Immigration news updates for APAC and EMEA regions
Australia: Extended post study rights
The Australian Government has announced that post-study work rights for international students who have graduated from an Australian higher education provider, will be extended to assist in addressing skills shortages. From July 01, 2023, international higher education graduates with eligible qualifications will be granted an extra two years of post-study work rights. The allowable work hours cap for international students will be increased from 40 hours to 48 hours per fortnight.
A list of eligible occupations and eligible qualifications has been released, targeting health, teaching, engineering and agriculture.
Current settings will be increased by two years for each graduate level:
- Two years to four years for selected Bachelor degrees
- Three years to five years for selected Masters degrees
- Four years to six years for all Doctoral degrees
Existing regional and remote Australia settings will be maintained and where relevant will be eligible for the additional two years. These targeted skills will be considered on an annual basis and updated as needed in response to the labour market.
Eligible graduates with a valid Temporary Graduate Visa on July 01, 2023 or those who apply for a Temporary Graduate Visa July 01, 2023, will be considered for the two-year extension.
The benefit to employers is that some graduates from Australian universities will be able to work for longer periods and without any work restrictions.
This summary was prepared using information obtained from Australian Government Department of Education
China: Resumption of visas and programs
The majority of Chinese Embassies in the US, Canada and some European countries have released an updated policy for China immigration. The following visas or visa programs will resume, effective March 15, 2023:
- Visas issued prior to March 28, 2020 which are still valid can be utilized
- All visa application services (including tourist visa applications)
- Visa Waiver Program including:
- Hainan 30-day Visa-Free Access
- 15-day Visa-Free Policy for Cruise Tour Groups to Shanghai
- 6-day Visa Exemption for Tourists to Pearl River Delta
- 6-day Visa Exemption for ASEAN Tour Groups Visiting Guilin
This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the United States
Hong Kong: Criminal conviction requirement
The Hong Kong government announced that multiple talent immigration programs for individuals seeking to enter Hong Kong will be adjusted with a requirement that foreign nationals provide a history of any criminal convictions.
Applicants to these schemes must declare whether they have any criminal convictions during their application and provide a criminal record check certificate before an entry visa can be authorized. The new process commenced on February 27, 2023.
The talent admission schemes include:
- General Employment Policy
- Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals
- Technology Talent Admission Scheme, Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates
- Admission Scheme for the Second Generation of Chinese Hong Kong Permanent Residents
This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Hong Kong Immigration Department
Indonesia: New business visa process
Indonesia has announced that the new multiple entry visa (MBV D212) is now open to applications from all nationalities, except those designated as restricted countries. There is no formal list of the restricted nationalities but we are currently aware that nationals of Bangladesh and Ukraine are not eligible to apply.
The new multiple entry visa is for business purposes only. The system has a quota of 30 applications per day which is currently being utilized. The available quotas are shown in the online visa system.
Successful applicants will receive a multiple entry business visa that is valid for one year. Each visit can be up to 60 days in duration. Those with approved visas are able to enter Indonesia at major ports of entry.
This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Indonesian Director General
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 Debbie Beynon (Regional Immigration Manager, APAC).
Europe, Middle East and Africa
Kazakhstan: Proof of income exemption for certain professions
The Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Kazakhstan has approved a list of professions in certain fields permitting individuals in those roles to obtain residence permits via a simpler process, no longer needing to provide proof of income.
The residence permit will be valid for 10 years or for the validity of the applicant’s passport, if shorter.
This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Kazakhstan Ministry of Labour and Social Protection
United Kingdom: Update to Right to Work checks for employers
On February 28, 2023, UK Visas and Immigration published an updated version of the Right to Work check guidance for employers.
The following updates are included:
- Employers are still liable even if engaging an Identity Service Provider (third party) to conduct right to work checks on British or Irish nationals. Employers must ensure that they are obtaining the required evidence of the check from the provider and conduct the likeness check themselves shortly before or on day one of employment.
- For workers who have made ‘in-time’ applications to extend their current work visa (the extension was submitted before the existing permission expires) holding an e-Visa, the employers can now ask them to generate a share code to conduct their right to work check instead of contacting the Employer’s Checking Service. In such circumstances, the online service will provide confirmation of the individual’s right to work and will provide the employer with a statutory excuse for a period of six months. This is the standard duration when right to work checks are conducted on individuals who have an outstanding, ‘in-time’ immigration application. Any subsequent applications to renew the right to work will require employers to carry out a follow-up check.
In circumstances where the individual is unable to provide their employer with a share code, but they have an outstanding, in-time application, employers should contact the Employer’s Checking Service for verification of this. This change will only benefit a limited number of eligible individuals initially but will become more extensively used as e-Visas are rolled out more widely in early 2025.
- Employers must check that the photograph on the online right to work check is of the individual presenting themselves for work. This can be done by video call. If the image of the individual on their digital profile is showing incorrectly or is of poor quality, employers should advise the individual to update the image on their account before continuing with the right to work check.
- Clarifications serving as an official guidance that when employers see BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) cards with an expiry date of December 31, 2024, where the holder has permission to stay in the UK that ends after that date, is not an error and the holder’s rights and entitlements are unaffected. When the holder provides the employer with a share code to prove their right to work, their online profile will display the expiry date of their immigration permission, rather than the card expiry date. This forms part of the plan to digitalise the UK border and immigration system and the ambition to phase out physical documents before the end of 2024.
- A Re-Admission to the UK (RUK) endorsement in a current passport is now listed as an acceptable document for manual right to work checks. An individual who presents this endorsement has an ongoing right to work and is not required to complete a follow-up right to work check. This type of endorsement is issued to a certain type of returning residents (individuals who were previously settled in the UK).
Employers should amend their processes to adapt to these changes.
This summary was prepared using information obtained from the GOV.UK website.
Update to immigration rules
On March 09, 2023, UK Visas and Immigration published a statement of changes to the immigration rules which include, amongst others, the following main changes:
- Introduction of the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA): The scheme came into effect for Qatari nationals starting November 15, 2023 and on February 22, 2024 for nationals of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It is comparable to the ESTA in the USA.
- Changes to the Youth Mobility visa scheme for applicants from New Zealand: A scheme allowing eligible individuals to come and work in the UK. The changes include increasing the age range from 18 -30 to 18-35 and increasing the visa validity from 2 to 3 years. This change will come into effect on June 29, 2023.
- Introduction of the New Innovator Founder Route, effective April 13, 2023: This new route replaces the old Innovator Route and it provides greater flexibility in requirements for overseas nationals with sufficient funds seeking entry to the UK to establish a genuine innovative business.
- Increase in minimum salary levels effective April 12, 2023: The new gross salary rate for skilled workers will increase from £25,600 p.a. to £26,200 p.a. and for Global Business Mobility Senior or Specialist worker (previously Intra- Company Transfer visa) from £42,400 p.a. to £45,800 p.a. In addition, the calculation of example annual salaries will now be based on a 37.5 hour rather than the current 39 hour week. Explanation has also been added on how salaries are calculated when individuals are working a pattern of irregular hours each week. The visa application will now be refused if the decision maker has reasonable grounds to believe the job does not comply with the National Minimum Wage Regulations or the Working Time Regulations.
This summary was prepared using information obtained from GOV.UK website.
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) or Sabrina Crespo (EMEA Team Lead).
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