Immigration weekly update: November 05, 2020


China: New requirements entering China2019 AmCham Shanghai HR Conference

On October 20 and 30, Chinese embassies in the U.S. and Europe issued notices on new requirements for China-bound airline passengers.

From November 2020, a negative Immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibody test is required (in addition to the original negative nucleic acid test and certified Health Declaration Form). All sampling and testing must be done within 48 hours of the departure flight.

Passengers transiting through a third country on the way to China will need to repeat the double-negative test and certified Health Declaration Form in the transit country (within 48 hours of the final flight to China).

No source available at the time of writing.

India: Relaxation in international travel based on visa type

The Government has decided to relax visa and travel restrictions for more categories of foreign nationals who wish to enter India. It has been decided to permit all OCI and PIO card holders, and all other foreign nationals – except on a Tourist Visa – intending to visit for any purpose to enter via authorized airports and seaport immigration check posts.

This includes flights operating under Vande Bharat Mission, Air Transport Bubble arrangements or any non-scheduled commercial flights allowed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. All such travelers must, however, strictly adhere to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding quarantine and other health/Covid-19 matters.

The Government has also decided to restore all existing visas (except electronic visas, Tourist Visas and Medical Visas). If the validity of such visas has expired, new visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from the Indian Mission/Posts concerned. This decision will enable foreign nationals to enter India for purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research, medical, etc.

The Air Bubble transport has also been further extended to the Netherlands, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ukraine.

Scheduled flights are not operational yet and there is a ban until November 30, 2020. Scheduled flights may be allowed on a case-by-case basis to/from India.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Home Affairs.

Philippines: Advisory on temporary visa travel

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) released a Public Advisory regarding temporary travel restrictions for inbound and outbound passengers.

From November 1, 2020, foreign nationals with visas issued by the following departments can enter:

  • The Bureau of Immigration (BI)
  • 47(a)(2) visas from the Department of Justice
  • Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority
  • Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority

Foreign nationals, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Filipinos with permanent visa holders, Filipino students enrolled abroad, and participants accepted in exchange visitor programs can leave the country.

Foreign nationals with other types of visas (e.g. 9g visa) or those who will enter as tourists must secure the necessary travel ban exemption from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), among others, prior to entry.

Non-PEZA registered entities may request for endorsement from an affiliated National Government Agency to secure DFA travel ban exemption for essential and emergency reasons. The DFA may only process exemptions provided an endorsement signed by the Secretary of the affiliated Government agency addressed to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs is obtained and submitted to the DFA.

To request for endorsement, the following documents should be submitted to the affiliated Government agency:

  • Letter request to be submitted to the Office of the Secretary stating the name of the foreign national and the reason for the request for travel ban exemption
  • Foreign national’s passport bio page

Upon submission, processing at the DFA will take about one to two weeks. This is provided that the reason for the travel ban exemption is justifiable and the document requirements are complete.

This summary was prepared using information from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Transfer of latest admission status from old to new passport

The Bureau of Immigration (BI) released document requirements for Transfer of Latest Admission from old, lost or cancelled passports to new passports, as follows:

  • Duly accomplished application form (IRD Consolidated General Application Form)
  • Certificate of Travel duly issued by the BI Certificate and Clearance Section (can be obtained from the BI)
  • Passenger Manifest or Airline Certification
  • Original old passport
  • Original new passport

The Airline Certification is normally issued within one to three weeks of submission depending on the airline. On the other hand, the Transfer of Latest Admission normally takes one to two weeks to process.

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

United Kingdom: Rules for the new immigration system

On October 22, the U.K. Government set out the legal framework for the new immigration system. Applications under the system will open on December 1, 2020, for non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and on January 1, 2021, for EEA nationals.

Some of the notable changes for employers and Skilled Workers:

Tier 2 categories replaced by Skilled Worker route: Changes to take place from December 1, 2020.

    • Skilled Workers will require a confirmed job offer skilled to at least Level 3 of the Regulated Qualifications Framework and must meet the English language requirement.
    • Salary requirements must be the higher of the going rate for their occupation code, and the general salary threshold of £25,600, with some flexibility.
      • £23,430 and 90% of the going rate for the occupation for those who have a relevant PhD.
      • £20,480 and 80% of the going rate for the occupation for those working in jobs on the Shortage Occupation List or in a listed health or education occupation, or who have relevant PhDs in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM).
      • £20,480 and 70% of the going rate for the occupation for new entrants to the labor market.
    • Suspension of the Tier 2 cap
      • Removal of Resident Labor Market Test.
      • Existing Tier 2 General migrants extending their visas may apply in the Skilled Worker route once the Tier 2 General route closes.
      • Removal of the 12-month “cooling-off period” and six-year maximum length of stay in the route.

Switching is permissible for Skilled Workers within the U.K. from any other route, except where a visa is held as a: visitor, short-term student, parent of a child at school, seasonal worker, domestic worker or live outside the rules.

Intra-Company Transfer (ICT): Applicants must be in roles skilled to RQF6 and are subject to a different minimum salary threshold from the main Skilled Worker route. English language requirement is not applicable. Applicants must be employed for a minimum period prior to the transfer (12 months in the case of intra-company transfers or three months in the case of intra-company graduate trainees). Eligible intra-company visa holders may switch into the Skilled Worker route.

Newly reduced high earner threshold of £73,900 will enable eligible applicants to hold the ICT visa for up to nine years in any 10-year rolling period. High earners are exempt from the requirement to work for the overseas business for twelve months prior to entering.

The ICT route will not lead to settlement, but it will be possible to move to the Skilled Worker category, starting a path to settlement.

English language requirement:

    • Applicants need to prove the required level of English language to the Home Office only on one occasion.
    • Malta has been added to the majority English language country list.
    • GCSE / A level or Scottish Highers in English gained while at school in the U.K. and degrees from Ireland are acceptable as proof of English language ability.

Settlement/Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

    • Minimum salary requirement for ILR under Tier 2 General is to be dropped, although the minimum salary requirement for the Skilled Worker visa must be met. Eligibility is based on five years of continuous residence in the U.K. on the Skilled Worker visa (including all time spent in Tier 2 (General) category).

Looking ahead

It is recommended that employers who do not already hold a Tier 2 General sponsor license apply for one now. Relaxation of the cooling-off period should allow more flexibility for employers and facilitate more short-term assignments.

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).


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