Immigration Updates – 3rd of February

Contributor(s): Daniel King
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    General Updates

    Italy

    The Italian government has published the annual decree fixing work permit quotas for the year ahead (“Decreto Flussi”).

    In 2023, Italy will grant up to 82,705 work permits to workers from outside the European Economic Area (up from 69,700 in 2022).

    This includes:

    • 44,000 for seasonal workers in the agricultural and tourism-hotel sectors.
    • 31,205 for local hires of certain nationalities in specific industries (road haulage, construction, tourism, mechanics, telecommunications, food and shipbuilding).
    • 7000 for changes of status by holders of residence permits issued by Italy or another EU Member State.
    • 500 for self-employed workers (namely for entrepreneurs; start-ups; professionals; well-known artists; CEOs, members of the board of directors and auditors in Italian companies active for at least 3 years).

    Exceptions from the cap exist for several categories of workers, such as intra-corporate transferees and EU Blue Card applicants.

    This year’s decree introduces a key change to the work permit application process. Before applying for work permits for non-seasonal work for non-EEA nationals, employers must now verify with the relevant job centre in Italy that there are no workers already resident in Italy available to fill the position. This verification procedure is not required for seasonal workers or for certain workers trained abroad for the purpose of working in Italy.

    Applications can be submitted from 27 March 2023. Within 30 days of submission, applications without any objections will be automatically sent to the Italian consulate or embassy in the applicant’s country of application, which will then issue the visa within 20 days.

    Poland

    On 1 January 2023, the minimum monthly salary was increased by PLN 480 to PLN 3490. The minimum hourly rate also increased, by PLN 3.10, to PLN 22.80. Both figures are set to increase again in July 2023.

    Employers in Poland must pay all foreign national employees above the minimum wage.

    Spain

    A new “Start-up Law” came into force on 28 December 2023, amending the existing Entrepreneurs Law and setting conditions for a new work visa for remote workers (teletrabajadores de caracter internacional).

    The upcoming remote work visa permits qualifying foreign nationals to live in Spain while employed by a company located overseas. For Independent professionals , up to 20% of their work can be for Spanish companies (this is not permitted for regular employees).

    Qualifying criteria are as follows:

    • The applicant must be a graduate of a notable university, business school, or professional training program, or have at least three years of professional experience.
    • The employer abroad must have existed as a business entity for at least one year.
    • Regular employees must prove that they have worked for the employer abroad for at least three months at the time of application.
    • The applicant must show evidence that the company allows the applicant to work remotely.
    • Independent professionals must prove a business relationship with one or more companies outside Spain for at least the three months before applying. Applicants must also provide documentation accrediting the terms and conditions under which the professional activities will be carried out.
    • Applicants must also show that they are financially self-sufficient, with proof of an income double the national minimum wage, and additional income required for accompanying family members.

    This visa will permit a one-year stay, and is renewable up to five years. Remote workers will qualify for a reduced tax rate of 15% (instead of 24%) for the first four years of their stay if their income remains below a certain threshold (EUR 600,000 per year).

    Applications can be submitted either from within Spain or via a Spanish consulate abroad; must be processed within 20 days; and will be considered automatically approved if this deadline passes.

    Changes to other categories under the Entrepreneur’s Law include:

    • Police clearance certificates are required from Spain and any country of residence in the last two years (rather than five years as previously), and a declaration of lack of criminal record in the previous five years.
    • Initial residence permits are granted for three years (or the duration of the assignment), rather than two years as previously.
    • Highly Qualified Professionals can now include graduates of recognised universities, prestigious business schools or professional training, and those with at least three years of professional experience.
    • A new definition of entrepreneurial activity regulated by the National Agency of Innovation (“ENISA”) .
    • The duration of the permit to seek employment is extended from 12 to 24 months.

    Further government regulations are expected to implement the new law in the coming months.

    Portugal’s similar remote work visa was launched in October 2022. Other countries that have implemented or announced a remote work status include Argentina, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Malta and Romania, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, among others.

    COVID-19 Updates

    Sweden

    The Swedish government has extended COVID-19 entry restrictions on travellers from China for another 20 days, until 18 February 2023.

    All travellers arriving from China, regardless of vaccination status, must present, on arrival, a negative result of a COVID-19 antigen, PCR or other NAAT test carried out no more than 48 hours before entry.

    • The test requirement applies to adults and children over the age of 12 who are third-country nationals.
    • There are certain exemptions, for example citizens of the EEA, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland, Vatican City State, or the United Kingdom; people with residence permits in Sweden; long-term residents of the EU and EEA, travellers with imperative family reasons and children under the age of 12 years.
    • The entry restrictions do not apply to Swedish citizens.

    Sweden originally implemented the requirements on 7 January 2023.

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