AUSTRIA | New Law Makes Extensive Changes to Posted Worker Requirements
Effective January 1, a broad new law has made extensive changes to Austria’s mandated company responsibilities regarding their foreign employees on assignment in Austria. The effects of the changes are varied: in some respects requirements have been tightened, certain requirements merely clarified, others expanded, and in other instances the regulations are slightly relaxed. In all instances, Pro-Link GLOBAL is recommending that companies with foreign employees on assignment in Austria review current employment policies with their Austrian labor counsel, as some applicable requirements may have changed.
The new Law on Combating Payroll and Social Dumping (Lohn- und Sozialdumping-Bekämpfungsgersetz, orLSD-BG) attempts to consolidate and clarify requirements in a myriad of statutes – including the statutes on employment contracts, subcontracting workers, labor inspection, social security, and equal opportunity – as they apply to posted foreign workers. The goal is to codify the obligations into one act, while also bringing Austria in line with the European Union’s Posted Worker Directive (2014/67/EU). See our Immigration Dispatches of October 3, September 26, September 12, August 15, and July 24 for more on the EU Posted Worker Directive and the recent implementation efforts in other EU nations.
AZERBAIJAN | Online ASAN E-Visa Portal Goes Live
The Republic of Azerbaijan’s online ASAN Visa portal is set to go live January 10. The new e-visa application and processing system has been online in test mode for several weeks, but the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations has announced that it will be fully operational for visa application submission this week.
The new system enables nationals from 81 countries to apply for Azerbaijan e-visas completely through the online system, without need of visiting a consular post or processing center. The issued e-visa is emailed to the applicant within three business days of application. The application fee, payable online by credit card, is just USD $20.00, and the 30-day, single-entry visa is applicable for both business and tourism purposes.
BRAZIL | Federal Police Registration Rules Relaxed
As per new Administrative Regulation 286, effective December 15, foreign nationals renewing visas or converting visas to permanent residence in Brazil are no longer held to a 90-day deadline to register with the Federal Police for a new federal RNE identification card. Previously, foreign nationals had a 90-day window to register with the Federal Police after either the publication of the approval decision on renewal or the “transformation” of their visa. If they failed to complete the necessary registration within that window, applicants had to have the approval “republished” to reset the 90-day clock in which to register. Now, with the elimination of the 90-day deadline, the visa holder can register with the Federal Police at any time so long as their current visa is still valid.
Going forward, republishing approval will only be done where there is a material error requiring correction of a name, date, or other key data. Further, it should be noted that registration cannot be done retroactively under the new rule. If the visa has already expired, it cannot be republished. Therefore, all foreign nationals are still urged to register with the Federal Police as soon as possible after the approval of their visa renewal or transformation to permanent residence.
HUNGARY | Expedited Work Permit Process Designed to Attract More High-Demand Workers
Hungary has implemented an expedited work permit application process for certain foreign nationals in high-demand occupations. At present, the program is only open to nationals of Serbia and the Ukraine in 37 occupations on a published list of the Minister of National Economy – which includes primarily engineering, information technology, and certain specialized blue-collar occupations. However, indicators suggest that the program may soon be expanded to include nationals of other countries if successful.
The streamlined process exempts applicable foreign nationals from the work permit authorization steps, allowing them to receive their combined work and residence permit in 3 weeks, rather than the current typical 4 months processing time. The fast-track process is designed to help companies more easily fill vacancies in critical business sectors in Hungary.
PANAMA | Increase in Minimum Salary for International Executive Visa Reversed
In July, Pro-Link GLOBAL reported that a resolution of the General Director of Migration (GDM) was making it harder to obtain International Executive Visas in Panama. For more details, see our Immigration Dispatch of July 24, 2016. That resolution boosted the minimum monthly salary to qualify for the International Executive Visa from USD $1,000 to USD $5,000 – not an inconsequential increase in the cost of doing business for multinational companies with offices in Panama. That increase has now apparently been recognized as “too-much too-soon” by the Director, who has partially reversed the earlier resolution. Thus, with an effective date of November 29, 2016, the minimum monthly salary to qualify for an International Executive Visa has been rolled-back to USD $2,000.
As the “gateway” location in the Latin American region, Panama has seen a significant uptick in international business activity in recent years. In the almost 20 years since the U.S. invasion in 1989, Panama has enjoyed a relatively stable democratic government with proactive business-friendly policies, including minimalist government regulation and generous trade and tax incentives for international business. As a result, dozens of the world’s largest multinational corporations have located their primary or regional headquarters in Panama, with the accompanying investment in infrastructure.