The Forum for Expatriate Management http://totallyexpat.com Global Mobility Dedicated Fri, 19 Dec 2014 11:17:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 THE NETHERLANDS: (Dec. 18, 2014) Salary requirements to increase for highly-skilled migrants http://totallyexpat.com/netherlands-dec-18-2014-salary-requirements-increase-highlyskilled-migrants/ http://totallyexpat.com/netherlands-dec-18-2014-salary-requirements-increase-highlyskilled-migrants/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 11:07:42 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=16671 Continue reading ]]> IMPACT – LOW

What is the change? The Netherlands’ monthly salary requirements for highly-skilled migrant workers will increase by 3.48 percent Jan. 1.

What does the change mean? Companies will have to pay slightly higher salaries to highly-skilled workers applying for work and residence permits, including those applying for EU Blue Cards or completing the Knowledge Migrant application.netherlands

  • Implementation timeframe: Jan. 1.
  • Visas/permits affected:Entry and Stay permits (“Toegang en Verblijf vergunningen”).
  • Who is affected:Companies employing highly-skilled foreign workers.
  • Impact on processing times:No impact.
  • Business impact:Some Dutch companies’ business costs could increase because of the higher minimum salary requirements.
  • Next steps:Companies should consider the increased minimum salary requirements in their 2015 financial planning.

Background: The Dutch government sets minimum salaries for highly skilled migrant workers every year. This year, the minimum salaries will increase by 3.48 percent across all categories of highly skilled foreign workers.

The minimum gross pay for highly skilled migrant workers who are 30 years of age or older will increase to €4524 per month. Gross pay for highly skilled migrant workers under 30 will increase to €3317 per month. Graduates who land jobs as highly skilled employees within a year of graduation will be due minimum gross pay of €2377 per month.

The minimum pay for holders of EU Blue cards will be set at €5300 per month. And the minimum pay for intra-corporate transferees will be set at €4524 per month, or €3317 per month for intra-corporate transferees in the trainee category.

The figures above include an 8 percent holiday allowance.

Salaries must be paid in equal installments, on at least a monthly basis.

BAL Analysis: Companies should prepare for the salary increases. The penalties for noncompliance are stiff: the Inspectorate SZW, a division of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (“Ministerie van Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid”), has the power to levy fines of €12000 per violation.

 

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in the Netherlands. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

Follow us on Twitter: @BAL_Immigration

About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from six offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

Source: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: (Dec. 18, 2014) Mandatory employer-covered health insurance to take effect soon http://totallyexpat.com/united-arab-emirates-dec-18-2014-mandatory-employercovered-health-insurance-effect/ http://totallyexpat.com/united-arab-emirates-dec-18-2014-mandatory-employercovered-health-insurance-effect/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 11:00:42 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=16668 Continue reading ]]> IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? On Jan. 1, two Dubai free zones will implement a law that requires companies to cover all employees with basic health insurance, and it is expected that all immigration offices in Dubai mainland and all free zones will also adopt the rule in the near future.united arab emirates

What does the change mean? Employers in the Dubai mainland and free zones should be prepared for this new rule, as they will have to purchase and provide proof of employee health coverage before they can renew visas and licenses.

  • Implementation timeframe:  1 for Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) and Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) Free Zones; an official date for Dubai Immigration and other free zones has not been set, but it could happen as early as January 2015.
  • Visas/permits affected: All work visas, renewals, transfers, trade licenses and establishment cards.
  • Who is affected: Companies operating in Dubai mainland and free zones.
  • Impact on processing times: The new requirement should not cause processing delays as long as employers provide proof of insurance for their employees.
  • Business impact: The law will impact the cost of business and add another prerequisite to visa applications.
  • Next steps: Companies should plan for this change.

Background: Dubai passed a universal healthcare law one year ago. The law requires employers to provide all employees, including foreign workers, a minimum health insurance plan from an insurer authorized by the Dubai Health Authority. Dubai planned to roll out the program beginning in 2014 with the largest employers and phasing in medium and smaller employers by 2016. However, implementation has been spotty and official dates have been difficult to ascertain.

So far, only the DMCC and DSO Free Zones have officially announced they will implement the employer-paid health insurance system on Jan. 1.

Dubai Immigration and all free zones are expected to follow shortly thereafter, although no official date has been set.

BAL Analysis: Companies in the DMCC and DSO Free Zones should make sure they are ready for the imminent change. Because the new system will impact nearly all visa applications and renewals for foreign workers and licenses and establishment cards for companies, employers in Dubai mainland and all other free zones should prepare as soon as possible for this requirement, which could take effect soon with little notice.

 

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in the United Arab Emirates. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

Follow us on Twitter: @BAL_Immigration

About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from six offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

Source: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

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WORLDWIDE: Immigration Processing During the Holiday Season http://totallyexpat.com/worldwide-immigration-processing-holiday-season/ http://totallyexpat.com/worldwide-immigration-processing-holiday-season/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 12:03:32 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=16660 Continue reading ]]> During the holiday season, many government offices worldwide will close or have reduced staff and hours of operation, likely resulting in processing delays for work permits, residence permits and visas over the coming weeks and into the new year.

During the holiday season, many government offices worldwide will close or have reduced staff and hours of operation, likely resulting in processing delays for work permits, residence permits and visas over the coming weeks and into the new year.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of immigration office and government closings during the holiday season. Employers and foreign nationals with travel or relocation plans between now and early 2015 should contact their immigration service provider to discuss the impact of holiday closures on their specific circumstances.worldwide

Algeria

The immigration authority will be closed January 1, 2015.

Austria

The immigration authority will be closed December 25-26, 2014 and January 1 and 6, 2015.

Brazil

The Ministry of Justice will be closed December 24-25, 2014 and January 1, 2015. The Ministry of Labor and the Federal Police in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and will be closed December 25, 2014 and January 1, 2015 and open for half the day December 24 and 31, 2014. Ministry of Labor agencies in Sorocaba and Parada Inglesa will re-open in January 2015 and agencies located in São José dos Campos and Campinas plan to re-open in February 2015. Unofficially, many government offices slow down or work at half capacity in December and into the second week of January. Processing delays for applications submitted at the end of November and in December should therefore be expected.  There continue to be long waits for Federal Police registration appointments for MERCOSUR and work visa holders in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro due to staff shortages and the influx of refugees.

Colombia

While the Immigration authority (UAEMC) does not close for the holidays besides December 25, 2014 and January 1, 2015, several regulatory entities responsible for equivalencies and professional certifications close from December 16 through January 16. These include the CONALPE (Economics) and CPIP and CPIQ (Petroleum and Chemical Engineering, respectively).

Croatia

The immigration authority will be closed December 25-26, 2014 and January 1 and 6, 2015, with shorter hours likely on December 24, 2014 and January 5, 2015. Additionally, immigration authorities’ employees usually take annual leave around the holidays, so there may be general delays at that time.

Cyprus

The immigration authority will be closed December 24-26, 2014, will be open for half the day on December 31, 2014, and will be closed January 1 and 6, 2015.

Czech Republic

The immigration authorities will be closed December 24-26 and 31, 2014, and January 1-2, 2015. On December 23 and 30, 2014, the working hours will be 8am-12pm, only for those with appointments and urgent matters. Normal hours will resume on January 5, 2015.

Denmark

The immigration authorities will be closed December 24, 2014 – January 2, 2015.

Ecuador

Public offices will be closed December 25-26, 2014 and January 1-2, 2015.

Estonia

The immigration authorities will be closed December 24-26, 2014 and January 1, 2015. On December 23 and 31, 2014, the offices will close at 2pm.

Finland

The immigration authority will be closed December 25 and 26, 2014 and January 1 and 6, 2015.
The normal hours of operation are 8am – 4pm.

The case-specific telephone service line of the Finish Immigration Service will be closed December 18, 24-28, 2014, and January 1, 2015. On December 23 and 31, 2014, its hours of operation will be 9am – 4pm. The normal operating hours of that line are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am – 11 am. The general customer service line will be closed December 24-28, 2014, and January 1, 2015. Its hours of operation on December 23 and 31, 2014 will be 11:30am – 4pm.

The New Delhi Finnish Embassy’s Visa/Permit section is closed December 24, 2014 – January 6, 2015, which will delay processing of applications and receipt of permit cards.

France

Immigration offices will be closed December 25, 2014 and January 1, 2015. Many local offices will choose to close during this time, and many more will be short-staffed. Expect a general delay in the processing of applications between December 24, 2014 – January 2, 2015.

Greece

The immigration authority will be closed December 24-26, 2014, will close at 1pm on December 31, 2014, and will be closed January 1, 2 and 6, 2015.

Iceland

The immigration authority will be closed December 24-26, 31, 2014, and January 1, 2015. The normal hours of operation are 10am – 4pm.

Israel

Israeli consulates abroad have the option of closing or operating on a part-time schedule between December 23, 2014 and January 1, 2015. During the partial closures, applications may not be processed, and work permits or visas may not be issued, depending on the particular consular post. Therefore, backlogs and processing delays for work permits should be expected. Processing delays may continue after the holidays due to application backlogs resulting from the closures. Applicants and employers should contact the consulate at which they will apply for more information.

Italy

Public offices will not close officially, but will resume normal hours on January 12, 2015.

Jersey

The immigration authorities will be closed December 25-26, 2014, and January 1, 2015. The offices will close at 12:30pm on December 24 and 4pm on December 31, 2014.

Latvia

The immigration authorities will be closed December 24-26 and 31, 2014, and January 1 and 10, 2015.

Lithuania

The immigration authorities will be closed December 24-26, 2014.

Malta

The immigration authority will be closed December 24- 26 and 31, 2014 and January 1-2 and 5- 6, 2015.

Norway

The Foreign Service Center in Stavanger will be closed December 24, 2014 – January 1, 2015. The Norwegian Immigration Authorities will be closed December 24-26, 2014 and January 1, 2015.

Peru

Public offices will be open for a half day on December 19 and 30, 2014, and will be closed December 24-26, 31, 2014, and January 1-2, 2015. Public offices may announce additional closures at a later date.

Philippines

The immigration authority will be closed December 24–26, 30-31, 2014, and January 1-2, 2015.

Poland

The immigration authority will be closed December 24-26, 2014, and January 1 and 6, 2015. The office will be working with limited capacity between December 22-31, 2014 and January 2-5, 2015.

Portugal

The immigration authority will be closed December 25, 2014 and January 1, 2015. Note that consulates abroad may be closed for Portuguese and local holidays.

Slovenia

The immigration authority will be closed December 25-26, 2014 and January 1, 2015. From December 25, 2014 – January 4, 2015, the office will work with a reduced workforce, therefore, delays should be expected.

Slovakia

The immigration authority will be closed December 24-26, 2014 and January 1 and 6, 2015.

Sweden

The Swedish Migration Board will be closed December 24 and 31, 2014, and January 1 and 6, 2015. The hours on January 2 and 5, 2015 will be 9am – 11am.

Turkey

The immigration authority will close early on December 31, 2014, and will be closed January 1, 2015.

Ukraine

The immigration authority will be closed January 1-2 and 7-9, 2015.

Venezuela

Public offices will be closed December 24-25 and 31, 2014 and January 1, 2015.

Source: Fragomen

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UNITED KINGDOM: Expedited Entry Program Implemented at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports http://totallyexpat.com/united-kingdom-expedited-entry-program-implemented-heathrow-gatwick-airports/ http://totallyexpat.com/united-kingdom-expedited-entry-program-implemented-heathrow-gatwick-airports/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:59:46 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=16658 Continue reading ]]> Foreign nationals with biometric passports from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand or the United States can apply for the Registered Traveller program to expedite their entry into the UK at Heathrow and Gatwick airports. Applicants for the program must hold a promotional code from the UK Border Force.united kingdom

Foreign nationals with biometric passports from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand or the United States can apply for the Registered Traveller program to expedite their entrance into the UK at Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

Foreign nationals from these countries can use the ePassport gates or the UK/EU or Registered Traveller lanes, and they do not need to submit a landing card.

There is non-refundable £50 fee to apply for the 12-month renewable service. Travelers wishing to apply for the program must hold a Border Force promotional code, issued by airlines and Border Force officers. The Home Office is providing codes to select individuals and to leading law firms such as Fragomen to allocate to clients.

What This Means for Foreign Nationals

The Registered Traveller Program is the latest phase of the UK’s efforts to streamline travel for many foreign nationals, similar to the United States’ Global Entry program. Those wishing to sign up for the program will need their passports and a debit or credit card. Applicants will be notified if their application has been provisionally accepted within ten working days of submission.

Foreign nationals interested in registering for the program should contact their immigration professional to obtain a promotional code.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen Worldwide or send an email to londoninfo@fragomen.com.

Source: Fragomen

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ST KITTS AND NEVIS: Security Measures Require Reissuance of Some Passports http://totallyexpat.com/st-kitts-nevis-security-measures-require-reissuance-passports/ http://totallyexpat.com/st-kitts-nevis-security-measures-require-reissuance-passports/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:57:11 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=16655 Continue reading ]]> St. Kitts and Nevis will no longer recognize a foreign passport issued between January 2012 and July 2014 if it does not list a birthplace or does not reflect the holder’s current name. Foreign nationals whose passports do not meet these requirements must obtain new passports at a passport office or a government-authorized service center by January 31, 2015.st kitts and nevis

St. Kitts and Nevis will no longer recognize a foreign passport issued between January 2012 and July 2014 if it does not list a birthplace or does not reflect the holder’s current name, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Homeland Security of St. Kitts and Nevis. Foreign nationals whose passports do not meet these requirements must obtain new passports at a passport office or a government-authorized service center by January 31, 2015.

This measure was implemented to safeguard against any attempts to use passports for fraudulent purposes.

Passports are expected to be reissued within five to ten business days from the date of application, and will be mailed to applicants. Only those cancelled passports containing valid visas to permit entry into third countries will be returned.

Those who fail to have their passports re-issued may have their passports deactivated and cancelled.

What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

Foreign nationals in St. Kitts and Nevis that are subject to the new requirement will have to submit valid government identification, evidence of a name change and a marriage certificate, if applicable, and a “Reissue of E-Passport” form when they apply for reissued passports at a visa application center.

Fragomen worked closely with Pinnacle International Inc. (Basseterre) to prepare this alert. This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen Worldwide or send an email to lar@fragomen.com.

Source: Fragomen

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MOZAMBIQUE: (Dec. 17, 2014) Stricter quota enforcement sought on hiring of foreign workers http://totallyexpat.com/mozambique-dec-17-2014-stricter-quota-enforcement-sought-hiring-foreign-workers/ http://totallyexpat.com/mozambique-dec-17-2014-stricter-quota-enforcement-sought-hiring-foreign-workers/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:45:53 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=16653 Continue reading ]]> IMPACT – LOW

What is the change? Mozambique is ramping up its efforts to stop companies from using third-party recruiting agencies to sidestep government quotas on foreign workers.

What does the change mean? Employers must submit their own work permit applications and can no longer use recruitment agencies to do so on their behalf.mozambique 2

  • Implementation timeframe: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits.
  • Who is affected: Companies employing foreign nationals, and recruiting agencies.
  • Impact on processing times: There is no significant impact on processing times.
  • Business impact: Companies will have a more difficult time recruiting more foreign employees than are permitted under government quotas.
  • Next steps: Companies must now file work-permit applications for their own employees. They cannot use recruiting agencies to do it for them.

Background: Mozambique sets quotas for the maximum number of foreign employees that companies are permitted to hire, calculating the quotas as a percentage of a company’s overall workforce. Recruiting workers above the set amount – or recruiting “out of quota” – is a complicated process and approval is not guaranteed. Some companies in Mozambique made a practice of reaching their quota and then exceeding it by using recruiting agencies to file their work permits for them. Mozambique is now aiming to end that practice.

In recent months, the country has more strictly enforced a rule that bars recruiting agencies from filing work permit applications on behalf of companies. Provincial Labor Directorates were ordered on Sept. 17 to stop accepting work permit applications from recruiting agencies, which are now permitted only to submit the applications for their own employees.

BAL Analysis: Although recruiting out of quota is difficult, and although enforcement of rules may vary from province to province, companies should take Mozambique’s work permit rules seriously. They should acquaint themselves with the process for applying for work permits and should no longer rely on recruitment agencies to do it for them.

 

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Mozambique. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

Follow us on Twitter: @BAL_Immigration

About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from six offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

Source: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

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UNITED KINGDOM/EGYPT: (Dec. 17, 2014) British Embassy in Egypt reopens http://totallyexpat.com/united-kingdomegypt-dec-17-2014-british-embassy-egypt-reopens/ http://totallyexpat.com/united-kingdomegypt-dec-17-2014-british-embassy-egypt-reopens/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:42:11 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=16651 Continue reading ]]> IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The British Embassy in Egypt has reopened after closing last week due to unspecified security concerns.united kingdom

What does the change mean? Immigration, travel and other consular services have resumed.

  • Implementation timeframe: The embassy reopened Dec. 16.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas.
  • Who is affected: Anyone applying for visas or in need of consular services at the British Embassy.
  • Impact on processing times: There may be longer wait times for visas and other services due to increased demand for embassy services resulting from the nine-day closure.
  • Business impact: Possible delays could impact business travelers.
  • Next steps: The embassy reopened Dec. 16, with British officials stating on the embassy’s website that “security issues related to the building were resolved in cooperation with the Egyptian government.”

Background: The British Embassy in Cairo closed and temporarily suspended services Dec. 7, citing security concerns. The Canadian Embassy closed the next day, also citing security concerns. While the British Embassy reopened, the Canadian Embassy remained closed as of Dec. 17.

BAL Analysis: The fact that the closure was relatively short is good news for visa applicants, who faced the possibility of long delays or having to apply outside Egypt when the embassy closed its doors last week. BAL will continue to monitor the status of the Canadian Embassy and will keep clients updated on its status.

 

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact uk@balglobal.com.

Follow us on Twitter: @BAL_Immigration

About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from six offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

Source: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

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SINGAPORE: (Dec. 17, 2014) Employment Pass to be required of foreign employees before starting work http://totallyexpat.com/singapore-dec-17-2014-employment-pass-required-foreign-employees-starting-work/ http://totallyexpat.com/singapore-dec-17-2014-employment-pass-required-foreign-employees-starting-work/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:38:23 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=16648 Continue reading ]]> IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? The Ministry of Manpower will require that foreign employees obtain their Employment Pass before they can start work.singapore

What does the change mean? Foreign employees will no longer be able to start work immediately upon arrival.

  • Implementation timeframe: March 16, 2015.
  • Visas/permits affected: Employment Passes.
  • Who is affected: New Employment Pass applicants and their employers.
  • Impact on processing times: The policy change should not affect the timing of in-country processes, but it could delay employees’ start dates at their companies by one or two days.
  • Business impact: Employers must limit new foreign employees’ activities until the Employment Pass is issued.

Background: The Ministry of Manpower has announced that, effective March 16, 2015, foreign employees cannot begin work until their Employment Pass is issued. Current practice allows foreign employees who have received approval for an Employment Pass to start work immediately upon entry into Singapore with a valid In-Principal Approval letter. They then have 30 days to complete the issuance and registration processes before invalidating the letter.

Once the new regulation goes into effect, Employment Pass applicants must obtain a notification letter confirming issuance of the pass before starting work. However, they do not have to wait to complete their biometrics appointment and receive the identification card before starting work. The expected delay should be relatively short, typically one or two days, provided that the documents required from both the employee and employer to issue the Employment Pass are finalized and collected quickly.

The new regulation does not affect S Pass holders. The current practice for S Pass holders already requires that the S Pass be issued on the first day of work, since that is when the employer’s first foreign-worker levy for that worker is applied.

BAL Analysis: Employers will need to be sure that Employment Passes are issued before new foreign employees start work. Companies should change their onboarding processes to make sure that if the request for issuances of the Employment Pass is not submitted by the employee’s first day of work, the foreign employee is limited to activities allowed as a business visitor (such as attending meetings or new-hire orientation) until the notification letter is obtained. If the employee is expected to immediately start productive, hands-on work, the employer should make sure the Employment Pass is issued before or on the employee’s first day of work.

 

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in Singapore. For additional information, please contact singapore@balglobal.com.

Follow us on Twitter: @BAL_Immigration

About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from six offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

Source: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

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BELGIUM: (Dec. 16, 2014) Parliament weighs new fee on foreign workers http://totallyexpat.com/belgium-dec-16-2014-parliament-weighs-fee-foreign-workers/ http://totallyexpat.com/belgium-dec-16-2014-parliament-weighs-fee-foreign-workers/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:24:47 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=16643 Continue reading ]]> IMPACT – LOW

What is the change? The Belgian government has proposed imposing a new fee on foreign workers applying for residence permits.

What does the change mean? Under the current proposal, foreign nationals would have to pay a fixed sum as a “mandatory contribution to administrative costs” when applying for residency.belgium

  • Implementation timeframe: The bill is in proposal form and has not yet been implemented.
  • Visas/permits affected: D visas and residence permits.
  • Who is affected: The fee will impact foreign nationals holding work permits and their family members, EU Blue Card applicants, researchers, students and others.
  • Business impact: The fee would add to the cost of posting foreign national employees in Belgium.
  • Next steps: The bill was filed in Parliament Nov. 28, and is being pushed for adoption as soon as possible.

Background: The mandatory fee, popularly known as the “foreigners’ tax,” is meant to offset the government’s costs of administering a rising number of residency applications. The proposed tax would be a prerequisite for residence authorization applications by foreign nationals applying abroad or from within Belgium. Those subject to the new fee include foreign work permit holders, their family members, EU Blue Card applicants, researchers, students and others. Some foreigners, including European Economic Area and Swiss nationals, would be exempt.

While the amount of the fee has not been disclosed, Belgium’s Secretary of State for Asylum Policy and Migration has indicated in an interview that nearby countries impose a similar fee of €100 to €300.

BAL Analysis: If the fee is adopted, employers and foreign workers will have to budget for the added cost of applying for residency in Belgium.

 

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Belgium. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

Follow us on Twitter: @BAL_Immigration

About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from six offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

Source: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

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AUSTRALIA: (16 December 2014) Visa application fees for spouses and partners to increase 50 per cent http://totallyexpat.com/australia-16-december-2014-visa-application-fees-spouses-partners-increase-50-cent/ http://totallyexpat.com/australia-16-december-2014-visa-application-fees-spouses-partners-increase-50-cent/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:29:28 +0000 http://totallyexpat.com/?p=16640 Continue reading ]]> IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The Australian Government will sharply raise application fees for Partner and Prospective Marriage visas in the new year.

What does the change mean? Applicants can avoid the increased government application fees if they lodge their applications before 1 January.australia

  • Implementation timeframe: 1 January 2015.
  • Visas/permits affected: Partner visas (subclass 801/820), Partner (Provisional and Migrant) visas (subclasses 309 and 100) and Prospective Marriage visas (subclass 300).
  • Who is affected: Couples applying in the above categories.
  • Impact on processing times: The fee hikes should not have a direct impact on processing times, but could delay the filing of visa applications for couples who cannot afford the higher fees.
  • Business impact: The higher cost of bringing a spouse or partner to Australia may impact budgets and may influence decisions by foreign employees to work and live in Australia.
  • Next steps: If possible, applicants may want to apply for their Partner or Prospective Marriage visa before the new fees take effect on 1 January. Foreign employees may consult their BAL attorney to explore alternative visas, such as one of the skilled visa streams.

Background: On 15 December, the Government announced 50 per cent higher application fees on most visas for foreign spouses and partners, and justified the increases as a means to fund “whole-of-government policy priorities.”

The Partner visa allows a foreign national in Australia to apply based on marriage or a de facto relationship with an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen. Partner (Provisional and Migrant) visas have similar eligibility criteria, but are for those applying outside Australia to travel and live in Australia. Prospective Marriage visas are for foreign nationals intending to marry an Australian citizen or permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen.

The exact schedule of new fees has not been released, and will depend on individual factors, but the Government said applicants will soon be able to calculate their new fees on the visa-pricing estimator.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection reminded applicants that it neither offers financial assistance nor waives or reduces fees for those who cannot afford the application fees and that all fees must be paid in full before a visa application will be considered.

BAL Analysis: Foreign employees and eligible Australian and New Zealand applicants planning to bring a foreign spouse or partner to Australia will have to budget for the higher fees or consider other visa options.

 

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact australia@balglobal.com.

Follow us on Twitter: @BAL_Immigration

About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from six offices across the U.S. and from offices in Geneva, London, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.

Source: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

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