JAPAN | One-Year Permanent Residency Coming Soon for Certain Highly-Skilled Foreign Nationals
Japan will reportedly move forward with plans to shorten the path to permanent residency from five years to three years and create a special one-year path applicable to certain highly-skilled foreign professionals. The current five-year path is often referred to as the “fast track” route in Japan. Once implemented, the new one-year path could aptly be named the “lightning-fast-track,” as it would become the world’s fastest permanent residency program.
The proposal for shortening requirements for Japanese permanent residency first surfaced in June as just one of dozens of points in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Strategy for Revitalization of Japan 2016. However, lawmakers are reportedly now working in earnest on the particulars necessary to implement the proposal, with the goal to have the program in place by the end of March 2017.
AZERBAIJAN | Migration Service Increasing On-Site Audits
Companies in Azerbaijan who employ foreign nationals should be aware that the State Migration Service (SMS) is stepping up auditing activity with random work site visits. While random audits by the SMS in conjunction with the Ministry of Labor are not new in Azerbaijan, Pro-Link GLOBAL is seeing an increase in frequency, particularly for first-time sponsoring companies employing foreign nationals with temporary residence permits. Companies should work with their immigration advisors to be prepared for such audits by ensuring that foreign employees are not performing work activity prior to the relevant permits being issued and that necessary records are available on-site. During the visits, SMS officials may request to see a range of company documents in addition to valid permits and employee records (including, but not limited to site leases, incorporation documents, and internal operating procedures).
BAHRAIN | New Visas and Lengthened Stays Benefit Business Travelers
Bahrain’s Nationality, Passports, and Residence Affairs (NPRA) has added two new visas and increased permissible stays on other visas, making entry more convenient for business travelers to the Kingdom. The visa changes announced November 20 by NPRA include:
- A new single-entry, two-week-stay visa for business and tourism, available to citizens of 114 countries;
- A new one-year, multiple-entry visa valid for stays of up to 90 days for business and tourism, available to citizens of 114 countries;
- The permissible stay on the current three-month, multiple-entry visa – applicable to most foreign nationals – has increased from two weeks to one month; and
- The permissible stay on the current five-year multiple-entry visa – applicable to citizens of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland – has increased from 30 days to 90 days.
FRANCE | Process for New ICT Permits and Talent Passports Taking Shape
As we reported previously, France underwent a major overhaul of its work permits scheme in November, which included creating two new permit categories: the “ICT Employee Permit” and the “Talent Passport.” See our Global Brief of November 11 for more details. The overhaul called for the processing of the two new permits to be performed by French consular posts abroad without the need for an in-country work authorization through the Ministry of Labor, as is the current process for other work permits. At the time of writing our recent Global Brief, specific guidelines and forms were not available. As promised, Pro-Link GLOBAL has been reaching out to French authorities for guidance, and we are beginning to receive more clarity as some French consulates have begun processing applications for the new permits.
MALAYSIA | “Pre-Approval” Adds Two Months to Work Pass Process for Oil and Gas Industry
With the inclusion of just one additional step, Malaysia has added four to eight weeks to the processing time for both initial and renewal Work Pass applications for many foreign workers in the offshore petroleum industry in East Malaysia. Effective immediately, all applications for Work Passes in this industry filed for work in the State of Sabah must first be submitted for “pre-approval” to the Sabah Chief Minister’s Department, the Jabatan Keuta Menteri (JKM). These pre-approvals must be obtained before the Work Pass application can be submitted to the Immigration Department. In addition, affected applications already pending with the Immigration Department at the time of the requirement’s implementation have been put on hold until a letter of approval is obtained from the Sabah JKM. In the initial cases processed under the new rules by Pro-Link GLOBAL’s KGNM offices in Malaysia, this new pre-approval step has taken four to eight weeks.
PERU | Document Requirements for Work Permits Relaxed
By legislative decree, the government of Peru has relaxed document requirements for work permit applications. Legislative Decree N. 1246 has made various administrative simplifications to governmental processes, including no longer requiring work permit applicants to submit legalized professional degrees and certificates, or legalized copies of their return air ticket, to the Administrative Labor Authority in support of their applications.
In addition, companies are no longer required to submit an affidavit that hiring the foreign employee complies with the required local-to-foreign employee ratio. Rather, the company is now only required to submit an affidavit that hiring the foreign employee “complies with the conditions established by this Law and has the training or work experience required by the same.”