• Insights

Immigration and Global Mobility Update / June 2021

Authors
Sophie Maes
Partner - Belgium
Claeys & Engels
Global
09.06.21
27
Every 2 months, our experts from around the world put together an Update on the law on immigration & global mobility, setting out recent changes to the law. See our Update for June 2021, with new rules for 23 countries.
Argentina

Update on COVID-19 restrictions on travel

Argentina’s borders will remain closed until 11 June 2021 inclusive for non-resident foreign nationals.

Administrative Decisions (2252/2020, 2/2021, 44/2021 268/2021, 342/2021, 437/21 and 512/2021 issued by the Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers) have amended the rules on travel and quarantine in Argentina.

Until 11 June 2021 the following applies:

Authorisations previously granted for direct flights on air routes from and to the UK and Northern Ireland, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and India 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 by the national health authority.

Authorisations previously granted for entry and exit through authorised border crossings are suspended. All land border crossings are temporarily closed.

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 a 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

1. 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 (www.migraciones.gob.ar) and must be completed 48 hours before boarding.

2. 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.

3. Quarantine

All travellers must carry out a COVID-19 test upon arrival in the country and another on the seventh day of entry as a condition of completion of mandatory isolation. Those who test positive must then take a PCR test.

Additionally, those who have a positive result and their ‘close contacts’ must comply with mandatory isolation in places provided by the national authorities at their own expense, until a safe transfer to their place of residence is carried out, if applicable.

Those who test negative upon arrival, must comply with mandatory isolation for seven days at the address reported for this purpose in their electronic affidavit.

Mandatory isolation will only be completed with a second negative test carried out seven days after landing.

The cost of PCR test upon arrival and PCR test for genomic sequencing must be borne by the person entering the country.

Exceptions to the quarantine requirement (introduced by Administrative Decision 2252/20) will remain in place for:

  • international carriers and crew members in the exclusive exercise of their activity;
  • 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.

 

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 a new viral variant is circulating.

4. Other and local conditions

Other requirements relate to special traveller insurance for non-resident foreign nationals, the use of the CUIDAR app for Argentinian nationals or residents 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 to the evolving epidemiological situation.

COVID-19 update on consular procedure and immigration

The suspension of consular visa applications remains in force until further notice. Argentine Consulates abroad are only authorised to issue transitory or temporary visas with a special authorisation from the Immigration Office.

The National Directorate of Migrations has arranged to extend the validity of provisional, transitory, and temporary residence permits that expired between 17 March 2020 and 22 May 2021 for an additional 30 days.

Austria

Amended requirements regarding COVID-19-related entry to Austria

The Austrian legislator has stipulated in a new entry regulation that quarantine is not necessary for travel to Austria from countries in Annex A to the regulation (countries with a low incidence of infection) apart from providing proof regarding the ‘3-G-rule’ (that the traveller is vaccinated, tested, or has recovered).

If you enter Austria from a country listed in Annex A without valid proof you meet the 3-G rule, a molecular biological test (e.g. PCR test) or antigen test for SARS-CoV-2 must be carried out immediately after entry, and in any case within 24 hours at the latest. Registration (‘pre-travel clearance’) must be carried out before entry.

For entry from countries not listed in Annex A, a negative test result and quarantine (for Annex B2 ‘countries with virus variants’, vaccinated and recovered people need a negative test result as well) as well as registration (pre-travel clearance) may be necessary. These regulations are in force since 10 June 2021 and will be effective until 30 June 2021.

Court rules on the requirements in the Austrian immigration ‘points system’ for other key workers

In general, third-country nationals who intend to work in Austria must achieve a certain minimum number of ‘points’ in a special Federal system awarding points according to special qualifications and skills, work experience, language skills and age of the respective nationals.

Foreign nationals are admitted to employment in Austria as other key employees (sonstige Schlüsselkräfte) if they achieve the required minimum number of points under the criteria listed in Annex C of the Employment of Foreign Nationals Act and provided they receive a certain monthly gross salary for the intended employment (at least 50% or, if they are over 30, at least 60% of the maximum monthly contribution basis for social insurance contributions).

In a recent decision, the Higher Administrative Court stated that the additional criterion in Annex C ‘special knowledge or skills’ is intended to apply as an alternative to a ‘completed professional education’ to ensure that professional athletes, but also other specialists who do not have formal (professional) qualifications required in the Annex may be admitted working in Austria.

Higher Administrative Court Decision (VwGH 26.2.2021, RA 2020/09/0046)

Preparation for general implementation of the EU Posted Workers Directive

The specific regulations for the construction industry based on the Posted Workers Directive 2018/957 became effective on 1 April 2021 (see our previous update).

In addition, a legislative proposal regarding the general implication of the EU Posted Workers Directive (2018/957) into the Austrian Wage and Social Dumping Prevention Act has been published is currently in the legislative ‘appraisal process’. However, since the draft Act has not yet been approved, amendments are still possible. The new regulations will come into force on 1 September 2021.

Changes to the Wage and Social Dumping Prevention Act

Following the European Court of Justice judgment in Maksimovic ua (C-64/18), an essential revision of the administrative penalty provisions of the Austrian Wage and Social Dumping Prevention Act (e.g. violations in connection with reporting and availability obligations or the non-availability of wage documents, s26 to 29) has been included in the legislative proposal to implement the Posted Workers Directive.

Previously, penalties according to the Wage and Social Dumping Prevention Act were provided for and imposed per employee and violation; the new provisions stipulate that a single administrative violation will be penalised regardless of the number of employees involved. The new regulations come into force on 1 September but are currently also in the appraisal process.

Belgium

Cost of a single permit increased from 1 June 2021

Unless exempt, employees who do not have EEA Member State or Swiss nationality need a single permit to work and reside in Belgium for more than 90 days.

As of 1 June 2021, the contribution to obtain a single permit has been increased to EUR 366. The contribution must be paid before applying for a single permit. The application will be refused if the employee does not provide proof of payment.

Updated travel restrictions to Belgium 

As of 19 April 2021, travel restrictions to Belgium for nationals and residents of EU/Schengen States and residents from some third countries (as listed on https://reopen.europa.eu/en/: currently Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity) and Israel) are lifted.

Currently until 30 June 2021, travel to Belgium by other third-country nationals is still prohibited, unless it concerns essential travel. These measures can be extended. The travellers 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.

Currently until 30 June 2021 (travel to Belgium (both directly or indirectly) for anyone who has been in Brazil, South Africa or India at any time during the last 14 days is prohibited, except for:

  • individuals who have Belgian nationality or their main residence in Belgium;
  • professional travel by transport, freight and cargo personnel, merchant seamen, tugboat crew, pilots and industrial staff employed in offshore wind farms; provided that they are in the possession of a certificate issued by their employer;
  • professional travel by diplomats, staff of international organisations etc provided they are in the possession of an essential travel certificate issued by a Belgian diplomatic mission or consular post.

 

This prohibition can be extended.

The rules concerning the Public Health Passenger Locator Form (https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/plf/) continue to apply as well as the other measures (negative rest result and quarantine measures when travelling from a red zone) for any traveller to Belgium. Exemptions for travellers who do not come to Belgium via a carrier and who have been abroad for a maximum of 48 hours or who will be staying in Belgium for less than 48 hours, no longer apply as of 9 June to individuals who have been in Brazil, South Africa or India at any time during the last 14 days.

New ‘working in Belgium’ digital portal is now live

Unless exempt, employees who do not have EEA Member State or Swiss nationality need a single permit to work and reside in Belgium for more than 90 days.

From 31 May 2021 employers can apply for a single permit via the ‘working in Belgium’ new digital portal regardless of the region (Flanders, Brussels or Wallonia) in which the employee will be employed in Belgium. Employers will be able to check the status of applications via this platform.

At the moment, only single permits (more than 90 days) can be applied for via the new digital portal. Work permits must still be applied for with the competent region and will only be added to the digital platform in a subsequent phase.

Chile

Chile adopts a new Immigration Law

On 20 April 2021 a new Immigration Law (N°21.325) was published, replacing the current one that has been in force since 1975.

The Law will become effective once the regulations to which it refers are published. This should take place within one year of 20 April 2021.

The main changes to the Immigration Law are the following:

1. Visa Applications

It will be mandatory to apply for a residence visa from the appropriate Chilean consulate abroad. It will no longer be possible to visit the country on a temporary basis (usually as a tourist) and apply for a temporary residence permit from Chile.

2. Reform of visa categories

The law introduces five main categories of visas:

  • Transitory Stay (90 days);
  • Official Residence (for diplomats and officials of international organisations);
  • Temporary Residence;
  • Permanent Residence;
  • Qualified Nationality.

 

3. New Migration Service

A National Migration Service with Regional Directorates will be created to regulate migration processes throughout the country.

4. Employer´s obligations

The Law establishes the following employer´s obligations:

  • Employers are only allowed to hire foreign nationals who have a temporary residence or permanent residence which enables them to work, or those who are duly authorised to do so.
  • All employers must comply with their legal obligations in labour matters, without detriment to the irregular immigration status of hired foreign nationals.

 

The above applies without prejudice to any sanctions that the Labor Inspectorate may apply.

5. Sanctions

The Law stipulates new migratory violations and sanctions, with different categories according to their gravity.

Colombia

The Andean Community has approved Andean Migratory Statute

The countries of the Andean Community (CAN) have approved the Andean Migratory Statute, a legal instrument that aims to regulate Andean community law in matters of movement and residence for Andean citizens and their families, as well as permanent residents that are nationals of non-member states.

The Statute reiterates rights such as non-discrimination, the prohibition of criminalisation for immigration infractions, national treatment, family reunification, the right to access education, the right to vote and the right to transfer remittances.

The Statute reiterates that the member countries will continue to implement the use of the Andean Migration Card (TAM), as an instrument of immigration control, and for statistical and information purposes.

In turn, Andean citizens will still be admitted in any of the other member countries, as tourists, by simply presenting a national identification document that is valid and in force in the issuing country, and without the visa requirement. These rights can be extended in some cases to permanent residents that are nationals of non-member states.

Andean citizens who wish to reside in a member country, other than their country of origin can obtain temporary or permanent residence, subject to the fulfillment of certain requirements. Residence can be requested at the consular level or in the destination country.

Permanent residence grants the right to access any activity, both self-employed and employed, under the same conditions as nationals of the receiving countries, in accordance with the legal regulations of each country.

Andean citizens who obtain Andean Permanent Residence will enjoy the same civil, social, cultural and economic rights and freedoms as nationals of the host country.

The Andean Immigration Statute will enter into force within a period of 90 calendar days, counted from the day following its publication in the Official Gazette of the Cartagena Agreement, (12 May 2021), and will be apply immediately without being subject to implementing regulations. The member countries must adopt the necessary measures to comply with it.

Colombia implements a temporary statute protecting Venezuelan migrants

The Colombian government has created and implemented the Temporary Statute of Protection for Venezuelan Migrants Pursuant to Decree 216 of 2021 and Resolution 0971 of 2021.

The objective of the statute is to create a registry of the Venezuelan migrant population and a Temporary Protection Permit (PPT). The PPT has been created as a mechanism for migratory regularisation and identification, which will allow Venezuelan nationals to remain in Colombia and to exercise any legal activity in the country, including work.

Individuals who meet any of the following criteria are eligible for the permit:

  • being in Colombia legally with any of the following permits: Entry and Permanence Permit (PIP), Temporary Residence Permit (PTP) or Special Permanence Permit (PEP) in force, including the PEPFF;
  • being in Colombia legally with a Safe-conduct of Permanence SC – 2 by virtue of the processing of an application for recognition of refugee status.
  • having overstayed in Colombia as of 31 January 2021. They must provide summary and suitable proof of their stay in Colombia on 31 January 2021.
  • Entering Colombia legally through the appropriate Immigration Control Post, complying with the requirements in the immigration regulations, during the first two years of validity of this Statute, that is, from 29 May 2021 to 28 May 2023.
Croatia

Current COVID-19 restrictions on crossing national borders

On 1 June 2021, amendments to the Croatian National Civil Protection Directory decision on temporary limitations and prohibitions on crossing national borders (the ‘Decision’) came into force.

In essence, the current Croatian travel ban measures restrict travel by individuals based on the country/region of EU/Schengen area from which they travel. Another distinguishing factor is whether a person was just transiting through these countries and/or areas or stayed there.

The least restrictive measures are imposed on individuals crossing the Croatian border arriving from one of the countries/regions:

  • listed on the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention ‘green list’ (the ‘Green List’), or
  • listed in Schedule I of the Recommendation ((EU) 2020/912) on the temporary restriction on non-essential travel into the EU and the possible lifting of such restrictions (the ‘EU Recommendation List).

 

These individuals can cross the Croatian border without an obligation to present any further proof and/or test, if they do not show any signs of illness and have not been in close contact with an infected person. If they are in transit, they must prove at the border crossing point that they have not stayed in the transit areas, that is countries or regions not included in the Green List or EU Recommendation list.

Other individuals (i.e. those travelling from outside the EU/Schengen area, or from a country or region of the EU/Schengen area not on the Green List or the EU Recommendation List) need to provide:

  • a confirmation of a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours before crossing the border or a confirmation of a negative fast antigen test no older than 48 hours before crossing the border; or
  • a confirmation of a positive PCR or a fast antigen test no older than 180 days, but older than 11 days before crossing the border, confirming the person has recovered from the virus; or
  • a relevant vaccination certificate.

 

If this is not possible, it is also possible to take a PCR test or a fast antigen test immediately upon arrival in Croatia. In this case the traveller must self-isolate until a negative test result is obtained (if s/he is unable to take the test, self-isolation lasts for ten days).

There are exceptions for certain categories of individuals who do not need to provide negative PCR test, even if they travel from areas not listed on the Green List or the EU Recommendation List, based on the nature of their profession and/or economic reasons. These include medical workers, frontier workers, drivers of the heavy goods vehicle, diplomatic personnel, individuals travelling to Croatia for urgent and important personal/family or for business reasons provided they do not stay in Croatia for more than 12 hours, etc.

After expiry of the currently applicable restrictions (15 June 2021), amendments to the travel ban rules can be expected, depending on the epidemiological situation in Croatia.

Europe

European Court of Justice clarifies requirement for temporary work agencies to post temporary agency workers abroad

Within the EEA and Switzerland, employees are in principle subject to the social security regime of the work state. An exception to this rule applies in the event of posting, according to which employees can, upon certain conditions, remain subject to the home country social security regime while temporary working in another member state or Switzerland.

One of the posting conditions is that the sending employer must perform substantial activities in the sending state.

On 3 June 2021, the European Court of Justice clarified that for temporary work agencies this means that they must carry out a significant part of their activity of assigning temporary agency workers to user companies established and carrying out activities in the sending state. It is not sufficient for temporary work agencies to only carry out selection and recruitment of temporary agency workers activities in the sending state without (at least to a significant extent) assigning these workers to user companies established there.

ECJ decision Team Power Europe (C-784/19)

Finland

More flexibility for seasonal workers and a simplified procedure for their employers

It will become easier for seasonal workers coming to Finland from third countries to change employer when changes to the Seasonal Work Act enter into force on 17 June 2021.

In addition, employers can notify the Finnish Immigration Service of several employees at a time, reducing the administrative burden. The changes concern seasonal employment in agriculture and tourism.

Where to find COVID-19 immigration and travel information

Information regarding the effects of COVID-19 on the services and operations of the Finnish Immigration Service is available here.

Please note that due to COVID-19, there are restrictions in place for entering Finland. More information on these restrictions is available here.

France

Online application for work permits

As of 6 April 2021, applications for a work permit to recruit a foreign employee can only be made online on the website dedicated to online procedures for foreign nationals in France: https://administration-etrangers-en-france.interieur.gouv.fr

The application for a work permit is made by the employer for the purpose of recruiting an employee through a permanent contract (salaried permit), a fixed-term contract (temporary worker permit), for a seasonal job (seasonal permit), or a student wishing to work more than the amount of time authorised by his or her residence permit, or an asylum seeker holding an asylum application certificate dated more than six months.

Once the application has been submitted online on the website:

  • The applicant receives a confirmation by email of the submission of his/her application.
  • If the application is approved, the employer and the applicant receive a work permit by email.
  • The applicant will attach this work permit to their application for a residence permit submitted to the prefecture.

 

The same website must be used as of 25 May 2021 by individuals who are eligible for a multi-annual ‘talent passport’ residence permit.

Greece

Update on COVID-19-related immigration measures

The validity of third-country nationals’ definitive residence permits and certificates of submission of an application for a residence permit (blue certificates) that have expired or will expire from:

  • 1 January 2020 to 31 July 2020; and
  • 1 August 2020 to 31 March 2021 (where validity had been automatically extended pursuant to previous provisions); and
  • from 1 April 2021 to 30 December 2021

 

is automatically extended until 31 December 2021.

Definitive residence permits that are issued in renewal of these residence permits will enter into force the day following the initial expiry date of the extended permit.

(Ministerial Decision No. 7396/2021).

Update on COVID-19-related travel measures

Residents from EU and Schengen countries as well as from Australia, Northern Macedonia, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, Belarus, Bahrain, New Zealand, South Korea, Qatar, China Ukraine, Rwanda, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Thailand, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro are allowed to travel to Greece. Permanent residents of other countries are only allowed to travel to Greece for essential reasons (for example: medical and nursing staff, members of diplomatic or consular posts, etc.).

Travellers are allowed to enter from the land borders through the Promachonas and Ormenio entry points on a 24-hour basis, Evzonoi and Nymfaia from 07:00 to 23:00, Mavromati from 08:00 to 16:00, Kakavia from 07:00 to 19:00 and Kipi 07:00 to 23:00 (only for Greek citizens, holders of residence permits, individuals whose main residence is in Greece and individuals travelling for professional and medical reasons) and Krystallopigi from 08:00 to 16:00 (only for seasonal agricultural workers).

There is no sea from/to connection with Turkey and Albania, with the only exemption of cargo ships and empty passenger yachts, regardless of flag. In general, arrivals by sea by private vessels and any other professional tourist ships, regardless of flag and with transportation capacity up to 49 passengers is allowed, provided these ships come from countries to which no more specific restrictive measures apply.

In addition, all travellers to Greece aged seven and above, regardless of nationality and way of entering Greece, must meet one of the following conditions:

  • Be at least 14 days after their COVID-19 vaccination and have a vaccination certificate issued by a public authority;
  • have a negative PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours before their arrival in Greece.

 

Alternatively, travellers can show proof that they tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two to nine months, either by presenting a positive PCR or antigen test result performed by an authorised laboratory or a medical certificate confirming that the holder tested positive for COVID-19.

Alternatively, travellers from abroad may have a digital or printed COVID-19 Digital Certificate with confirmation of vaccination or the result of a rapid/PCR test or COVID-19 infection in the past two to nine months.

All international passengers may be required to undergo random PCR or rapid testing upon arrival. If a passenger tests positive, s/he must quarantine for ten days. If the foreign passenger is vaccinated and the rapid test on arrival shows is positive for COVID-19, s/he must quarantine for seven days. In both cases, individuals are subject to mandatory PCR testing on the last day of their temporary restriction to leave self-isolation.

Αll travellers to Greece, regardless of nationality and method of entering the country, must fill the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) at the electronic address https://travel.gov.gr with their contact details in Greece prior to their arrival in the country (at least 24 hours before travel).

Hong Kong

Increased penalties for employment of ‘prohibited employees’

The Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2020, which is expected to come into effect on 1 August 2021, proposes to increase penalties for employers who employ individuals not lawfully employable. Currently, employers may be subject to a maximum fine of HKD 350,000 and three years’ imprisonment but after these new provisions come into effect, employers may be subject to a maximum fine of HKD 500,000 and ten years’ imprisonment in relation to the employment of ‘prohibited employees’.

Importantly, the Bill includes overstayers (i.e. those who have been given permission to land in Hong Kong but remain in Hong Kong in breach of his/her limit of stay) in the definition of ‘prohibited employee’. Further, if it is proved that the offence of employing those not lawfully employable was committed with the consent or connivance of, or was attributable to any neglect on the part of any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of a body corporate or a partner in a partnership, these individuals will also be considered to have committed the offence.

Employers should therefore ensure that their foreign employees who require visas to work in Hong Kong do not breach their conditions of stay by overstaying and that they successfully obtain extensions in good time before their limit of stay expires.

Hungary

Amendments to Hungarian immigration legislation in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic

From 29 April 2021, holders of a valid Hungarian vaccination card and individuals aged under 18 under their supervision may return to Hungary from any country in the world without quarantine and without mandatory testing.

For foreign nationals, however, Hungary only recognises protection certificates issued by a country with which Hungary has concluded a bilateral agreement on mutual acceptance. These countries are currently: Bahrain, Czech Republic, Northern Macedonia, Georgia, Croatia, Republic of Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Republic of Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey and Cyprus. In addition, Hungary unilaterally accepts certificates issued in Romania.

Italy

UK employees after Brexit: instructions from the Labour Ministry 

On 4 March 2021, the Labour Ministry published a note clarifying the correct way to proceed with official communication regarding the employment of UK citizens (so called Unilav communication). The Ministry confirmed that following Brexit UK citizens employed in Italy should be considered as non-EU employees.

Instructions on the applicable legislation for secondments to the UK

On 27 April 2021, the National Social Security Body (INPS) published a note regarding the applicable legislation for secondments to the UK. In its instructions, the INPS confirmed that Italian employees seconded to the UK could remain subject to Italian legislation based on the regulations provided under the Protocol on social security coordination that is part of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, or TCA (that in some aspects differs from previous European regulations).

In particular, the INPS instructions provide details regarding secondments that started before the signing of the TCA, extension of secondment, A1 forms and exchanges of information between the administrative authorities.

Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan keeps, but gradually eases, restrictive quarantine measures

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 (children under five are exempt from this requirement, provided that the people accompanying them have certificates).

Аll travellers (except for Kazakhstan citizens and individuals who have a permanent Kazakhstan residence who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Kazakhstan, with documentary confirmation) must fill in the questionnaire and pass temperature monitoring.  Individuals who arrive in Kazakhstan with a normal temperature, having provided a negative PCR test result for COVID-19 or a document confirming they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in Kazakhstan, are given an explanation of possible COVID-19 symptoms, with a corresponding acknowledgement document. They can then resume travelling to their destination. Those that arrive in Kazakhstan with a raised temperature, regardless of any PCR test or vaccination confirmation must isolate in a contagious inpatient facility.

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

Until 31 December 2021, the unilateral visa-free regime for the 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.

In the spring of 2021, Kazakhstan launched the Ashyq project, which involves the use of a mobile application to access business facilities (cinemas, theatres, restaurants, bowling alleys, fitness clubs, etc.) by anyone in Kazakhstan.  The list of these facilities includes the airports of Nur-Sultan (from 12 May 2021) and Almaty (from 21 May 2021).  The application checks for data on COVID-19 and PCR tests and reflects a risk rating:

  • red (full restriction of movement: strict self-isolation);
  • yellow (partial restriction of movement: the user is identified in the PCR database as a contact person);
  • blue (no restrictions on movement, except for places where PCR analysis is mandatory, for example, at the airport);
  • green (no restrictions on movement and this user is identified in the database as having a negative PCR test).

 

Foreign citizens should download the app and register on it. At the entrance to a place, such as an airport terminal, users must scan the QR code and show it to a security officer. If a person does not use a smartphone and does not have the app, then s/he must show their passport to the security officer to check the status in the system. Visitors with yellow and red statuses will not be allowed to enter the terminal building. You can check your status in advance by using a neutral QR code on the website www.alaport.com.

(https://online.zakon.kz/Document/?doc_id=37545753).

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 have extended the temporary ban on entering Luxembourg for third-country nationals until 30 June 2021 inclusive.

An exemption applies for citizens of San Marino, Andorra, Monaco and the Vatican/Holy See, and their family members.

Some categories of third-country nationals are authorised to enter Luxembourg territory due to their status or the purpose of their travel (see FAQs).

From 1 January 2021, these restrictions also apply to third-country nationals residing in the UK, including UK nationals who do not fall under the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement.

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. Currently, it covers: Australia; China, Hong Kong and Macao (subject to reciprocal agreement with the EU), South Korea, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, Thailand.

Specific restrictions on air travel to Luxembourg

From 29 January 2021 to 30 June 2021, 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, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese. This applies to all departures to Luxembourg, including those from EU states or the Schengen area.

The negative test result requirement also applies to individuals residing in a third country currently exempt from the ban on entering Luxembourg, including for non-essential travel (see above).

Some exemptions apply concerning the obligation to present a negative COVID-19 test, in particular:

  • 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.
  • Individuals who have had a recent COVID-19 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.

 

Restrictions on travel from India and from UK to Luxembourg

Until 30 June 2021 inclusive, additional sanitary measures apply to any travel originating from India and, since 7 June 2021, from UK (regardless of the means of transport):

  • any person (regardless of nationality and age) who stayed in India or in UK during the 14 days prior to his or her arrival in Luxembourg must undergo a COVID-19 test (PCR, TMA or LAMP methods) upon arrival, and inform the medical analysis laboratory that s/he has stayed in India or in UK.
  • Individuals concerned are placed in strict quarantine for seven days with the obligation to undergo a second COVID-19 test (PCR, TMA or LAMP methods) from the sixth day of quarantine.
  • Individuals concerned must notify their presence to the Health Inspection Department, which implements a reinforced monitoring and tracing system.
  • By exemption, the quarantine may be lifted early for individuals on duty in the transport sector.
Mexico

Visa waiver agreement between Mexico and Bolivia

On 10 May 2021, the Mexican Ministry of Interior announced the elimination of visa requirements for Bolivian nationals.

Consequently, as of 24 May, Bolivian citizens travelling to Mexico under with Visitor immigration status with no permission to do paid work (e.g., tourists or business visitors) may stay up to 180 days, with no visa required, provided they hold valid ordinary passports.

The Netherlands

Brexit

UK nationals living/registered in the Netherlands before 1 January 2021 can still apply for a Dutch residence permit under the Withdrawal Agreement before 1 October 2021 if they meet the conditions.

Cross border workers with the UK nationality who were already cross-border workers before 1 January 2021 can still apply for a cross-border worker’s document before 1 October 2021 if they meet the conditions.

Current COVID-19 travel restrictions in the Netherlands

From 1 June 2021, a mandatory quarantine period applies when entering the Netherlands from countries that are considered by the Dutch government to be a ‘very high risk’. This applies to countries with a red colour code, but also some countries with an orange colour code. The current list covers a number of non-EU countries, but also Cyprus, Lithuania and Sweden. The list is subject to frequent change, so travellers are advised to consult it here before travelling.

Travellers from very high-risk areas are required to fill out a quarantine form (available from the government website (https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/coronavirus-covid-19/documenten/publicaties/2021/05/20/quarantaineverklaring)

And have this ready and available when entering the country. Not doing so may result in a fine of EUR 95.

During the mandatory quarantine period you have to be available for the authorities, both at the address given on the quarantine statement and by phone. Non-compliance could result in a penalty of EUR 339.

The mandatory quarantine period is a maximum of ten days. This period can be shortened by taking a test on day five if the result comes back negative.

Mandatory quarantine also applies to people who are fully vaccinated.

There are exemptions to the mandatory quarantine in place, for example:

  • stays shorter than 12 hours;
  • specialist work for crucial work processes that require physical presence;
  • employees working in the transport sector for goods and people;
  • employees working in the energy sector;
  • people involved in the EURO 2020 championship.

 

For orange colour code countries that are not considered ‘very high risk’, the mandatory negative PCR test result requirement applies, and there is a strong recommendation to self-quarantine for ten days.

Poland

Current COVID-19 travel restrictions in Poland

Entry to Poland

The external (non-EU) borders of Poland remain closed for tourists. The Polish authorities have published an exhaustive list of cases in which individuals travelling directly from non-EU countries may enter Poland. Exceptions apply, such as for foreign nationals travelling in the course of professional activities and specified third-country nationals (such as Belarus and UK nationals). The Polish borders with EU countries remain open.

Quarantine

Individuals crossing the Polish border must undergo a ten-day quarantine. A list of cases indicates what categories of individuals may enter Poland without quarantine. This includes, for example, individuals:

  • who come from Schengen countries by land or sea for professional reasons;
  • who come from Schengen countries and have a negative result of a PCR or antigen test for COVID-19 performed within 48 hours before crossing the border counted from the moment of the test result;
  • who were vaccinated for COVID-19 with vaccines authorised for use in EU;
  • who have undergone isolation or have been hospitalised due to COVID-19 infection and are crossing the Polish border no later than six months from the end of that isolation or hospitalisation;
  • who come from a non-EU country by plane and take a COVID-19 test directly at the airport but before border control checks and receive a negative result.

 

In the event of border control checks, documents confirming exemption from quarantine obligation must be provided (e.g. confirmation that individual has been vaccinated).

Russia

Flights to the UK, Turkey and Tanzania suspended

On 21 December 2020, the Russian Government decided to suspend air traffic with the UK (which was opened on 1 August 2020) to prevent the spread of the new COVID-19 variant. Flights to Turkey and Tanzania were also suspended due to the pandemic outbreak from 15 April 2021. Currently, these bans are valid until 1 June 2021 inclusive.

In addition, all travellers coming from the UK must undertake obligatory 14-day self-isolation. Special categories of traveller are permitted to enter Russia, such as Highly Qualified Specialists.

Change to the validity period of Russian language, history and legislation knowledge certificate for residence

Certificates on Russian language, history and legislation knowledge required for obtaining work permit, migration patent or temporary residence permit will be valid for three years term and certificates for obtaining the permanent residence permit will be valid indefinitely under (Government Decree dated 8 April 2021 No. 559). Currently, these certificates are valid for five years.

Additionally, the Government will create a centralised list of institutions entitled to conduct the exams for foreign nationals. Currently, educational organisations are determined regionally

The new rules entered into force on 7 June 2021. Certificates obtained before this date are valid for the period stated on the certificate.

Creation of a unified digital database of foreign nationals

The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs has announced the creation of a unified database of digital profiles of foreign nationals staying in the country. The digital profile will contain information on the legal status of a foreign national, biometric data and information about their place of residence and work.

According to the Ministry, this will enable foreign nationals to obtain public services digitally, and to use information services, including mailings about the need to leave the country on time. Timing of implementation and launch of this system has not yet been announced.

Serbia

Current entry requirements for Serbia

To enter Serbia, foreign nationals must have negative PCR test or a negative FIA Rapid Antigen test for US citizens that is no more than 48 hours old.

However, this does not apply to:

  • citizens of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Hungary, North Macedonia and Montenegro, when entering from these countries;
  • other foreign nationals with approved residency in the countries mentioned above, if within 48 hours from crossing Serbian border they deliver a negative PCR or Antigen test to public health institute;
  • any national who has been vaccinated in Serbia with confirmation of vaccination;
  • citizens of countries with which Serbia has concluded an agreement on acceptance of confirmation of vaccination, if vaccinated and in possession of this confirmation (currently Hungary, Turkey, UAE and Slovenia).

 

Domestic citizens and foreign nationals with approved residency, who do not have a negative PCR test, may enter Serbia with an obligation to report to the COVID-19 ambulance within 24 hours and adhere to a ten-day home quarantine (which is terminated if they later report a negative PCR test result). However, they can be excused from these obligations if they have been vaccinated and have confirmation of full vaccination issued by the competent body in the country where they have been vaccinated (irrespective of whether Serbia has concluded an agreement on acceptance of confirmation of vaccination with that country or not).

Slovakia

New rules for travelling to Slovakia

Slovakia has introduced a travel ‘traffic light’ system regulating special conditions of entry into the country, which became effective on 31 May 2021. The system distinguishes between green (low risk), red (high risk), and black (no-go zone) countries.

Regardless of the colour of the country from which the person came, s/he must register via a special form available here; and, if using air transport, also via a form available here.

The rules of entry are complicated due to several factors affecting the exemptions from mandatory quarantine (type of vaccine, status of employee, having recovered from the disease, etc.), and differs according to the colour of the country. The special form above is also available in English and summarises the current measures in force. From a practical point of view, it is recommended travellers check this form prior to travelling to Slovakia.

Spain

Current restrictions on travel to Spain

The Spanish authorities have extended the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel from third countries to the EU until 30 June 2021 inclusive due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The restrictions do not apply to:

  • residents from third countries exempted as per the EU recommendation list;
  • individuals with a certificate confirming they were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days before travel. The accepted vaccines are those approved by either the European Medicines Agency, (see here  or the WHO (see here).

 

In addition, Spain has maintained the limitation on flights between Brazil, South Africa, and Spanish airports until 22 June. This can be extended.

Individuals travelling from India must quarantine for ten days on entry to Spain. This quarantine is effective until 26 June 2021.

The Ministry of health keeps updating bi-weekly the list of countries considered at risk whose travellers are urged to comply with health checks prior arrival to Spain (a negative PCR result). The list is published here.

United Kingdom

Former UK permanent residents should apply to EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021

EEA/Swiss nationals and their family members who previously acquired a right of permanent residence in the UK under EU law are able to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme if no more than five years has passed since they last left the UK with that status. This is a very generous provision since permanent residence status lapses after two years’ absence.

Eligible individuals are able to make their application while they are physically outside the UK, which some people may not be aware of. They must however apply under the scheme by 30 June 2021, unless they can demonstrate reasonable grounds for failing to meet this deadline.

Some applicants for pre-settled status are also able to make their application from outside the UK (also by 30 June 2021), if at the time of application, their continuous residence in the UK has not been broken due to absences. Assessing this is may not be straight-forward, and intending applicants may wish to seek advice on their specific circumstances as soon as possible before proceeding.