Immigration weekly update: September 21, 2023

Immigration news update for AMER and EMEA regions


Panama: New immigration measures for entry in Panama

New immigration measures have been announced by the National Immigration Authority (SNM) of Panama.  Effective September 8, 2023, these measures, applicable based on the nationality of the visitors, aim to reduce irregular migration in the long term. These new measures will not apply to tourists, investors or executives who are visiting Panama.

The National Immigration Authority focused on:

  • Reducing the period of stay for tourists to 15 days instead of the previous 90 days – based on nationalities and the security process undergone by the time visitors enter in Panama, tourists who are entering Panama will be able to stay for a period of three months, with the exception of nationals of the USA and Canada who maintain a period of six months stay upon their entry.
  • Visitors would have to prove they have sufficient financial means to support their stay in Panama by having a minimum of 1,000.00 Panamanian balboa for their stay.
  • Reinforcement of irregular deportations and expulsions.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Reuters

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  Director of Immigration) or Rafael Pavanelli (Regional Immigration Manager, AMER).


Europe, Middle East and Africa

Iceland: Enhanced flexibility in work and residence permit criteria

A recent amendment to the Foreign Nationals Act has ushered in significant changes, offering greater rights to residence permit applicants and holders in Iceland.

Key updates include extending residence permits for expert knowledge work to four years, granting athletes two-year permits, and allowing specialized staff one year permits based on collaboration or service contracts. Furthermore, permits due to labor shortages can now be renewed for two years without the previous requirement of spending two consecutive years abroad. Family reunification rights have been expanded for these categories.

For students and cultural exchange participants, there are provisions for longer post-graduation job-seeking permits, increased work hours, and family reunification rights.

Finally, children born in Iceland and spouses/children of foreign nationals with expert knowledge work permits now have the right to work without an additional permit. These changes signify a substantial enhancement of rights and opportunities for individuals seeking residence in Iceland.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the

United Kingdom: Electronic Travel Authorisation coming into forces soon

An Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) announced earlier this year, is coming into force soon. The ETA will soon be a requirement for people who do not need a visa to come to the UK. It will be required when traveling for the following purposes:

  • As a visitor for up 6 months; for tourism, visiting family and friends, business or study
  • On the Creative Worker visa concession for up to three months
  • When transiting through the UK – including when individual is not going through UK border control

Nationals of the following countries will need to apply:

  • Qatar – It will be required for travels to the UK on or after November 15, 2023. Individuals will be able to apply from October 25, 2023.
  • Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates – It will be required for travels to the UK on or after February 22, 2024. Individuals will be able to apply from February 1, 2024.

There are exceptions for those living in Ireland. They must meet all of the following requirements and evidence their residence in Ireland:

  • legally resident in Ireland
  • they do not need a visa to enter the UK due to their nationality
  • they are entering the UK from Ireland, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man

Nationals of other countries do not need to apply. More nationalities will be added to the scheme later.

Applications will be submitted on the government website, or an App and the decision should be issued within three working days. The fee will be £10. It will provide permission to travel to the UK, and it will be electronically linked to the passport. However, it does not guarantee entry to the UK.

The ETA will be issued for two years in the form of an email confirmation. If the passport of the individual requesting the ETA expires in less than 2 years, a new ETA will need be obtained.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the GOV.UK

Upcoming changes to the immigration rules

The UK Government has recently published Statement of Changes updating its immigration rules.

Some of the changes include:

– Youth Mobility Scheme (Effective from October 5, 2023)

  • For Australia and Canada the upper age limit is being extended from 30 to 35 years old and the period of leave granted increased from two to three years.
  • Andorra is being added to the list of countries participating in the scheme.
  • Self – employment will not be allowed with specific exceptions only

– Entry ban

  • Removal of a reference in the immigration rules that those who are deported can be banned from re-entering for up to 10 years. Individuals can now be subject to an indefinite ban.

– Public Funds

  • List of public funds that cannot be claimed by individuals with a condition prohibiting recourse to public funds on their permission to stay, has been expanded. This includes all individuals on work visas.

– Long residence visa

  • It has been clarified that any time spent on immigration bail (including previous versions of immigration bail such as temporary admission and temporary release) or any time spent previously as a visitor, short-term student, or seasonal worker will not count towards the lawful residence for the purpose of this visa.

– Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA)

  • Debts to the National Health Service will no longer be a ground for refusal for issuance of an ETA. This is only due to the fact that systems are not in place for checks on this to be done in a timely manner and individuals should be warn that entry could still be refused at the border for this reason.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the GOV.UK

Immigration fees set to increase on October 4, 2023

Increases to immigration and nationality fees are set come into effect on October 4, 2023, following legislation laid in Parliament on Friday September 15, 2023.

Work and visit visa fees are going by 15%, family visas, settlement and citizenship by 20%, and student visas by 35%.

The changes include:

  • Fees for up to six months, two-, five- and 10-year visit visas.
  • Most fees for entry clearance and certain applications for leave to remain in the UK including those for work and study.
  • Fees for indefinite leave to enter and indefinite leave to remain.
  • Convention travel document and stateless person’s travel document.
  • Health and Care visa.
  • Fees in relation to certificates of sponsorship and confirmation of acceptance for studies.
  • The in and out of country fee for the super priority service and the out of country fee for the priority service. The settlement priority service will reduce so it is aligned with the cost of using the priority service.
  • Applications to Register and Naturalise as a British Citizen.
  • The fee for the User Pays Visa Application service.


As an example, the fee for assigning a Certificate of Sponsorship will be £239, skilled worker visa fee for an application from outside the UK will cost £719 (visa up to three years) and £827 for an application within the UK (up to three years duration).

Standard visitor visa application (six months duration) will cost £115 and student visa £490.

Changes do not include the planned increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge which are scheduled to be introduced later in the autumn.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the GOV.UK and the UK Parliament

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  Director of Immigration) or Sabrina Crespo (Team Lead, EMEA). 

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