In April 2019's global immigration update, we provide brief details on key changes to immigration rules in global jurisdictions including Europe, The Americas and Asia.



New Procedure for EU registrations now applicable

EU nationals working in Denmark and planning to stay and work in Denmark for more than 3 months should now apply for their EU registration certificates through the Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI). Previously, the Regional State Administrative Office (RSA) was responsible for these applications.


EU regulation confirms UK Nationals will not need a visa to enter the EU for tourism and business trips after Brexit

An EU regulation has confirmed that after Brexit, whether or not the UK leaves the European Union with or without a deal, UK nationals can enter Schengen countries for tourism and business trips for up to 90 days in a 180 day period. A condition of reciprocity applies and in the event the UK introduces a visa requirement for EU nationals visiting the UK, the EU is able to review and amend the no-visa arrangement.

The Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Separately, UK nationals will be able to travel to Ireland without a visa after Brexit under the Common Travel Area.


Changes to French Immigration system fully implemented

Further to the implementation of various immigration reforms in September 2018, the majority of these new laws have now been implemented.   

The key changes are as follows:

  • EU Intracompany Transferees (ICT) now have stricter requirements as follows:
    • The minimum period of employment by the home employer or corporate group has increased from 3 to 6 months. Foreign nationals applying for the EU ICT Permit must have been employed for at least 6 months prior to the transfer to France.
    • The requirement for all applications to be filed outside the EU has now been formally included in French law.
    • A cooling-off period of 6 months outside the European Union has been introduced. EU ICT Permit holders must now have this cooling off period after completing an intracompany transfer to France before they can file a new EU ICT Permit application.  
  • The Talent Passport programme has been expanded as follows:
    • More companies will be eligible for the programme as companies no longer need to have the ‘young innovative company’ tax status in order to be a sponsor
    • More projects will be eligible for the programme as projects with the aim of economic development of a French company and transfers under the ‘French Tech Visa’ programme are now eligible.
    • More applicants will be eligible as now recent graduates from universities outside of France can qualify. Previously only graduates from French universities could qualify.  
  • Favourable changes have also been introduced for students and researchers coming to France. After completion of their research or study, foreign nationals who qualify have the option of obtaining a one-year residence permit for their job-search or start-up with full Schengen travel rights, rather than a limited national permit. In addition, those who are eligible for the permit have up to four years after they graduate to apply as opposed to the previous one year limit.


Migration office in Moscow will no longer accept highly qualified specialist work permit applications

The main Migration Office in Moscow will no longer accept any highly qualified specialist work permit applications

Effective from 5 April 2019, the Head Migration Office stopped accepting any (both initial and renewal) work permit applications for highly qualified specialists. Certain companies were previously able to apply at this location but all applicants must now submit their applications at regional migration offices. 



B-1/B-2 VISA rules to be enforced more strictly for overstays

A Presidential memorandum has  directed the Department of State (DOS) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to introduce measures to minimise B-1 and B-2 visa holders who overstay their authorized stay in the United States.  This includes those who overstay using the ESTA programme. President Trump has requested that the DHS provide a report on any ongoing efforts to reduce ESTA overstays, as well as provide recommendations for further enforcement of the current regulations under the ESTA programme.    

The Trump administration have also requested recommendations to reduce B-1 and B-2 visa overstays from countries with overstay rates over 10%.  Penalties could include restriction of travel for current B1/B2 visa holders or suspension of B visa issuance.

The DOS and DHS must aim to reduce the overstay rates of all types of any type of non-immigrant visas. Next steps will include submitting a status report to the President on the situation 4 months.



Online visa application system introduced from July 2019

Immigration authorities in Japan have opened the registration period for its new online visa application system. The system will be available from 25 July 2019 and offer an online platform to apply for a range of visa application types for select companies.  These will include: Intracompany Transfer visas, Engineer/Specialist/International Services visas, Highly-Skilled Professional visas and Skilled Labor visas; and dependent visa renewals.

The system will be open to employees of companies who have registered and lawyers certified by the Immigration Services Agency or Regional Immigration Services Bureau in Japan.  The company must also have sponsored foreign employees over the past three years.

In addition, applicants can access the system 24 hours per day, but only from within Japan. There is no cost for the use of the online system and processing times for online applications will remain the same as current processing times for manual applications.