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 to Reorganize its Department of Home Affairs
On May 19, 2017, the South African Department of Homeland Affairs published a discussion paper on the Repositioning of the Department of Home Affairs following an announcement made by the government on March 1, 2017, stating that the department should be positioned “within the security system of the State” to protect its people, systems and data, and to enable economic development and efficient government. The paper is open for public comment until September 30, 2017, and will inform the drafting of a white paper that will, in turn, provide a policy framework for future legislation, including a comprehensive immigration reform. Of particular interest is the goal of tackling inefficiencies that have negatively impacted trade, investment and gaps in critical skills and that have resulted in deficiencies in policy relating to asylum seekers and irregular labor flows. Immigration reforms are set to be implemented within the next five years.
Business Visa Waiver Now Available to Travelers from 35 Countries
The Ministry of Internal Affairs recently issued Resolution 137-E, creating a regulation to provide for a business visa waiver for business travelers from any of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member states, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. Resolution 137-E applies only to current OECD members and not to countries whose membership is pending or to partner countries. Business travelers from the above-mentioned countries are permitted to stay in Argentina for a period of up to 90 days to engage in business activities.
Brazil Rewrites Immigration Laws
The Brazilian government has approved new legislation governing the entry and immigration of foreign nationals. Brazil’s congress approved Law number 13,445/17, known as the “New Migration Law,” which was then signed by President Michel Temer. The government now has 180 days to rewrite its immigration regulations before the law is enacted. Key changes include providing many of the same rights to foreign nationals as to Brazilian citizens, including access to jobs, social security and property ownership. The new law will facilitate entry for foreign nationals from regions affected by conflict or natural disasters. In addition, the law will simplify procedures and requirements to obtain visas. Finally, the law will provide amnesty for an estimated one million foreign nationals residing unlawfully in the country. The new immigration law replaces laws created more than 30 years ago.
Indian Government Backtracks on Aadhaar Card, Income Tax Filing Requirements for Foreign Nationals
In April 2017, the Indian government announced that, effective July 1, 2017, foreign nationals working in India would be required to obtain Aadhaar identity cards and file income tax returns. After additional consideration, the government has rescinded its decision, exempting foreign nationals from obtaining Aadhaar cards and filing income tax returns.
Taiwan Eases Visa Requirements for its Asian Neighbors
In an effort to promote business travel and economic opportunities, the Taiwanese government will begin issuing ROC Travel Authorization Certificates (valid for 90 days, with multiple entries for authorized periods of stay of up to 30 days) to nationals of Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam, starting June 1, 2017. Applications for ROC Travel Authorization Certificates can be made online, as long as the applicant a) possesses a passport valid for at least six months from the date of arrival in Taiwan, b) possesses a return ticket to his/her home country and c) has never been employed in Taiwan as a blue-collar worker. In addition, the applicant must possess a valid resident or permanent resident card, valid entry visa, or resident card or visa that has expired less than 10 years prior to the date of arrival in Taiwan and that was issued by at least one of the following countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, a Schengen country, the United Kingdom or the United States.