Immigration weekly update: March 17, 2022

Immigration new updates for APAC and EMEA regions


India: “Su-Swagatam” official App launch to facilitate travel

The Indian government has launched the mobile app “Indian Visa Su-Swagatam” to facilitate travel to India. Visitors would be facilitated with the services listed below through the app. This visa related facility can be availed by 60 countries currently.

  1. Apply for a visa: (Regular Visa, e-Visa, Visa on arrival)
  2. Online Foreigners Regional Registration Office (e-FRRO) services-Apply e-FRRO Services (like visa extension, visa conversion, exit-permit etc. in India).
  3. Check Status: (i) Status of visa application (ii) Status of e-FRRO applications.
  4. Notification: Advisories/notifications by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Bureau of Immigration (BoI).
  5. Language Assistance: signage and language converter (multi-languages)
  6. Chatbot: Help center for applicant queries.
  7. Nearby places: Foreigners would be facilitated in exploring nearby places like Tourist Places, Govt. Agencies, transport services, Entertainment, health services, religious places, Lodging, Boarding facilities, etc.
  8. Useful Links:
    • Medical Emergency- National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) accredited hospitals by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FEW).
    • Business in India- Make in India portal of Government of India.
    • Foreigners Safety- Ministry of Tourism Portal for all emergency and contacts helpline.
    • Tourism- Incredible India Portal of Ministry of Tourism to explore tourist places in India.
    • Yoga and Spirituality- Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW) portal to get authentic institutes for practising Yoga in India.
    • Foreign Exchange, Taxes and Customs- User will be directed to the RBI portal for foreign exchange and customs related information.

Click here for a guide on the Su-Swagatam app.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from India e-Visa.

Malaysia: Border re-opening

After careful deliberation on various aspects including the national vaccination program and economy, with risk management conducted by the authorities, it has been announced by the Prime Minister that the border will be opened with effect of April 1, 2022.

Malaysians with valid travel documents can now exit and enter Malaysia, to countries that have opened their borders. Foreign countries citizens, with valid travel documents, can also enter and exit Malaysia without the need to apply for Entry Permission, which is to be abolished.

No summary was available at the time of writing.

Singapore: Changes to Employment Pass Eligibility and Complimentary Assessment Framework

In addition to the recent announcement, on changes to the qualifying salary threshold for Employment Pass application, Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will be implementing the changes to the Employment Pass (EP) eligibility which will apply progressively from September 1, 2022. For the changes, candidates must now pass a two-stage eligibility framework as below:

Stage 1: Employment Pass (EP) Qualifying Salary:

  • The Employment Pass (EP) current minimum qualifying salary is SGD$ 4,500 and will be revised into SGD$ 5,000 whereas for the financial sector from SGD$ 5,000 into SGD$ 5,500.  For candidates who are aged mid-40s, the current minimum qualifying salary is SGD$ 8,400 and will be revised into SGD$ 10,500 whereas for the financial sector from SGD$ 9,300 into SGD$ 11,500.

Stage 2: Introduction to a points based “Complimentary Assessment Framework” (COMPASS):

  • An Employment Pass (EP) candidate needs to meet the required scoring system of COMPASS.  This entails better understanding for employer to select high-quality foreign professionals.  COMPASS is effective for new applications on 1 September 2023 while for renewals from 1 September 2024.  The passing score is 40 points, and the scoring system of COMPASS which is assessed on four foundational cycles can be found here.

When COMPASS takes effect, MOM will offer a Pre-Assessment Tool (PAT) for employers to get an indicative COMPASS score for their prospective EP candidate before submitting an EP application. The company will be able to get an estimate of how the application is scored on each COMPASS criterion.  The PAT will be available by September 2023.

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

Updates to Border Measures

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has recently announced the launch of adding Greece and Vietnam to the VTL countries.  This is effective for travelers entry to Singapore on March 16, whereas, the Vaccinated Travel Pass (VTP) applications commenced on March 13, 2022.

Summary of Active VTL Countries: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Maldives, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Qatar, the Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United Kingdom, and the United States. Then added to the list for entry under VTL arrangement effective on March 16, 2022 will be Greece and Vietnam.

For travellers from these countries to be eligible under the VTL route is to meet the condition that the traveller transits to above VTL Countries and take designated VTL flight effective entry March 16, 2022: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao, Mainland China, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Taiwan, and Vatican City.

All travelers entering Singapore under the VTL must comply with the prevailing VTL requirements.

Short Term Visitors and Work Permit Holders eligible to travel on the VTL must apply VTP to enter Singapore.  Non-Malaysian male work permit holders in the Construction, Marine Shipyard and Process (CMP) sector or work permit holders who are staying in dormitories are not eligible for VTP/VTL.

Summary of the current border measures for Long Term Pass Holders can be found here.

The Singapore Authorities will closely monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and update the border measures as the situation changes. Countries may be removed from VTL arrangement or moved to restricted countries list depending on the overall COVID-19 situation and detection of new variants etc.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.

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

Slovakia: Employment of Ukrainian citizens with Temporary Refugee statusBratislava

Ukrainian citizens fleeing the conflict can apply for “Temporary refuge” at the Foreign Police and obtain a so-called “Tolerated Stay” type of permit. Temporary refuge extends to the citizens of Ukraine, their family members without Ukrainian citizenship – wife/husband of the citizen of the Ukrainian citizen, minors – child of the Ukrainian citizen or the child of the wife/husband of the Ukrainian citizen, as well as a parent of the child – minor who is the citizen of Ukraine.

Temporary refuge can help provide fast and unlimited access to the Labor market which significantly simplifies the process of employment. Ukrainian citizens must submit their applications to the Foreign Police in person.

Employers can immediately hire a foreigner who is granted this status. This is a Work Permit exempted scenario and doesn’t require a “vacant position notification” publication. The employer must notify the relevant Labor Office of the beginning of employment.

Notifications need to be submitted in the form of an Information card within seven business days from the beginning/end of employment. The notification needs to be submitted at the end of the employment as well.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Government of Slovakia (in Slovak).

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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