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.


South Africa

Automated Police Clearance System Delayed

  • The Department of Home Affairs has postponed a plan to centralize and automate the process for obtaining police clearances in South Africa.
  • Scheduled to go live on October 1, the new process was expected to significantly reduce processing times for police clearances by installing a process at visa facilitation centers for police clearances using biometric background checks based on South African police databases.
  • Applicants for temporary residence visas and for permanent residence must continue to apply for police clearances by appearing at a police station and requesting a police clearance. Processing time for police clearances is currently three to four months.
  • No timetable has been announced for implementation of the automated system.



Pilot Program Introduced to Centralize Work Permit System

  • The PRC has introduced a “Pilot Implementation Plan on the Work Permit System for Foreigners in China.”
  • The pilot program seeks to unify the current two work permit streams (alien employment permit and foreign expert permit) into a single work permit stream.
  • The pilot program will run in nine locations in China from November 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, with nationwide rollout effective April 1, 2017.
  • While implementing rules have not yet been released, the pilot program is expected to introduce the following new features:
    • Online filing system, with a reduction in government processing times and required application documents
    • Identification card to serve as the work permit approval
    • Points-based system to classify workers as (A) Foreign Top Talent, (B) Foreign Professional Talent or (C) Temporary, Seasonal, Non-Technical or Service Workers



Legislation Regarding Intra-company Transfers Introduced

  • The Italian government is introducing legislation in relation to EU directive 2014/66/EU regarding the intra-company transfer of foreign nationals.
  • A draft of a new law has been released in which significant changes to the current intra-company immigration policy have been introduced. The deadline for implementation is November 2016, when the Italian parliament is expected to approve the new law. The new law will enter into force the day after publication in the Italian Official Journal, however we expect the new provisions to be implemented slowly and unevenly throughout Italy. Further updates are expected to be available by mid-November.


Revised Filing Fees Published

  • The Dutch immigration service has announced new filing fees for employment-based work permits. The revised fees are effective on January 1, 2017.
  • The fee revisions include changes in many of the most common employment-based visa categories. The revisions are as follows:

Application Category

2016 Fee

2017 Fee

Highly Skilled Migrant (initial)

€ 881

€ 926

Highly Skilled Migrant (extension)

€ 389

€ 396

Labor Migrant (initial)

€ 881

€ 897

Labor Migrant (extension)

€ 389

€ 396

Orientation Year

€ 622

€ 633

Family Member (initial)

€ 233

€ 237

Family Member (extension)

€ 233

€ 237

Recognized Sponsor Status (Regular)

€ 5,183

€ 5,276

United Kingdom

Home Secretary Expects Reforms to Reduce Migration

  • In a speech given on October 5, 2016, at a Conservative Party conference, Home Secretary Amber Rudd spoke about the need to reduce net migration. Secretary Rudd confirmed that she expects reform of work and study visa options, as well as an examination of whether revision of the Resident Labour Market Test for Tier 2 would be implemented.
  • Secretary Rudd expressed a desire to reduce net migration in the United Kingdom to “sustainable levels” in the “tens of thousands” per year, consistent with the approach adopted by Theresa May during her time in the Home Office.
  • Net migration to the United Kingdom totaled 327,000 in the year ending in March 2016.

Middle East


New Notification Requirement for Foreign Workers Implemented

  • The Ministry of Labor (MOL) has announced that employers must file a notification with MOL within 15 days of a foreign worker commencing or terminating work.
  • Pursuant to the New Law on International Workforce, Article 22, employers must now file a notification with MOL within 15 days of the foreign worker commencing employment in Turkey. Employers were already required to notify MOL of foreign workers within 15 days of termination; this requirement remains the same.
  • MOL is expected to phase out “Late Commencement” notifications, which are required to be submitted to MOL when a foreign worker begins employment in Turkey more than 30 days after work permit approval. A date for elimination of this requirement has not been announced.

The Americas

United States

Electronic Visa Update System for Chinese Nationals to Launch

  • US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced that its Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) will become mandatory for Chinese nationals holding 10-year B-1 and B-2 visitor visas.
  • Starting on November 29, 2016, all Chinese nationals holding maximum-validity 10-year visitor visas must enroll in EVUS in order to travel to the United States. EVUS enrollment will be required before a traveler may obtain a boarding pass or enter through a land port of entry.
  • EVUS registration will require travelers to answer a series of biographical questions, including queries on professional background and travel history.
  • Enrollments generally last for two years or when the traveler’s visa or passport expires, whichever comes first.
The CBP enrollment portal for EVUS registration has not yet gone live. More information about enrollment dates, as well as further updates, is available here.