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March 2022 Global Immigration Alert – Lexology

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Please note: while we address some country-specific updates related to the COVID-19 outbreak, the below contains information regarding global restrictions and closures as they stand today. Given the constantly changing nature of this situation, we highly recommend reviewing any global mobility inquiries on a case-by-case basis, including any consulate-specific or immigration authority resources, in “real-time” before traveling internationally. Please reach out to our Global Mobility Team in advance of any international travel.
Brazil – Digital Nomad Visa Category Announced
The Brazilian authorities have announced a digital nomad visa category, publishing Normative Resolution n. 45 (“RN 45”) which regulates this new temporary visa and residence permit category for digital nomads. This category will offer flexibility for foreign nationals who seek to work remotely while in Brazil either as short-term visitors or for longer periods of time. All applicants for the RN 45 visa must demonstrate their remote employment arrangement in order to be granted this visa, and must provide a declaration that they continue their work activities remotely via “information and communication technologies (ICT).” We expect additional information regarding the application process for this new visa category to be released in the coming months.
Canada – Changes to COVID Entry Procedures
As of February 28, 2022, all vaccinated travelers will be able to enter Canada with an antigen test, and unvaccinated children under 12 years of age will no longer have to quarantine.
To meet the pre-entry requirements, travelers will have the option of providing a COVID-19 rapid antigen test result, taken 1 day prior to their scheduled flight (or arrival at the land border), or a molecular test result, taken no more than 72 hours before their scheduled flight (or arrival at the land border). The rapid antigen test must be authorized by the country in which it was purchased and must be administered by a laboratory, healthcare entity, or telehealth service. Taking a rapid antigen test at home is not sufficient, and travelers will still need to upload documents via the ArriveCAN app before crossing the border.
Upon arrival, random COVID testing will still be conducted on fully vaccinated travelers, but now travelers will not need to quarantine while awaiting test results, even if they have been outside the U.S. or Canada within the last 14 days.
In addition, non-fully vaccinated children under 12 years of age who are traveling with a fully vaccinated adult will be exempt from quarantine, and will no longer need to limit their activities for the first 14 days (such as not attending school or daycare).
The Government of Canada will adjust its Travel Health Notice from a Level 3 to a Level 2. This means that the Government will no longer recommend that Canadians avoid travel for non-essential purposes. Also, as of February 28, 2022 all Canadian airports with Canada Border Service Agency (“CBSA”) designations has resumed receiving international passenger flights.
Denmark – Additional Salary Scrutiny for Extension Applications
As of March 1, 2022 the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) will assess extension applications on the basis of the assignee’s salary corresponding to the Danish standard (see here). Based on this change in treatment, we anticipate additional scrutiny for extension applications where the salary does not match or exceed the Danish salary. The SIRI will review the relevant job (Disco) code for the position, and will therefore require that the code be included in all extension applications from March 1, 2022 onwards.
SIRI will typically accept that the terms of salary and employment correspond to Danish standards without further analysis provided the following conditions are met:
European Union – Temporary Protection Directive
The EU Temporary Protection Directive and its 2001 provisions are expected to be applied- – for the first time ever- – due to the current conflict in the Ukraine.
With earlier conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and in Kosovo triggering its passage 20 years ago, the Directive provides minimum standards for temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons. It also includes measures promoting a balance of efforts among the 27 European Union member states with respect to receiving displaced persons and meeting the related responsibilities.
The harmonized rights for beneficiaries of temporary protection are listed here and notably will include a residence permit for the entire duration of the needed temporary protection, which can last from one year to three years. The benefits of the permit will range from access to employment and housing, to social welfare protections, to medical treatment, and to guarantees for access to the regular (longer-term) asylum process. Given that the United Nations’ Refugee Agency estimates that approximately 500,000 people have already departed Ukraine, the application of this Directive is both timely and necessary.
Germany – Update for Ukrainian Visitors
The Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community has announced that Ukrainian nationals currently visiting Germany for a short stay based on their Ukrainian passport may request an extension of stay in-country. Ukrainian nationals are usually allowed to visit Germany for up to 90 days within a 180 day period when entering Germany using a biometric passport. However, the current conflict in the Ukraine has expanded eligibility for Ukrainian citizens to apply for a temporary residence permit, allowing an additional 90 day stay. Ukrainian citizens should please contact the local immigration office. Please see further details here.
The European Commission is also expected to make announcements imminently regarding developments designed to ease travel and extend periods of stay for Ukrainian citizens currently present in the European Union.
Turkey – Work Permit Regulation and Policy Changes Announced
The Turkish Ministry of Labor (MoL) has published changes to the regulations for the Law on International Workforce. Changes include the following points which will be implemented in the coming months:
Additionally, further regulation changes remain in discussion and have yet to be determined. These include changes such as:
It is unclear whether these additional changes will be implemented by the Turkish authorities, and if so at what time. We expect further announcements in the next several months which will provide additional clarification.
United Kingdom – New Updates COVID Right to Work Concessions, Visa Processing, Measures for Ukrainians, Immigration Health Surcharge
Extension of COVID-19 right to work concessions until September 2022
The adjustments to right to work checks, which were made due to COVID-19, will now continue until September 30, 2022 (inclusive). This follows the government’s announcement enabling employers to use Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) to carry out digital checks on behalf of British and Irish citizens who hold a valid passport (or Irish passport card) starting April 6, 2022.
UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) have deferred the date for the resumption of physical document checks to October 1, 2022, with the hope that this additional period will provide employers sufficient time to develop commercial relationships with identity service providers, make the necessary changes to the pre-employment checking process, and effect responsible on-boarding of their chosen providers.
It also provides opportunity for employers to put measures in places to enable face-to-face document checks if they do not wish to adopt digital checks for British and Irish citizens with valid passports (or Irish passport cards).
From October 1, 2022, employers must check the prescribed documents as set out in the employer right to work checks supporting guidance available on GOV.UK.
Visit visas – update on extended processing times
Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and global travel restrictions, UKVI continues to experience unpredictable demand across all visa routes. Standard visitor visa applications are taking on average 6 weeks to process currently. UKVI is working to reduce the current processing time as quickly as possible, but in practice visa applications for visitors (including business visits) are taking longer than usual. We advise all clients to apply well in advance of their anticipated trip to the UK.
Measures for Ukrainians applying for UK visas
In response to the current situation in Ukraine, the UK government has introduced special measures for UK visa application process.
Direct family members of British nationals currently in Ukraine can apply for a family migration visa for free if the relevant British national relative usually resides in Ukraine. The British national family member must be one of the following:
All applicants are advised to contact UKVI directly before filing an application.
Ukrainian nationals in Ukraine (who aren’t immediate family members of British nationals normally living in Ukraine, or where the British national is living in the UK), are currently unable to make visa applications to visit, work, study or join family in the UK through a VAC in Ukraine. The UK Visa Application Centre (VAC) in Kyiv is now closed and all UK visa services in Kyiv are suspended.
If individuals are able to safely travel, travellers can apply through a VAC in one of the nearby countries.
Dependents of British nationals who need a UK visa can apply through the new, temporary location in the Lemberg Business Centre in the city of Lviv. Alternatively, they may apply through a VAC in a nearby country. VACs are currently operating in Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Moldova.
Those Ukrainians who are currently in the UK and wish to apply for a new visa have received a number of concessions in relation to the evidential documents and ability to switch visa categories within the UK. Detailed guidance on the concession is published here.
Today, on 1 March 2022, the Home Secretary announced "Ukrainian Family Scheme" for bringing relatives into the UK for 12 months initially – including parents, siblings, adult children and others not eligible for family visas. The details of the route are yet to published.
Closure of Tier 1 Investor visa route immediately
On February 17, 2022, the Home Office closed the Investor visa category to new applicants with immediate effect. According to the Home Office official announcement, the route was closed due to increased concerns over security and source of funds coming to the UK (“wider corruption”).
Current Investor visa holders (and their family members) will continue to hold valid UK immigration permissions. The deadline to extend under this category is February 17, 2026 and the deadline to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is February 17, 2028. If the Investor Migrant cannot meet the requirements for extension or ILR, they will need to switch into another UK immigration category in order to continue to live in the UK.
Updates to Immigration Health Surcharge procedure for sponsored workers
Underlying secondary legislation requires the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) to be paid according to the length of immigration permission granted to a person; however, up until February 1, 2022, the Home Office portal had been using the length of a main applicant’s Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to calculate the amount payable for the IHS.
The Home Office has now corrected the IHS procedure to address previous undercharging for sponsored workers. This means that those applicants who come to the UK up to three months before their CoS start dates will be charged additionally for the extra time given before and after their work sponsored visa.
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