Sep 21 2018

Weekly Immigration Update: September 14 - 20, 2018

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Greece, Hong Kong, Iraq, Kuwait, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Slovak Republic, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela

In immigration news, government representatives of 11 Latin American countries met last week to discuss potential policies to tackle the high influx of Venezuelan nationals migrating to their countries. Peru's Ministry of Labor expects to soon launch an online system for filing work contract registrations, a mandatory step in the Resident Worker Visa application process.

In the United Kingdom, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published two reports, which address the impact of EU migration to the United Kingdom and the impact of international students in the United Kingdom.

In Hong Kong, effective September 19, same-sex dependent spouses and partners are eligible to apply for dependent status.

In Saudi Arabia, foreign nationals holding commercial and work visit visas must enter and exit the country according to the mode of travel specified in their visa sticker.

These items and other news from Greece, Iraq, Kuwait, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Slovak Republic, Thailand, and United Arab Emirates follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.


Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United Kingdom, September 18, 2018

Migration Advisory Committee Publishes Final Report on Impact of EU Migration in the United Kingdom

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC)'s report assesses a wide range of impacts of European Economic Area migration to the United Kingdom, including wages and unemployment, UK productivity and innovation, consumer and housing prices, public finances, public resources and public services. The report also sets out recommendations for a post-Brexit immigration system, including ensuring there is no preferential treatment for EU migrants in the United Kingdom post Brexit. 

To view entire article, click here.


Saudi Arabia, September 18, 2018

Restrictions on Entry and Departure for Holders of Visit Visas

Effective immediately, foreign nationals holding commercial and work visit visas for Saudi Arabia must enter and exit the country according to the mode of travel specified in their visa sticker (typically through an airport). Foreign nationals should ensure that their visa sticker matches their required mode of travel or they may risk being denied entry or exit from the country.

To view entire article, click here.


Hong Kong, September 17, 2018

Same-Sex Spouses and Partners Now Eligible for Dependent Status

The Hong Kong Immigration Department announced today that same-sex dependent spouses will be eligible to apply for dependent status starting from September 19, 2018. Additionally, same-sex partners, or individuals who have entered into a legally-recognized same-sex civil partnership or same-sex civil union outside Hong Kong, will also qualify to apply for dependent status. The announcement follows its review of immigration policy seeking to implement the Court of Final Appeal's ruling on this issue and the implementation of an interim arrangement granting dependent rights to same-sex spouses.

To view entire article, click here.


United Kingdom, September 17, 2018

Migration Advisory Committee Publishes Report on International Students

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published their report on the impact of international students in the United Kingdom. Key policy recommendations focus on the UK government's efforts to attract top students, including suggested revisions in post-study work rights. Any policy changes would only occur after the UK government assesses the report and chooses to adopt the recommended changes and implement new legislation.

To view entire article, click here.


Latin America, September 14, 2018

Temporary Policies Developed for Venezuelan Nationals in Many Latin American Countries

Government representatives of 11 Latin American countries met last week to discuss potential policies, practices and solutions for the high influx of Venezuelan nationals migrating to their countries, including the creation of special residence permits for Venezuelans in Latin American countries and issues stemming from the Venezuelan government declining to issue new passport booklets.

To view entire article, click here.


Peru, September 14, 2018

Online Contract Registration System to be Launched

The Ministry of Labor expects to launch an online system for filing work contract registrations, a mandatory step in the Resident Worker Visa application process, in the upcoming months. The work contract registrations will be processed immediately online, which will significantly expedite the entire visa application process.

To view entire article, click here.


Weekly News Briefs

Greece: Update on EU Blue Card and EU ICT Permit - Although foreign nationals can apply for EU Blue Cards in Greece, there are lengthy delays associated with each government processing step. For example, obtaining preliminary approval, which is the first step in the application process, takes at least five months.

The EU Intracompany Transferee (ICT) Permit, implemented in May 2018, still requires a ministerial decree describing the application process in Greece. It is unclear when the decree will be reviewed or signed. Fragomen will provide updates on the progress of these processes.

Iraq: Required Security Deposit Introduced for Foreign Employees - Effective immediately, employers in Iraq must pay a refundable security deposit for each foreign employee. The security deposits must be paid to the Ministry of Interior (MOI) in Baghdad, unless the employer obtains approval for payment to be made at a regional MOI office. Depending on which category applies, employers must pay a security deposit fee as follows:

  • Investment companies or companies that contract with the Iraqi ministries or state departments: IQD 100,000 (USD 84) per employee;
  • Foreign investment or non-investment companies that contract with the Iraqi private sector: IQD 300,000 (USD 252) per employee; or
  • All other establishments: IQD 1,000,000 (USD 840) per worker.

Foreign nationals working without pay international and humanitarian organizations and agencies, as well as experts, consultants, trainers, businessmen, investors, donors and volunteers who provide services to support Iraqi ministries or other state establishments are exempt from the security deposit. Fragomen will revert with further information on the security deposits as it becomes available.

Kuwait: Duration of Dependents’ Visitor Visa Extended - Effective immediately, dependents of foreign residents in Kuwait will be issued visitor visas with a three-month validity, instead of the previous one-month validity period. The validity period for all other categories of visitor visas (one month) remain unchanged.

Poland/India: Work Visa Delays at Polish Embassy in India - Polish Work Visa applicants at the Polish Embassy in New Delhi, India face appointment delays between one and two months. The delay affects Bangladeshi, Indian and Nepalese nationals, among others, as these countries fall under the jurisdiction of the Polish Embassy in New Delhi. Indian nationals may also apply at the Polish consulate general in Mumbai, but this post is reportedly also facing appointment delays. In addition to the appointment delays, the e-Konsulat electronic Work Visa application system is also experiencing technical difficulties and delays due to the volume of applications, particularly when new appointment slots become available online, usually on Tuesdays and Fridays. Fragomen advises all foreign nationals to obtain a work visa in their country of nationality or long-term residence. This is necessary because in-country processing times are so lengthy that foreign nationals would face travel restrictions without a work visa. Foreign nationals and employers should plan for delays and flexibility around work start dates.  Polish authorities are considering opening visa application centers in India to shift the burden away from the Embassy. Fragomen will monitor developments and will work with affected applicants to minimize delays.

Poland: Increase in Worksite Inspections - Fragomen has reported an increased number of worksite inspections by the Labor Inspectorates in various regions. Inspections target both temporarily assigned foreign workers (posted workers) and locally-hired foreign workers. Fragomen can work with clients to check current compliance mechanisms and prepare for inspections.

Qatar: Permanent Residence Law for Foreign Nationals Approved - The Amir of Qatar approved a law allowing foreign nationals to obtain permanent residence in Qatar. Once the law is published in the official gazette, qualifying foreign nationals will be able to receive a Permanent Residency Card and will benefit from various rights, including property ownership in select areas and investment without having a Qatari partner, among others. The categories of applicants who may qualify for permanent residency include: a foreign woman or man married to a Qatari citizen; children of a Qatari woman married to a foreign man; children of a Qatari who has acquired citizenship; an individual who has completed great services to the country; and an individual with special capabilities required by the country. Eligible foreign nationals will also have to meet the following conditions to qualify for permanent residence in Qatar:

  • they should have completed ten years of consecutive, legal residency (prior to applying for permanent residency) if born in Qatar, or twenty years if born outside of Qatar;
  • they should not have stayed outside of Qatar for over 60 days in a year (the duration of stay outside Qatar will be deducted from the residency balance);
  • they must have sufficient income to cover living expenses in Qatar, including family members (if applicable);
  • they must have good conduct and reputation; and
  • they must have adequate knowledge of Arabic.

If any of these conditions are lost, the Ministry of Interior will have the right to revoke the permanent residency status.

Qatar: Pre-arrival Immigration Process to be Implemented for Select Nationalities - Foreign nationals from select countries seeking employment in Qatar will soon be required to undergo a new immigration process before travelling to Qatar. The process will take place at designated service centers located in the applicant’s home country and will involve a medical examination, biometric data capturing and a signed employment contract, among other items. At this time, it is not clear if the new process will apply to all categories of job seekers or only to select designations and if those foreign nationals residing in third countries will be required to undergo the new process in their home country.

Russia: E-Visa to Far East Regions Expanded to Additional Nationalities - The Russian government plans to expand the business traveler and tourist e-visa, which allows travel to Russia's far east regions, to applicants from additional countries. The e-visa scheme allows for all paperwork to be completed remotely through a simplified process. Currently, 18 nationalities qualify for this free e-visa, which is valid for 30 calendar days and allows for eight-day stays in Russia.

Slovakia: Labour Office Delays Persist - Single Permit applicants in Slovakia still face delays due to longer processing times at the Bratislava Labour Office. The Labour Office processing times are currently up from five calendar days to two months. These delays affect the overall Single Permit processing times because the Labour Office must issue a supporting statement as part of the Single Permit application process. Employers should continue to initiate cases earlier to compensate for the delays.

Thailand: Applications for Urgent Work Permit Extension Must be Filed Closer to Expiry Date - Urgent Work Permit (UWP) extension applications must now be filed closer to the date of expiry of the first UWP—typically, within one to three business days before the expiry date. Applications filed earlier typically will not be accepted. The exact period allowed for filing varies depending on the filing location. For example, the Provincial Employment Office in Chonburi Province requires that the UWP extension application be filed only within three days before the expiry of the first UWP, while the One Stop Service Center in Bangkok requires that the application is filed one business day before the expiry. An extension application can be filed with the Employment Department or with any Provincial Employment Office.

United Arab Emirates: New Residency Visa for Retirement Announced - The Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates announced that foreign nationals seeking to retire in the country will be able to obtain a renewable five-year residency visa beginning in 2019. The new visa will be available to applicants above the age of 55 who meet the following criteria, among other yet unannounced conditions:

  • Investment in a property in the United Arab Emirates worth a minimum of AED two million; or
  • Financial savings of no less than AED one million; or
  • Active income of at least AED 20,000 per month.

Additional requirements and further visa conditions are expected to be announced closer to the implementation date of the law.


Global Immigration News Links

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.