Australia: Pandemic Event Visa Closure
- Effective February 1, 2024, Australia ceased accepting new applications for the Pandemic Event visa (subclass 408). This visa, established during the COVID-19 pandemic, aimed to facilitate temporary stays. With borders now open, temporary visa holders must ensure their legal status through the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system. Failure to maintain a valid visa may lead to detention, removal, and potential debt to the government. Applications submitted before February 1, 2024, are still under processing.
Canada: Permanent Residence Extension for GTA Construction Workers
- Canada extended the program offering permanent residence to out-of-status construction workers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) until July 2, 2024. This extension maintains existing criteria, with a cap of 1000 principal applicants. It provides opportunities for construction workers and their families to gain permanent residency.
China/Thailand: Mutual Visa Exemption Agreement
- China and Thailand implemented a mutual visa exemption agreement starting March 1, 2024. Under this agreement, ordinary passport holders from each country can stay up to 30 days for tourism, business, or family visits. This simplifies travel between the two countries, fostering tourism, business ventures, and family connections for expatriates.
- New Immigration Law – France enacted a new immigration law on January 27, 2024, introducing changes to work-related immigration. Key provisions include a new residence permit for healthcare professionals, French language proficiency requirements for multi-year permits, and limitations on permit renewals. Additionally, it offers a renewable one-year permit for undocumented workers in labour-shortage sectors, impacting residency, work permits, and family reunification for expatriates.
- Online Nationality Application – Starting February 6, 2024, foreign nationals can apply for French nationality online, eliminating the need for physical submissions. This streamlines the application process, allowing expatriates to track progress and submit additional documents digitally, simplifying the nationality acquisition process.
Germany: New Nationality Law
- Germany passed a new nationality law on January 19, 2024, expected to be effective in the second quarter of 2024. The law facilitates multi-nationality, accelerates naturalization timelines, and recognizes contributions of guest worker generations, benefiting expatriates with easier naturalization processes and the ability to retain multiple nationalities.
Ireland: Email Application for Reactivation Employment Permit Scheme
- Effective February 1, 2024, Ireland introduced an email application form for the Reactivation Employment Permit Scheme, assisting non-EEA nationals in re-entering employment. This simplifies the application process for affected individuals, enhancing their ability to seek employment in Ireland.
Italy: Foreign Worker “Click Days” Postponed
- Italy postponed the “click days,” the designated period for submitting applications to hire foreign workers, until March 2024. This postponement affects expatriates seeking job opportunities in Italy’s high-demand sectors, potentially delaying their employment prospects.
- Visa-Exempt Nationals Extension – Starting February 15, 2024, visa-exempt nationals in the Netherlands can remain for up to 90 days after their residence permit expires, without leaving the Schengen area. This extension offers flexibility to expatriates awaiting permit renewals or processing.
- Termination of Temporary Protection for Third-Country Nationals from Ukraine – The Dutch immigration authorities announced the termination of temporary protection for non-Ukrainian nationals with temporary Ukrainian residence permits after March 4, 2024. This impacts expatriates from other countries residing in the Netherlands under Ukrainian temporary protection, potentially requiring them to seek alternative legal status.
New Zealand: Permanent Resident Visa Applications Now Online
- Since January 29, 2024, expatriates can apply for the Permanent Resident Visa (PRV), Second or Subsequent Resident Visa (SSRV), and Variation of Travel Conditions of a resident visa (VOTC) online. This online process enhances accessibility and transparency for expatriates applying for permanent residency in New Zealand.
Poland: Business Harbour Programme Suspended
- Poland suspended its participation in the Business Harbour Programme until solutions are implemented to ensure proper verification of beneficiary companies and foreigners. This suspension impacts expatriates and companies participating in the program, potentially affecting plans for IT professionals and companies seeking opportunities in Poland.
Saudi Arabia: Lifting of Three-Year Entry Ban
- Effective January 16, 2024, Saudi Arabia lifted the three-year entry ban on foreign workers who overstayed their exit and re-entry visas. This decision provides relief to expatriates, allowing them to regularize their status and remain legally in Saudi Arabia.
Sweden: New Work Permit Processing Method
- As of January 29, 2024, the Swedish Migration Agency adopted a new method for processing work permit applications, prioritizing highly qualified workers. Key points include efficient processing within 30 days for highly qualified workers, definitions based on managerial roles and advanced education qualifications, and expedited processing for start-ups hiring highly qualified workers.
United Kingdom: 10-Year Automatic Extension of Sponsor License
- Sponsor licenses expiring on or after April 6, 2024, will be automatically extended for another 10 years until April 6, 2034. This policy aims to reduce immigration-related costs for employers, eliminating the need for renewal applications and fees. However, licenses expiring before April 6, 2024, require renewal before the expiry date to remain valid.
Disclaimer: The information provided in these updates is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy, we recommend consulting with legal professionals or relevant authorities for specific legal matters or concerns.