Mayer Brown’s Global Directions is a monthly summary of immigration and mobility trends in key jurisdictions around the globe. This high-level overview alerts recipients to select changes in law and practice that may affect their global mobility programs.
Canada: LMIA Four-Year Cap and Scrutiny on ICT
- The four-year cap for all foreign workers and companies that hire foreign workers under work permit skill levels B, C and D of the Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) that was instituted on April 1, 2011, will come into effect on April 1, 2015.
- Foreign workers who require an LMIA work permit, and who will reach the four-year cap on or after April 1, 2015, will not be eligible for a new work permit.
- Foreign workers whose work permits will expire can apply for a new permit but only for the remaining amount of time within the four-year period. This includes any time spent outside Canada that can be recaptured.
- Foreign workers in the affected categories may also remain in Canada if they are eligible for a work permit that does not have a four-year limit.
- Employers using Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visas must make it clear why the knowledge attained by foreign workers during their tenure abroad provides uncommon knowledge not available in the general industry. Companies relying on ICTs for IT positions can expect increased scrutiny.
Afghanistan: Bilateral Security Agreement and Defense Contractors and their Employees
- The Bilateral Security Agreement took effect on January 1, 2015. Between then and June 1, 2015, is a transition period for new rules to take effect regarding defense contractors and their employees operating in Afghanistan. During this transition period, current contractors should apply for a business license with the AISA (Afghan Investment Support Agency) in order to sponsor employees after June 1, 2015; current employees should obtain letters of certification regarding their ability to enter/exit Afghanistan. After June 1, 2015, all employees must obtain a multiple-entry visa for Afghanistan.
- Multiple-entry visas will be valid for one year, and defense contractor employees will no longer need a separate work permit. However, the visa process will include an additional US$200 fee in lieu of payment for a work permit.
- Defense contractors may continue to submit applications for their employees in groups and do not need to submit individual applications.
- Contractors and their employees will not be subject to any fines or penalties for not holding the multiple-entry visa during the transition period. Employees currently in Afghanistan can apply for the multiple-entry visa without leaving the country.
Belgium: Contribution to Administrative Costs
- A new royal decree will require most foreigners applying for residence authorization (either while in Belgium or abroad) to pay an additional fixed amount in order to file an original (not a renewal) application.
- For work permits, the amount for certain types of researchers and Blue Card applicants is €215 (US$238); for family members and students, the amount is €160 (US$177).
- The fee must be paid via bank transfer before submitting the residence application, and proof of payment must be included in the residence application.
Denmark: Reform Bill Effective January 1, 2015
- Foreign graduates who qualify for the Establishment card are now exempt from work permits for two years.
- The Start-Up program will grant 50 permits per year to qualifying entrepreneurs.
- The Green Card scheme will award additional points to applicants with advanced degrees. But these cards will now only be valid for two years instead of three, and applicants will not be able to bring dependent family members to come live with them.
- Researchers and doctoral students are exempt from work permits for up to three months; permits can be issued to researchers for part-time jobs, and these permits do not lapse if the researcher leaves Denmark for more than six months; employers do not need to apply for a new work permit if the researcher changes jobs within the organization.
- The Fast-Track program allows foreign workers of large, low-risk employers to start working as soon as the work permit application is filed. To qualify for the program, employers must have at least 20 full-time employees and a clean labor record, meet salary standards and meet with the Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment. An employer’s certification for the program is valid for four years, as are the work permits granted through this program.
Italy: Fast-Track for Intra-Company Transfers
- This program is for companies willing to host non-EU highly specialized workers in Italy on intra-company business.
- The process shortens the first phase of the issuance of the work permit as documents no longer need to be submitted at that time and the application is filed directly with the Immigration Office without approval from the Italian Labor Board.
- Once an employee has received the employment visa and arrived in Italy, he/she must still execute a Contract of Stay with the local Immigration Office and file a Permit of Stay application, at which time all necessary documents will need to be submitted.
United Arab Emirates: Zero Overstay Policy
- A new regulation instituted fines at a rate of US$54 per day, for a maximum of five days, on anyone who overstays a business or traveler visa. If the visa holder stays beyond five days, he/she will be required to obtain an exit pass and pay an additional penalty. Sponsoring companies will be fined US$280 per day, which must be paid within 24 hours.
- Business and traveler visa holders who need to stay in the UAE longer than the visa allows, must exit the country and immediately reapply for entry.