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.
Customs and Border Protection Expands Global Entry Eligibility
US Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) has expanded the scope of its Global Entry program to include citizens of Colombia, Singapore and Switzerland. The Global Entry program gives travelers from certain countries the ability to be screened, complete a risk assessment and obtain pre-approval to use designated Global Entry kiosks at most major US airports to allow expedited clearance and entry into the United States. CBP started accepting Global Entry applications from citizens of Colombia, Singapore and Switzerland on August 14, 2017.
Proposed RAISE Act Would Significantly Change the United States Immigration System
On August 2, 2017, President Trump announced his endorsement of the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act. The bill would extensively revise the US immigration visa program, replacing the current classification-based system with a merit-based points system. Under the merit-based selection process, foreign nationals would earn points based on education, English-language ability, high-paying job offers, age, extraordinary achievement and high-value investment. While the RAISE Act is not expected to receive congressional support for approval, the administration's endorsement of the bill signals transformative changes for employer sponsorship of foreign workers.
Permanent Residency Requirements Relaxed for Highly Skilled Workers
Japan has eased its eligibility criteria for highly skilled workers to obtain permanent residency based on the country’s point evaluation system. The system awards points based on an applicant’s academic background, professional career, annual salary and research achievements. Until recently, a highly skilled foreign national had to reside in Japan for 4½ years to qualify for permanent residency in the country. Individuals who earn at least 70 points are now eligible to apply for permanent residency after living in Japan for three years. Individuals who earn at least 80 points are eligible to apply for permanent residency after residing in Japan for one year.
Spouses of Class A Professional or Technical Workers Eligible for Part-Time Work Authorization
Effective July 26, 2017, spouses of “Class A” foreign national workers are eligible to obtain a work permit and undertake part-time employment in Taiwan. To be eligible, an applicant must have a dependent Alien Resident Card, and the proffered position must meet the minimum hourly wage threshold of NTD 200. However, the employer is not required to meet the standard minimum capital and income threshold required to sponsor foreign workers. Class A professionals perform work in the following fields: civil engineering or architecture, communications and transportation, tax and financial services, immigration services, real estate, law, technical work, health care, environmental protection, culture, sports and recreation services, academic research, veterinary care, manufacturing and wholesaling.
Broad Changes Made to Immigration Legislation in Czech Republic
Effective August 15, 2017, several changes will be implemented to amend the Act on the Residence of Foreign Nationals in the Czech Republic. Key changes include the introduction of application fees for residence permits; the discontinuation of administrative fees for certain applications; changes to the timeframe in which a renewal application must be filed; new document requirements for long-term work-related residence permits, including providing a document confirming there are no outstanding payments owed by the foreign national in the country where he/she resides; revised eligibility criteria for obtaining and seeking employment using employee cards; an in-person application requirement for anyone seeking to obtain a temporary residence permit as a family member of an EU citizen; and revised application procedures to obtain a long-term visa.
In addition, the Czech Republic has introduced long-term residence permits for intra-company transferees in two categories: 1) foreign nationals employed by a company outside the EU being sent to a related entity within the Czech Republic, and 2) foreign nationals working as intra-company transferees for a company within the EU who are being sent to a related entity within the Czech Republic.
Germany is Latest Country to Implement the EU Intra-Corporate Transfer (ICT) Directive
On August 1, 2017, Germany became the most recent EU member state to implement the EU Intra-Corporate Transfer (ICT) Directive. Under this law, non-EU foreign nationals who are issued a work permit by another EU member state to perform duties on behalf of a corporate entity outside the EU for an entity within the same group of companies within the EU are eligible to work in Germany for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Foreign nationals seeking to work in Germany pursuant to this directive must obtain an entry visa. Those who seek to work for more than 90 days in a 180-day period must apply for a Mobile ICT Card.
UK Government Begins Deep Dive to Assess Impact of UK Exit from EU
As the UK Home Office begins initial preparations for its withdrawal from the European Union, scheduled for March 2019, it has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to conduct research and advise on the economic and social ramifications of the UK’s withdrawal. MAC has issued a call for evidence from all stakeholders, including employers, businesses, recruiters, trade unions, academics, government departments, think tanks and representative bodies, to provide information pertaining to EEA migration trends, recruitment practices, training and skills, as well as economic, social and fiscal impacts. MAC will accept information and evidence until October 27, 2017, and will publish the responses it receives on its website. The information obtained will be used to align the UK’s immigration policies and procedures with the strategies of the post-EU United Kingdom.
Visa Waiver Now Available to Citizens of 80 Countries
In an effort to boost tourism to Qatar, the Qatari government is making available a multi-entry visa waiver to citizens of 80 countries. The waiver is free or charge and can be obtained upon entry into the country by anyone who is in possession of an onward or return plane ticket. Additional changes to Qatari visa policy are anticipated in the coming months.
Citizens of the following countries can, upon entry into Qatar, obtain a visa authorizing a 30-day period of stay, which may be extended for an additional 30 days: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Georgia, Guyana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Macedonia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Russia, San Marino, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Suriname, Thailand, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vatican City and Venezuela.
Citizens of the following countries are eligible for a 180-day visa authorizing a 90-day period of stay: Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.