AUSTRALIA | Citizenship Rules Changed – Along with Major Changes to Employment-Based Immigration
There were huge changes in corporate immigration this past week in Australia. Last Tuesday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that the popular but controversial Subclass 457 Visa – Australia’s most common employment-based immigration stream – would be eliminated in March 2018 in favor of a more-narrow Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa with tighter eligibility criteria. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) then followed this announcement with specific statements covering the immediately-narrowed eligible occupations lists and the timetable of other changes for phasing out the 457 Visa. No sooner had Pro-Link GLOBAL issued its extensive Global Brief on all the changes, when the Australian government reconsidered the abrupt changes to the occupations lists and appeared to be withdrawing the changes, then re-reconsidered, and finally decided to proceed with the changes as originally planned. For an extensive discussion of all of the immediate and upcoming changes to Australia’s employment-based immigration system, see our complete Global Brief of April 19.
INDIA | Aadhaar Cards Now Required for All Foreign Nationals in India Over Six Months
The Indian Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) announced April 5 that foreign nationals residing in India for more than 182 days are now required to apply for Aadhaar Cards. While foreign nationals falling into this category have long been required to pay Indian domestic income tax, this announcement adds the additional requirement of obtaining an Aadhaar identification number and card in order to file the requisite tax return and pay any tax due.
India’s Aadhaar Card system, instituted by statute last year and administered through the newly-formed Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEIT), has quickly become the world’s largest biometric identification system with over 99 percent of adult Indians already registered. With a 12-digit identity number classifying holders based on extensive demographic and biometric data, it is also the world’s most sophisticated national ID system; and it is precisely that sophistication that has made the Aadhaar Card also perhaps the world’s most controversial such system.
UNITED KINGDOM | Home Office May Now Conduct Sponsor Checks at Third-Party Worksites
On April 17, the British Home Office released an updated “Tiers 2 and 5: Guidance for Sponsors.” Causing concern among companies employing foreign workers in the UK, Paragraph 17.3 in the Compliance section now contains a broad statement providing the Home Office with authority to perform sponsor checks by visiting not only the sponsor’s place of business but also the places of business of third-parties where sponsored foreign workers are performing services. Paragraph 17.3 specifies that it is the sponsoring company’s duty to “ensure that the third party is aware of the possibility of the unplanned and unannounced visits and checks being conducted at their premises and ensure their full cooperation.”
VIETNAM | New Online Work Permit Application System Coming Soon
The Vietnamese Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA) is in the process of transitioning to an online work permit application and processing system. The new electronic system is reportedly already being piloted in Dong Nai and Vung Tau City and will be rolled out nationally as a mandatory process on July 1. The new system will allow company representatives to complete immigration applications and upload scanned copies of the required documents via the online system. Once the new system is fully implemented, the processing times for work permit applications is expected to drop from seven business days to five business days, and applications for job position approvals are expected to drop from fifteen business days to ten business days.