See below our Immigration and Global Mobility Update, which shows the changes in global mobility and immigration from around the world over the past few months. We aim to update you regularly.

Argentina: New requirement for a no criminal record certificate after six months’ residence

By Florencia Funes de Rioja, Germán Capoulat, Funes de Rioja

From November 2019, the National Directorate of Migration is requesting a certificate of no criminal records issued by the national or federal authorities of the country of origin for transitory residence extensions when an applicant reaches six months’ stay in Argentina.

Foreign nationals who must apply for a technical or professional visa at the nearest Argentine Consulate abroad because of their nationality, are entitled to stay in Argentina for up to 30 consecutive days from entering the country.

This temporary residence can be extended at the National Directorate of Migration for an additional 30 consecutive days of stay and up to a maximum of 12 months.

According to the new requirement, upon completion of six months’ residence, apostilled evidence the individual does not have a criminal record issued by the authorities of the country of origin will be required in addition to Argentine non-criminal records.

Austria : New provisions on integration agreements, language courses and exams introduced under the Austrian Integration Act

By Birgit Vogt-Majarek, Partner and Stefan Burischek, Associate, Schima Mayer Starlinger Rechtsanwälte GmbH.

Since June 2017, the Austrian Integration Act (the ‘Act’) stipulates the main requirements for the integration of third-country nationals who intend to stay in Austria on a long-term basis. These include the conclusion of an integration agreement with the applicant, provision for mandatory German language courses and an integration exam.

An amendment of the by-law for the Act, which entered into force from 2 October 2019, now establishes uniform nationwide standards regarding the integration agreements to be concluded as well as the integration exam. Among other things, the amendment defines more precisely than previously the possibility of certification of educational institutions for provision of the mandatory German language courses, the amount of the federal government's contributions to the costs of integration courses and the integration exam procedure (in particular regarding computer-assisted integration exams).

Belgium : 2020 salary thresholds for work permits and single permits in the Brussels and Walloon Regions

By Sophie Maes, Partner, Claeys & Engels

Non-EEA and non-Swiss employees must obtain authorisation to work in Belgium (work permit up to 90 days; single permit if more than 90 days). The 2020 annual gross salary thresholds for certain foreign employees working in the Brussels’ Region and the Walloon Region to obtain work authorisation have been published. They are:

  • highly skilled employees: EUR 42,869 gross;
  • European Blue card: EUR 55,431 gross;
  • leading personnel: EUR 71,521 gross;
  • artists: EUR 35,761 gross.

The Flemish Region has not yet published its 2020 annual gross salary thresholds.

Update on biometrics in Canada

By Natasha Lakhani, Associate, Katie Van Nostrand, Partner, Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LL

In 2018, biometrics (fingerprints and a photo) became compulsory for citizens from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Asia-Pacific and the Americas applying to enter Canada. Biometrics are collected once every ten years at a cost of CAD 85 per person aged 14-79.

Currently, biometric collection centres are only available at ports of entry into Canada as well as at locations abroad: there are no collection centres inside of Canada. Until Canadian biometric facilities are open, applicants applying from within Canada are exempt from having to provide biometrics under public policy. It is important that applicants applying from within Canada apply to extend or change their status ‘in Canada’ as opposed to applying through their country of citizenship, for example, with the hope of faster processing. If an applicant in Canada applies to a Canadian visa office abroad, they will be asked to provide their biometrics (if they have not already done so), meaning they will be required to attend at a biometric collection centre in the US (or their home country) before their application can be finalised. This could of course cause unneeded disruption, frustration and expense.

IRCC has advised that in December 2019, in-Canada biometric services will be available at 58 Service Canada and Passport Canada sites across Canada.

Chile: Consular tourist visa for Australian nationals

By Marcela Salazar Flores, Partner, Munita & Olavarría

From 17 December 2019, Australian nationals who want to travel to Chile for tourist purposes will be required to have a consular tourist visa.

The visa should be requested from the appropriate Chilean consulate abroad, prior to arrival in Chile.

The visa allows a maximum stay of 90 days.

Chile: Online Permanent Residence Certificate

By Marcela Salazar Flores, Partner, Munita & Olavarría

The Department of Foreign Affairs has put in place an online system for Permanent Residence certificates.

People can now request and download a Permanent Residence Certificate online using their registration code.

New regulations regarding entry and stay of foreign nationals in Colombia

By Catalina Santos, Partner, and Diana Monsalve, Associate, Brigard Urrutia. 

Resolution 3167 of 2019, introduces new regulations regarding the entry of foreigners into the country, that will come into force starting 1 December 2019.

The changes include the following key points:

  • New classification of entry and stay permits, as well as amended scope of permissible activities.
  • The implementation of the Border Mobility Card for foreign nationals from neighbouring countries as an alternative travel document to the passport.
  • The implementation of CAN-MERCOSUR Electronic Migration Card as an alternative travel document to the passport;
  • The implementation of Biometrics authentication (BIOMIG) for Colombian nationals.
  • The advantages of visa-free entry for nationals of the MERCOSUR, CAN and Pacific Alliance countries, have been extended to foreign nationals who have permanent residence in those countries.

Colombia: New regulations on foreign degree validation processes

By Catalina Santos, Partner, and Diana Monsalve, Associate, Brigard Urrutia.

The Ministry of Education has introduced new regulations on the process for validation of higher education degrees granted abroad (pursuant to Resolution 10687 of 2019).

Under the new process, the application must meet one of the following validation criteria:

High quality accreditation or recognition Available when the institution or programme has a high-quality accreditation or recognition from a government institution.

Administrative precedent Available when the degree matches at least three titles evaluated by the National Intersectoral Commission for the Quality Assurance of Higher Education (CONACES).

Academic evaluation Available when the evaluation body studies, assesses and issues a definition relating to academic training acquired abroad, in relation to national programmes.

Each criterion includes documentary requirements that must be filed with the application and processing times.

The resolution also indicates which academic titles cannot be validated in Colombia. These include among others, the following: double degrees, joint programmes, own titles, unofficial titles, titles with training in Colombia, undergraduate degrees in health (that do not meet the same characteristics as Colombian degrees) and honorary degrees.

Czech Republic: Government can now set quotas for economic immigration

By Ondřej Chlada, Randl Partners

Following an amendment to the Act on the Residence of Aliens in the territory of the Czech Republic, the Government can set a maximum number of visa applications for business purposes, long-term residence permits for investment purposes, or employee cards.

The quotas are set by government regulation and information on utilisation of quotas is published directly on the websites of the respective embassies.

Europe: Resources condition for long-term residence applications may also cover third-party resources

By Sophie Maes, Partner, Claeys & Engels

On 3 October 2019, the European Court of Justice ruled that the concept of ‘resources’ in Directive 2003/109/EC concerning the status of long-term residents in a member state includes not only the applicant for long-term residence’s own resources but may also cover resources made available to the applicant by a third party provided that, in the light of the applicant’s individual circumstances, these resources could be considered ‘stable, regular and sufficient’.

X v. Belgische Staat, case C-302/18

Europe: High financial penalties for infringements of formal obligations incompatible with freedom of services

By Sophie Maes, Partner, Claeys & Engels

On 12 September 2019, the European Court of Justice ruled that very high financial penalties for infringements of formal obligations in the context of a secondment are incompatible with the freedom to provide services.

An Austrian contractor had contracted with a Croatian subcontractor to provide a service on Austrian territory. During an audit, the Austrian Tax Investigation Service established that for most of the employees, no payroll documents or work permits could be submitted. Both the manager of the Austrian contractor and the managers of the Croatian subcontractor were severely sanctioned for these infringements (fines of EUR 3,255,000 and EUR 2,400,000 to EUR 2,604,000, respectively). The Austrian Court asked the Court of Justice whether these very high penalties were compatible with the freedom to provide services.

The Court of Justice ruled that EU law precludes penalties for infringements of formal obligations such as obtaining permits and retaining payroll documents:

  • which cannot be less than a predefined minimum amount;
  • which can be imposed cumulatively for each employee without a maximum;
  • which are supplemented with an additional amount of 20% for litigation costs; and
  • which, in the event of failure to pay the fine, can lead to imprisonment.

According to the Court, national legislation imposing such serious penalties for infringements of administrative obligations in the context of cross-border provision of services is disproportionate and therefore an unjustified obstacle to the freedom to provide services.

This judgment may have an impact on fines imposed for infringements of formal administrative obligations in the context of the provision of services in the EU.

ECJ, Zoran Maksimovic and Others v Bezirkshauptmannschaft Murtal and Finanzpolizei, joint cases C-64/18, C-140/18, C-146/18 and C-148/18.

Finland: A1 certificate can now be applied for and downloaded via new online service

By Iisa Koskela, Associate, Helinä Teittinen, Associate Trainee, Dittmar & Indrenius

As of 25 November 2019, the Finnish Centre for Pensions (Eläketurvakeskus) offers a new online application service platform for A1 certificates.

The A1 certificate states which country's social security legislation applies to the employee and to which country the employee's social insurance contributions are to be paid while working temporarily in another EU/EEA country or in Switzerland.

The implementation of the new online service is expected to shorten the A1 certificate application process. Some of the online-submitted applications will be handled automatically and can thus even be processed in a single day. In addition, the applicant can follow the application process or report changes regarding his or her working period in the online service.

As a result of the change, the granted A1 certificate can now be downloaded in the online application service or to a mobile device. The online application service is available in Finnish, Swedish and English.

The use of the electronic application service requires the employer, employee and self-employed applicant to have an ID with the Suomi.fi e-Authorization. The ‘Katso’ identification, which was previously used to identify corporate users, is no longer in use.

Germany: Skilled Immigration Act comes into force on 1 March 2020 

By Julia Uznanski, Associate, KLIEMT.HR Lawyers

In order to attract skilled immigration from non-EU countries, Germany has passed the Skilled Immigration Act (Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetz), which will come into force on 1 March 2020.

Third country nationals:

  • who have a recognised university degree or recognised vocational training; and
  • who have a concrete job offer in Germany on a domestic employment contract;
  • for a skilled job which their qualification enables them to do; and
  • which does not offer less favourable working conditions than for comparable domestic employees;
  • and who have a professional licence, if the job requires it;

will usually be able to receive a residence/work permit for the purposes of conducting skilled employment.

These regulations, along with an accelerated administrative procedure for skilled immigration, will simplify international hiring planning for employers and should be conducive to furthering skilled immigration to Germany.

Italy: Work outside EU can count towards five-year contribution requirement for considering maternal/paternal leave for social security purposes

By Avv. Valeria Morosini, Toffoletto De Luca Tamajo e Soci

The Italian law on maternity (the ‘TU Maternità’) provides that periods of maternity and parental leave used out of the employment relationship can be taken into account for social security purposes, provided that the employees have paid at least five years’ social security contributions.

With Instructions n. 3730/2019, the Italian Social Security Body has confirmed that not only periods worked in an EU country have to be taken into account for the purposes of the five-year contribution requirement, but certified periods worked in a non-EU country with which Italy has a social security agreement can also be included.

The Netherlands: Family members of self-employed individuals exempted from work permit requirement from 2020

By Marlies Koggel, Courdid

From the beginning of 2020, family members of self-employed individuals are allowed to work as employees without having to meet the requirement of being in possession of a Dutch work permit. At the moment, a work permit is required for family members of self-employed individuals to work as employees.

New Zealand: Re-opening of Parent Residence Visa category and update to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations register

By Simon Lapthorne, Executive Partner, Hannah King, Associate, Kiely Thompson Caisley

Immigration New Zealand has announced that the Parent Category Residence Visa will reopen in February 2020 with new criteria, including increased income thresholds that sponsors will need to meet for two out of the three years prior to their parents’ visa applications being made. Applicants for Parent Category Residence Visas will no longer be able to apply based on settlement funds or a guaranteed lifetime income. The number of visas issued under this category annually will be limited to 1,000.

A new version (version 1.3) of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) register was released on 5 November 2019. However, Immigration New Zealand will continue to use the previous version (1.2) for the assessment of most occupations until mid-2020, with some limited exceptions.

Peru: New online registration requirements for foreign nationals

By José Antonio Valdez, Partner, Lucianna Polar, Partner, Estudio Olaechea

Foreign citizens are now required to update and validate the data they have registered with the National Superintendence of Migrations and also include new information and documents requested using the following link: https://cel1.migraciones.gob.pe/web-actualiza-datos.

This obligation applies to all foreign citizens who are in Peru and who have registered information with the National Superintendence of Migrations, including Venezuelan citizens who have applied for, or have obtained, a Temporary Residence Permit (PTP). It also applies to individuals who are in Peru and are not registered with the National Superintendence of Migrations.

When starting the data update procedure, applicants must enter their passport as an identifier. Data that has already been submitted to the National Superintendence of Migrations at the time of entering Peru or registered at the central immigration registry when the individual obtained their immigration status, and that has not changed since then must also be filled in, using the same information.

Finally, the National Superintendence of Migrations will oversee compliance with the requirement for updates. If a foreign citizen fails to update his or her information, the National Superintendence of Migrations can start verification and, if appropriate, impose sanctions.

Russia: Visa-free entrance to Russian for 2020 UEFA European Football Championship Fan ID holders

By Irina Anyukhina, Partner, Margarita Egiazarova, Associate, ALRUD Law Firm 

For the 2020 UEFA European Football Championship being held in Russia in summer 2020, foreign nationals who have Fan ID will have an opportunity to enter Russia without a visa from 30 May 2020 to 3 July 2020.

It has been established by law that foreign nationals who have Fan ID will not be required to obtain a visa in order to visit Russia for tourism purposes during this period.

Russia: New regulations regarding residence permits

By Irina Anyukhina, Partner, Margarita Egiazarova, Associate, ALRUD Law Firm 

Starting from 1 November 2019, all foreign nationals can obtain a Russian permanent residence permit for an indefinite period. The only exception is that highly qualified foreign employees who apply for residence permits based on their work permits will only be able to obtain the residence permit for the term of their work permits. Previously, a permanent residence permit was issued only for five years, with an option to extend.

The list of individuals who can obtain a Russian permanent residence permit according to a simplified procedure has also been expanded.

Russia: New form for migration registration for foreign nationals

By Russia: New form for migration registration for foreign nationals

Starting from 28 October 2019, all foreign nationals are required to use a new form of migration registration notice.

The amendments relate to the technical content of the document. It is crucial to use new form, since notification made using an old template will be treated as a failure to comply with the procedure.

United Kingdom: Shortage occupation list expanded for skilled workers

By Andrew Osborne, partner at Lewis Silkin LLP

From 1 October 2019, the shortage occupation list for Tier 2 skilled workers was significantly expanded to include occupations covering about 2.5 million workers, or about 9% of total employment: up from 180,000 workers, or less than 1% of total employment.

Inclusion on the shortage occupation list makes it easier for an employer to sponsor a migrant as there is no need for resident labour market testing. There is also an exemption from the general minimum salary threshold that normally applies at settlement (permanent residence) stage.

Jobs now covered under the shortage list include Veterinarians, Biological scientists and biochemists, Web designers and Architects. Limitations on existing occupations, such as those in the digital technology arena and skilled chefs have also been relaxed.

Some occupations have been removed from the shortage occupation list: certain job titles under Production managers and directors in mining and energy, IT specialist managers, Aircraft maintenance and related trades and Line repairers and cable jointers.