The Portuguese government is slated to adopt three significant European Union (EU) directives on immigration into its national Immigration Law (23/2007) by end of Summer. Most significant among them for corporate immigration is the EU Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Directive (2014/66/EU). Currently, Portugal has no specific ICT permit route in place for non-EU/European Economic Area (EEA) nationals who are transferred by their employers to an affiliated company in Portugal. Therefore, applications for visas for ICT assignments are typically handled as applications for general Temporary Stay Visas. The addition of a specific ICT Permit will provide welcomed clarity to ICT assignments in Portugal.
DENMARK | Two New Laws Bringing Changes to Permanent Residence and Work Permit Processes
The Danish Parliament has enacted two new significant pieces of immigration legislation; one major act implementing stricter criteria for permanent residence permit eligibility and the other act refining salary requirements for foreign national work permits and rules for accompanying family members.
Permanent Residence Changes
Retroactive to applications filed after March 15, applicants must meet all of the following requirements in order to apply for permanent residence after eight years of legal residence in Denmark (changes from previous requirements are noted in bold type):
- Minimum age of 18 years;
- Fulfillment of all requirements of current immigration status;
- Residence in Denmark for eight years;
- No serious criminal violations;
- Have not received public benefits in the previous four years;
- Agree to declaration of integration;
- Dansk PrØve 2 or higher language test;
- Regular full-time employment for three-and-a-half years of the previous four years; and
- Currently employed.
GERMANY | Implementation Date Set for New Intra-Company Transfer Permit
In April, Pro-Link GLOBAL reported that the German Bundersrat had enacted legislation implementing the European Intra-Company Transfer Directive (2014/66/EU). See our Immigration Dispatch of April 4. At that time, implementation was expected by the end of April. However, since that time, we’ve watched as the legislation was hit with several delays and the roll out of the program stuttered through the final legislative steps. After an initial delay in publication in the Federal Law Gazette, the insertion of a three-month prolongation clause, and the eleventh-hour discovery of a technical drafting error – it appears the ICT legislation has finally cleared all remaining hurdles and is set to cross the finish line to implementation on August 1, 2017.
IRELAND | Clarification Issued on Employment Agency Sponsorship for Work Permits
Effective immediately, the Irish Department of Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation (DJEI) has clarified when employment agencies may sponsor foreign nationals for work permits in Ireland. Under Irish law, only “employers” may sponsor individuals in applications for work permits. In determining whether an employment agency is the “employer” of a foreign national, a distinction is drawn between “direct employees,” which the agency may sponsor for work permits, and “agency staff,” which an agency may not sponsor. “Agency staff” are those individuals who are employed by the agency but who are then assigned to work for, and under the direction of, a third party.
SINGAPORE | Minimum Local Worker Salary Increasing July 1
Effective July 1, the Singaporean Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will increase the minimum salary that Singaporean companies must pay local workers in order for them to be counted when calculating the local-to-foreign quota imposed on the hiring of foreign workers. The current minimum salary threshold for local workers is SGD 1,000 per month and will rise to SGD 1,100 per month on July 1.
The MOM sets maximum quotas on the number of foreign workers a company may sponsor for passes and work permits based on the number of local workers a company employs. If a local worker is paid less than the minimum salary threshold, that worker does not count toward the total local labor force in the MOM’s calculation. For example, a manufacturing company with 100 local employees under the MOM quota is permitted to employ 20 foreign employees with S Passes, 25 foreign employees with PRC Work Permits, and 150 foreign employees with NAS Work Permits. The intent of the rule is obviously to ensure employment for local workers; and as Pro-Link GLOBAL has reported before, the MOM has recently been increasing pressure on companies to employ more foreign workers. See our Immigration Dispatch of March 20 and white paper “Singapore Moves to Protect Its Own Labor Force” here.
UKRAINE | Ukrainian Citizens Finally Receive Visa-Free Entry into the European Union
Effective June 11, citizens of Ukraine may finally travel to European Union and Schengen Area nations visa-free for stays of up to 90-days. Ukrainian and EU officials have been working towards opening the EU borders to Ukrainian nationals since the 2014 Ukrainian revolution which ousted the former Russian-backed government and instilled the current government of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. At times, the process appeared strained by Ukraine doubts of the continual assurances from the EU which always seemed to follow with more delays; however, both sides were motivated to bring Ukraine into the European fold once again and away from Russian influence.