MALAYSIA | Changes to Employment Pass and Professional Visit Pass Process May Bring Delays
The Malaysian Expatriate Services Division (ESD) of the Immigration Department has announced three significant changes to the Employment Pass (EP) and Professional Visit Pass (PVP) processes which took effect August 1st. These changes have the potential of increasing application processing times for all categories of these passes, and employers and employees should allow more time for their relocation plans to Malaysia.
First, foreign nationals applying for PVP and EP Categories I, II, and III are now required to present an EP or PVP Approval Letter from the ESD upon entry into Malaysia. In addition, accompanying dependents of these pass holders must also produce the employee’s approval letter in order to obtain their Dependent Pass or Long Term Visit Pass. Traditionally, foreign nationals applying for these passes were able to enter Malaysia prior to their pass approval. Now, should the applicant already be in-country when the pass is approved, they will be required to exit and re-enter with the approval letter in hand, resulting in additional fees and cost. Therefore, applicants are advised to delay their travel until the EP or PVP is approved.
GERMANY | Clarification Issued for Registration Requirements
Authorities have provided some clarification of the rules regarding the registration of foreign nationals working in Germany. A law enacted last year requires all individuals – including foreign nationals – who reside in Germany for more than three months to register with their local Residence Registration (Einwohnermeldeamt) Office within 14 days of establishing their residence. However, it remained unclear whether those foreign nationals who resided in Germany for longer than three months in aggregate, but on a non-continuous basis with individual stays of less than three months were required to register.
Now there has been some clarification of the ambiguity with authorities recently confirming that the registration requirement only applies to those individuals residing in Germany for three months or more on a continuous basis. However, it is important to note that even visa-waiver nationals entering and exiting for stays less than three months who choose not to obtain a visa before arriving will still need to register in order to obtain Residence and Work Permits to work in Germany.
HONG KONG | Employers Required to Make “Genuine Effort” to Recruit Local Labor
The Hong Kong Immigration Department (HKID) is beginning to require employers to verify and provide documentation proving that they have made efforts to recruit and hire local workers when applying for work permits for foreign nationals under the General Employment Policy (GEP) and Mainland Talents and Professionals (MTP) categories.
While declaration of recruitment has for some time been part of the formal work authorization documents list for these categories, it has oftentimes been overlooked by the HKID. Now significantly more employers of foreign nationals in Hong Kong are being asked to sign a declaration under seal that “genuine efforts have been made to recruit suitable local candidate but without success” or provide reasons if such efforts have not been made. Furthermore, HKID officers are increasingly requesting proof of local job advertisements and the reasons why certain local candidates were not selected. This new enforcement is being applied both to new applications and to changes in employer.
NAMIBIA | Visa-On-Arrival Coming Soon for African Nationals
Speaking at the opening of the Foreign Policy Review conference in Windhoek on July 26th, Namibian President Gage Geingob stated that his country will soon offer visas-on-arrival to nationals of other African countries – with visa-free travel to Namibia for African nationals being the ultimate goal. This announcement is part of a developing trend that Pro-Link GLOBAL is seeing in Africa towards freer mobility and increased intra-continent trade.
OMAN | Length of Stay Increased from 3 Weeks to 3 Months for Many Nationals
On July 20th the Ministry of Legal Affairs announced that Oman is lengthening the permitted stay for visiting nationals of 38 countries – including Bangladesh, India, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and most of central and eastern Europe. The length of the allowable stay for business and tourist travelers from these nations has increased from three weeks to three months and is available for two stays within any twelve-month period. The measure is part of an effort to increase the inflow of tourism and investment into the Sultanate.
While most nations on the list will receive the longer stay automatically, travelers from Bangladesh, India and the Philippines must provide a sponsor in order to receive the new extended stay. Reportedly, officials are looking at further expanding the list of eligible countries should this new move prove successful.
TAIWAN | Visa Waiver Now Offered to Citizens of Ten AEAN Nations
Beginning September 1st the nationals of nine countries will enjoy visa-free travel to Taiwan using the National Immigration Agency’s online Taiwan Travel Authorization Certificate (TTAC) application system.
The citizens of Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar join the citizens of Brunei, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam who already enjoy this privilege. The TTAC is an electronic online visa exemption which is valid for a single entry and 30-day stay in Taiwan any time within the 90-day validity. The measure is part of the ROC’s Southbound Policy, which seeks to strengthen Taiwan’s relationships with its neighbors across South and Southeast Asia.