More favourable Schengen visa rules for Kuwaiti nationals
On 8 September 2023, the European Commission adopted more favourable rules for Kuwaiti nationals on the issuing of Schengen multiple-entry visas with longer validity.
Kuwaiti nationals, including first-time travellers, can be issued with new multiple-entry visas valid for five years, if the passport validity allows.
The change makes it easier for Kuwaitis to travel to the 27 Schengen countries for business, tourism and family purposes, permitting multiple stays of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period within the Schengen area.
The Schengen area consists of 27 European countries (of which 23 are EU Member States): Belgium, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden, along with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Certain non-EU nationals no longer eligible for temporary protection
Effective 7 September 2023, Finland will not issue residence permits on the basis of temporary protection to third-country nationals and stateless persons who have resided in Ukraine on the basis of a temporary residence permit. Third-country nationals are citizens of countries that have not joined the European Union or the Schengen Agreement.
The change does not apply to
- Ukrainian citizens and their family members;
- Persons who have been granted international protection in Ukraine and their family members; or
- persons who have resided in Ukraine with a permanent residence permit if they are unable to return to their home country in safe and durable conditions.
The change applies to applications for temporary protection that have been submitted on 7 September 2023 or later. The Finnish Immigration Service will decide applications submitted before 7 September 2023 in accordance with the previous decision-making practice.
Residence permits already granted in Finland on the basis of temporary protection are valid until 4 March 2024.
Third-country nationals and stateless persons applying for temporary protection in Finland must show proof of their family ties to a Ukrainian citizen or that they have been granted international protection in Ukraine, that their family member has been granted international protection in Ukraine or that they have a permanent residence permit in Ukraine.
For example, they can show their marriage certificate, a birth certificate for a child who is a Ukrainian citizen, a certificate of refugee status issued by Ukraine or a permanent residence permit granted in Ukraine.
For those who have resided in Ukraine with a permanent residence permit, the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) will investigate whether they can return to their home country in safe and durable conditions. If it cannot be assessed whether the applicant is able to return to their home country, Migri will advise the applicant to apply for asylum.
Visa now required for Bolivian nationals
On 8 September 2023, the Department of Justice announced that, effective 12 September 2023, all Bolivian nationals are required to obtain a visa before travelling to Ireland. A transit visa is also now required for those intending to transit Ireland end route to another destination.
The new visa requirement for Bolivian nationals brings Ireland into alignment with the visa regimes of the UK and of the Schengen area.
New application form for extension of student permission
Domestic Residence and Permissions Division (DRP) has introduced an application form for Extension of Student Conditions.
Non-EEA national students should note that the Student Pathway sets out the immigration route for non-EEA national students.
Those who have been refused registration at their local immigration office and who believe they have exceptional circumstances can apply to DRP for an extension of their student permission using this application form.
Applications are only accepted through the post. The DRP helpdesk cannot process these applications.
Foreign Police offices closed for September
From 11 to 30 September 2023, offices of the Border and Foreign Police will be closed and most immigration processing will be suspended.
The only applications which will be processed during this period are those for national visas in the national interest and for first-year students with appointments that have already been booked through the reservation system, and applications for temporary asylum.
Other foreign nationals with already-booked appointments can send a request to the relevant police authority for an exception to the suspension of processing. Otherwise, applicants will have to reschedule their appointments through the online reservation system.
Stay periods which are due to expire during this period will be automatically extended until two months after this period.
Details of the new model for work permit processing
The Swedish Migration Agency has decided to introduce a new model for handling work permit-related matters. It is also establishing units for international recruitment. In particular, the new model promotes the recruitment of employers seeking to hire highly qualified workers from outside the EU, but it also aims to shorten the processing time for all labour market cases. The new model will be introduced in January 2024.
With the new model, the Swedish Migration Agency aims to provide better service to employers of highly qualified workers, with dedicated staff and an improved online service. A complete application for a work permit for a highly-qualified worker should receive a decision within 30 days. For other categories, the aim is that decisions should always be made within four months.
The new international recruitment units will replace the certification system, which is currently used for handling work permit cases, which will be phased out. The new model includes four categories:
- Category A covers work permit applications for highly qualified occupations. The term “highly qualified” is defined in the Swedish Standard Classification of Occupations (SSYK). In Category A, it applies to the three occupational areas: managerial occupations, occupations with requirements for advanced university competence, and occupations with requirements for higher education competence or equivalent. This category will be the agency’s way of replacing the current certification system. The ambition is that complete applications for highly qualified workers will be processed within 30 days.
- Category B covers applications for work permits in occupations with specific rules, such as seasonal occupations, berry pickers, intra-corporate transferees (ICT), permits under the EU Blue Card Directive, artists, researchers, athletes/coaches, au-pairs, trainees, youth exchange agreements, and volunteers. It also covers applications to start business activities and so-called “track changers” from asylum cases.
- Category C covers occupations that do not require a higher level of academic competence, i.e., non-highly qualified occupations in sectors that do not require a particularly high level of case investigation. This category includes, e.g., occupations that constitute an important social benefit, even if they do not meet the criteria for being classified as highly qualified. Applications for major new establishments in growth areas also fall into this category.
- Category D includes work permit applications for employment in industries that the Swedish Migration Agency defines as particularly demanding in terms of case investigation, including cleaning, construction, personal assistance, and hotels and restaurants.
The deadline to submit new applications to become a certified employer was 31 May 2023, but no deadline has yet been established for existing certified employers to submit work permit applications.