India launches “e-Services” for foreign nationals, Hong Kong court rules in favor of LGBT rights, and the minimum yearly salary for non-European Economic Area nationals to apply for the EU Blue Card in Germany will increase as of January 2019.

E-Frro Services Extended in India

India’s Bureau of Immigration announced on October 11 the launch of “e-Services” for all foreign nationals across India.

E-FRRO visa services, such as registration and visa extension applications submitted in India can now be completed via an online procedure, eliminating the need for foreign nationals to visit the Foreigner Regional Registration Offices (FRRO) in person. Visa fees and late registration dues are now also payable online.

The foreign national may, however, still be required to appear for an interview at the discretion of the adjudicating officer. The foreign national will receive information about the scheduled time and date for the interview via email/SMS alerts, if required. All forms of communication from the FRRO will either be through the applicant’s online profile, through email, or SMS. Foreign nationals are liable for prosecution and/or fines if they fail to make payment or provide documents within the prescribed timeframe.

Hong Kong Courts Shift Toward Greater Recognition and Protection of LGBT Rights

In a recent landmark case of QT v. Director of Immigration CACV 117/2016, the Hong Kong Court of Appeal (CA) ruled that the Director of Immigration acted unlawfully by excluding a same-sex couple from his policy of granting dependent visas to the spouses of employment visa holders.

The CA held that where same-sex couples were treated differently on the basis of their sexual orientation under the Eligibility Requirement for a dependent visa, it would amount to unlawful indirect discrimination unless it is objectively justified. The CA considered that dependent visas should be open to all with a view to attract the most talented and skilled people irrespective of the applicants' sexual orientation. This decision potentially opens the door for applications for dependent visas by same-sex couples who are in a civil partnership or same-sex marriage.

Minimum Annual Salary for Non-Eea Nationals Applying For Blue Card in Germany Will Increase in January 2019.

As of 1 January 2019, the minimum salary for a non-European Economic Area (non-EEA) national to apply for an EU Blue Card in Germany will increase to €53,600 (about $61,125) per year. If the applicant will undertake a shortage occupation, the minimum salary requirement is €41,808 (approximately $47,677) per year. The new salary threshold will apply to new applications and extension applications submitted on or after 1 January 2019 as well as applications that are pending or in process on this date.