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.
Trump Administration Announces End to Program for Childhood Arrivals
On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump administration will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program implemented in July 2012 by the Obama administration. According to the attorney general’s announcement, the program will remain in place for six months, until March 5, 2018. The Department of Homeland Security will phase out the program in its entirety over the next two years. The DACA program has provided work and temporary residency authorization for nearly 800,000 beneficiaries who were brought with their families to the United States as children. DACA has allowed these young people—known as the Dreamers—to work and study in the United States free from the threat of deportation. It has been reported that over 97 percent of the Dreamers are in the US work force or in school. For additional details, please see our Legal Update on the announcement.
“Smart Visa” to Be Introduced in January 2018
Thailand’s Board of Investment of ("BOI"), Ministry of Labour, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs are finalizing the details for a “Smart Visa,” which will be made available to qualified applicants starting in January 2018. Those who qualify for a Smart Visa will be exempt from having to obtain a work permit and will be permitted to live and work in Thailand for a period of 2-4 years. Smart Visas will be available to highly skilled workers and technical experts such as physicians, aviation engineers, and other experts who will work in the Eastern Economic Corridor; investors who gain the BOI investment promotional privileges for specified industries (including next-generation automotive; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food for the future; robotics; aviation and logistics; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; and medical hub); and entrepreneurs undertaking startups.
Until the details for Smart Visa have been finalized and announced in the Royal Thai Government Gazette, there may be further changes.
Vietnam Implements Online Portal for Work Permit Applications
Effective October 2, 2017, the Vietnamese Ministry of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs (“MOLISA”) will implement an online portal for the electronic submission and management of work permit applications. Electronic submission will be optional, and employers will still able to submit paper applications at the labor department. Despite indications that the information submitted online will be kept confidential and will be periodically backed up, the portal is classified as “not secure.”
MOLISA has also provided guidance on the timing of when applications should be filed, as well as processing times:
|Type of Application||Application Submission Deadline||Processing Time for Adjudication|
|Foreign Labor Demand (Job Position Approval)||If submitted online, at least 20 business days prior to anticipated start date; if submitted in paper format, at least 30 business days.||12 business days.|
|Renewal of Foreign Labor Demand (Job Position Approval)||If submitted online, at least 10 business days prior to work authorization expiration; if submitted in paper format, at least 30 business days.||12 business days.|
|New Work Permit Application||If submitted online, at least 7 business days prior to anticipated start date; if submitted in paper format, at least 15 business days.||5 business days if submitted electronically. 7 business days if submitted in paper format.|
|Renewal of Work Permit Application||At least 5 business days prior to expiration of current work permit and no more than 45 days prior.||3 business days.|
|Work Permit Exemption||If submitted online, least 5 business days prior to anticipated start date; if submitted in paper format, at least 7 business days.||3 business days.|
Austria Implements EU Intra Corporate Transferees (“ICT”) Directive
Austria has become the most recent EU member to adopt the EU ICT Directive, which is set to take effect on October 1, 2017. 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 European Union for an entity within the same group of companies within the European Union are eligible to work in Austria for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Foreign nationals seeking to work in Austria 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 permit.
Finland Latest EU Country to Implement EU Posted Worker Directive
Effective September 1, 2017, Finland imposed new requirements on companies that employ foreign national workers in Finland for temporary assignments. The new rules comply with the EU’s 2014 Posted Workers Directive. Among other requirements, employers must now:
- Notify the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prior to the start of an assignment and provide updates when significant changes impacting an employee’s assignment occur
- Appoint a representative to liaise between the government and the sending company
- Maintain and make available for inspection certain documents, including copies of contracts, pay statements, and proof of wage payments
Failure to comply with the requirements of the Posted Workers Directive can result in penalties from €1000 to €10,000.
In-Country Registration Requirements Added for Foreign Nationals of Specific Countries
Within seven days of arrival in Egypt, nationals of Algeria, India, Lebanon, Pakistan, the Philippines, Syria, Tunisia, and Turkey must appear in-person at any police station with an immigration department desk to complete a mandatory registration process. The new requirement applies to foreign nationals regardless of their immigration status. Failure to comply could negatively impact an individual’s ability to obtain a residency visa, may result in delays when exiting Egypt, and may result in the assessment of fines (350-1,300 Egyptian pounds or US$20-$85) upon departure from the country.