Immigration weekly update: March 11, 2021

Immigration updates for China, Netherlands, Singapore and other


United States: National Interest Exceptions in the EU, Ireland and the U.K.

The State Department has revoked the National Interest Exceptions (NIE) for the following:

  • Non-immigrant workers and business travelers from the European Schengen Area and Ireland.
  • U.K. technical experts and specialists.
  • Senior-level managers and executives.
  • Treaty-traders and investors.
  • Professional athletes and their dependents.

Currently, the NIE is granted to the following categories:

  • Academics, J-1 students and journalists.
  • Travelers providing vital support for critical infrastructure.
  • F-1 and M-1 students with valid visas and seeking to apply for a new F-1 or M-1 visa will continue to automatically be considered for an NIE.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the U.S. Department of State.

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: Relaxed requirements for foreign employees in ShanghaiShanghai

On March 1, 2021, The Ministry of Science and Technology announced the following measures to attract and retain foreign talent in Shanghai. The focus is on recruiting and attracting science and technology positions.

Requirements for foreign employees:

  1. The company must issue a Commitment Letter that indicates the applicant does not have any criminal record overseas.
  2. The requirements for age, education and work experience will be relaxed (but not totally waived; exact guidelines pending).
  3. Employees can work part-time or start their own business without permit changes. However, the part-time position must be related to the original position, and there should be a tripartite agreement between the employee, the original sponsor entity and the new entity to clarify all rights and obligations.
  4. Application for R visa confirmation letters has been expanded to cover foreign employees working on national task forces and fresh Doctoral graduates of key disciplines such as science, engineering, agriculture and medicine.
  5. The following Vocational Certificates can be used to support Work Permit applications:
    • Nationally Recognized Vocational Certificates
    • Skilled personnel urgently needed in Shanghai can obtain a Work Permit upon presenting a Legalized Industry Certificate issued overseas, in addition to a recommendation from the appropriate industry authority.
    • Holders of other Vocational Certificates (e.g. Finance ACCA Certificate, Sports coach certificate) – the sponsor must provide a description of the qualified candidates shortage and the professionalism of the Vocational Certificate.

The Shanghai position must be aligned within the skills and industries that are urgently needed in China (e.g., HR role in a listed company or an engineering position in a non-listed company does not qualify under this scheme). The work permit will be granted for two years minimum.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Shine News.

Non-Chinese nationals: Temporary entry suspension

Holders of valid Work and Dependent-type Residence Permits from Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Italy, India, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, the U.K. and the U.S. are suspended from entry until further notice.

  • Holders of the now-suspended Residence Permits must obtain a new entry visa or consular approval for the Chinese embassy to issue the Health Declaration Code necessary for boarding a flight.
  • The entry ban on other visa and Residence Permit types first released still remains in effect.
  • This announcement doesn’t impact holders of diplomatic, service, courtesy, or C-crew visas.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Chicago, Ethiopia, France, Italy, India, Los Angeles, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, San Francisco, South Africa and the U.K. (Chinese and English written sources).

Singapore: Letter of Consent will no longer be issued to Dependent Pass holders

From May 1, 2021, a Letter of Consent (LOC) will no longer be issued to Dependent Pass (DP) holders. DP holders seeking to work in Singapore will be required to obtain an applicable work pass, i.e., Employment Pass, S Pass or Work Permit. The existing DP will need to be cancelled upon approval of work pass application.

Existing LOC holders can continue to work until expiry of the current LOC. No extension will be granted even upon renewal of the Dependent Pass. Employers will need to apply for an applicable work pass. The work pass application will be assessed in accordance with the imposed salary criteria and quota availability (S Pass and Work Permit). Applicable foreign worker levies (S Pass and Work Permit) will also apply.

It is not mandatory to advertise the position on the National Jobs Bank portal in cases of an employee’s work pass status change from LOC to EP/S Pass within the same company.

Long Term Visa Pass (LTVP/LTVP)+ holders who is the spouse or unmarried child of a Singaporean or permanent resident may continue to work on LOC.

Companies should closely monitor the expiry of current LOCs for applicable employees. To access and review an employee’s eligibility for a work pass (Employment Pass, S Pass and Work Permit), the company should seek to retain their employment upon expiry of the current LOC.

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

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

Netherlands: Post-Brexit provisions for British business visitorsNetherlands

The Free Trade Agreement between the U.K. and the European Commission included provisions for U.K. nationals visiting EU countries for business, listing permitted activities not requiring work authorization.

Each EU Member State can choose to adhere to the Free Trade Agreement differently in their national rules.

The Dutch Government announced that U.K. national business visitors are now allowed to conduct activities directly based on the EU-U.K. Free Trade Agreement, which are more generous than the one permitted for other non-EU nationals in the Netherlands.

U.K. nationals can perform the following activities as business visitors:

  • Short-term business visitors:
    • Attend meetings and consultations.
    • Conduct research by technical, scientific, and statistical researchers.
    • Conduct marketing research.
    • Attend training seminars in techniques and work practices. Limited to observation, familiarization and classroom instruction only.
    • Attend trade fairs and exhibitions.
    • Take orders or negotiate the sale of services or goods or enter into agreements to sell services or goods (excluding direct sales, delivering goods, or supplying services themselves).
    • Purchase of goods or services for an enterprise, or management and supervisory personnel.
    • Conduct after-sales or after-lease services: installers, repair and maintenance personnel with specialized knowledge.
    • Engage in commercial transactions: management and supervisory personnel, and financial services personnel (including insurers, bankers and investment brokers).
    • Tourism personnel: tour and travel agents, tour guides or tour operators.
    • Translation and interpretation.
  • Business visitors for establishment purposes
    • This is specifically for those working in a senior position in a U.K. company and visiting to set-up an enterprise of that company in the Netherlands. Engagement in other services or economic activity is not allowed.


U.K. national business visitors will benefit from a broader range of work permit free activities. It should be noted that their stay will still be limited to 90 days in a 180-day period, counted cumulatively across the Schengen Area. Employers must complete posted worker notifications for U.K. national business visitors who are posted from a company in another EU Member State to the Netherlands.

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

United Kingdom: Immigration measures – Budget 2021

The Treasury released its 2021 Budget Report which included reforms to the immigration system that helps U.K. businesses attract and retain the brightest and best international talent in academia, science, research and technology. This will drive innovation, and support U.K. jobs and growth.

The announced proposals include:

  • The new elite points-based visa by March 2022.
  • Reforming the existing Global Talent visa.
  • Reviewing the existing Innovator visa.
  • Launching the new Global Business Mobility visa by spring 2022.
  • Improving support for small U.K. businesses sponsoring overseas workers.
  • Establishing a global outreach strategy by expanding the Global Entrepreneur Program.

Any of the proposed changes would need to be implemented via a statement of changes to the Immigration Rules in the usual way.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from

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).

We track policy changes in over 120 countries. Find out how we can help you in this short video.

Related Topics

Share this Post