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.

Africa

Morocco

Government Begins Issuing Three-Year Residence Permits

In an effort to better integrate foreigners into Moroccan society, King Mohammed VI has authorized the issuance of residence permits valid for three years rather than one year. In addition, procedures have been put in place to decrease processing times and simplify the procedures for new and renewal applications.

Americas

Peru

Government Restructures Immigration System

The Peruvian government recently published new regulations that reorganize the country’s immigration system. An electronic database, the Immigration Information Registry, will be used by immigration officials to store and access foreign nationals’ information. The law establishes new fines for foreign nationals who overstay or violate the terms of their visas, fail to update identification cards, neglect to pay government visa fees or fail to use the same passports/travel documents used in their visa applications. Individuals deported from Peru are subject to a fine but are no longer subject to a lifetime ban from re-entering Peru. Instead, they will be subject to a 15-year bar from re-entry.

The new law also establishes two immigration categories for all foreign nationals: temporary workers and residence.

  • A temporary worker is a foreign national working in Peru on a short-term assignment (typically less than 183 days) and includes the following visa types: temporary training/research, journalism, artistic or athlete, international agreements, temporary appointed worker and business.
  • The residence category is intended for foreign nationals staying in Peru for at least one year and applies to interns, students, investors, workers and dependent family members. This visa will grant spouses of permanent residents work authorization for up to two years.

Asia

Singapore

New Minimum Salary Established for an Employment Pass

The Ministry of Manpower (“MOM”) has introduced changes to Employment Pass (“EP”) salary criteria. Starting January 1, 2017, the mandatory minimum monthly salary for individuals seeking a Singapore EP increased to S$3,600, up from S$3,300. More experienced workers are required to have a higher salary commensurate with their experience and skills and consistent with the local labor market. With regard to the implementation of the new salary for existing EP holders, the government has authorized a transition period:

  • Between January 1, 2017, and June 30, 2017 (both dates inclusive), employers may renew EPs for a period of one year using the previous EP salary criteria.
  • Starting July 1, 2017, all renewal EP applications must meet the new EP salary criteria.

The last minimum salary change for an EP was in 2014.

Vietnam

Intracompany Transfer Filing Criteria and Government Compliance Requirements Changed

The Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs of Ho Chi Minh City recently changed the filing criteria for Intracompany transfers. Previously, an assignment letter signed by a human resources official of the Vietnamese entity was sufficient for visa application purposes. Now, assignment letters must be signed by an owner or shareholder of the Vietnamese host company. In addition, the letter must be sealed, notarized, translated and legalized.

In addition, the Vietnamese labor authorities have issued a new form that employers must submit quarterly to report on foreign labor use. Foreign experts and managers traveling to Vietnam for 30 days or less must be included in the quarterly reports. Penalties for not filing may range from 1 to 2 million dong (about US$45 to $90).

Finally, work permits must be returned to the Vietnam Labor Department within 15 days of an employee’s termination. Failure to comply will result in a fine ranging from 30 to 75 million dong.

Europe

Italy

Law on Same-Sex Civil Partnerships Now Fully Operational

On January 14, 2017, the Italian government enacted three decrees making fully operational the country’s recent laws on same-sex civil partnerships. The decrees include:

  • Any civil partnership lawfully entered into outside of Italy can now be registered in the Italian marital archives regardless of when the civil partnership took place.
  • Subject to verification by Italian authorities, foreign national partners who are unable to obtain from their country of nationality certification confirming the following may submit an affidavit verifying that:
    • They are not already married;
    • They are not blood relatives; and
    • Neither has committed or attempted to commit homicide against a previous partner.
  • In life or death situations, the civil partnership can take place in international waters and skies.