In these global immigration updates, we provide brief details on key changes to immigration rules in global jurisdictions.

EUROPE

CZECH REPUBLIC

Bill to amend immigration law contains significant changes

A new bill has been proposed by the Czech government and is moving through Parliament with the intent of amending the Act on the Residence of Foreign Nationals. The bill is expected to take effect later this year.

The primary amendment includes the introduction of an annual quota system which would apply to long-term visa holders, including individuals with residence visas valid for 90 days for business purposes. Once the quota is reached, applicants would no longer be accepted; however the system will not apply to ICTs or EU Blue Card applicants.

Other key changes include:

  • Foreign companies assigning employees to work in the Czech Republic will be required to maintain copies of documents, translated into Czech, that outline the employment relationship;
  • Integration courses for foreign workers will become mandatory by 2021; and
  • Adoption of the new EU Students and Researchers Directive, allowing for the simplification of rules for the entry of these applicants will become simplified.

Changes to the Employee Card Program

Individuals applying for employee cards will be required to provide proof of employment before being able to obtain a biometric card. Employers will now only be required to provide proof of labour market testing adverts for 10 days.  Card holders will also be required to report any changes to their employment, including a change of employer or work location, to the Ministry of the Interior (Department for Asylum and Migration Policy).Reporting must occur within 30 days before the change in circumstance becomes effective, and no sooner than six months after the decision to provide the employment card. This change effectively removes the obligation to apply for ministry consent.  Finally, employee cards will no longer display the employers address.

IRELAND 

New arrangements for eligible spouses and partners of critical skills (CSEP) holders

Changes which took effect from 6 March 2019 mean that non-EEA spouses and de facto partners of CSEP permit holders are no longer required to obtain an employment permit (DPSEP) before starting work in Ireland. Spouses and de facto partners will now be granted permission to reside in Ireland on Stamp 1G conditions and may begin work immediately. The changes also apply to partners and spouses of Researchers in Ireland on Hosting Agreements.

Prior to the change, spouses and partners were given permission to reside on Stamp 3 conditions. If they wanted to be able to work they then had to apply for the permit which was often a long process.

Spouses and de factor partners already resident in Ireland applying under the previous arrangements can now attend their local immigration offices to obtain Stamp 1G conditions without the need for the additional permit. 

Effective, 1 April 2019 there will also be a new pre-clearance for non-EEA de facto partners of CSEP holders. De facto partners will be required to seek permission to reside in Ireland as the family member of a CSEP holder prior to their arrival. The aim of this new procedure is to reduce processing times and streamline the system.

POLAND 

Audit Aims to assess cost and impact of processing delays

The Supreme Audit Office (NIK) is currently processing an audit on labour offices across Poland, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Family, and the Centre for Foreigners. The purpose of the investigation is to determine the cause of on-going immigration processing delays and the associated government costs. The audits are expected to last until the second quarter of 2019.

In recent years, Poland has welcomed large numbers of foreign workers, causing processing delays for the receipt of both work and residence permits. In some regions applicants are forced to wait in excess of a year for their permits despite the local law stating that the entire adjudication process should occur within three months. Due to the increasing delays, complaints have been filed which have led to financial recovery of applicants from the government. The goal of the audit is not only to assess this situation but provide solutions to decrease future processing times and costs.

AMERICAS

CANADA

Global talent stream pilot programme to become  permanent

The Canadian 2019 proposed federal budget has been recently and a budget of a7.4 million CAD per year, has been allotted towards the Global Talent Stream Programme which will become permanent.

Originally introduced in June of 2017 as a pilot programme, the scheme facilitates the entry of highly-skilled foreign nationals in the fields of science, technology, engineer and mathematics related professions. The programme is available to employers referred by designated partners who are seeking to employ highly skilled foreign workers.  The Global Talent Stream Programme works by providing a streamlined Labour Market Impact Assessment followed by an allowance for employers who have obtained said Impact Assessment to apply for an expedited two week work permit processing for approved workers. The objective of making the programme permanent is to continue to bring in promising international talent as a means to satisfy the demands of the labour market in Canada.

ASIA

JAPAN

New online application system implemented with increased compliance checks for foreign employees 

Online System

Immigration authorities in Japan have launched an online application system to streamline processes.  Currently, the online application system is open for renewal applications, re-entry permits and special permission for extra work permission. It is expected that the new system will extend to initial applications in due course.

Stricter Enforcement

In addition, effective, 1 April 2019, authorities in Japan will be carrying out additional audits to monitor foreign employees’ having the correct work authorisation whilst in Japan.  Employers in Japan can expect stricter enforcement of foreign worker registration and compliance requirements in relation to employer and employee social security obligations. Employers should therefore ensure all their foreign employees have the correct work permit and completed all necessary registration steps.

PAKISTAN

E-Visa pilot programme introduced for select nationalities 

Immigration authorities in Pakistan have launched a pilot programme to allow foreign nationals of selected countries to apply for over 10 different categories of electronic entry visas (e-visas) to Pakistan.

Nationals of China, Malaysia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom are eligible to use the pilot e-visa scheme.  If successful, nationals of 175 countries will be eligible to apply for various visas under the e-visa programme.

Foreign nationals must register online, complete a visa application form and upload mandatory documents to apply.  They will then be directed to pay a government fee depending on the visa category and nationality of the applicant. Applicants may still be requested to attend an in-person interview at their nearest Pakistani consular post.

VIETNAM

E-Visa programme extended to nationals of 35 countries

Vietnam’s e-visa programme which was due to expire in February 2019 has now been extended to 2021.  The e-visa programme allows citizens from listed countries to be able to apply electronically for an e-visa and if successful grants applicants a 30-day, single entry visa, for either tourism or business purposes.

A full list of countries eligible for the program is noted below. Individuals who intend to remain in Vietnam past the 30 day period should ensure that they receive the appropriate visa and work permits before entering the country.

Citizens from the following countries are eligible to apply online for an e-Visa.

Eligible Countries: Andorra, Antarctica, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China* , Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Myanmar, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papau New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saint Barthelemy, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor-Leste, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Virgin Islands U.S.

*Chinese citizens must apply with a traditional passport as those with an e-passport will not be eligible.