Global immigration changes around the world

TURKEY | New Turquoise Card and Continuing State-of-Emergency
Perhaps the most promising of the many changes called for in Turkey’s new Law on International Workforce, enacted in August 2016, was the introduction of a new Turquoise Card. For more details on the new act making broad changes to Turkey’s immigration laws, see our recent Immigration Dispatches of August 29, October 3, and October 24. On March 14, the new Turquoise Card Regulation was finally implemented into law by publication in Turkey’s Official Gazette, providing the rules and procedures for this new long-term work and residence permit for highly skilled foreign nationals.


CHINA | Latest in Ongoing Transition to New Work Permits System in Shanghai
Pro-Link GLOBAL’s Shanghai office is continuing to closely monitor the ongoing changes on the road to implementation of the new nation-wide work permits systems in China’s most-populous city and largest expatriate community. The Shanghai Labor Bureau announced today that it will continue to process work permit renewals, amendments, cancellations, and annual inspections using the current policy and procedures until July. However, all new initial applications will be processed using the new system starting April 1. For more details, see our recent Global Brief of March 16 for coverage of all of the major changes to the work authorization process in Shanghai, and download our comprehensive free e-book China’s New Work Permit System here. Nation-wide roll-out of the new standardized work permits system still appears on track for April 1.


ESTONIA | New Start-Up Visa Available
Estonia continues to make its ambitious play to become the world’s next technology industry start-up hub. The tiny former-Soviet Baltic nation, upon gaining its independence in 1991, quickly embraced technology and the internet as its path to economic growth. In the area of immigration, Estonia has likewise eagerly embraced innovation, establishing the world’s only “e-residency,” a unique form of virtual residency, in 2014.


INDIA | New Intern Visa an Improvement, But with Limited Utility
In the ongoing efforts to simplify and better systematize India’s immigration system, the Indian High Commission has introduced a new Internship Visa category. Previously, most requests for visas for internship purposes were typically processed by Indian overseas posts as applications for general Entry (X) Visas. While the new Intern Visa category now clarifies the visa process for foreign interns in India, the apparent narrow scope of the new category makes its utility for most corporate internships relatively limited, and most company-sponsored internships are likely to continue to fall under either the general Entry Visa or Business Visa categories.


HONG KONG | Indian Nationals May No Longer Apply for Visit Visas at the Hong Kong Embassy
Without explanation, Hong Kong’s Embassy in India recently stopped accepting applications for visit visas; instead, requiring Indian nationals to now submit applications by post directly to the Immigration Department in Hong Kong. Instructions on the HK Immigration Department website concur: the general statement inviting applicants from overseas countries to submit their applications to the nearest Chinese diplomatic or consular post is now followed by the caveat: “visit visa applications from Indian nationals should be submitted to the Immigration Department direct.”