Immigration changes around the world : France, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Sweden & Switzerland

FRANCE | Social Security Coverage Details Added to Posted Worker Declaration Requirements
Effective July 1, companies posting or seconding their foreign employees on assignments to France will be required to indicate the country in which the employee is covered by social security. This information will be required as part of the requisite déclaration préamble de détachement or pre-posting declaration (also known as the “posted worker declaration” in many European Union [EU] countries). In France, this declaration is submitted to the Ministry of Labor (MOL) and applies to all foreign nationals employed by companies outside France who are assigned to work temporarily in France but will remain on foreign payroll. Included in these types of assignments are temporary detachments as service providers, self-employment, and what are commonly referred to as intra-company transfers (ICTs).


IRELAND | INIS Eases “De Facto Partnership” Requirements
Without any formal announcement of the change, the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service (INIS) updated its website guidance on De Facto Partnership Immigration Permission (DFPIP) applications for an unmarried partner of an Irish resident or citizen to obtain residence authorization in the country. While the process and most requirements remain essentially the same, one significant change does stand out: applications for unmarried partners filing for Irish immigration permission now require “dated documentary evidence of living together continuously over a period of one year in a common place of residence.” (emphasis added) Previous versions of the same guidelines required evidence of cohabitation for at least two years.


ITALY | Schengen Agreement Suspension and Border Control Imposition Continue until May, 30
The temporary suspension of the Schengen Agreement and imposition of border controls in Italy continues through May 30. The Schengen Agreement is the international agreement of 26 European countries whereby many foreign nationals can travel visa-free without internal border checks between countries or after obtaining a Schengen visa to enter the external border. Through May 1, however, travelers entering Italy should carry their applicable IDs, passports, and visas, as well as expect to submit to document checks and allow additional time for border crossings at airports, land crossings, and seaports.

The measure was introduced pursuant to provisions of the Schengen Agreement which allow members to temporarily re-introduce border controls for public policy and security reasons. Italy is exercising the provision ahead of this month’s G7 Summit in the resort city of Taormina on the island of Sicily from May 26-27. The heads of state of the U.S., the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan, as well as an estimated 20,000 members of their delegations and the media will be in attendance in the small resort city.


RUSSIA | June 1 – July 12: All Foreign Nationals Must Register Within One-Day if Arriving in Certain Cities
Effective June 1 through July 12, all foreign nationals who will be visiting, staying, or residing in the Russian cities of Kazan, Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Sochi will be required to register their place of stay with the local Ministry of Internal Affairs authorities within one day of their arrival in those cities. This new temporary shortened registration deadline applies to all foreign nationals arriving in those cities during this six-week period starting June 1, regardless of the purpose of their visit or immigration status: including all temporary and permanent foreign residents – whether on work or business visas and permits – as well as their accompanying family members. During this time in affected cities, this special one-day registration deadline will replace the normal 7-day and 90-day registration requirements applicable to holders of general and “highly skilled” work permits. Therefore, holders of visas and permits that state the standard, longer registration deadlines should still plan to register within the one-day window if they are staying in one of the four affected cities.

This new shorter registration deadline – applicable only in these four cities – is being imposed by Presidential Order No. 202 of 2017 as an enhanced security measure for the upcoming FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 and FIFA World Cup 2018. From June 17 to July 2, the four cities will play host to matches between the nine qualifying international football teams participating in the Confederations Cup. Planning ahead, foreign nationals should also expect a similar registration requirement to be imposed in the eleven Russian cities hosting World Cup matches in June and July of 2018.


SWEDEN | New Work Permit System Accelerates Processing Times
Starting with applications submitted after May 2, the Swedish Migration Board (SMB) (Migrationsverket) launched a new work permit processing system which purports to adjudicate and issue initial work permits in less than 10 business days and renewals/extensions of current work permits in less than 20 business days. This is a major improvement over the recent norm which saw initial applications for work permits typically taking two months and in-country extensions taking up to seven months. Reportedly, in implementing the new system, the SMB also committed additional resources to guarantee the new shorter advertised processing times. Note, however, that applications lodged prior to May 2 will unfortunately continue processing under the old system and be subject to the significant backlog already amassed.


SWITZERLAND | Bulgarian and Romanian Nationals Once Again Subject to Labor Market Restrictions
Effective June 1, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals will once again have restricted access to the Swiss labor market. The Swiss Federal Council invoked the “safeguards clause” of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (“the Agreement”) between the European Union (EU) and Switzerland. For the 12-month period beginning June 1, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals on Swiss employment contracts will once again be required to obtain work/residence authorization. If the employment contract is for a duration of over one-year, or for an open-ended length, they must apply for long-term B residence permits, subject to a quota of 996 permits available in four quarterly allocations. For employment contracts with a duration less than one-year, short-stay L permits will be available without a quota. Note that Bulgarian and Romanian nationals working in Switzerland on temporary assignments but remaining on foreign contract are not affected.

The “safeguards clause” permits Switzerland to impose quotas on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals working in the country if the immigration levels from those nations exceeds 10 percent above the median of the past three years. The migration numbers for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals in Switzerland combined to 3,300 work/residence permit holders in 2016, double that of the previous year. At the same time, migration from other EU/European Economic Area countries declined in 2016.


UNITED KINGDOM | Prime Minister May’s Conservatives Pledge to Double the Immigration Skills Charge if Re-Elected
On Thursday, United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Theresa May announced her Conservative Party’s campaign doctrine for the upcoming June 8 general election, and the manifesto contains more bad news for companies in the UK sponsoring foreign national employees. One of the 10 key points of the Conservatives’ platform calls for a doubling of the new Immigration Skills Charge on foreign employees. If re-elected, PM May pledges to increase the levy from the current GBP £1,000 per employee per year of sponsorship to £2,000 per employee per year. This proposal to double the levy comes only six weeks after the Immigration Skills Charge was first introduced on April 6 of this year. For more details, see our Global Brief of March 21 and Immigration Dispatch of March 13.

Even with a recent five-point bump in the polls for the Labour Party, the Conservatives maintain a 13-percentage point lead over their rivals, and most UK political observers not only expect PM May to be a shoe-in to retain the office with a commanding mandate, but her party may add as many as 30 seats to its majority in the House of Commons. Thus, while the proposal is still campaign rhetoric at this time, it gives international companies in the UK cause for concern. Also included in the manifesto was the Conservatives’ long-standing general pledge to reduce UK immigration levels by the “tens of thousands.”