Immigration Updates – 22nd of December

Contributor(s): Daniel King
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    Denmark

    New au pair rates upcoming

    The new rate for the monthly allowance (pocket money) for au pairs is expected to be DKK 4850, and the new rate for the amount that helps finance Danish language classes is expected to be DKK 19,305.

    The new rates apply to au pair applications that are submitted from 1 January 2024

    The submission date of the application determines what type of rate applies to the application.

    The submission date is the date when the application has been

    • received at a diplomatic mission or at a visa application centre
    • received at one of SIRI’s branch offices
    • received by SIRI as physical mail or via SIRI’s contact form
    • submitted by using the online application form AU1

    The submission date is not dependent on when he applicant begins to fill out the application form, or when the application is signed by the applicant. For instance, if the application process begins in December 2023, but the application itself is not submitted until January 2024, the rates for 2024 will apply to the application. 

    European Union

    Political agreement on revised single permit rules

    On 18 December 2023, the European Commission, Parliament and Council reached a political agreement on the revised Single Permit Directive.

    The updated rules establish a single application procedure for a combined EU work and residence permit (a ‘single permit’). The revised rules provide for a common set of rights for workers from non-EU countries, regarding working conditions, social security, recognition of qualifications, and tax benefits.

    The new rules aim to streamline the application procedure for the single permit, while making it more effective and improving the safeguarding of non-EU workers’ rights.

    Once adopted, the revised legislation will:

    • Enable non-EU nationals to apply for a single permit not only from non-EU countries but also from a Member State if they already reside in that Member State on the basis of a residence permit;
    • Introduce faster application procedures to facilitate international recruitment;
    • Provide for stronger protection of workers from non-EU countries, by introducing the right to change employer and a minimum period of unemployment during which their single permit should not be withdrawn; this means that within the period of validity of the permit, workers will have the right to change employers while continuing to reside legally in the Member State.
    • Ensure that beneficiaries of protection in accordance with national law can benefit from equal treatment rights if they are allowed to work;
    • Include new obligations for Member States to provide for inspections, monitoring mechanisms and sanctions against employers who violate the rights of non-EU workers, including equal treatment rights.

    The political agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council is now subject to formal approval by the co-legislators. Once published in the Official Journal, the Directive will enter into force 20 days after publication and Member States will have 2 years to transpose the provisions of the Directive into national law

    Background

    In April 2022, the Commission presented the Skills and Talent package: an ambitious and sustainable outlook to legal migration. To improve the previous legislation on single permits, this package included a proposal for a recast of the Single-Permit Directive, alongside a proposal for a revised Long-Term Residence Directive – where negotiations are still ongoing with co-legislators

    Ireland

    Increased salary thresholds and newly eligible roles for employment permits

    The government has announced comprehensive changes to the employment permits system, with 43 additions to the jobs eligible for an employment permit as well as a roadmap for increasing salary thresholds.

    The main changes include:

    • 11 roles added to the Critical Skills Occupations List:
      • Professional Forester
      • Resource modelling, earth observation and data analyst
      • Meteorologist
      • Operational Forecaster
      • Chemical Engineer
      • Project Engineer
      • BIM Manager
      • Optometrist (Ophthalmic Optician)
      • Commercial Manager
      • BIM Coordinator/Technician
      • Estimator
    • 32 roles made eligible for a General Employment Permit;
    • Salary requirement for majority of General Employment Permit holders will rise from EUR 30,000 to EUR 34,000 in January 2024;
    • Healthcare assistants and home carers salary requirement will increase from EUR 27,000 and horticultural workers and meat processor salary requirement will increase from EUR 22,000 to EUR 30,000 in January 2024, bringing them in line with family reunification thresholds;
    • Extension of existing quotas for dairy farm assistants, butcher/deboners, meat processors and horticultural workers;
    • A Labour Market Needs Test (LMNT) is required for General Employment Permit applications and will have to reflect the revised thresholds in order to be deemed valid.

    Currently, the salary threshold for General Employment Permits is EUR 30,000 and has not changed in almost a decade. This will increase to EUR 34,000 in January 2024, and further increases will be introduced up to EUR 39,000 in 2025.

    Several occupations which had previously been made eligible for General Employment Permits (GEPs) have had their quotas extended, with effect from January 2024.

    • 1000 GEPs for meat processing operatives;
    • 350 GEPs for butcher/deboners;
    • 350 GEPs for dairy farm assistants;
    • 1000 GEPs have been provided for horticultural workers to support the sector until the introduction of the Seasonal Employment Permit.

    Netherlands

    New income requirements for highly skilled migrants

    New income requirements for highly skilled migrants have been published in the Government Gazette (Staatscourant, only in Dutch). These are the required amounts as of 1 January 2024:

    • Highly skilled migrants over 30 years of age: €5331
    • Highly skilled migrant under 30 years of age: €3909
    • Orientation year for highly educated migrants: €2801
    • European Blue Card: €6245

    The above amounts will be published here from 1 January 2024.

    The income of a highly skilled migrant must meet the required amount applicable on the application date.

    New rules for EU Blue Card

    The transposition of the revised EU Blue Card directive into Dutch national legislation has been delayed until 2024. However, some rules from the revised directive took effect on 18 November 2023 and this is reflected in the relevant application forms and web page.

    The changes are as follows:

    • Persons who have international protection status in an EU Member State can now qualify for a European Blue Card if they meet the requirements. 
    • A higher education degree is required for the Blue Card. However, IT managers and IT professionals can now qualify on the basis of work experience. At least 3 years of relevant experience in the past 7 years is required for this.
    • The minimum term of the required employment contract has been shortened from 12 to 6 months.
    • Holders of an EU Blue Card in a different EU Member State are now allowed to come to the Netherlands for work-related activities for 9 months at most. This is called short-term mobility. In order to stay more than 90 days (long-term mobility), an individual must apply for a European Blue Card in the Netherlands. Long-term mobility is possible after a stay of a least 12 months in another EU Member State. This was previously after 18 months. 
    • Holders of European Blue Cards who have used long-term mobility may qualify sooner than before for the status long-term EU resident. For this purpose they may in fact also include other forms of residence.  
    • No job-market test applies to EU long-term residents who are former holders of a European Blue Card and have applied for residence in the Netherlands for the purpose of performing an economic activity as an employee or self-employed person. This means that the application is no longer assessed for the presence of jobseekers from the EEA. Nor does an employer need to place a vacancy notice and demonstrate recruitment efforts. 
    • Several decision periodshave been shortened. 

    30 Percent Rule’ restrictions passed by parliament

    On 19 December 2023, the upper house (Senate) of the Dutch parliament approved the 2024 tax plan, as well as the Minimum Tax Act 2024 (Pillar Two). These amend the Dutch corporate income tax act and Dutch personal income tax act, including the introduction of restrictions on the 30% facility.

    Currently, eligible highly skilled foreign workers are not required to pay tax on up to 30% of their income for five years (reduced from eight years in 2019). This is justified as a reimbursement for costs incurred in moving to the Netherlands form abroad. From 1 January 2024, this reimbursement can only be up to a maximum of EUR 233,000.

    It is also permitted for employers to reimburse the actual moving costs of the employee, instead of using the 30% facility.

    The first amendment requires that, effective 1 January 2024, the 30% ruling for new applications can only be applied to a maximum of 30% of the taxable salary for the first 20 months. In the following 20 months, the rule can be applied up to a maximum of 20% of the taxable wage. The following 20 months only up to a maximum of 10% of taxable wages. After 60 months, the maximum duration of the 30% ruling has expired.

    Transitionally, foreign employees already using the 30% ruling before 1 January 2024 will not be subject to the reduction.

    The second amendment regulates the abolition of partial foreigner taxpayer status by 2025. Currently, foreign workers who are resident in the Netherlands and use the 30%-ruling can select partial foreign taxpayer status in their income tax return so that, for the purposes of Box 2 and Box 3, they are considered foreign taxpayers despite being resident in the Netherlands.

    Transitionally, foreign national residents who already use this facility before 1 January 2024 can continue to use the partial foreign tax liability until 2026 at the latest.

    United Kingdom

    Further information on net migration plan

    On 4 December 2023, the government announced a plan to curb immigration abuse and cut net migration.

    The government has now published further information about these measures:

    • The government still intends to raise the minimum income requirement for family visas in lien with the new general salary threshold for Skilled Workers (i.e., GBP 38,700). However, it now states that it intends to raise the minimum income for family visas incrementally, in stages.
    • In Spring 2024, the government will raise the threshold to GBP 29,000, that is the 25th percentile of earnings for jobs at the skill level of RQF3, moving to the 40th percentile (currently GBP 34,500) and finally the 50th percentile (currently GBP 38,700 and the level at which the General Skilled Worker threshold is set).

    Until the Immigration Rules are amended, the current thresholds and policies remain in place The government has set out an indicative timetable for introducing the changes in 2024:

    Carers and senior carers – these changes will be introduced as soon as possible in the new year.

    • Care workers and senior care workers already in the route will be able to remain with their dependants, including extending, changing employer (within these SOC codes) and settlement.​
    • Where a care worker or senior care worker is in the route before the Immigration Rules change, but has not yet brought dependants, they will be allowed to bring dependants during their sponsorship (on this visa).
    • Individuals who are in the UK on any other route, including where that route permits dependants, who switch into the care visa as a care worker or senior care worker after this date, will not be able to stay with (or bring over) dependants.
    • Care providers who were sponsoring workers in exclusively non-regulated activities (and therefore not required to be registered with the CQC) before the rules change should be able to continue to sponsor these workers, including for extensions to their visa on those terms, but not hire new ones.

    Salary thresholds – these changes will be introduced via Immigration Rules with implementation in April.

    • Those already in the Skilled Worker route before the Immigration Rules changes should be exempt from the new median salary levels when they change sponsor, extend, or settle. They would, however, be subject to the updated 25th percentiles using the latest pay data when they next make an application to change employment, extend their stay, or settle.

    Immigration Salary List –the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) will be commissioned in January.

    • The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) will be renamed the Immigration Salary List and the MAC will advise on which of the current SOL occupations should remain on the list in line with the new salary thresholds.
    • The current SOL will remain in place until the new salary thresholds are put in place in late Spring.

    Family migration minimum income.

    • Those who already have a family visa within the five-year partner route, or who apply before the minimum income threshold is raised, will continue to have their applications assessed against the current income requirement and will not be required to meet the increased threshold. This will also be the case for children seeking to join or accompany parents.
    • Anyone granted a fianc(é)e visa before the minimum income threshold is raised will also be assessed against the current income requirement when they apply for a family visa within the five-year partner route.
    • Those already in the UK on a different route who apply to switch into the five-year partner route, after the minimum income requirement has been increased, will be subject to the new income requirement.

    Graduate route review

    • The MAC will review the visa route to ensure that it is operating in the best interests and priorities of the UK, and ensuring the integrity and quality of the UK higher education system is maintained.  The MAC will be commissioned in January and their work is expected to continue until late 2024.

    Youth Mobility Scheme for Taiwan 2024

    The first ballot for the Youth Mobility Scheme (YM) for Taiwanese youth will run between 31 January and 2 February 2024.

    Applications are submitted by email, according to the instructions here. The email account will only be open for 48 hours and all emails received within this timeframe will be sent an automated reply confirming receipt.

    Once the ballot closes, allocations for the 800 places will be chosen at random by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). Successful applicants will be sent a second email by 7 February 2024 to confirm acceptance and provide further instructions on how to start their application, along with documentary evidence required to apply for their entry clearance.

    Successful applicants must prepare online applications and online credit card payments no later than 6 March 2024. Failure to submit payment online by this date will automatically remove their name from the list and their allocation will be retracted. After payment online, applicants have 90 days to book an appointment at the Visa Application Centre (VAC) and submit their paperwork for consideration.

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