Immigration news in Austria, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Indonesia, Ireland, Malaysia and the United Kingdom

AUSTRIA | European Union Intra-Company Transfer Directive Adopted
Slated for implementation October 1, Austria is the latest European Union member nation to adopt the EU’s Intra-Corporate Transfer (ICT) Directive (2014/66/EU). The EU-standard ICT Permit will replace the current “rotational employees” scheme through which ICT assignments have traditionally been processed in Austria. The new ICT Permit will provide work authorization for non-EU/European Economic Area (EEA) nationals remaining on foreign employment contracts for assignments both in Austria and in other EU nations recognizing the EU ICT Permit.


CAMBODIA | Work Permits to be Required for Long-Term Business Visa Renewals
While we continue to await an official announcement, Pro-Link GLOBAL nevertheless is cautioning clients of an ongoing tightening of employment-based immigration rules in Cambodia. As such, foreign nationals – either traveling to or already in-country – who wish to work long-term in Cambodia are advised to plan on applying for and obtaining proper work permits through the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training.


COSTA RICA | Changes to Temporary Residence Application Process
The Costa Rican Immigration and Migration Directorate (Dirección de Migración y Extranjeria) continues to refine its residence registration process. Effective August 16, foreign nationals applying for temporary residence must now register with their home country’s consulate in Costa Rica and complete fingerprinting at the Public Security office before submitting their temporary residence application to the Directorate. This presumably also applies to those submitting their applications through the new streamlined email submission process we reported on in our Immigration Dispatch of May 30. Previously, applicants often completed their consular registration and fingerprinting after obtaining their temporary residence approval.


CROATIA | EU Directives on Intra-Company Transfers, Posted Workers, and Seasonal Workers Adopted
On June 30, the Croatian Parliament enacted extensive amendments to its Foreigners Act (Official Gazette Nos. 130/13 and 69/17) that detailed and clarified numerous aspects of the country’s work and residence permit framework. Included in the amendments were the adoption of the European Union (EU) Directives on Intra-Corporate Transfers, Posted Workers, and Seasonal Workers.


INDONESIA | Additional Eleven Nations Now Eligible for Consular Visa Processing
Effective August 25, the Indonesian Ministry of Law and Human Rights has revised its “Calling Visa List” of countries whose citizens are ineligible for consular processing of visas to Indonesia, instead being required to process their visas through in-country authorities in Jakarta. The revision removes eleven countries from the list; but adds three countries, whose citizens now require “special request processing” of visa applications through the central government in Jakarta.


IRELAND | “De Facto Partnership” Cohabitation Requirement Returns to Two-Years
Updating our previous report on “De Facto Partnership” rules in Ireland, the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Service (INIS) has updated and clarified the guidance on the cohabitation requirement for unmarried partners of Irish residents and citizens to obtain residence authorization. In May, without formal announcement, the INIS revised its online guidance on De Facto Partnership Immigration Permission(DFPIP) to decrease the cohabitation period required from the previous two-years to just one-year. For details, see our Immigration Dispatch of May 22. However, effective September 1, the cohabitation requirement has now been set at two-years once again.


MALAYSIA | New Online Process for “Support Letters” in the Construction Industry
The Malaysian Construction Industry Development Board (CIBD) has introduced a new online submission portal for construction sector companies to submit applications for the CIBD support letters that are required when applying for Employment Passes (EPs) for their foreign employees. Effective immediately, all applications must be submitted through the online portal; manual submission of applications is no longer being accepted. Companies in the construction sectors who anticipate upcoming hiring of foreign workers should proceed now to register and establish accounts in the new system here, in order to avoid delays. Companies needing assistance establishing their accounts are encouraged to reach out to their Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Specialists.


UNITED KINGDOM | Tier 2 and 4 Applications in India Now Require Original Supporting Documents
Applicants for Tier 2 and Tier 4 visas lodging their applications at the United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI) Visa Application Centers (VACs) in India are now required to submit originals of their supporting documentation. In addition, VAC authorities will no longer scan and return the original documents at the end of the visa appointment. Rather, original documents will only be returned with the passport following a decision on the application.



Immigration changes around the world: Switzerland, Cyprus, Panama, Singapore & Tanzania

SWITZERLAND | Third Quarter Quota of L and B Permits for EU/EFTA Nationals Exhausted
With still one month left in the quarter, the third quarter (Q3) quota of Swiss Short-Term (L) and Long-Term (B) work permits allocated for European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Area (EFTA) nationals has been exhausted. EU/EFTA nationals who have been assigned for work in Switzerland but remain on foreign employment contracts cannot be issued new L or B Permits until the fourth quarter (Q4) quota opens on October 1. As with quota shortages in the past, individual cantons vary in their responses and interim measures available to EU/EFTA nationals now starting work in September.

Note that this quota exhaustion does not impact non-EU/EFTA nationals applying for L and B Permits, who have separate quotas, or applicants seeking other permits not subject to quotas, such as the 120-Day Permit and Short Term (4 month) Permit. Nor does this in any way affect renewals of existing L or B Permits.


CYPRUS | Posted Worker Requirements Amended
Effective immediately, Cyprus has adopted the European Union Posted Worker Enforcement Directive(2014/67/EU). While Cyprus has had posted worker requirements in place since 2002, Law No. 63(1)/2017 now amends the requirements under its Framework of Provision of Services Law to bring them into line with the EU Directive.


PANAMA | Visa-Free Entry Revoked for Venezuelan Citizens
Due to recent internal conflicts in nearby Venezuela and the resulting influx of refugees, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela has announced that his government is revoking visa-free entry and imposing visa requirements on most Venezuelan citizens traveling to Panama starting October 1. Reportedly, Venezuelan citizens who hold multiple-entry visas for the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, or Australia valid for at least one-year from the date of entry into Panama will be exempt from the new visa requirement. All other Venezuelan citizens will be required to obtain visas through the Panamanian counselor posts.


SINGAPORE | New “Smart” Work Pass Cards Coming
Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is introducing a new “smart” Work Pass (WP) Card. The new card will come with a quick response (QR) code linked to the holder’s WP details (such as occupation, validity and expiration dates) and a free mobile application called “SGWorkPass” enabling holders and employers to check the current status of work passes using their smartphones. WP Card holders without smartphones will continue to be able to use the existing online MOM eServices such as Work Pass OnlineEmployment Pass Online, and Check Work Pass Status. Once fully implemented, the new card system should enhance security of card holder’s personal information, as well as make access more convenient and reliable for both holders and employers.


TANZANIA | New Company Documents Required for Residence Permit Applications
The Tanzanian Immigration Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs has recently imposed significant additional company document requirements on foreign employees applying for residence permits. Applicants for Class A and B residence permits should take note that the Immigration Department is now requiring the following corporate documents from their sponsoring employers:

  • Letter stating the current status of shareholders from the Registrar of Companies of the Business Registration and Licensing Authority (BRELA), including immigration status if shareholder is a foreign national;
  • Tax Clearance Certificate from the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA); and
  • Certified copies of the employer’s tax payment slips from the TRA.


European investors expect rising house prices

In many parts of Europe local economies are still struggling to recover from the 2007/8 economic downturn. Indeed we only need to look at Spain to see the amount of repossessed properties from the downturn although thankfully many have now been resold. The recent ING International Survey Homes and Mortgages 2017 report casts a very interesting light on the European market and expectations in the short, medium and longer term.

The survey takes in 15,000 individuals from 15 different countries and enquiries about their attitudes to the housing market and how they expect house prices to perform in the future.


In general European house prices are expected to rise over the next 12 months with 59% of those who responded to the survey reflecting positive expectations. This is the first increase in two years with the figures for 2015 and 2016 stuck stubbornly at 56%. If we go back to 2014 only 53% of those who responded to the survey had expected house prices to increase over the following 12 month period. It may be a relatively small increase in confidence but thankfully there is finally some positive movement.

When you compare this to the US which saw an increase of two percentage points between 2016 and 2017 (57% and 59% respectively) and Australia where there was a six percentage point increase between 2016 and 2017 (50% and 56% respectively) this is not too bad.


Many will be surprised to learn that recent confidence in the Romanian housing market is highest among European countries. The corresponding figure in 2016 was 52% although this has jumped to a phenomenal 72% in 2017. So, a staggering 72% of those who responded expect the Romanian property market to increase over the next 12 months. Could we be seeing a re-emergence of emerging markets?

As we touched on above, there has been some improvement in the Spanish housing market over the last 12 months with a jump in confidence from 52% up to 66%. The corresponding figure for the Czech Republic is an increase of 13 percentage points from 52% up to 65%. Poland at 51%, France at 54% and Luxembourg had 86% are the next three markets which have shown a significant increase on the corresponding 2016 confidence figures.


How expats cope with losing their identity

After years away on a foreign posting, coming ‘home’ can be overwhelming and isolating. Here’s how many people cope with fitting back in.

Last week, we identified an important, but often overlooked problem of being a long-term expat: how a foreign posting can affect your sense of identity, belonging and home. It prompted many of you to share your own enlightening and often surprising experiences of moving around the globe.

“The sense of never being at home anywhere is very real”

In fact, so many of you identified with our writer’s dilemma that we thought we would both share your experiences and highlight your best tips when it comes to fitting in once you return “home” after a long stint abroad.

No place like home

In a Facebook comment, Wendy Skroch dubbed the phenomenon “reverse culture shock”. “There is a form of homelessness that goes with all this,” she wrote. “The sense of never being at home anywhere is very real.”

Many people identified with the disheartening struggle to plant roots again upon returning home. Pete Jones, who left the UK in 2000 for a life in Denmark, Holland and Switzerland, wrote: “I do enjoy visiting Blighty for a few days and then feel the need to leave. It is not home anymore!”

“Honestly, I don’t know where home is anymore”

“I don’t think I’ll ever feel Swiss but I do enjoy life here,” he continued. “Honestly, I don’t know where home is anymore.”

You’ve changed

For some, it was the reaction from the people who were supposedly closest to them that made returning a lonely and difficult experience. “Returning home to the US after 26 years in Australia was quite a shock, wrote Bruce Felix. “Being the new guy in what was supposedly ‘home’ has been difficult at times.”


UAE adopts new Emirati School Model

Abu Dhabi: A new educational system, the Emirati School Model, announced on Sunday will unify the sector across the UAE and raise standards of teaching and learning.

In a statement issued by the UAE Ministry of Education and the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec), Abu Dhabi emirate’s education sector regulator, the two authorities said all public and private schools offering the Ministry of Education curriculum will now follow the Emirati School Model.

The move follows the directives of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Achieving this goal is being closely monitored by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid, who considers it “essential to establish and support a well-informed education system capable of keeping up with future changes and developments.”

“The UAE has made many significant achievements in education and the next stage requires us to build on them under a unified framework in preparation for the comprehensive development needed to delivering on national higher objectives, guided by the vision of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan,” he said.