Mayer Brown’s Global Directions is a summary of recent immigration and mobility trends arising in key jurisdictions around the globe. This high-level overview alerts recipients to select changes in law and practice that may affect their global mobility programs.

Americas

Brazil

New Immigration Regulations to Streamline Visa Processing

  • On May 11, 2016, the Brazilian government published a new regulation changing several articles of Brazilian Immigration Law. These changes aim to reduce red tape and processing time for a number of visa applications for foreign nationals.
  • Specific changes include the following:
    • Foreign nationals applying for a temporary work visa may now apply for the visa at the Brazilian consulate of their choice instead of at the consulate with jurisdiction over their place of residence;
    • Applications to extend temporary work visas may now be submitted electronically to the Immigration Division of the Ministry of Labor, which will then issue an opinion and send it to the Ministry of Justice for final decision;
    • Holders of student, business, artist or researcher visas will now be able to apply for the conversion of their visas into temporary work visas without the need to leave the country and apply for the work visa abroad;
    • Temporary work visa holders who apply for an authorization to move from the original employer to another employer, using the same visa, no longer need to submit a letter from the original employer agreeing with said transfer; and
    • The receipt showing the submission of a temporary work visa extension application is now sufficient for foreign nationals to demonstrate their legal status in Brazil until a final decision on the application is issued.

Canada

Immigration Priorities for New Minister of Immigration and Citizenship

  • The new Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship’s top immigration priorities for the upcoming 2016–17 year have been announced. These priorities include increasing the number of Syrian refugees, increasing access to healthcare for immigrants and refugees and reducing the processing time for a wide range of visa applications.
  • Specific priorities include the following:
    • Introducing a plan to reduce application processing time for all visas including sponsorship and citizenship;
    • Facilitating the entry of low-risk travelers and removing the visa requirement for Mexican nationals;
    • Eliminating regulations that remove the credit given to international students for half of the time they spent studying in Canada;
    • Repealing provisions allowing the government to strip Canadian citizenship from those who hold dual nationality; and
    • Increasing the age for dependents from 19 to 22.

United States

E-Passport Required for Participation in the Visa Waiver Program

  • Effective April 1, 2016, foreign nationals seeking to participate in the visa waiver program must hold an e-passport with the embedded electronic chip.
  • Currently, 38 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program.

Asia

Australia

Changes to the 2016–17 Skilled Occupations List Announced

  • Effective July 1, 2016, the new Skilled Occupations List will take effect, affecting applications for an Independent Visa, Family Sponsored Points Tested Visa or Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) – Graduate Work Stream.
  • “Orthotist or Prosthetist” and Audiologist have been added to the list while Mining Engineer, Petroleum Engineer, Metallurgist, Environmental Health Officer, Occupational Health and Safety Advisor, and Dental Hygienist, Prosthetist, Technician, and Therapist have all been removed.

Malaysia

Application Charges Introduced at MYXpats Centres

  • Effective June 1, 2016, MYXpats Centres will implement application charges for Employment Pass, Dependant Pass and Social Visit Pass applications. Application charges will not be applied to Professional Visit Pass applications.

Europe

Switzerland

L Permit Quota Reached

  • The quota for L permits for European Union/European Free Trade Agreement foreign nationals on short-term assignments has been reached for the second quarter of 2016. Third quarter permits will become available on July 1, 2016.
  • The quota does not affect extensions of four-month short-term permits or existing L permits.