Global Immigration News

Immigration updates

  1. China
  2. Czech Republic
  3. Germany
  4. Kazakhstan
  5. United States
  6. Romania
  7. Israel

 

China

New regulations for high-level talent visa
 

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China has introduced new regulations for the R Visa, which is available to high-level talent, effective January 01, 2018.
 

What is the change?
 

Individuals applying for a Chinese R Visa can benefit from the following:
 
  • Increased duration of stay: multiple stays of up to 180 days.
     
  • Faster processing: Chinese embassies, consulates or other overseas offices authorized by the Foreign Ministry can issue an R Visa within a minimum of two working days.  
     
  • Increased validity: a validity of five to 10 years.
     
  • Economic benefits: no visa or expedited handling fees. 

 

Qualifying criteria
 

Similar to the qualifying criteria for Category A work permits, individuals who qualify for the R Visa include highly-qualified scientists, international entrepreneurs and those with high-level skill sets.
 

Further benefits
 

The spouse and minor children of a foreigner who qualifies for an R Visa can receive multiple-entry visas with the same term of validity.
 
Work permit applications for R Visa holders entering China can be completed online within a minimum of three working days, provided all documents are in place.     
 

Key considerations 
 

The R (Talent) Visa is issued by a Chinese embassy or consulate overseas. In advance of the visa application, a confirmation letter of Foreign High-End Talents must be applied for and obtained from the system of the Bureau of Foreign Expert Affairs.
 
The R (Talent) Visa cannot replace a work permit. If a labor contract is signed between an applicant and a domestic employer, the applicant must apply for a work permit and residence permit as required.
 
Sources: This information was prepared using information from the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs P.R. China. 国家外国专家局 外交部 公安部关于印发 《外国人才签证制度实施办法》的通知, 外专发[2017] 218号
 
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Emily Wang, China Team Lead, Visa and Immigration Services or Debra Beynon, Regional Immigration Manager, APAC.
 
 
 

Czech Republic

New booking system for visa and residence permit applications
 

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The Visapoint booking system was closed on November 1, 2017. It is no longer available for booking appointments for visa or residence permit applications. A new appointment booking system was introduced at Czech consulates on December 1, 2017. Applicants now have to request a long-term visa or residence permit appointment by email. 

Process and timing vary significantly between consulates from several weeks to several months. Consulates where it was challenging to obtain appointments in 2017 continue to grant appointments up to several months after the appointment request.
 
Below is an overview of the updates on the booking system:
 
  • Applicants for long-term visas and residency permits travelling to the Czech Republic should use the email address visa_[name of consulate]@mzv.cz to make an appointment. 
     
  • One email represents one application. Only under aged children can be included in the parents’ email. 
     
  • Requests for appointments will be accepted depending on the capacity at the consulate. Some consulates will only accept a limited number of applications per week. Others will add all applications to a waiting list.
     
  • Applications will be accepted and processed chronologically. 
     
  • The applicant will receive an appointment date only if the email contains all the necessary requirements.
     
  • Some consulates will require the application to include an alphanumeric code in the subject line of the email request. These codes will be provided by the relevant consulate and will change regularly (weekly/monthly). Some consulates only accept emails sent on a certain day of the month. Other consulates will accept all emails and issue confirmation of appointments on a first in first out basis.
     
  • One email equals one applicant. The email must contain the following identification information about the applicant:
    • First name and surname
       
    • Date of birth
       
    • Passport number
       
    • Purpose of your travel for long-term visa/long-term residency permit
       
    • Phone number
       
    • Email
       
    • A copy of the applicant’s passport data page (in .pdf or .jpg format)
       
    • A copy of a document that explains the purpose of travel (in .pdf or .jpg format). For instance, an employee can attach the employment contract or an invitation letter.

       

  • The appointment dates are final and unchangeable. If the applicant cancels his/her appointment, a new appointment must be arranged by email with the identical procedure.
     
Furthermore, please take note of the following, confirmed by the Ministry of Interior:
 
  • The email should be send by the applicant.
     
  • It is not possible to use specific encryption or password protection for the emails or attachments.
     
  • No information can be provided in advance on how long it might take to obtain an appointment

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Key considerations
 

Crown World Mobility strongly advises applicants to consult the webpage of the relevant consulate before sending the email as timelines differ across the consulates. Consulates at which it was challenging to obtain appointments in 2017 continue to confirm appointments at a late date. E.g. requests for an appoint with the Czech consulate in New Delhi sent in December 2017 have resulted in appointments confirmed for March 2018.
 
Given the long wait to obtain an appointment, it is advised that applicants request an appointment as soon as the relevant documents are available. Either that or when there is certainty about when all required documents will be available. Please remember that it is not possible to reschedule and incomplete applications are typically rejected. Given the process of getting an appointment, possible delays should be expected.
 
We are monitoring the situation closely and will share updates accordingly. 
 
Source: This information was prepared using information from the Ministry of Interior Czech Republic
 
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Michele Giordani, Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA.
 
 
 

Germany

Minimum salary thresholds increase for blue card applications
 

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Minimum salary thresholds increased for individuals applying for EU blue cards in Germany.
 
The minimum annual salary required is now 52,000 euros annually or 4,333.33 euros per month.
 
For individuals holding degrees in a shortage occupation, the minimum annual salary required is 40,560 euros or 3,380 euros per month.
 

Key considerations
 

The EU Blue Card is issued to highly qualified foreign nationals to engage in work comparable to their qualifications. Crown suggests foreign nationals review the minimum salary requirements, as well as all other eligibility criteria and requirements in advance for blue card applications. 
 
Source: This information was prepared using information from Service Portal Berlin.
 
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Michele Giordani, Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA

 

Kazakhstan

Bans to be enforced for non-compliance with passport registration

Image of Kazakstan

Foreign employees are required to register their passport with the Migration Police within five days of entering the country. Failure to do so could result in penalties including:
 
  • Administrative court proceedings in Kazakhstan for the foreign worker. This could result in a fine for the worker and employer.
     
  • If a fine is imposed on the employer, the Migration Police may ban the employer from sponsoring foreign workers (this is true for first time and repeat offenders).
     
The sponsorship ban on employers is issued for one year. During this time the employer is unable to sponsor foreign workers applying for business visas and work authorizations.
 
Passport registration is mandatory for each entry/re-entry to Kazakhstan. The method of registration (either at the Migration Police office or at the airport upon arrival) will depend on the individual’s nationality.
 

Key considerations
 

Foreign nationals who obtain two stamps in their migration card upon arrival are exempt from the passport registration requirement. Employers are advised to ensure foreign workers complete passport registration requirements upon arrival in Kazakhstan to avoid any penalties.
 
Source: This information was put together using the information provided by the Kazakhstan Ministry of Internal Affairs
 
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Michele Giordani, Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA 
 
 

United States

California implements Immigrant Worker Protection Act

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California’s Immigrant Worker Protection Act (IWPA) is in effect. The IWPA intends to protect unauthorized workers. However, it comes with many challenges to employers trying to comply with federal and state law. 
 
Obligations under the new law are stated as follows:
  1. A judicial warrant is required before providing an immigration enforcement agent with access to non-public areas of the worksite.
    • An administrative warrant that has been signed only by a Department of Homeland Security immigration officer does not satisfy the law’s requirement for a judicial warrant. The employer may verify the warrant and the agent’s identity but only in a non-public area if no employees are present. According to the federal law, the employer is not required to immediately grant federal agents access to a worksite. Hence it is advised that employers carefully verify the request and the identity of the agent. 
       
  2. A judicial warrant is required before providing an immigration enforcement agent with access to employee records.
    • Where a federal agent is seeking to obtain  I-9 eligibility verification forms through the service of Notice of Inspection (NOI), this requirement does not apply.  
       
  3. A notification to employees and labor union representatives is required before and after I-9 inspections.
    • The employees and their labor union representative should be notified by their employer of the upcoming inspection within 72 hours of receiving the notice. This should be provided in the language normally used to communicate employment related matters. After an immigration inspection takes place, the employers are required to provide a copy of the inspection results. They also must provide a hand-delivered individualized written notice to the employees and their union representatives within 72 hours of receipt. 
       
  4. Re-verifying the employee’s employment eligibility at a time or manner not required by federal law is prohibited.
    • Employers are required to conduct reverification before an employee’s existing work authorization expires. However, in any other instances this is not required.
       
The new law does not define the term “immigration enforcement agent”, however there are strong arguments for this term to refer to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and not to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Fraud Detection and National Security inspectors and officers, or agents from other agencies.
 
The following fines have been confirmed in case of violating the law:
  • US$ 2,000 to US$ 5,000 for a first violation of access to the worksite, access to the records or notice requirements.
     
  • US$ 5,000 – US$ 10,000 for each subsequent violation.
     
  • Up to US$ 10,000 for a violation of the reverification prohibition.

 

Key considerations
 

Crown World Mobility advises employers with offices in California to become familiar with the new law and ensure compliance.
 
Source: This information was prepared using information from California Legislative Information.
 
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Roberta Carnaccini, Global Operations Director - Immigration

 

Romania

Work permit quotas for 2018 increased
 

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Romania has increased its work permit quotas for 2018. These have been published in the Official Gazette.
 
The total number of work permit quotas for non-EU nationals was increased to 7,000 from 5,500 in 2017. A quota slot is required as part of a work permit application. Work permits will no longer be issued once the quotas have been reached. The quotas for 2017 were exhausted in November.
 
The categories that increased in quota allocations are:
 
  • Assignees: 1,200 (700 in 2017)
     
  • Local hires: 4,000 (3,000 in 2017)
     

The categories that will receive the same allocation are:
 

  • Intra-company transferees: 700 
     
  • Highly-skilled workers - EU Blue Card: 500 
     
  • Seasonal workers: 400 
     
  • Trainees: 100 
     
  • Cross-border workers: 100 

 

Key considerations
 

Employers hiring foreign nationals in Romania should be aware of the quota allocations per category and plan in advance.
 
Source: This information was prepared using information from Peregrine Immigration Management
 
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Michele Giordani, Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA 
 
 

Israel

Minimum salary increases for SEA/STEP visa holders and improvements planned for high-tech work permit process

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The minimum salary requirement in Israel for SEA/STEP visas has increased. Holders of SEA/STEP visas must now receive a gross monthly salary of NIS 5,300 (previously NIS 5,000).
 
Further updates are expected this month regarding the minimum monthly salary for B-1 work visas.
 
The Ministry of Interior has increased the application fee for a six-month B-1 work visa to NIS 9,675 (previously NIS 9,655). The work permit submission fee remains unchanged at NIS 1,190.
 
The Ministry of Interior also plans to improve the high-tech work permit process in Israel. The planned improvements include the implementation of an online application process for faster processing of applications, permission for spouses of high-tech work permit holders to legally work, as well as exempting foreign students to work in the high-tech industry without having to meet the current salary requirements.
 

Key considerations
 

Employers are advised to familiarize themselves and comply with the new minimum salary amount. Employers hiring foreign nationals as well as individuals applying for B-1 work visas should take into consideration the new application fee and keep an eye out for the upcoming improvements regarding the high-tech work permit process.
 
Sources: This information was prepared using information from Peregrine Immigration Management (minimum salary) and Israeli innovation News (improvements to high-tech work permit process).
 
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Michele Giordani, Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA