continues. As result of these provisions the following applies:

  • Temporary residence, permanent residence and tolerated residence that would expire during the state of emergency, or within one month after the state of emergency is revoked, is valid for two months after revocation.
  • A third-country national who has legally entered Slovakia, and has not been granted residence is entitled to stay in Slovakia until the end of one month following the revocation of the state of emergency.
  • A third-country national who is outside Slovakia during the state of emergency may submit an application for renewal of temporary residence or an application for permanent residence for an indefinite period at the local Slovakian embassy.
  • The Foreign Police Department will accept documentation for granting a residence permit / renewal of residence older than 90 days, if at the time of the state of emergency, during which the third-country national could not apply for residence or renewal, the documentation was not older than 90 days and the third-country national did not leave Slovakia prior to submitting the application for residence or its renewal.

 

These exceptions have been adopted to simplify administrative processes for foreign nationals during COVID pandemic.

United Kingdom

UK implements additional travel measures in response to new coronavirus variants

During the course of January 2021, the UK has implemented a raft of additional measures to control the risk of new coronavirus variants becoming present. These include:

  • Requiring international passenger arrivals to have proof of an acceptable negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of boarding their transportation to the UK (note that there is separate guidance on this for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).
  • Banning flights and vessels from arriving directly in the UK from a list of countries to which a travel ban applies.
  • Prohibiting individuals without existing UK residence rights from entering the UK where, within the last ten days, they have been in or transited through a country to which a travel ban applies. British citizens, Irish citizens and those with existing residence rights can still be admitted but are not eligible to reduce their ten-day self-isolation period using the Test to Release scheme (note that the self-isolation period for Northern Ireland is 14 days and the Test to Release scheme only applies in England). The Government also announced on 27 January 2021 that these arrivals will be required to isolate in managed isolation hotels, and that further details will be released later.
  • Suspending all travel corridors until further notice, meaning that only arrivals from the Common Travel Area are exempt from the requirement to self-isolate, along with those who are exempt because of their occupation

 

In addition, because of the national lockdown implemented from 4 January 2021, visitors arriving in the UK may be refused entry if their reason for seeking admission is not considered to be for an essential purpose.

The requirements and guidance are being frequently revised so travellers should check for changes throughout the week leading up to their planned departure.