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.
China Rolls Out New Work Permit System Nationwide
Following a pilot program that ran from November 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017 across nine locations, China began rolling out the program nationwide beginning April 1, 2017. Employers sponsoring foreign nationals for work permits in China will now follow a more streamlined and simplified process through which foreign workers will be classified into one of three categories under a points-based system:
- Category A – Foreign top talent
- Category B – Foreign professional talent
- Category C – Foreigners who engage in temporary, seasonal, non-technical service jobs and can meet the demand of the domestic labor market
Applicants will receive points based on age, salary, education, work location and duration, Mandarin language skills, and other factors.
The work permit application process is now online, and the number and types of application documents have been reduced.
The new work permit system replaces the Alien Employment Permit and the Foreign Expert Permit systems.
Indian Government Introduces Two New Visa Categories
The Indian government has implemented two new visa categories: the intern visa and the film visa.
An intern visa is available to individuals seeking to take part in an internship with a corporation, non-governmental organization (NGO) or educational institution in India immediately following completion of a university or graduate degree program. The visa validity is up to one year. For individuals interning with a corporation, the minimum annual salary is INR 780,000 (approximately USD 12,037), which is subject to Indian income tax regulations. There is no minimum salary threshold for foreign interns at educational institutions or NGOs. Visa applicants seeking an internship with an NGO will be subject to additional background screening, which could take up to eight weeks.
A film visa is available to individuals seeking to shoot a feature film, reality TV show or TV series in India. Visa applications must be approved by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Additional details about the film visa are forthcoming.
Permissible Business Activities Further Restricted
The C-3-4 visa is intended for a short-term (up to 90 days) business visit provided the visit is not intended for paid or lucrative activities. Previously, permissible business activities included the following:
- Market survey
- Business-related communication
- Execution of a contract
- Installation, repair, and maintenance, inspection, operational training of equipment that is imported to Korea or equipment that will be exported from Korea
The Ministry of Justice has recently reinterpreted the use of the C-3-4 visa and removed the last activity—“Installation, repair, and maintenance, inspection, operational training of equipment that is imported to Korea or equipment that will be exported from Korea”—from its guidelines. The prevailing view is that this activity is no longer permitted for C-3-4 business visa holders or travelers on visa waiver.
Germany Becomes Latest EU Member State to Implement EU’s Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Directive
New laws introduced in Germany provide additional immigration benefits to executives, specialists and trainees working for multinational corporations. Germany is implementing the EU ICT Directive, which provides a legal framework for third-country nationals working in one EU member state to also work at the same group company in a different EU member state implementing the ICT directive. The ICT Directive provides short-term (up to 90 days within a 180-day period) and long-term (more than 90 days) ICT permits.
The ICT permit for executives and specialists is valid for a maximum of three years; for trainees, for a maximum of one year. Should an extension beyond the maximum period be required, the foreign worker must depart Germany for at least six months before applying for a new ICT permit.
Germany’s implementation of the EU ICT directive will become effective upon publication in the official journal.
Posted Worker Provisions No Longer Apply in Certain Cases
A clarification was recently published by the Italian Ministry of Labour confirming that the provisions and obligations of the Posted Worker Directive do not apply to the following categories of workers:
- Foreign ICT (Intra-Company Transfer) managers, specialists, trainees, as per Directive 2014/66/EU on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer
- Foreign researchers
- Self-employed foreign workers
- Intra company assignees—foreign managers and highly skilled employees who are issued work permits under Article 27 c.1 letter a) of the Italian Immigration Law, which is the most common form of work permit available
Points 2–4 will be further confirmed by means of a memorandum to be published by the Italian National Labour Inspectorate.
Posted worker notifications already sent and that were not required may need to be cancelled.
Prime Minister Theresa May Signs Official Letter to Commence Brexit
On March 29, 2017, British Prime Minister Theresa May signed a letter authorizing the start of the formal process of withdrawing from the European Union, through Article 50 of the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty.
The negotiations to finalize the withdrawal will begin in April 2017 as the United Kingdom and the rest of the European Union determine the terms and conditions of the UK’s withdrawal. Over the course of a two-year period, the two parties will decide the terms of the UK’s departure from the European Union and agree on a new relationship between an independent United Kingdom and the European Union. The mobility of UK and EU member state nationals will also be carefully managed as the rights of EU citizens currently residing in the United Kingdom, and the rights of UK citizens currently residing in other EU member states, will be given top priority. Free movement of such persons will continue at least until the Brexit process is complete in 2019 and possibly on a transitional basis for a longer period.