Global immigration changes

UNITED KINGDOM | Immigration Skills Charge… Other Major Tier 2 Changes Coming April 6

With the implementation date now quickly approaching, Pro-Link GLOBAL reminds companies employing foreign nationals in the United Kingdom that significant changes to the Tier 2 visa stream are set to take effect April 6. For more details, see our previous Global Briefs of November 8 and April 5. Stemming from a report published by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) in early 2016, these changes represent the third and final round of the committee’s recommended changes to the UK’s largest skilled, employment-based immigration scheme. The two previous rounds of these changes were implemented in April and November of last year.


GREECE | Refugee Crisis a Factor in Changes to Residence Permit Process
The Greek Ministry of Interior is once again accepting applications for work and residence permits after a 10-day hiatus at the end of February. No reason was officially given for the surprise halt in application processing; but coming close on the heels of a February 2 European Union (EU) Commission urgent “recommendation” to address short-comings in the Greek refugee asylum system, resources and personnel were likely temporarily diverted in an attempt to shore-up the system. As refugee crises continue in Syria and portions of the Middle East and Africa, Greece’s immigration system is reportedly struggling under a backlog of as many as 60,000 applications.


HUNGARY | Immigration in the News… But Only Minor Changes in Work Permit Process
The refugee crisis is similarly challenging the capacity of the immigration system in Hungary. A controversial new law regarding refugees in Hungary grabbed some major media headlines last week, when the Parliament overwhelmingly approved a plan for asylum-seeker detention camps on the border of Serbia. While the ongoing refugee crisis has led the Hungarian government to take some hard stances recently on general inbound immigration, the corporate immigration stream remains largely unaffected and continues to be welcoming of skilled foreign nationals working in the country. Last September, Hungary became the third nation to adopt the European Union’s Intra-Company Transfer Directive and in January implemented an expedited work permit process for neighboring Serbian and Ukrainian nationals in an effort to attract more high-demand foreign workers. For more details, see our Immigration Dispatches of October 3, November 7, and January 9.


NIGERIA | Pro-Business Plan Expands Visa-on-Arrival and Permissible Business Activities


As part of Nigeria’s recently announced 60-day action plan to improve its international business climate, the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) has announced the expansion of its visa-on-arrival scheme to accommodate business travelers whose home countries have no Nigerian consular post. Traditionally, business visas are applied for through the Nigerian overseas missions; but in cases where the applicant resides in a country with no Nigerian consular post, the process of applying through a Nigerian consulate in a neighboring country can prove to be expensive and inconvenient.