Russia tightens migration rules for World Cup

New changes to the registration procedure for Russian and foreign citizens in Moscow, as well as other major cities for the duration of 2018 FIFA World Cup have been introduced.

What are the changes?

  • For the duration of reinforced security measures, migration registration and residence registration of foreign citizens is to be performed on the next day, following the day of their arrival; to the place of staying or residence by submitting required documents to the relevant local migration authority
  • Citizens of Russia arriving to temporarily stay as well as temporarily or permanently reside in living premises (excluding hotels, resorts, etc.) must apply to the local migration authority for registration not later than 3 business days from the day of arrival. Registration is to be issued by migration authorities on the day of application
  • Russian citizens must notify local migration authorities of the duration and place of residence in person
  • Aforementioned rules are not applicable to Russian and foreign citizens participating in the FIFA Confederations Cup, as well as representatives of FIFA, FIFA subsidiaries, confederations and national football organisations

When and where the temporary registration rules will be effective?

  • From May 25, 2018 till July 25, 2018
  • In the territories of Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, Yekaterinburg, Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod, Kaliningrad, Rostov-na-Donu, Saransk and Samara

Who is affected?

  • Both foreign and Russian citizens arriving from abroad or from other Russian regions into aforementioned cities while reinforced security measures are active

Intermark comments, “We recommend all Russian and foreign citizens arriving during the time of reinforced security measures to timely register on the Decree’s terms – regardless of usual registration-free terms for various categories of citizens.“It is important to remind that violation of registration rules leads to administrative penalties for citizens and for host parties.”In particular, the fine for a host party that fails to meet the requirements of migration registration amounts to the following:

  • 2000 – 4000 rubles (35-70$) – for individuals
  • 40 000 – 50 000 rubles (771-890$) – for officials
  • 400 000 – 500 000 rubles (7 115- 8 894$) – for legal entities
  • The penalty for foreign citizens amounts to 2000 – 7000 rubles (35-125$) with possible expulsion from Russia


Immigration changes in Poland, Ghana, Iraq, Nigeria and Russia

POLAND | Stricter Rules and Requirements for Work Permits for Some Foreign Nationals
Effective January 1, a number of significant changes to immigration regulations were implemented in Poland. The changes apply to registration of foreign nationals, work permit exemptions for certain nationalities, and various changes to application document requirements. Authorities indicate that an additional round of changes is also now slated for later in February.

Corporate Proxies and General Partners – The requirement of obtaining a Type B work permits for stays of 6 to 12 months has been extended to include companies’ non-EEA national corporate proxies and general partners in addition to the management board members as previously required.


GHANA | Recent Announcement Requires Medical Certificates to Be Obtained In-Country
The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) recently posted a brief announcement of a new policy – purportedly with an effective date of February 15 – requiring all new applicants for work and residence permits to obtain medical certificates only through the GIS medical facility at its headquarters in Ghana. Previously, medical certificates in support of a work permit applications could be issued by a local doctor in the applicant’s home country.


IRAQ | Major Changes to Rules on Single-Entry and Multiple-Entry Visas, Exit Visas, and Mobility of Employees With Expired Visas
Iraq continues to refine its employment-based immigration system. On February 8, the Ministry of interior (MOI) issued a notification making several fairly significant changes that impact companies employing foreign nationals in the country.


NIGERIA | New Executive Order Imposes Tougher Local Hiring Measures
On February 2, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari signed an executive order (EO5) aimed at promoting local Nigerian expertise in science, engineering, and technology. EO5 prohibits the federal Ministry of Interior (FMI) from issuing visas to foreign workers whose skills are deemed to be readily available in Nigeria. Consideration of work visas will only be given to foreign nationals where has been certified by the appropriate governmental authority that such expertise is not available in Nigeria. Under the order, Nigerian government agencies must also give hiring preference to foreign companies and firms with demonstrable and verifiable plans for indigenous development.


RUSSIA | New Rules Bring Administrative Changes to Work Permits Application Process
Effective February 4, new regulations on issuing work permits have brought some administrative changes to the work permit process. For the purpose of obtaining work permits, including permits for Highly-Qualified Specialists (HQS), application forms must be signed by the chief executive, head of branch or representative office, or other persons who have the authority to sign documents for the company without a Power of Attorney. Additionally, fees for renewal and corrections are expected to be charged in the coming weeks, processing times for standard (non-HQS) work permits have increased to 15 business days, and documents issued by authorities containing pencil-written notes may cause applications to be refused.



Immigration changes in Taiwan, Austria, England, Oman and Thailand

TAIWAN | New Foreign Recruitment Law Benefits Foreign Professionals
The new Act Governing Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals will come into effect on February 8, introducing various benefits for foreign nationals working in Taiwan and their employers. The Act introduces three categories of foreign professionals with differing qualifying criteria and benefits, as well as benefits for their dependent family members.

Foreign Professionals” who have been approved for permanent residence (APRC) will be able to participate in a retirement pension scheme, a portion of which will be paid for by their employer. The current 183-days per year minimum duration of stay for Alien Permanent Residence Card (APRC) holders to maintain their permanent residence will be eliminated. Qualifying foreign professionals will also be eligible for a six-month multiple-entry “employment-seeking visa”.


AUSTRIA | Diploma Authentication Required for Initial Red-White-Red Card Plus Applications
Effective immediately, university diplomas and school certificates submitted in support of some initial applications for Red-White-Red Card Plus (RWR Card Plus) applications by dependent family members of RWR Card holders must be legalised and authenticated under the ENIC-NARIC framework. Previously, ENIC-NARIC recognition of university diplomas and certificates was not required for these applicants.

This new requirement only affects dependents of RWR Card holders who are applying for an initial RWR Card Plus and cannot demonstrate proof of German language skills at the A1 level (according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). Dependents applying for renewal of their RWR Cards Plus were already required to provide an ENIC-NARIC recognised diploma or proof of A2 level German language skills.


OMAN | Six-Month Ban on Hiring of Foreign Nationals in 87 Occupations
Effective immediately, Oman’s Ministry of Manpower has suspended for six months the recruitment of foreign nationals in 87 occupations across ten industry sectors. The affected sectors include: information systems; media; “technical professions”; engineering; air transport; accounting and finance; insurance; sales and marketing; management and human resources; and medicine. A full list of the affected job titles was published in the Times of Oman here.

Exempted from the measure are work permits issued before January 29; these will remain valid until their date of expiry. Also, employers registered with the Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development or the Public Authority for Social Insurance are exempt from the ban.


THAILAND | Four-Year SMART Visa for Top Foreign Talent Now Available
Effective February 1, the Thai Board of Investment has now introduced the previously-announced SMART Visa for highly-skilled foreign workers and investors in selected industries. The SMART Visa is valid for up to four years (compared to the typical one-year for most visas) for qualifying highly-skilled professionals, senior executives, and investors and valid for one year (renewable for two years) for start-up entrepreneurs. Under this streamlined process, SMART Visa holders are exempt from the usual requirements to obtain work permits, to report to the immigration authorities every 90 days, and to obtain re-entry permits to exit and re-enter Thailand. Spouses and children of SMART Visa holders are also granted residence. Spouses can work in Thailand without a work permit, and dependent children over 18 years of age can work without a work permit under the SMART “T” Talent Visa.


UNITED KINGDOM | Immigration Health Surcharge to Double and Tier 2 General Oversubscribed for Second consecutive Month 

In the United Kingdom, two recent developments have the potential to negatively impact companies employing foreign nationals.

First, the UK government has announced that sometime this year the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) will increase from £200 to £400 per year. Similarly, the discounted IHS for Tier 4 students and those on the Youth Mobility Scheme (Tier 5) will also rise from £150 to £300 per year. Introduced in 2015, the IHS is levied on those foreign nationals from outside the European Economic Area coming to the UK to work, study, or re-join family for six months or longer.

Second, the supply of Tier 2 (General) Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCoS) available for January 2018 was exceeded by demand for a second consecutive month. The total number of RCoS available to employers in January 2018 stood at 1651 after 91 RCoS were borrowed by the December 2017 allocation, which was also exceeded. RCoS applications submitted in January were rejected where the applicant’s salary was less than £50,000, other than those employed in PhD-level or shortage occupations or those recruited via the milkround exercise for recent graduates. RCoS applications that were rejected in January may be resubmitted in February, provided that the advertising carried out by their prospective employer remains valid.



Immigration changes around the world – CHINA, CÔTE D’IVOIRE, SINGAPORE & SWITZERLAND

CHINA | New Talent Visa Rules and Benefits Details Released
Effective January 1, new regulations for the “R Visa” for high-level talent allow multiple stays in China of up to 180 days at a time – with a visa validity of up to ten years, a streamlined online application system, and reduced processing times. As we reported earlier, these improvements to the R Visa are designed to attract high-level talent: including technology experts, scientists, entrepreneurs, and others with high-demand skills. See our Immigration Dispatch of January 8.

To obtain an R visa, applicants must qualify as Category A under the new classification standards implemented as part of the new work permits system last year. Those qualifications include:

  • the qualifications of the applicant’s Chinese employer;
  • the applicants own professional qualifications and experience;
  • the applicant’s salary; or
  • a score of at least 85 points under the new scoring system.


CÔTE D’IVOIRE | Deadline for Converting to New Biometric Residence Cards Fast Approaching
Nationals of non-ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) countries holding temporary residence permit cards in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) have until February 1 to exchange their old residence cards for new biometric residence cards (Cartes de Résident). All unconverted temporary residence permits will become invalid on February 1. This deadline, originally set for December 31, 2017, has been extended. However, after February 1, any non-ECOWAS national resident in Côte d’Ivoire without a biometric resident card will be subject to a penalty.


SINGAPORE | Applicant’s Contact Details Required for Pass Applications
Effective January 26, employers must provide their foreign workers’ contact details to complete transactions via the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM’s) EP Online portal for Employment Passes (EPs), S Passes, Training EPs, Dependent Passes, and Long-Term Visit Passes. The pass holder’s email address is required for pass applications, and email addresses and Singapore mobile numbers are both required for pass renewals or issuance requests.


SWITZERLAND | New Job Advertising Requirement for Certain Occupations Coming July 1
Starting July 1, employers wishing to hire foreign nationals for jobs in Switzerland which have a high local unemployment rate will be required to perform labor marketing testing by advertising the position online for five days through the Swiss Public Employment Service (PES). Details and lists of affected occupations will be reportedly be released closer to the July 1 implementation date. Initially, the requirement will be applied only for occupations with an unemployment rate of 8 percent or above, with this threshold being lowered to 5 percent in January 2020.



Denmark to update visa rules for foreign professionals: ministry

The Danish government will introduce rules providing more flexibility for skilled foreign professionals to take on extra work outside of their primary employment, the Ministry of Immigration and Integration has announced.

A secondary job within the same professional area will be permitted by working visas under new rules, the ministry wrote in a press statement.

The issue received attention in the Danish media in the autumn after reports emerged of foreign academics being prosecuted for teaching outside of their primary institutions of employment.

“Until now it has been necessary to apply for a work permit for each employment, but that has proved to be an outdated and inflexible way in which to do things. So the government is now proposing a modernisation of the rules,” the immigration ministry wrote in its press statement.

The new rules will provide for foreign academics to work up to 156 hours per quarter, or 12 hours per week, in a secondary job, the ministry said.

Immigration minister Inger Støjberg presented the proposal to parliament on Friday.

“The various parties naturally have some requests and suggestions.

“I will present a [second] proposal to parliament in the beginning of February, after which I expect this to be a short process for us to get this passed,” Støjberg told news agency Ritzau.

The anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DF) expressed misgivings over the proposal, defying Støjberg’s optimism.

“People must obey the rules they already know. When you come to Denmark and are given a work permit, there are conditions,” DF’s immigration spokesperson Martin Henriksen told Ritzau.