Immigration changes around the world

GERMANY | Eleventh Nation to Adopt European Union Intra-Company Transfer Permit
On March 31, the Bundesrat enacted legislation to make Germany the eleventh European Union (EU) nation to have implemented the EU Intra-Company Transfer Directive (2014/66/EU). Germany now joins Spain, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg, and Estonia in what will be a standardized work permit scheme for senior managers, specialists, and trainees engaged in temporary intra-company transfer (ICT) assignments across Europe. Germany’s new EU ICT Permit is expected to be available to applicants this summer.


LATVIA | New Law Adopts EU ICT Permit, Improves Blue Card Rules, and Introduces New Short-Term Work Exemption
Effective March 2, a new law enacted by the Latvian Parliament has amended the country’s Immigration Law, making significant improvements to the employment-based immigration scheme.

European Union Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Directive Provisions Adopted – Similar to the action taken by Germany discussed above, Latvia has now adopted the provisions of the EU ICT Directive, creating a new EU ICT Permit for non-EU/EEA/Swiss managers, specialists, and interns transferred to affiliates in Latvia for temporary assignments of more than 90 days. The new permits will be issued with validity periods of three years for managers and specialists and one year for trainees. Holders of the Latvian EU ICT Permit will then be able to work on assignments in other adopting EU nations for up to 90 days without additional work authorization, and EU ICT Permit holders from other adopting nations will be able to work in Latvia on assignments of up to 90 days without an additional Latvian permit. As of the time of this writing, the detailed ICT Permit regulations for Latvia are not yet available, but are expected to be released and implemented sometime in May.


MALAYSIA | Sarawak Immigration Office to Reduce Role of Third-Party Immigration Agents
While there is little official information or clarification available at the time of this writing, officials at the Sarawak Immigration Office are stating that beginning April 15 third-party immigration agents will no longer be permitted to appear at the office for application transactions on behalf of sponsoring companies. Instead, company representatives will be required to appear at the immigration office in-person at various stages of their foreign employee’s immigration process.


SOUTH KOREA | Some Former Business Activities Now Require an Employment Visa
With immediate effect, the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Justice recently issued a new Visa Issuance Guidance Manual dated March 20 for the use of its Immigration Service officers, significantly limiting the definition of “permissible business activities” that can be performed under the C-3-4 Business Visa and the visa waiver granted to citizens of select nations. “For-profit activities” still cannot be performed under a C-3-4 Business Visa or a visa waiver; however, under the new definition, “for-profit activities” now includes certain activities which were previously permitted under a business visa. Such activities will now require a C-4 Short-Term Employment Visa.


UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Indian Nationals with U.S. Visa or Green Card to Receive Visas-On-Arrival
India is joining the growing list of nations whose citizens who are eligible for visa-on-arrival in the United Arab Emirates. On March 29, the UAE’s federal Cabinet announced that it had enacted a Decree for immigration authorities at ports of entry to begin issuing visas-on-arrival to Indian nationals, valid for a single-entry 14-day stay (extendable for another 14 days). The only qualifiers will be that the Indian national must have at least six months’ validity remaining on their passport and hold either a valid U.S. visa or U.S. Permanent Residence (“green card”).


UKRAINE | New Resolution Brings Numerous Pro-Business Immigration Improvements
Effective April 16, the Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers approved Resolution No. 118 “On Approval of the Rules for Issuing Visas to Enter into Ukraine and Transit Through Its Territory”, making numerous significant positive improvements to the Ukrainian immigration system for companies and their foreign employees and business travelers in the country. The changes most applicable to companies and their foreign employees include:

  • New Online Visa Application Process – Reportedly, a new online application submission and processing system is already operational and ready for use starting April 16. It is also anticipated that the new modernized process will also allow for visa interviews to be conducted remotely.