Immigration weekly update: January 08, 2021

Immigration updates for Austria, Brazil, China, Hong Kong and more


Brazil: Restrictions on entry

The Chief Ministers of The Civil House of the Presidency of the Republic, Justice and Public Security, and Health have published a decree related to temporary restrictions on the entry of all foreign nationals by highways, other land-based means or waterway transport.

The exceptions are:

  • Brazilians, born or naturalized
  • Immigrants with permanent residence, for a determined or indefinite period, in the  Brazilian territory
  • Foreign national professionals on assignment in an international organization, if duly identified
  • Foreign national employees accredited to the Brazilian Government
  • Foreign national:
    • spouses, partners, children, parents or guardian of a Brazilian
    • whose entry is specifically authorized by the Brazilian Government in view of the public interest or for humanitarian reasons; and
    • bearer of the National Migration Registry
    • Cargo transportation.

The restrictions dealt with in this ordinance do not prevent foreign nationals from entering the country by land, between the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Republic of Paraguay, provided that the migratory requirements appropriate to their condition are observed, including that of having an entry visa when required by the Brazilian legal system.

Brazilian and foreign nationals must present their Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) result and a health declaration to the airline before boarding if traveling from other countries.

This includes a document proving laboratory tests (RT-PCR), screening for infection by SARS-CoV-2, with a negative / non-reactive result, performed 72 hours prior to boarding and a traveler’s Health Declaration (DSV) completed (in print or digitally) with the agreement on the sanitary measures that must be complied with during their stay in the country.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the OfficialGazette (in Portuguese).

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


China: Zhejiang Province adjusts quarantine measures

All arriving passengers must undergo the standard 14-day centralized quarantine. In addition, they will also undergo a seven day Home Observation period, plus another seven days of health monitoring, with one round of nucleic acid testing arranged after each period.

During the initial 14-day central quarantine, Health Codes will be marked RED. During the seven day Home Observation period, the code will switch to YELLOW, and then finally GREEN for the last seven days of health monitoring.

During the Home Observation period, residents are discouraged from leaving their homes. If they must go out due to special circumstances, they should wear face masks and avoid crowds. Anyone developing symptoms should immediately seek medical treatment. Major cities in Zhejiang Province include Hangzhou, Ningbo, Yiwu, and Wenzhou.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Sinna News (Chinese).

Hong Kong: Extended self-isolation periods from the U.K.

All people returning from the U.K. or currently undergoing quarantine are expected to isolate for an additional seven days (total of 21 days). The additional seven days’ isolation can be taken at home, at a designated quarantine hotel or non-designated hotel/serviced apartments. However, not all quarantine hotels will take a new seven-day booking as some are only processing a 14-day package.

Ground transportation will be arranged by the government to the designated quarantine hotel. Under no circumstances can anyone take their own private transport until quarantine is over. If arriving late at night, the authorities will decide to send people to Ramblers hotel to wait or stay overnight until the Covid-19 test results have been released. The government authorities will arrange transport from Ramblers hotel to the designated quarantine hotel – exact arrangements regarding ground transportation will be decided daily by the relevant government department.

The above arrangements will be in place until further notice.

No source available at the time of writing.

India: Temporary flight suspension

All flights into India originating in the U.K. and vice versa are suspended until January 31, 2021. Airlines from other counties are also not permitted to board travelers from the U.K. to India. All passengers arriving from the U.K. before the cut-off will be subject to a mandatory RT-PCR test upon arrival.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from The Hindu Business Line.

Indonesia: Updated foreign national entry restrictions

A government circular has announced further border closures. Important guidance is also included on testing and quarantine for those who qualify for entry.

  • Indonesia have closed its border for foreign nationals starting from January 1 to January 14, 2021. Exceptions under tight health protocols:
    • Holders of diplomatic and official / service stay permits
    • Holders of ITAS / ITAP
  • Those included on the exceptions list must prepare a RT-PCR negative result 48 hours prior to departure. It will be checked upon arrival in Indonesia or can be uploaded on Indonesia Health Alert Card (eHAC).
  • Other documents will also be checked on arrival, including health check on arrival.
  • Foreign nationals will be taken to a government-approved quarantine hotel.

Below is the hotel list:

    • Arcadia hotel
    • Bandara hotel Internasional
    • Grand Mercure Harmoni
    • Grand Mercure Kemayoran
    • Hotel 88 Grogol
    • Hotel 88 Mangga Besar
    • Hotel 88 Mangga Dua
    • Hotel Bandara
    • Ibis budget airport
    • Ibis slipi
    • Ibis styles airport
    • JS Luwansa
    • Mercure Batavia
    • Novotel Gajahmada
    • Swiss Bell airport
    • Wisma Atlit
    • Zess hotel airport
  • Hotels will provide transportation using buses. It will be free of charge as it is included in the quarantine package.
  • RT-PCR tests will not be done at the airport but taken in the hotel before check in. Following check in persons will be quarantined for five days. The hotel will provide meals directly delivered to each room following health protocol.
  • After five days, another RT-PCR test will be done and once a negative result is released, they can continue their journey. If positive, they will be treated at the hospital appointed for foreign nationals at their expense.
  • All expenses will be at the foreign national’s own cost. Based on the information collected, hotels should be paid directly.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Indonesian).

Japan: Entry ban from all other countries

Due to the rising Covid-19 cases in Japan and to prevent new variants entering the country, the Government of Japan (GOJ) has denied travelers across the globe until the end of January 2021.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

Philippines: Bureau of Immigration (BI) advisory on 2021 Annual Report

Within the first 60 days of every calendar year, all registered aliens holding, or in the process of obtaining, Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) I-Cards must report in person to the BI Main Office or to any BI-designated office. Aliens must present their original ACR I-Card and valid passport as well as pay an annual report fee (PhP 300) and a legal research fee (PhP 10).

The BI has urged foreign nationals to register with the online system to receive their appointment.

No walk-ins are allowed and 800 slots are reserved per day. Saturdays are reserved for those availing the services of accredited entities and remote reporting for bulk applicants.

Embassies or foreign groups may request remote reporting and may be considered if the number of repartees exceeds 10 individuals.

The reporting period is from January 1 to March 1, 2021. Foreign nationals who are out of the country during the 60-day period can still report within 30 days from the date of their return to the Philippines if their re-entry permits are still valid.

Foreign nationals in the Philippines under an ACR I-Card exempt category are not required to report, such as:

  • 47(a)2 visa holders retirees
  • Special non-immigrant E.O. 226 visas under regional or area headquarters or regional operating headquarters of multinational companies

Exempt from personal appearance (may file through a representative with a Special Power of Attorney):

  • 14 and under
  • Adults aged 65 and over
  • Those who are mentally or physically incapacitated (a PWD ID must be presented)
  • Pregnant women and those confined in a hospital may request a one-week exemption, in writing, supported by an approved medical certificate

Consequences for non-compliance:

  • Submit a Motion for Reconsideration (MR) for the belated compliance and pay ₱510 as MR fees; and
  • In addition to the annual reportorial fees, pay a fine of ₱200 per month of delay up to a maximum of ₱2,000 per year. A fraction of a month shall be considered one month.

The BI may also impose visa cancelation, deportation, or imprisonment for non-compliance.

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

Temporary travel restrictions

A travel ban has been imposed until January 15, 2021, due to reported cases of the new Covid-19 variant on the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and the United States.

The travel ban excludes returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). They will be allowed to enter the country but are required to undergo a facility-based 14-day quarantine regardless of their RT-PCR test result. Meanwhile, outbound travel to countries with cases of the new variant is subject to existing exit protocols as well as entry rules of the destination country.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Philippines Airlines and Department of Foreign Affairs.

Singapore: Border measures for U.K. travelers

Considering the emergence of a new Covid-19 strain in the U.K., the Ministry of Health (MOH) has reviewed its border measures for incoming travelers from the U.K. These measures are already in effect until further notice:

  • All long-term pass holders, In Principle Approval (IPA) holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to the U.K. (within the last 14 days) will not be allowed entry into Singapore, or transit through Singapore. This travel restriction will also apply to those who had obtained prior approval for entry.
  • Returning Singapore citizens and permanent residents will be required to undergo a PCR test upon arrival in Singapore, at the start of their 14-day SHN and will be tested once more during the SHN period. No requirements to take a PCR test 72 hours before departure and present a valid negative Covid-19 test upon arrival.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

Foreign nationals are not permitted to leave residence for work with red Access Codes

As part of control measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) requires all foreign employees – Work Permit holders (excluding foreign domestic workers), S Pass holders and Employment Pass holders – to use the SGWorkPass app to check their Access Code status before leaving their residence for work.

Regardless of residence type (i.e. dormitories, HDB apartments, private residential premises), foreign employees can only leave their residence for work if their Access Code is “green.” If their Access Code is “red,” they are not allowed to leave their residence for work. Click here to find out more about the indicators that may result in a “red” Access Code status.

Employers are required to ensure that foreign employees with “red” Access Codes do not leave their residence for work. You can check the Access Code details of your foreign employees from Safe@Work.

MOM seeks companies’ cooperation to ensure that foreign employees comply with the restrictions and instructions associated with the Access Code. MOM is investigating several employers whose foreign employees went to work when their Access Code was red. Enforcement action will be taken against the employers and their foreign employees.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Ministry of Manpower. 

Issuance of Employment Passes (EP) while serving Stay Home Notices

Employers can now request for an EP to be issued while EP holders are serving their SHN in Singapore. If there are medical examination requirements (i.e. Chest X Ray and HIV examination) for EP holders, employers can only request for an EP to be issued after their SHN and medical examination results are obtained.

For S Pass/Work Permit holders, the EP can only be issued once SHN is completed and medical examination results are obtained.

No source available at the time of writing.

New entry requirements

The MOM has released new requirements related to Covid-19 treatment costs for Employment Pass (EP), Dependent Pass (DP) and Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP) holders who have been granted entry to Singapore from January 1, 2021.

The Government will no longer cover Covid-19 treatment costs if holders develop symptoms or test positive within the first 14-days of their arrival. This is regardless of when the pass holders left Singapore.

MOM has requested for companies to notify their new and existing EP, DP and LTVP holders that they will be responsible for any treatment costs. MOM encourages pass holders to check whether their existing medical insurance or group insurance policy cover such circumstances and, if not, to purchase an insurance policy before they depart to Singapore. Insurance should provide the following coverage:

  • At least USD 10,000 for medical expenses if the employee or any dependent develops Covid-19 symptoms or tests positive within the first 14 days of arrival.
  • Covers workers on In-Principle Approval (IPA) Letters (pass has not been issued).

 No source available at the time of writing.

 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 Beynon, Regional Immigration Manager (APAC).

Europe, Middle East, and Africa

Austria: Entry and exit restrictions

The following entry regulations have been in effect since December 19:

  • Arrivals from a low-risk country (Australia, Finland, Ireland, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Uruguay, and Vatican City) can enter without restrictions (no medical certificate or quarantine). It is important that they have stayed in a low-risk country in the previous 10 days before arriving to Austria.
  • Passengers from the European core countries (EU, EEA, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland, Vatican City, U.K.), and who are not staying in a low-risk country 10 days prior to entry, will be required to undergo self-quarantine for 10 days. Quarantine periods can end sooner if the person gets tested (PCR or Antigen test). Testing is possible as of the fifth day after entry. If the test is negative, quarantine can end.


  • People entering for the following reasons need to present negative test results upon arrival, or undergo a 10-day quarantine: official humanitarian emergency forces; professional reasons (such as care takers); accompanying persons for medical reasons; court or other authority obligations; diplomats.
  • Travelers entering via any other country than the low-risk or the European core countries, and who were not staying in a low-risk country 10 days prior, need to undergo a 10-day quarantine. They can get tested as of the fifth day upon arrival, and if the test is negative, quarantine can end.

No source available at the time of writing.

Netherlands: Negative Covid-19 test results required for entry

Airplane or ship travelers from outside the EU/Schengen area, from 13 years old, who arrive from a country that is not on the list of safe countries (Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea) must present a negative Covid-19 test result to enter the Netherlands.

Travelers from a country in the EU/Schengen area who arrive from a high-risk area (via airplane, ship, train or coach more than 30km into the Netherlands from the border) must also present a negative Covid-19 test result.

Since December 29, there is no exemption for Dutch, EU and Schengen nationals, Dutch residence permit holders, MVV entry visa holders or for highly-skilled migrants.

The test must have been conducted less than 72 hours before arrival. The test result must state the name of the traveler (as in their passport), the name of the testing institution or laboratory, and the type of test: it must be molecular PCR-test for Sars-Cov-2/Covid-19.

In addition, those traveling from outside the EU/Schengen area must present a completed and signed Negative Test Declaration Form. The test result and the declaration must be printed. Digital versions will not be accepted.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Government of Netherlands (in Dutch).

United Kingdom: Travel bans to and from the U.K.

A growing list of countries have imposed bans on people arriving from the U.K. and others are considering similar action, in a bid to stop the spread of the new coronavirus strain. Click here to see the countries suspending, restricting travel or introducing other measures between them and the U.K.

The list is not exhaustive and subject to change. Current restrictions in the destination country must be checked before making any travel plans.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Sky News.

What the Trade Deal means for Immigration 

The U.K. ceased to be a member of the European Union on January 31, 2020, and the transition period which was put in place ended on December 31, 2020.

On December 24, the U.K. and the European Commission reached an agreement on the terms of their cooperation following the end of the transition period. The Agreement was signed by both parties on December 30, 2020.


With the end of the Brexit implementation period comes the end of free movement of people irrespective of the U.K.’s trade deal with the EU.

We highlight main points of the Agreement and its impact on both sides in relation to the movement of people:

Category of travelers

In the U.K.

In the EU

Intra – Company Transferees The Agreement provides that ICTs can spend three years in the U.K. However, the local law provisions are already more generous allowing a period of five years for most transferees. The ICT provisions are aligned with the EU Intracompany Transferee (ICT) Directive therefore U.K. nationals will qualify for EU ICT permits.
Business visitors EU business visitors will be subject to stays of 90 days in a 180-day period. However, the local law provisions are already more generous allowing EU nationals to come visa free for up to 180 days at any one time to participate in permitted activities. This is unlikely to be changed in line with the less general terms of the agreement. Business visitors will be limited to a maximum 90 days in any 180-day period. The agreement provides a list of permitted activities not requiring a visa.


Business travel for investment purposes This would create a new type of provision for business purposes in addition to the existing general business provisions in the U.K. immigration law. Business travel for investment purposes for up to 90 days in a 180-day period will not require work authorization. This would create a new type of travel exemption in EU countries where this provision is not in their national rules.
Service providers on contracts




Individuals employed by a business in an EU country that is not established in the U.K. but with a service contract for up to 12 months with a client in the U.K. This new provision may be an alternative to ICT in certain sector roles.


U.K. has agreed similar provisions for service providers from Switzerland (which is not a member state of the EU, but their citizens had the same free movement rights as EU citizens).

Individuals employed by a business in the U.K. that is not established in the EU territory with a service contract for up to 12 months for a client in the relevant EU country.

This may be implemented differently in each EU state depending on the nature of the service provision.


Self-employed professional people Professional people self-employed in the EU and providing a service in the U.K. for up to 12 months.  There is no defined route for such category of individuals in existing U.K. immigration law. This will provide a scope in certain sectors for the provision of some temporary services.


Professional people self-employed in the U.K. and providing a service in an EU country for up to 12 months.


The Agreement provides that no quota or economic needs tests may be imposed for this type of work. This is likely to be implemented differently across EU states depending on the nature of the service provision.

The presence of a trade deal makes the expansion of mobility arrangements less complex to negotiate and administer in the future.  However, the real impact will depend on how the U.K and each EU Member State adheres to the Trade Agreement in their national rules. Nevertheless, it provides a degree of certainty and clarity to businesses, both in the U.K. and EU as oppose to no deal.

 This summary was prepared using information obtained from and the European Commission.

 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 Laxmi Vikraman, Regional Immigration Manager (EMEA).



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