BELGIUM | New Law on Posted Workers Enacted
Effective January 1, the Belgium Federal Parliament has enacted the provisions of the European Union (EU) Posted Workers Enforcement Directive (2014/67/EU); however, some of the details regarding actual employer compliance requirements and changes to the current LIMOSA declaration process remain unclear. Belgium had previously adopted into its local laws the provisions of an earlier iteration of the EU Posted Workers Directive (96/71/EC) in 2002 and has since that time required companies with foreign workers posted to Belgium to file a “LIMOSA declaration” with the Ministry of Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue. With the recent enactment of the enforcement provisions by Parliament, Pro-Link GLOBAL is expecting an additional Royal Decree in the coming weeks setting down the particulars and potentially refining the current LIMOSA declaration process.
For the time being, companies with foreign employees posted in Belgium should evaluate their current policies and processes regarding posted workers and take the following action steps now to comply with current and coming requirements:
- Designated Representative – Ensure that the company has designated a representative to liaise with authorities regarding the legal requirements of all postings of foreign workers to Belgium.
- LIMOSA Declarations – Continue to submit LIMOSA declarations, online here, before the start of the assignment whenever a foreign worker is posted to Belgium.
PANAMA | New Rule Requiring Local Employment Contracts Does Not Impact Foreign-Local Ratio
In a February 15 statement, the Ministry of Labour announced a new requirement that foreign nationals applying for Work Permits under the “Friendly Nations” and “Professional Foreigner” categories now be employed under an employment contract with a Panamanian company and enrolled in the local payroll. An employment contract between the local company and the employee applicant is now required to be submitted with the Work Permit application.
At the time of this earlier announcement, many immigration professionals interpreted this new document requirement to also mandate that foreign employees holding Friendly Nations and Professional Foreigner Work Permits to be counted when calculating the permissible foreign-to-local worker ratio. This was of obvious concern to many companies employing foreign nationals, as it would have effectively pushed them over the permissible ratio or reduce the number of future foreign hires.
QATAR | All Foreign Nationals Must Present Round-Trip Air Tickets Upon Arrival
Effective immediately, Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority has announced that all foreign national airline passengers arriving in Doha must have round-trip return tickets booked, and be prepared to present them upon arrival to immigration officers. If foreign passengers arrive without a return air ticket, they will be denied entry and returned to their port of departure. The announcement, dated February 5, on its face makes no exception based on the visa status of the passenger. Therefore, all foreign nationals traveling to Qatar by air holding business and work visas should be sure they have round-trip tickets to present to border authorities regardless of the length of their stay in Qatar. Pro-Link GLOBAL will continue to monitor developments here and report with further clarification if the situation changes.
SOUTH AFRICA | New Visa Validity and Transfer Policy Put on Hold
The South African Department of Home Affairs is apparently indefinitely delaying the implementation of the recent policy circular making extensive changes to the rules regarding visa validity, transfers, rectifications, and appeals. For more details of this circular, see our Global Brief of February 14. No reason was given for putting the policy change on hold; but Pro-Link GLOBAL welcomes this surprise announcement, as the abrupt decision changing the maximum visa validity period, and no longer allowing the transfer of valid visas to new passports in some cases, had the potential to create serious problems for some foreign nationals already in South Africa.
VIETNAM | New 30-Day E-Visa Available to Nationals of 40 Countries
While primarily aimed at attracting more tourist visitors, Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security has introduced a new single-entry 30-day e-visa which also presents an attractive option for business travelers from 40 countries – including the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and much of Europe and South America. Starting February 1, the new e-visa became available through an online application for a processing fee of just USD $25.00 and is reportedly issued within three days. Applicable for both tourist and business travel, it carries an initial validity period of 30 days, with the option for an in-country extension of up to an additional 30 days.