Immigration Updates – 22nd of March

Contributor(s): Daniel King
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    Denmark

    Authorities publish updated income statistics applicable from 1 April 2024.

    The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) uses income statistics made by the Confederation of Danish Employers (DA) in the case processing of applications to decide if an offered job is within the Danish standards for salary. This applies to the Pay Limit Scheme, the Positive List and the Fast Track Scheme, among other routes.

    The new income statistics contain information from the fourth quarter of 2023 and will take effect for applications submitted from 1 April 2024. It is expected that the income statistics will be updated each quarter and that the next update will take effect from 1 July 2024. 

    SIRI will usually assume that the salary corresponds to Danish standards, and will not make further assessment, if it is stated in the application form and employment contract that:

    • The employer is covered by a collective agreement though a membership of an employers’ association.
    • The employment is covered by a collective agreement in the relevant sector.
    • The salary is at least DKK 71,020.83 per month (2024 level). 

    If the above-mentioned terms are not documented in the employment contract, SIRI will assess whether the salary offered corresponds to Danish standards, using the income statistics from the DA as a guideline.

    Applications for a residence and work permit after 31 March 2024 will be evaluated according to the income statistics for the fourth quarter of 2024. 

    Applications between 1 January 2024 and 31 March 2024 will be evaluated according to the income statistics from the third quarter of 2023. 

    Residence permits under Ukraine -Special Act extended

    The Danish Immigration Service has now extended the residence permits which were granted under the Ukraine-Special Act. The validity has been extended until 17 March 2025.

    On 3 November 2023, the Minister of Immigration and Integration decided that residence permits which were issued under the act on temporary residence permits granted to people who have been displaced from Ukraine (hereinafter the Special Act) could be extended until 17 March 2025.

    The Danish Immigration Service initiated a review of all residence permits which were issued under the Special Act until 3 November 2023, and which were otherwise set to expire on 17 March 2024. If the requirements were met, the residence permits have been extended until 17 March 2025.

    Residence permits under the special act, which were granted in the period from 3 November 2023 to 17 March 2024, have at the same time been extended, so that they are valid until 17 March 2025.

    In a small number of cases, the Danish Immigration Service attempted, without success, to contact individuals who were granted a residence permit under the Special Act before 3 November 2023. In these cases, the Danish Immigration Service was unable to extend the residence permits because necessary information was not available. As a result, these permits will expire on 17 March 2024. Those individuals who could not be contacted are requested to submit a new application for a residence permit under the Special Act, if they still wish to retain a residence permit in Denmark based on the Special Act.

    Finland

    Thailand applications for wild berry picker visas suspended

    The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has decided to suspend the reception of wild-berry pickers’ visa applications in Thailand. The suspension applies to all applicants in countries within the consular district of the Embassy of Finland in Bangkok: Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. This means that Schengen visas will not be issued to wild-berry pickers from these countries for the summer 2024 harvest season.

    Visas for wild-berry picking have been issued on the assumption that pickers enter the country for a purpose comparable to tourism, collect wild berries freely under the right of public access (‘Everyman’s Right’) and sell the natural products that they have harvested to the party of their choice. However, it is evident that the current practice in the sector contradicts this assumption. It has come to the Foreign Ministry’s attention that wild-berry pickers have generally entered into employment contracts.

    The charges and suspicions related to aggravated trafficking in human beings involve hundreds of victims. The clear and serious risk of exploitation and trafficking of human beings must be taken into account when visa applications are considered. As the visa authority and the authority guiding the issuing of visas by the missions, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs takes the exploitation of Thai wild-berry pickers very seriously.

    The Government’s aim is to find a comprehensive long-term solution to the entry of wild-berry pickers into Finland from the 2025 harvest season onwards.

    Visa applications of applicants other than berry pickers will continue to be received and processed as usual at the Embassy of Finland in Bangkok, and the applications will be individually processed in accordance with the Visa Code.

    Germany

    New appointments system for Schengen visa applications in Turkey

    Effective 18 March 2024, a new appointments system is implemented for short-stay Schengen visa applications at all German diplomatic missions in Turkey.

    The appointment procedure has two steps:

    Appointments are made exclusively in chronological order of appointment registrations. The previous, time-consuming search for a free appointment will now be avoided.

    Appointment registration is always free of charge, but to confirm the appointment for submitting the visa application, the service fee must be paid within 48 hours of appointment assignment by IDATA. Appointments not confirmed in time will be cancelled and the applicant will have to register again.

    The use of an agency or an intermediary to make an appointment is not necessary. The waiting times for visa application appointments will depend on demand.

    United Kingdom

    Sponsorship Management System offline

    In an update to Part 2 of its guidance for sponsors of foreign workers, the government has noted that the sponsorship management system (SMS) will be unavailable from 19:00 hours on 2 April 2024 until 09:00 hours on 4 April 2024.

    The sponsor management system will be updated to implement the changes to the Immigration Rules which are due to take effect on 4 April 2024, including:

    • Replacing the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) 2010 system currently used in Appendix Skilled Occupations with the SOC 2020 system – with changes to some occupation codes numbers and job descriptions; and
    • Increasing salary thresholds for skilled workers, global business mobility workers, scale-up workers and seasonal workers.

    These changes will affect any application for entry clearance or permission supported by a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) assigned on or after 4 April 2024.

    During this period, sponsors will not be able to:

    • Apply for a sponsor licence, apply to add routes to a licence, or renew a licence;
    • Apply for any Skilled Worker Defined Certificates (DCoS);
    • Ask to increase or renew the allocation of Undefined Certificates of Sponsorship (UCoS);
    • Assign any CoS to workers they wish to sponsor.

    Sponsors will therefore need to take action if they wish to apply for or assign any CoS before these changes take effect:

    • Any applications outstanding at 7pm on 2 April 2024 will be cancelled and a new application will have to be made after 9am on 4 April 2024 based on the relevant SOC 2020 codes and revised salary thresholds.
    • Any DCoS granted before 7pm on 2 April 2024 with a SOC 2010 code must be assigned before that time and date or it will be cancelled.
    • Any UCoS with the status of “work in progress” or “ready to go” which has not been assigned by 7pm on 2 April 2024 will need to be updated with the relevant SOC 2020 code and with a salary that meets the revised salary thresholds before it can be assigned to a worker.
    • DCoS or UCoS which have been assigned to workers before 7pm on 2 April 2024 will not be cancelled and will remain valid for the normal 3-month validity.
    • Applications for entry clearance or permission made using these CoS will be considered with reference to salary thresholds and SOC 2010 codes under the Immigration Rules in place before 4 April 2024, even if the worker applies on or after that date.

    Updated guidance for holders of physical immigration documents

    The UK government has updated its guidance for holders of physical immigration documents, as it replaces them with online records of immigration status, known as eVisas.

    Holders of a biometric residence permit (BRP) that expires on 31 December 2024, will be contacted by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to explain how to create a UKVI account and access their eVisa before the expiry date of their BRP. 

    Those who have already been contacted to create an account, either by email or in a decision letter, can now follow the instructions sent by UKVI to create a UKVI account. 

    Those who have not yet been contacted about creating an account will be able to create their account and access their eVisa later in 2024.

    Those who have permission to stay in the UK will be able to sign in to the view and prove service to access their eVisa, once they’ve created their UKVI account.

    Those who have indefinite leave to enter or indefinite leave to remain (also known as settlement) and currently prove their rights through a different type of physical document, such as a wet-ink stamp in the passport or a vignette sticker, should make a ‘no time limit’ (NTL) application.

    If the NTL application is successful, they’ll get a BRP to prove their rights. They should carry their BRP, along with their passport, when travelling internationally. Once they have a BRP, they’ll be able to create a UKVI account to access their eVisa later this year.

    Those who have a biometric residence card (BRC) and have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme already have an eVisa and do not need to take any action to obtain one. They should continue to carry their BRC with them when they travel internationally.  

    For those who have a BRC and have not been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme, obtained another form of immigration leave, or become a British citizen, their BRC is no longer valid, even if it appears to still be in date. This is because the UK has left the EU, and the EU free movement law no longer applies.

    To continue living in the UK they should get an immigration status as soon as possible. They may be able to make a late application to the EU Settlement Scheme as a family member of a relevant EU, other EEA or Swiss citizen. They should not travel internationally until they have obtained a proof of their immigration status.

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