Effective 4 February 2023, the European Council has suspended the visa waiver agreement with Vanuatu due to the risks posed by its investor citizenship schemes (‘golden passport’ schemes).
A partial suspension of the agreement had already been adopted on 3 March 2022. Following the partial suspension, the Commission started a dialogue with Vanuatu on 12 May to address the EU’s concerns. However, since then the country has failed to engage in any meaningful way and the circumstances that led to the temporary suspension still persist.
A visa waiver agreement has applied between the EU and Vanuatu since 2015. This agreement allows citizens of Vanuatu to travel to the EU without a visa for stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
The UK government has implemented some changes to the guidelines for employers sponsoring foreign nationals under the Skilled Worker and Global Business Mobility routes. Among the amendments are the following:
- Temporary reductions in pay no longer require a change of employment application, where the reduction is related to a temporary reduction in hours for individual health reasons or a phased return to work.
- There is no longer a requirement to report a delayed start date on the SMS system where the worker has already been granted permission, as long as the new start date is not delayed more than the standard 28-day period. The start date can be delayed beyond 28 days with an acceptable reason (judged on a case-by-case basis).
- An exemption from the Immigration Skills Charge will apply to Senior or Specialist Workers assigned to the UK by an EU company on or after 1 January 2023, although this is still subject to Parliamentary approval.