Categories Global News & Updates

China Abolishes Work Permit Requirements For Hong Kong, Taiwan & Macao Residents

What’s new?

The Chinese government announced that Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao residents will no longer require a work permit to work for companies in mainland China.

Past laws

Residents of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao (THKM)?had to undergo a time-consuming process in the past in order to prove that they were uniquely qualified for open job positions in mainland China.?Additionally, the work permit system meant that THKM residents were required to apply for a new permit when switching employers and would be subject to the permit’s two-year renewal period.?They will now no longer be subject to the same restrictions and requirements.

What’s next?

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security is expected to issue the regulations at the end of the month. This new rule is being implemented at the city-level and may differ in different regions.

For further information on how this may affect your business, please consult with our attorneys.?For more frequent updates, please follow us on?Twitter?(@GrahamAdairLaw).

Categories Global News & Updates

European Union Settlement Scheme Updates

United Kingdom (UK) Immigration Minister Caroline Noakes announced on June 22, 2018 that changes to the EU Settlement Scheme will begin to take effect later this year, with full implementation expected by March 30, 2019. Affected EU citizens and their family members are eligible to apply for settled status after 5 years of residence in the UK.

Pre-Settled Status

Those who do not qualify for settled status will need to apply for “pre-settled status,” which allows EU citizens and their family members to stay in the UK for an additional 5 years under existing restrictions. Under this scheme, family members include: a spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, dependent children or grandchildren, and dependent parents or grandparents. Any UK-born children of settled EU citizens are automatically UK citizens.

Permanent Residents

UK permanent residents will be required to switch to settled status, as EU law will cease to apply in the UK as of December 31, 2020.

Application

Applicants for settled status need only provide the following: (i) proof of identity (passport/identity card); (ii) proof of UK residence; and (iii) declaration of lack of serious criminal convictions. Those who do not automatically qualify for settled status will be considered pre-settled and allowed to re-apply after 5 years of residency. The deadline for applications is June 30, 2021.

Permanent residents or persons with indefinite leave to remain can exchange their status for settled status at no cost. Application fees for settled or pre-settled status are??65 for adults and??32.50 for children under 16. As of April 2019, re-application will be free.

Applicants will only be denied if: (i) they are not UK residents by December 31, 2020; (ii) they have serious criminal convictions; (iii) they have committed fraud; or (iv) they pose serious security concerns.

For more frequent updates, please?follow us on?Twitter?(@GrahamAdairLaw).

Categories Global Immigration and Customs Enforcement News & Updates

Australia Updates: Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa & Skilled Occupation List

As we are now well aware, the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa is scheduled to replace the Subclass 457 visa in March 2018. There will be 3 streams available under TSS, and they are as follows:

(1) Short-term stream: this is for employers to source genuine temporary overseas skilled workers in occupations included on the Short-term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) for a maximum of 2 years (or up to 4 years if an international trade obligation applies); OR

(2) Medium-term stream: this is for employers to source highly skilled overseas workers to fill medium-term critical skills in occupations included on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) for up to 4 years, with eligibility to apply for permanent residence after three years; OR

(3) Labour Agreement stream: this is for employers to source overseas skilled workers in accordance with a labour agreement with the Commonwealth, on the basis of a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labour market and standard visa programs are not available, with the capacity to negotiate a permanent residence option.

NOTE: the Australian Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has confirmed that Labour Market Testing (LMT) exemptions based on occupation will NOT be available under the TSS visa.

However, LMT will not apply if it conflicts with Australia’s international trade obligations. For example, LMT exemptions will still apply if the worker nominated is a citizen/national of China, Japan or Thailand, or is a citizen/national/permanent resident of Chile, South Korea, New Zealand or Singapore.

In order to streamline processing of TSS and other temporary skilled work visas, measures are in place that include: a new standard 5-year sponsorship agreement period, a new streamlined renewal process for existing sponsors, and an automatic approval of lower-risk nomination applications lodged by accredited sponsors.

In addition, provisions are in place to assist with the transition to TSS visa. Notable provisions include:

  • All Subclass 457 nominations and visa applications lodged prior to TSS implementation will be processed under the?current?framework.
  • If a Subclass 457 nomination application is lodged without an associated 457 visa application being lodged before the commencement of TSS, it will effectively become “redundant” as Subclass 457 nominations cannot be linked to TSS visa applications. This applies even where the nomination has already been approved.
  • Employers who are already approved standard business sponsors for?Subclass 457?will be immediately able to sponsor skilled overseas workers under the?TSS visa?program.
  • Subclass 457 visa?holders who are to?change occupations?or need a?new visa?will be required to lodge a new?TSS visa?application and reference a new?TSS?nomination application.
  • Subclass 457 visa?holders that will change employer?after the implementation of?TSS visa?can have their new employer lodge a?TSS?nomination application and link it to the existing?457 visa.
  • Dependents will be able to lodge?TSS visa?dependent visa applications linked to pending?457 visa?applications or linked to current?457 visa?holders.

Skilled Occupation Lists?

Updates to the skilled occupation lists for both temporary and permanent skilled visas went into effect on January 17. These updates will only apply to applications lodged?after?January 17 and will not apply to pending applications. More details can be found directly at the DHA website at?https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/trav/work/work/2018-changes-of-eligible-skilled-occupations.

We can expect the next set of occupations lists to be published in March 2018. For more frequent updates, please follow us on?twitter?(@GrahamAdairLaw).

Categories Department of State Global Immigration and Customs Enforcement News & Updates

Temporary Suspension of Nonimmigrant Visa Operations in Russia

On August 21, 2017, the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Russia announced a temporary suspension of all nonimmigrant visa (NIV) operations across Russia?beginning August 23, 2017. The halt is?a result of the Russian government?s personnel cap imposed on the U.S. Mission to Russia.?Beginning September 1, nonimmigrant visa interviews?will only be conducted at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow; NIV interviews at the U.S.?Consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok are?suspended until further notice.

Because of the cap on staff numbers, visa operations will resume on a greatly reduced scale. The staffing?changes will also affect the scheduling of some immigrant visa applicants. Affected applicants will be contacted if there is a?change as to?the time and date of their interview.

Categories Department of State Global News & Updates

U.S. Ambassador to India Announces Simpler U.S. Visa Application Process

The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and the Consulates General in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad will now accept visa applications from individuals whose home residence is in any other Indian jurisdiction.? This is being done in an ongoing effort by Mission India to facilitate legitimate travel to the United States.?

After the Consulate General in Hyderabad opened in 2008, the U.S. Mission has looked for ways to best capture the unique nature of India?s growth across the country. ?This resulted in a re-designation of consular districts. ?Effective immediately, the consular districts in India will be organized as follows:?

U.S. Embassy in Delhi: Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bhutan;?

U.S. Consulate in Mumbai: Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Diu and Daman, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli;?

U.S. Consulate in Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh, Orissa; Consulate Chennai: Karnataka, Kerala, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Tamil Nadu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands;?

U.S. Consulate in Kolkata: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, and West Bengal.?

These changes will create a much more convenient and supportive process for U.S. visa applicants in India.