Immigration weekly update: December 02, 2021

Immigration updates for Australia, India, Malaysia and more


Australia: Border update

The Australian borders reopened on December 1, 2021, for those who are fully vaccinated without the requirement to apply for a travel exemption. This applies to the following eligible visa holders:

  • Subclass 400 – Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa
  • Subclass 407 – Training visa
  • Subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa
  • Subclass 482 Employment visa
  • Subclass 494 – Skilled Employer-Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa

Each state is managing its own entry restrictions and to date, only New South Wales, Victoria and the Capital Territory will allow travelers to enter without quarantine.

Australia has also opened a safe travel bubble with Singapore, and fully vaccinated tourists from South Korea and Japan can enter Australia without quarantine.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Australian Government and the Prime Minister of Australia.

India: New regulations and relaxations for foreign nationals

The Indian Ministry has now included new regulations and relaxations applicable for foreign nationals residing in India:

  • If a foreign national departs within 14 days of arrival on their first visit, no registration is required. Past requirements saw foreign nationals travel out of India only after obtaining Residential Permits from local FRRO / FRO offices.
  • If a foreign national who is required to register proposes to be absent from their registered address for a continuous period of eight weeks or more, or is either:
    • Changing their registered address
    • Departing from India

Before leaving, they shall inform either in person, through an authorized representative, or through registered post to the jurisdictional Registration Officer of their intention to leave (temporarily or permanently). In case they are moving to another address in India, the new address should also be intimated to the Registration Officer.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Government of India.

Flight resumption

The Indian government has announced the resumption of scheduled flights starting from December 15, 2021. The government has taken precautionary measures to track and control the spread of Covid-19. With this they have separated international arrivals into two categories: “Travelers coming from countries – at risk” and “Travelers coming from countries excluding those enlisted as countries at risk.”

A list of countries where travelers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India, including post-arrival testing include Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Israel, Mauritius, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Zimbabwe.

Also, to be noted that South Africa, Zimbabwe and Hong Kong have been declared as high-risk countries. In this view, the Indian government has announced a travel ban to / from South Africa and the Consulate general of India has been arranging for a return of stranded Indians.

The resumption of scheduled international flights from December 15, 2021, is currently under review. This is due to the wake of rising concerns over the new Covid-19 variant Omicron.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from NDTV news.

Malaysia: New rules for the Residence Visa

The VTL travel scheme was made effective on November 29, 2021, between Malaysia and Singapore. Under this scheme, quarantine will not be required but travelers will be subjected to Covid-19 testing (pre-departure and upon arrival).

Conditions to travel under VTL:

  • Applicants must have remained in Singapore / Malaysia in the last 14 consecutive days before departing for Singapore / Malaysia.
  • Applicants must be fully vaccinated (vaccine recognized by WHO).
  • Applicants who are short-term visitors (including business and official travelers) must purchase a return ticket and mandatory travel insurance for Covid-19 related medical treatment and hospitalization costs:
    • Traveling to Malaysia – minimum coverage of MYR 100,000
    • Traveling to Singapore – minimum coverage of SGD 30, 000

Further requirements for travelers from Malaysia to Singapore and vice versa can be found here.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Government of Malaysia.

Expatriate Service Division (ESD) portal – New application feature

The new ESD facilitation fee as announced earlier took effect on November 15, 2021. As part of the enhanced service, physical presence at MyXpats / immigration offices are not required for approved applications that were submitted after November 15, 2021. There are no changes for applications submitted / approved before November 15, 2021.

Endorsement process:

  • Step 1: Upon approval of the application, the employer must submit the endorsement request in the ESD portal.
  • Step 2: After the verification of documents and approval by the Immigration Department of Malaysia, the company will receive notification via email to proceed with the payment of the Immigration Fee. The processing charter is three working days upon complete submission.
  • Step 3: Upon successful payment, the Pass will be delivered to the company by Pos Malaysia as follows:
    • Klang Valley: Two working days
    • Other states: Three working days
    • Federal Territory of Labuan: Five working days

A notification via email will be sent to the company regarding the delivery date.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Government of Malaysia.

New Zealand: Gradual re-opening of borders

NZ citizens, residents and holders of Critical Purpose visas, from non-high-risk countries and who are fully vaccinated, will be able to enter NZ without having to secure a managed isolation allocation (but with seven days of home isolation). It will be a staged approach and is focusing on those with skills needed to allow them to enter:

  • Step 1: Opening to fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens, residence-class visa holders and other travelers eligible under the current settings from Australia from January 16, 2022 (provided they have been in Australia or New Zealand for the past 14 days).
  • Step 2: Opening to fully vaccinated New Zealand citizens, residence-class visa holders and other travelers eligible under the current border settings, from all but very high-risk countries from February 13, 2022.
  • Step 3: Opening to fully vaccinated foreign nationals (possibly staged by visa category) from April 30, 2022, onwards.

Stage three infers that travelers will be able to apply under traditional work visa categories, without the need for a critical purpose visa. However, it hasn’t been confirmed which visa types will be designated to commence this step.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Government of New Zealand.

Philippines: Issuance of PEZA visas

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). Its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) are to issue working visas to foreign investors and non-resident alien employees of PEZA-registered enterprises under the authority of PEZA under Republic Act No. 7916.

The important points of the PEZA visa (PV) are­:

  • The PV shall be valid as an authority to stay within and outside the PEZA-registered ecozones. However, the authority to work or employment cannot be undertaken outside the ecozones.
  • The PV issued to qualified foreign nationals of PEZA-registered enterprises have a maximum period of validity for two years. This is subject to the renewal for the same period, upon the request of the PEZA-registered enterprises on behalf of their respective foreign national applicants. Provided that no violations will be committed by the foreign nationals during the period covered.
  • The PV issued to the qualified dependent(s) shall be consistent with the validity of the principal foreign national executives or employees.

The relevant PEZA Memorandum Circular detailing the guidelines on the issuance of the PV will be publicized. The MOA and IRR will be effective 15 days after publication in the newspaper of general circulation.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Manila Times.

Revised travel guidelines and restrictions

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has released Resolution No. 151-A dated November 28, 2021, suspending the following:

  • Entry allowance of non-visa required nationals coming from Green List countries.
  • Existing testing and quarantine protocols for passengers coming from the Green List countries.

Red List countries: Austria, Belgium, Botswana, Czech Republic, Eswatini, Hungary, Italy, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, the Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Returning Filipinos must be part of government-initiated, non-government-initiated, and Bayanihan repatriation flights. They are subject to a mandatory 10-day facility-based quarantine and to take a swab test in the seventh day.

All foreign national travelers regardless of vaccination status, coming from or who have been to countries on the Red List within the last 14 days, shall not be allowed to enter any port of the country. Passengers merely transiting through these countries shall not be deemed as having come from, or having been to, such country if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry by the immigration authorities.

Travelers coming from countries not specified on the Red List can only enter if they have the appropriate entry visa, work visa and travel ban exemption.

Vaccinated (Filipinos and foreign nationals):

  • With a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure:
    • Facility-based quarantine until release of negative results.
    • Third day swabbing.
    • Self-monitoring until 14th day from arrival.
  • Without a negative RT-PCR test:
    • Facility-based quarantine until release of negative results.
    • Fifth day swabbing.
    • Home quarantine until tenth day from arrival.

Unvaccinated / partially vaccinated / unverified (Filipinos and foreign nationals):

  • Facility-based quarantine until release of negative results.
  • Seventh day swabbing.
  • Home quarantine until 14th day from arrival.

The testing and quarantine protocols of minors shall follow those of the parents / guardians traveling with them, regardless of the minor’s vaccination status, and country of origin.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Republic of Philippines.

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 Debra Jane BeynonRegional Immigration Manager (APAC).


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