Immigration Updates – 8th of September

Contributor(s): Daniel King
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    Denmark

    Effective 6 September, a new Health Agreement has taken effect in Greenland, affecting “healthcare persons” (those with a healthcare education) who have been offered employment in the Greenlandic Health Care System.

    Those who apply for a residence and work permit according to the Health Agreement are not required to send their authorizations or documentation for education or for previous employment.

    The change of the requirements for documentation only applies to healthcare persons that are hired in The Greenlandic Health Care System, when the position is covered by the Greenlandic collective bargaining agreement.

    Denmark

    Effective 2 September 2023, applications for residence permits for accompanying family members must be supported by documentary evidence that the sponsor in the Faroe Islands is able to support them.

    However, this rule does not apply if the person has residence under the Sports Agreement.

    • All first-time applications submitted on or after 2 September 2023 are subject to the changes. The permit will state whether it is a condition for the residence permit that the sponsor can support the accompanying family member. The requirement for support will in these instances also apply to applications for an extension of a residence permit.
    • For applications for a residence permit or for an extension of a residence permit submitted before 2 September 2023, the requirement for support does not apply.
    • For applications for an extension of a residence permit granted before 2 September 2023, the requirement for support does not apply.

    The applicant must submit the sponsor’s current employment contract in the Faroe Islands and, if they have already started work in the Faroe Islands, their pay checks for the last three months.

    The documents must show that the sponsor has:

    • 34,716.12 kr. in gross income each month, for a spouse or a cohabiting partner.
    • 39,797.37 kr. in gross income each month, for a spouse or a cohabiting partner and for a child under the age of 18 that is also traveling to the Faroe Islands, as an accompanying family member. 1,248.25 kr. is added for each additional child, for a maximum of 4 children.
    • 28,317.70 kr. In gross income each month, for a child under the age of 18. 3,186.58 kr. is added for each additional child, for a maximum of 4 children.

    The fixed amount applies for all of 2023. The amounts are partially regulated by the development of wages in Føroya Arbeiðarafelago’s (the labour union of the Faroe Islands’) collective agreement for unskilled workers, and partially by the government’s regulation percentage annually, on 1 January, which is fixed according to Løgtingslóg um javningarprosent til almannaveitingar (the Lagting law on the regulation rate for social benefits.

    European Union

    The European Commission has proposed measures to make it easier for European citizens to live, work and travel abroad by making access to social security services quicker and simpler across borders.

    The Commission’s Communication lays out suggested actions for Member States to further digitize the coordination of social security systems, including the following:

    • Accelerate the national implementation of the Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information (EESSI)so that it is fully operational by the end of 2024 across Europe. EESSI digitalises the exchanges among national social security institutions, to move away from paper-based, time-consuming and cumbersome procedures.
    • Deliver more social security coordination procedures fully online, to make it even easier for people to move and work abroad, and ensure they get fast access to their eligible benefits. Member States can build on the Single Digital GatewayRegulation, which foresees a fully online delivery of some important administrative procedures to citizens and businesses by 12 December 2023 at the latest.
    • Fully engage in the European Social Security Pass (ESSPASS)pilot activities, which explore how to simplify the issuance and verification of citizens’ social security entitlements across borders.
    • Work towards introducingEU Digital Identity (EUDI) wallets, which will allow EU citizens to carry digital versions of entitlement documents, such as the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), making it easier for social security institutions, labour inspectorates and healthcare providers to instantly verify these documents.

    The Commission invites the European Parliament and the Council to endorse the approach set out in this Communication and calls on Member States and all stakeholders to work together to implement its actions.  Advancing the digitalisation of social security coordination is also relevant in the context of ongoing negotiations by co-legislators on the revision of EU social security coordination rules. The Commission encourages the European Parliament and on the Council to modernise the legal framework by reaching an agreement on the revision.

    EU nationals are entitled to travel, work and live in another EU country. EU rules (Regulation No 883/2004 and Regulation No 987/2009 on its implementation) protect people’s social security rights when moving within Europe, for instance when it comes to healthcare, family benefits and pensions, and make sure they get access to their eligible benefits as quickly as possible across the EU.

    Luxembourg

    Effective 1 September 2023, a new law aims to address the shortage of skilled workers by assisting companies to hire skilled foreign workers. The key changes are outlined below.

    Third-country national family members of third-country national residents are now permitted to work without obtaining a separate work permit.

    • Third-country nationals who have a ‘family member’ residence permit now have free access to the Luxembourg labour market as soon as they arrive on the basis of a temporary authorisation to stay. However, they must take the necessary steps to obtain a residence permit as soon as possible.
    • Third-country nationals holding a ‘family member’ residence permit issued before 1 September 2023 were only authorised to work in Luxembourg if this was explicitly stated on their residence permit and under the conditions set out therein. Since 1 September 2023, they are authorised to work in Luxembourg, regardless of any observations stated to this effect on their residence permit. There are no plans to replace these residence permits which will only cease to be valid on their expiry date. It is only the note or observation on the back of the permit that ceases to be valid from 1 September 2023.

    The procedure for approving temporary employment for international protection applicants will also be expedited. For asylum seekers whose process has not been completed after six months, as well as for individuals whose deportation has been postponed or cancelled, the National Employment Agency (ADEM) will no longer conduct a job market test when granting approval for temporary employment.

    The period of validity of residence permits issued from this date for the purposes of job search or business creation has been extended from nine to twelve months.

    The process for issuing a certificate permitting the recruitment of third-country nationals will also be simplified.

    Companies looking to hire a third-country national must have reported the job vacancy to ADEM and apply for a certificate that authorizes them to hire the person of their choice.

    • For professions listed as shortage professions, ADEM will no longer be required to conduct a job market test. In such cases, the certificate will be issued within five days of receiving the application.
    • For positions not listed as shortage professions, the job market test will still be conducted, but with shortened deadlines.
      • ADEM now has seven working days to assess the availability of job seekers with the required qualifications for the reported position.
      • If no suitable candidate can be proposed, the certificate will be issued within five working days after the seven-day period has expired.
      • However, if ADEM can suggest candidates with the desired qualifications, they have an additional 15 working days to provide the employer with placement suggestions.

    United Kingdom

    On 7 September 2023, the Home Office published a statement of changes to the immigration rules. According to the accompanying explanatory memorandum,

    The changes being made primarily deliver changes to the EU Settlement Scheme and changes to Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisation.”

    The majority of the changes take effect on 5 October 2023, with some changes to the Youth Mobility Scheme only becoming effective from 31 January 2024.

    Below are highlights of the changes – further details are available in the explanatory memorandum and in the written statement by the Immigration Minister.

    EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and EUSS family permits

    The changes in respect of Appendix AR and Appendix AR (EU) remove the right of administrative review for all decision types where it currently applies for the EUSS, the EUSS family permit and the S2 Healthcare Visitor visa. The right of appeal against those decisions will be maintained as the mechanism for meeting the government’s obligations under the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (CRAs) to provide judicial redress. The changes will apply to all relevant decisions made on or after 5 October 2023.

    Some minor technical amendments are also being made to the Immigration Rules for the EUSS in Appendix EU to clarify the existing policy position that where a dependent parent or child has already been granted limited leave under Appendix EU, they will not need to evidence dependency for any further applications under Appendix EU.

    Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisation

    The UK will launch an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme in October 2023 in a phased manner on a nationality basis. The ETA scheme will ultimately apply to all those passengers visiting the UK or transiting through the UK who do not currently need a visa for short stays and do not have any other immigration status before travelling.

    At present, Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisation states than an application for an ETA may be refused if an applicant has failed to pay relevant NHS charges with a total value of at least £500. The statement of changes removes NHS debt as a ground for refusal of an ETA application.

    However, a successful ETA application does not guarantee that an applicant will be granted permission to enter at the UK border. Therefore, travellers seeking permission to enter the UK who have outstanding NHS debts, and who do not take the necessary steps to settle their debts in advance of travel, may be refused entry at the UK border on arrival.

    At present, Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisation stipulates that an applicant who is lawfully resident in Ireland and is travelling to the UK from elsewhere in the Common Travel Area (CTA) does not need to obtain an ETA.

    The statement of changes clarifies that the ETA exemption for applicants lawfully resident in Ireland, who are travelling within the CTA, will require a person aged 16 or over to demonstrate residency in Ireland, if required by a UK official, in order to benefit from this exemption. On 20 July 2023, the Home Office published guidance detailing which documents can be used to demonstrate residency for the purpose of this exemption, including a Permanent Residence Certificate, European Health Insurance Card, Irish driving licence/learner permit, medical card and GP visit card, National Age card and Irish Residence Permit.

    Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS)

    The UK’s existing reciprocal, bilateral arrangements with Australia and Canada have been enhanced – the age range is being expanded from 18-30 to 18-35 and the length of stay is being increased from 2 to 3 years. The Rules changes bring these enhancements into effect.

    A minor technical edit is also being made to clarify the limitations on self- employment on this route.

    The UK has negotiated a YMS arrangement with Andorra. Therefore it will be added to the list of countries and territories participating in this route and the Rules will be amended to reflect the requirements for Andorran citizens coming to the UK.

    Appendix Children

    The government is introducing an Appendix Children that will include common requirements for both children applying as dependants of a lead applicant, and children applying in their own right. Common requirements for dependent children relate to age, independent life, care, and relationship requirements. A common parental consent requirement will apply where a child is applying for entry clearance or permission to stay in their own right. No policy changes have been made to these requirements, but this approach is intended to provide clarity and consistency across over 20 routes.

    Appendix English Language

    This is being updated to allow applicants in an additional six routes to demonstrate they meet the English Language requirement if they have a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification at level 4 or 5 or Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English.

    Appendix Tuberculosis

    The rules for tuberculosis testing are being placed into a new Appendix Tuberculosis.

    Appendix Returning Resident is being added to the immigration rules, for “clarity and consistency”.

    Gurkhas and Hong Kong Military Units

    The 2009 concession enabling settlement applications from pre-1997 Gurkhas will be brought into the Rules and at the same time extended to cover pre-1997 members of Hong Kong military units, and their families, as announced in March 2023

    Long Residence

    In April 2023 the definition of ‘lawful residence’ for the purposes of long residence was changed to exclude time spent on immigration bail, as a visitor, short-term student, or seasonal worker. The rules are being changed to clarify that this exclusion extends to time spent on previous versions of immigration bail (temporary admission and temporary release) and previous visitor, short-term student visa, or seasonal worker routes.

    Skilled Workers

    Prison service officers are being made eligible for this route. This occupation meets the skills threshold, and workers can be sponsored where the Civil Service nationality requirements are met.

    Further minor policy and technical changes are also being introduced, as described in the explanatory memorandum.

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