Immigration Updates – 26th of April

Contributor(s): Daniel King
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    European Union

    Commission allows multiple-entry Schengen visas for India, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia

    On 22 April 2024, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced “a decision adopted by the European Commission… to harmonise the rules for granting multiple-entry visas for the citizens of the GCC countries.”

    The three decisions update the rules for the issuance of multiple-entry Schengen visas for nationals of Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

    Nationals of these three Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states applying for short-stay Schengen visas from consulates in their country of nationality will be issued a multiple-entry visa valid for a period of five years.

    Separately, Indian nationals applying for short-stay Schengen visas from within India will be issued a multiple-entry visa valid for a period of two years, on the condition that they have previously obtained and used two Schengen visas within the preceding three years.

    Visa fees for Gambian nationals reduced to standard level

    The European Council has decided that the visa fee for nationals of The Gambia who wish to travel to the Schengen area will be reduced from EUR 120 to the standard visa application fee of EUR 80.

    Because of a lack of cooperation of The Gambia as regards readmission of its nationals illegally staying in the EU, the Council had decided in December 2022 to increase the standard application fee for nationals of The Gambia to €120. Since then, The Gambia has substantially and sustainably improved its cooperation on readmission as regards the organisation of return flights and operations.

    The EU also decided, in 2021, to temporarily suspend the following for nationals of The Gambia:

    • the possibility that member states waive requirements with regard to the documents to be submitted by Gambian visa applicants;
    • the limitation of the processing period to 15 calendar days;
    • the issuing of multiple entry visas;
    • the optional visa fee waiver for holders of diplomatic and service passports.

    These suspensions currently remain in place.

    Finland

    Automated decisions to renew residence documents available for some applicants

    Effective 25 April 2024, the Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) has introduced automated decision-making in renewing residence permit cards and residence cards.

    An automated decision is a decision that Migri’s system automatically makes on an application. The processing of the application may involve automated steps and steps taken by Migri specialists.

    The system makes an automated decision only where this is possible under law. Automation is based on the rules formulated by the Finnish Immigration Service. The system uses these rules to check whether an application meets the requirements laid down in law.

    A card may be renewed automatically if the holder meets the following conditions:

    • They hold a permanent residence permit or a permanent residence card for an EU citizen’s family member;
    • Their right of residence is not based on the withdrawal agreement conducted between the European Union and the United Kingdom (meaning that you do not have a Brexit permit);
    • They have applied for a new card on 25 April 2024 or thereafter;
    • They have submitted all the information and documents required for renewing the card;
    • They do not have a non-disclosure for personal safety reasons.

    Automated post-decision monitoring of startup entrepreneurs’ residence permits to begin

    The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) has announced that it will begin using automated post-decision monitoring of start-up entrepreneurs’ residence permits on 24 April 2024. The purpose of post-decision monitoring is to verify that start-up entrepreneurs still meet the permit requirements.

    A residence permit for a start-up entrepreneur can be granted to a person who establishes a start-up company or owns a recently founded company that aims for growth. Before applying for the permit, the entrepreneur must first obtain a positive eligibility statement from Business Finland. The Finnish Immigration Service will conduct automated monitoring of start-up entrepreneurs’ residence permits that have entered into force on 1 January 2023 or later.

    Post-decision monitoring focuses on the key requirements for the residence permit for start-up entrepreneurs. One of the monitored parameters is whether the entrepreneur has moved to Finland. Migri may conduct automatic register checks in a selection of national registers, including the registers of Kela, the Incomes Register and the Population Information System of Finland.

    The Finnish Immigration Service has carried out post-decision monitoring since 2017. Automated post-decision monitoring was used for the first time in the autumn of 2023 to help monitor students’ residence permits.

    Ireland

    Update on Stamp 2 bridging permission for English language students

    Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) has announced bridging permission for English Language course students who have successfully completed a second or third course and subsequently enrolled in a Higher Education Programme commencing by the end of October 2024.

    The bridging permission will be a short-term Stamp 2 permission granted until 30 September 2024, from the date of expiry of their current Irish Residence Permit (IRP) card, on the basis that applicants will be in a position to provide documentary evidence of a confirmed and fully paid Higher Education Programme listed on the Interim List of Eligible Providers (ILEP) commencing September 2024.

    The Stamp 2 Bridging Permissions will be granted as follows:

    • Students who have successfully completed a third English Language course (max allowable) and have enrolled in and paid fees for a Higher Education Programme listed on the ILEP, commencing by the end of October 2024, can avail of a bridging permission by applying via their local immigration office if residing outside of Dublin, Meath Kildare or Wicklow, or via the online portal if residing in Dublin, Meath, Kildare or Wicklow, provided all other criteria are met.
    • Where students have successfully completed a second English Language course on or after 1 July 2024 and have enrolled in and paid fees for a Higher Education Programme listed on the Interim List of Eligible Providers (ILEP) commencing by end of October 2024, they can avail of this bridging permission by applying via their local immigration office if residing outside of Dublin, Meath, Kildare or Wicklow, or via the online portal if residing in Dublin, Meath, Kildare or Wicklow, provided all other criteria are met.

    This bridging permission does not apply to students who have successfully completed a second English Language course prior to 1 July 2024 regardless of the date of application. These students have the option to undertake a third English language course and renew a permission on that basis, should they wish to.

    Students wishing to avail of this bridging permission must have:

    • An in-date IRP card or a card that has expired within one month when applying for the bridging permission;
    • Successfully completed a third English Language course listed on the ILEP or successfully completed a second English Language course listed on the ILEP on or after 1 July 2024;
    • Have enrolled in and paid fees in full for a Higher Education Programme listed on the ILEP;
    • Apply for a renewal (bridging permission) via their local immigration office if residing outside of Dublin, Meath, Kildare or Wicklow, or via the online portal if residing in Dublin, Meath, Kildare or Wicklow.

    Students will be required to:

    • Satisfy renewal criteria;
    • Provide evidence of their enrolment in a Higher Education Programme listed on the ILEP;
    • Provide evidence that the course fees have been paid in full.

    Students whose second or third English language course finished on or after 1 July 2024 wishing to avail of this bridging permission will be fee-exempt. (Dublin, Meath, Kildare or Wicklow based customers applying via the online portal will have the fee refunded when the application is processed).

    Students whose third English language course finished prior to 1 July 2024 wishing to avail of this bridging permission will pay the standard fee of EUR 300.

    Students who avail of this bridging permission will be required to renew their immigration permission prior to the bridging permission expiring on 30 September 2024.

    The notice is valid from 1st May 2024 to 31st August 2024 only.

    Ukraine

    Government restricts consular services for Ukrainian men of conscription age

    On 25 April 2024, the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, announced a temporary suspension of the acceptance of applications for consular services for Ukrainian men of conscription age (18-60) living abroad.

    All applications for the provision of consular services submitted before 23 April 2024 will be considered and processed by consulates in full, including applications submitted for registration of a passport of a citizen of Ukraine for travelling abroad.

    The restrictions do not apply to consular applications by Ukrainian men of conscription age on behalf of their children. Moreover, emergency consular assistance is not affected by these restrictions.

    The Minister added that further clarifications will soon be provided on the procedure for obtaining consular services for men of conscription age once the new law “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Certain Issues of Military Service, Mobilization and Military Registration” comes into force on 18 May 2024. According to the law, once male citizens of Ukraine have updated their military registration details, they will be able to access consular services abroad.

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