The upper house (the Bundesrat) of the German parliament has approved the government’s reformed Skilled Immigration Act.
The new Skilled Immigration Act aims to attract more skilled workers with several major changes:
- Lower salary thresholds will be established for the EU Blue Card;
- A new “Opportunity Card”, allowing qualifying foreign nationals without a job offer to spend up to a year in Germany seeking work;
- Lower qualification requirements for certain workers.
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has established that Health Care Assistants with relevant health and social care qualifications comparable to a Level 5 Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) qualification may be deemed to have met the skills and proficiency requirements for the renewal of their general employment permit.
To renew their General Employment Permit a Health Care Assistant must achieve a relevant Level 5 QQI qualification within two years employment in Ireland.
To prove that this requirement has been met, the clinical lead in the healthcare facility must certify that the individual has demonstrated their technical ability, qualifications, and suitability to the Health Care Assistant role during their employment. The clinical lead, employee and employer will need to complete the required form and submit this to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment as part of the application process for the renewal of the general employment permit.
Those Health Care Assistants who have obtained the relevant Level 5 QQI qualification can proceed with the standard renewal process.
According to recent amendments to the immigration law, a foreign national who has received a work permit (“nulla osta”) and entered Italy with a visa is now permitted to start work before they have signed the contract of stay (“contrato di soggiorno”) at the immigration office.
Previously, work permit holders could only start working in Italy once they had signed the Contract of Stay.
The new rule applies not only to work permits issued under the quota (“Flussi”) decree, but also to subordinate and seasonal work, Blue Card holders, intra-corporate transferees and other non-quota workers.
On 6 July 2023, the government approved a decree establishing a three-year immigration plan with a quota of 450,000 non-EU nationals permitted to enter for work between 2023 and 2025. In the past, quota decrees have been issued annually.
The proposed 2023-25 quota (“Flussi”) decree increases the entry quotas for work and extends the professional categories and production sectors involved. Moreover, the proposed quotas increase in each of the three years.
The 2022 quota decree allowed 82,705 entries: The proposed decree allows for 136,000 entries in 2023, 151,000 in 2024 and 165,000 in 2025.
The government also approved a decree supplementing the 2022 quota with an additional 40,000 seasonal admissions in the agricultural and tourism sectors.
The Directorate of Immigration of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has announced that residence cards and permanent residence cards for third-country nationals who are family members of a Union citizen, issued before June 2021 in the form of a card printed on secure paper with a photograph affixed, will cease to be valid on 3 August 2023.
Holders of an old-style residence permit, who must exchange it for a new-style permit before 3 August 2023, have been informed by letter of the procedure to follow, and should do so as soon as possible.
The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) has informed recognized sponsors that it will no longer check whether a highly skilled migrant is entitled to a reduced salary criterion. It is now the duty of the sponsor to assess this for themselves and to gather and maintain internally the relevant documents relating to this self-declaration.
The government has announced that certain old-style laminated residence permits issued before 14 February 2022 can be used until they expire, but no later than 3 August 2023.
These laminated residence permits were issued to:
- citizens of the Swiss Confederation and
- their family members,
- family members of European Union (EU) citizens,
- family members of citizens of the Member States of the European Economic Area (EEA), and
- family members of citizens of Slovenia.
Holders of such laminated residence permits must exchange them for a new Swiss residence permit card or a new second-generation residence card at the administrative unit of their place of residence at any time before the expiry date, but by 3 August 2023 at the latest.
No processing fee is charged for the issuing of the card, but the holder must pay the costs of printing the residence permit card:
- a residence permit card for a citizen of the Swiss Confederation costs EUR 19.85,
- a residence permit card for a family member of a citizen of the Swiss Confederation and for a service provider costs EUR 15.47,
- a residence permit card and a permanent residence permit card for a family member of an EU citizen, a family member of an EEA citizen and for a family member of a Slovenian citizen costs EUR 15.47.
Since 14 February 2022, residence permits and residence registration certificates have been issued in a new format with additional security features.
The government has announced substantial increases in immigration fees, as part of its plan to fund pay increases for public sector workers.
The immigration health surcharge for workers staying for more at least six months and for foreign national family members will be increased from £624 to £1035 per year. The rate for students, children and holders of youth mobility visas will be increased from £470 to £776 per year.
The fees for work and visit visas will increase by 15% and those for student visas, certificates of sponsorship, entry clearance and leave to remain applications by at least 20%.
Additionally, the Minister for Immigration has proposed further changes to the rules for setting immigration fees, including:
- setting a power to charge a fee for an electronic travel authorization, or ETA, and set the maximum fee that can be charged for an application;
- increasing the maximum fee that can be set for visa visits, certain applications for entry clearance and leave-to-remain visas, certain nationality products and services, and priority services;
- introducing a power to charge a fee for a contact-point meeting with endorsing bodies on the innovator founder route, and setting the maximum fee that can be charged;
- introducing a power to charge a fee for the new “sponsor a worker” function;
- removing the fee for biometric enrolment (currently £19.20), for transfer of conditions (currently (£161) and for the replacement and amendment of biometric documents in certain circumstances.
The government has not announced any dates for the implementation of the new fees or for the proposed fee rules.