AUSTRALIA | New Rules Limit Accompanying Family Members
The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has announced that, starting November 19, certain family members of foreign nationals relocating for work in Australia may no longer be able to accompany them. The definition of qualifying “members of the family unit” for dependent visas will be significantly narrowed to exclude extended family members such as parents and adult children over the age of 23-years-old. The change applies to families of most Australian visa holders and includes those in the highly-utilized Subclass 457 visa category, the most commonly used temporary work visa in Australia.
Under the current regulations, adult children and extended family members – such as parents, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews – are included in the definition of “family unit” where they are financially dependent on the primary work visa holder or their spouse. They are eligible for dependent visas based on the employee holding a temporary work visa.
BRUNEI DARSSALEM | New Licensing Rules Speed Corporate Authorization Processing, Add Foreign Worker Ratio
The Brunei Department of Labour (DOL) and Ministry of the Interior (MOI) have introduced new rules and procedures for companies applying for a license allowing them to hire foreign nationals. Effective October 1, these sponsoring companies must now obtain a “Foreign Worker License” rather than the former “Labour Quota License” in order to hire foreign employees in this small Southeast Asian nation. At this point, the new rules apply only to companies submitting new applications for the Foreign Worker License. Companies with existing Labour Quota Licenses may continue to follow the old rules until April of 2017.
The new rules provide a faster, seven-step application process (down from twelve steps) and claim to reduce the estimated processing time from 40 days to only 9 days. However, with the simplification of the application process comes a new requirement. Companies will now be required to maintain a certain ratio of local workers to foreign workers employed in order to be eligible to hire additional foreign nationals. The applicable ratios, yet to be announced, will purportedly vary by industry, and compliance will be monitored through inspection by the DOL. Reportedly, exceptions to the ratios may be considered on a case-by-case basis where companies are unable to recruit local employees with the special skills required for a project.
CANADA | “Global Skills Strategy” Report Recommends New Work Permit Exemption and Faster Permit Processing
Proposed improvements to the Canadian work permit and visa process were part of the Government of Canada’s Fall Economic Statement 2016 which Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivered in the House of Commons on November 1. The Economic Statement is an 80-page summary of the state of Canada’s economy and the government’s plans for its future growth.
In a single-page section titled “Global Skills Strategy,” the report provided some promising proposals to benefit corporate mobility in Canada. While the proposal is encouraging and already being reported with interest in the corporate immigration industry, companies should bear in mind that the proposal is simply one of many outlined in an overall economic plan coming from the Ministry of Finance. It is not currently a part of introduced legislation or announced policy of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). We are not likely to see actual legislative action on the proposal (if any is taken at all) until at least Spring 2017, after the House of Commons’ Winter break.
CHINA | Changes to Document Requirements for Work Permits in Beijing and Shanghai
As promised, Pro-Link GLOBAL continues to actively monitor the activity surrounding the implementation of the “Foreigners Service Work Management System” and related process changes. See our Global Brief of October 27 and Immigration Dispatch of November 7 for details. To date, the new system is up and running only in Shanghai, and the procedures appear to be a combination of the old and the new for the present. The work permits process elsewhere in China continues under the current procedures.
One change of which we have learned this week applies to work permit applications initiated in Beijing. Starting December 1, certificates and diplomas for university degrees and police clearance certificates (PCCs) in support of employment license applications will now need to be notarized and legalized outside of China before submission. A similar policy is also coming soon in Shanghai, but no date for implementation there has been announced.