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.
New Investment-Based Permanent Resident Visa Announced
- On August 31, 2016, the Indian government announced a new program allowing certain foreigners who invest at least 100 million rupees (approximately US$1.5 million) in India over a period of 18 months—or 250 million rupees over the course of three years—to be eligible to live in India as permanent residents.
- The program will allow certain foreign nationals to acquire “permanent residency,” with initial validity for 10 years, for an investment meeting the above thresholds, as well as the generation of 20 jobs per year. Visa holders will be exempt from foreign registration requirements and will be permitted to purchase residential property. Nationals from China and Pakistan will not be eligible for the program.
- An implementation date has not yet been announced.
New Regulations Announced for Employment Pass Processing
- The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) announced new regulations for Employment Pass (EP) and Dependent Pass (DP) application processing.
- Effective September 1, new regulations will affect all EP and DP applications processed by MDEC. The changes include the following:
- EP and DP applicants will be required to remain outside of the country during the first stage of the application process and may enter the country only with an approval letter or approval letter and reference visa, depending on the candidate’s nationality and visa category.
- Passports must be valid for at least 12 months at the time of EP or DP visa endorsement.
- EP Category III holders who seek to change employers while remaining in Category III, EP Category III holders who seek to renew the EP for a fourth year, and employees seeking to convert a Social Visit Pass to an EP, whether in Category I, II, or III, must now remain outside the country for three months before they can reenter Malaysia and file a new application.
- New regulations have been implemented for dependent children and common-law spouses, including a requirement that DP applications for Malaysian-born children be filed within six months from the date of birth, and requiring new, original confirmation letters for the renewals of Social Visit Passes for children above age 18 and common-law spouses.
New Visa Program for Entrepreneurs Implemented
- Effective September 10, 2016, Australia has begun implementation of the subclass 188 Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa classification.
- The visa category, designed to promote foreign investment, allows foreign entrepreneurs interested in relocating to Australia to apply for the entrepreneur visa if they meet the following criteria. The applicant:
- Is younger than 55 and has competent English skills; and
- Owns at least 30 percent of certain types of entrepreneurial ventures in Australia that have secured at least AUD$200,000 in funding.
- The visa further requires that the applicant be nominated for a visa by a state or territorial government and that third-party funding come from federal agencies, state or territorial governments, publicly funded research organizations or a registered venture capital investor.
- Visa holders will be admitted for up to four years and three months from the date the visa is approved.
Document Legalization Requirements Revised
- A new EU document regulation eliminates the need to authenticate certain public documents when submitting in another EU member country.
- The new EU regulation eliminates the need to obtain an Apostille certification for certain public documents to prove authenticity. Under the new Regulation (EU) 2016/91, published on July 26, 2016, an Apostille will no longer be required for public documents that concern the following:
- Marriage and registered partnership
- Divorce, legal separation or annulment
- Domicile and/or residence
- Absence of criminal record
- Right to vote
- Confirmation of life
- The regulation also restricts EU countries from requesting translations of public documents from other EU countries if the document is in an official language of the receiving country or in a non-official language adopted by the receiving country.
- EU countries will have 2½ years to implement the regulation.
Amended Rules on Cancellation of Short-Term Residence Permits
- Recent legal amendments have eliminated rules on the cancellation of short-term residence permits based on physical absence from Turkey.
- Based on the amendments, a foreign national’s short-term residence permit will not be cancelled simply based on having spent more than 120 cumulative days in the past year outside of Turkey. Similarly, a foreign national’s dependent residence permit will not be cancelled for having spent more than 180 cumulative days in the past year outside of Turkey.
United Arab Emirates
E-Filing of Dependent Visa Applications Mandatory
- The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) has completed implementation of a new online system that is now mandatory for submission of dependent visa applications.
- The new online system, called E-Vision, allows users to upload documents via an online portal, which processes dependent visa applications and issues approvals electronically. Dependents’ original passports will then be affixed with a residence permit stamp through an accredited courier service.
- The E-Vision system also mandates the use of specific documents for approval of dependent visas, including the employee’s original Emirates ID, local bank account number and legalized marriage and birth certificates.
Validity Periods Revised for Visas on Arrival
- Effective immediately, the 30-day validity period for a visa issued upon arrival will not restart if the visa holder departs the country and reenters. The visas are issued for a period of 30 days, plus a 10-day grace period. The UAE immigration authorities have not made an official announcement regarding these changes.
- The change in calculation affects nationals of countries eligible for 30-day visas on arrival, including citizens of Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. The change does not affect visas on arrival issued with 90-day validity.
New “Startup Visa” Classification Proposed
- The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a new rule on August 26, 2016, designed to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to start companies in the United States. The rule would ease the ability of startup founders to build companies if they have met thresholds for startup investment and funding from US investors.
- Under the proposed International Entrepreneur Rule, active entrepreneurs would be granted temporary permission to live and work in the United States if they own at least 15 percent of a startup and if the business has received at least $100,000 in US government grants or at least $345,000 in investments from qualified US investors.
- The proposed rule will be open for public comments for 45 days, after which the rule will be finalized and published in the Federal Register for implementation.