Mayer Brown’s Global Directions is a summary of recent immigration and mobility trends arising 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.
Employment Permit Exemption for Corporate Officers Clarified
- The Philippines Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has issued guidance identifying the supporting documents required for a Philippines company to obtain a certificate of exclusion (from alien employment permit requirements) for foreign officers.
- An alien employment permit is typically required for a foreign national to engage in gainful employment in the Philippines. A September 2015 revision to these employment permit rules exempts certain categories of foreign nationals from employment permit requirements; these include foreign corporate officers such as president and CEO-level positions as well as board members of Philippine companies.
- The DOLE guidance clarifies these revised rules and confirms that the exempted foreigners must not be involved in managing daily operations and must not receive a salary from a Philippine source.
Minimum Qualifying Salary for Employment Passes to Increase on January 1, 2017
- The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced on July 26, 2016, that it would be raising the qualifying salary for Employment Pass (EP) applications from S$3,300 per month, to S$3,600 per month effective January 1, 2017. By this date, all applications for new EPs must provide a monthly salary of at least S$3,600 per month.
- EP applications set to expire before January 1, 2017 may be renewed for durations of up to three years at the current qualifying salary. EPs expiring between January 1 and June 30, 2017, may be renewed for a duration of one year at the current qualifying salary. Employers must renew EPs expiring after June 30, 2017, at the new qualifying salary.
- Further information is available on the MOM web site.
Visa Waiver Pilot Program for Certain Asian Countries Announced
- Effective August 1, 2016, citizens of Thailand and Brunei may travel visa-free to Taiwan for up to 30 days. The pilot program will be effective through July 31, 2017.
New Work Permit Law Makes Substantial Changes to Work Permit Standards
- On August 13, 2016, Turkey published the Law on International Workforce, a new work permit law that makes substantial changes to work permit procedure and criteria. The law is effective immediately.
- The law creates a new government agency, the International Workforce Policy Board, which will be established to determine the policies and criteria for employment of foreign nationals in Turkey. In addition, the Ministry of Labor (MOL) will create a three-step, points-based system to evaluate work permit applications—titled the Foreign Application, Assessment, and Monitoring System—in line with policies developed by the International Workforce Policy Board.
- In addition to the new points-based system, the new law creates a new work permit category titled “Turquoise Cards.” These permits will be issued to create a new, permanent work card that provides the same rights of employment provided to Turkish citizens. The cards will be provided to foreign nationals based upon educational level, professional experience, contribution to science and technology, and the impact of their investment in Turkey. Turquoise Cards will be issued for an initial three-year conditional term, with renewal available for indefinite validity. Dependents of Turquoise Card holders will be eligible for residence permits.
- The law further outlines work permit exemptions for foreign non-resident board members of certain joint stock companies that are founded in Turkey, non-executive partners of companies, and cross-border service providers whose in-Turkey activities do not exceed 90 days in a 180-day period. People meeting any of these criteria may be eligible to apply for exemptions from otherwise required work permits.
- Additional changes include the development of Exceptional Work Permits and Independent Work Permits that are exempt from some of the normal evaluation criteria for work permits and special visas for Free Trade Zones within Turkey.
Requirements for Sponsorship Accreditation Revised
- Effective July 1, 2016, employers seeking accredited sponsor status will be subject to updated requirements. Accredited sponsors receive priority processing of all nomination and visa applications.
- Among other changes to accredited sponsorship requirements, employers must demonstrate that they have sponsored at least 10 primary Subclass 457 visa holders in the last 24 months.
Officials Announce Enactment of 2016 EU Employer Notification Regulations and Changes to Employment Permit Process, Including New Online Application System
- Effective July 27, 2016, employers must now notify the Workplace Relations Commission when posting workers to Ireland. Posted workers (workers employed in one EU country and sent temporarily to another) also stand to benefit from new requirements that hold contractors liable for unfair employment allegations against subcontractors as well as the enforcement of cross-border fines and penalties for employment law violators.
- Effective August 2, 2016, the Department for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (DJEI) has made multiple changes to employment permit requirements, including the following:
- Applications for professions listed in Part C, Schedule 2, which includes accountants and tax consultants, must now include a copy of the candidate’s registration with a Part C regulatory body such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and similar listed organizations.
- Accountants applying for employment permits to work for multinational company global audit services must now provide a copy of their accountant’s registration with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) or the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP), as applicable.
- The minimum period of foreign employment for intracompany transferee trainees has been reduced from six months to one month.
- DJEI announced the implementation of a new online employment permit system called the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS), effective in September 2016. Once implemented, EPOS will allow the online submission of applications, fee payments and supporting documentation. DJEI has asked employers to delay submission of new employment permit applications until the rollout of EPOS in “early September,” if possible.
Spousal Residence Permits Extended to Foreign Same-Sex Couples
- Following the passage of national legislation recognizing same-sex civil unions, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has confirmed that under the new regulations, the right to family reunion has been extended to same-sex foreign nationals who have entered into a civil union registered in Italy or abroad. The foreign same-sex spouse of a foreign national residing in Italy is now eligible to obtain a spousal residence permit with the same conditions and following the same procedures afforded to opposite-sex spouses.
New Secondment Requirements for Employers Announced
- Employers are subject to new notification and documentation requirements when sending employees to work in Poland. Foreign companies must now notify the National Labor Inspectorate of the secondment no later than the employee’s start date. The legislation went into effect on June 18, and employers have until September 18 to notify the agency of all employees who were seconded on or before June 18.
Spouses of B-1 Experts to Be Eligible for Work Authorization
- Effective July 31, 2016, the Israel Cabinet of Ministers approved a one-year program that will allow certain spouses of B-1 Foreign Expert Visa holders to also work in Israel. The program will permit these spouses to apply for employment authorization without sponsorship by a specific employer. The spousal EAD allows full-time, part-time, in-office and remote employment with a minimum gross monthly wage of 4,650 shekels.