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.

Asia

New Zealand

Changes to the Essential Skills in Demand Lists

  • On April 11, 2016, changes to the Essential Skills in Demand (ESID) Lists went into effect. The ESID lists aim to facilitate the entry of appropriately skilled migrants, who must apply for a work or residence visa using the skills shortage lists. Major changes to the ESID Lists include:
    • Removal of social worker and statistician from the Long Term Skill Shortage List;
    • Removal of several oil and gas sector positions from the Immediate Skill Shortage List, along with the removal of several other positions, including chemist, accountant, orthopedic surgeon and photographer (medical); and
    • Addition of glazier, metal fabricator, surveying technician and sheet metal trade worker to the Immediate Skill Shortage List.

Singapore

New BioScreen System Launched

  • Beginning April 20, 2016, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority launched BioScreen, a new method of capturing foreign nationals’ biometrics at sea and land checkpoints. The system will scan thumbprints, upon arrival to and departure from Singapore, of all foreign nationals over the age of six.
  • Foreign nationals currently using the Immigration Automated Clearance System or automated clearance lanes will not be required to submit thumbprints, which are only collected for those foreign nationals using a manned checkpoint desk.
  • The BioScreen system is expected to be expanded to air checkpoints.

Europe

Regional

European Union Proposes Visa-Free Travel for Citizens of Ukraine

  • On April 20, 2016, the European Commission proposed lifting visa requirements for citizens of Ukraine traveling to all European Union member states, except Ireland and the United Kingdom, as well as the four associated Schengen countries. The proposal comes after a successful Visa Liberalization Action Plan, which showed that the Ukraine had successfully met the criteria for visa-free travel.
  • The proposal must be adopted by both the European Parliament and European Council before Ukrainian citizens may travel visa-free. If adopted, Ukrainian citizens with biometric passports may travel to the European Union (not including Ireland and the United Kingdom) and associated Schengen countries visa-free for business, tourist or family purposes for up to 90 days in any 180-day period.

Middle East

UAE

UAE Vision System Introduced

  • The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai has launched the UAE Vision system, which allows foreign nationals to complete applications for all visas and residency permits at approved typing services centers. Foreign nationals will no longer be required to visit the GDRFA headquarters or any branch office to file these applications.

Africa

Mozambique

Labor Consultative Council Announces New National Minimum Wages

  • The Labor Consultative Council, Mozambique’s forum between the government, trade unions and employers’ associations, announced that a consensus has been reached regarding new national minimum wages. The new minimum wages apply to all nine workforce sectors, including agriculture, mining, financial services and the public sector. The new minimum wages will be retroactively applied to take effect on April 1, 2016.