Immigration updates – 10th of May

Contributor(s): Daniel King
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    Increase to the Financial Capacity Requirement for Student and Student Guardian visas

    From 10 May 2024, the amount of money that Student and Student Guardian visa applicants need to have to be eligible for the visa is increasing.

    The financial capacity requirement has been updated to align with a proportion (75 per cent) of the national minimum wage. This will better indicate the amount of money considered reasonable to provide a minimum standard of living while studying in Australia. This proportion considers that students are out of course session for 25 per cent of the year. During this time they may return home or have access to unrestricted work.

    The below table outlines the funds applicants need to show to meet the minimum financial capacity requirement, which will increase from 10 May 2024.

     Financial capacity requirement before 10 May 2024Financial capacity requirement after 10​​ May 2024
    Primary applicantAUD 24,505AUD 29,710
    Spouse or de facto partner of the student primary applicantAUD 8574AUD 10,394
    Dependent childAUD 3670AUD 4449
    Annual school costsAUD 9661AUD 13,502
    Personal annual income if there is no member of the familyAUD72,465AUD87,856
    Personal annual income where there is a member of the family unit.AUD84,543AUD102,500

    The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will assess applications lodged before 10 ​May 2024 under the financial capacity requirements in effect at the time of application.


    New temporary public policy to benefit Hong Kong permanent residence applicants

    Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that a new public policy will be launched in the coming weeks to let Hong Kong permanent residence pathway applicants extend their status and get a new open work permit in Canada while they wait for a decision on their permanent residence applications

    Starting 27 May 2024, open work permits will be available to those who both:

    • applied for permanent residence under Stream A (in-Canada graduates) or Stream B (Canadian work experience) of the temporary public policy for Hong Kong residents in Canada, and
    • held a work or study permit in the three years before their application for permanent residence was received

    The new public policy will remain in place for five years so that applicants can extend their temporary status in Canada while the processing of their permanent residence application continues.

    Those with temporary status in Canada, or their guardians, are responsible for renewing their status as needed. A foreign national who submits an application to extend their work or study permit in Canada before their current permit expires continues to have legal status until a decision is taken on their extension application. This is called “maintained status”.

    If an applicant’s temporary status expired in the 90 days before applying for a new open work permit, they can apply under this public policy and restore their status at the same time. If their temporary status expired more than 90 days before they try to apply for this new open work permit, their application will not be approved.

    2024 parents and grandparents intake announced

    Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that, starting 21 May 2024, invitations will be sent to potential sponsors to apply for their parents and grandparents to become permanent residents. 

    IRCC will send 35,700 invitations over the course of approximately two weeks to those who submitted an interest to sponsor form in 2020.  The goal is to accept up to 20,500 complete applications for the 2024 intake.

    For those who aren’t invited to apply as a sponsor, their parents and grandparents may be eligible to apply for a super visa which lets them stay in Canada for five years at a time, and to apply for two-year extensions once they are in Canada.

    New measure to support skilled temporary workers in Manitoba

    Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has approved Manitoba’s request to extend temporary resident status for potential nominees identified under the province’s Provincial Nominee Program who have work permits that will expire in 2024. These individuals are mainly post-graduation work permit holders who are currently in the Manitoba Skilled Worker Provincial Nominee Program Expression of Interest pool.

    This temporary measure will authorize 6700 temporary workers identified and supported by Manitoba to continue working while the province processes their applications for the Provincial Nominee Program. Within two years, it is expected that eligible foreign nationals will receive an official nomination from Manitoba and eventually become permanent residents.

    While this measure applies to Manitoba, IRCC is open to exploring options with other provinces and territories to transition a greater portion of current temporary residents to permanent residence and address their labour market needs.


    Extended visas exemption for 12 countries 

    The spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry has announced that it has decided to extend the visa-free policy for short-term visits to China for nationals of 12 countries until 31 December 2025.

    The policy applies to nationals of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland for stays of up to 15 days for business, tourism, family visits and transit.

    New measures to facilitate movement between mainland China, Macau and Hong Kong

    Effective 6 May 2024, the National Immigration Administration (NIA) has announced the implementation of six new measures and policies to facilitate the movement of citizens and businesspeople.

    The measures include:

    • New online processing of applications for the renewal and replacement of entry certificates in any of 20 mainland cities;
    • Submission anywhere in China of applications for business visit endorsement for mainland residents going to Hong Kong and Macau, regardless of the applicant’s place of household registration or residence;
    • Extension of the period of stay in Hong Kong and Macao for holders of business endorsements from 7 days to 14 days;
    • Expansion to Beijing and Shanghai of applications for exit endorsement for talents in six categories;
    • Visas for over one year for mainland residents who go to Macao to participate in exhibitions, seek medical treatment or engage in performing arts and other activities;
    • Facilitation of excursions from the mainland to Macau and Hong Kong.

    The talent exit endorsement has been implemented in the mainland cities of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) on a pilot basis since 20 February 2023. Under the new measure, apart from the expansion of application to Beijing and Shanghai, other existing arrangements of the talent exit endorsement remain unchanged. The six categories of talents (i.e. outstanding talents, scientific research talents, education talents, healthcare talents, legal talents and other talents) who meet the eligibility criteria can apply to the mainland authorities for a talent exit endorsement with a validity period of five years, three years or one year. They can travel to and from Hong Kong or Macau multiple times within the validity period of the exit endorsement and stay in Hong Kong for a duration not exceeding 30 days during each visit.


    Application details for Digital Nomad Visa published

    The Consulate General of Italy in London has published the list of documents which must be submitted in support of an application for the new digital nomad and remote worker visas.

    The implementing decree for the digital nomad visa was published in the official gazette on 4 April 2024 and concerns highly-qualified non-EU national workers who work remotely while resident in Italy, either as a freelancer (digital nomad) or as an employee of a company (remote worker) which can be based outside Italy.  The visa is exempt from the annual quota limits, and it is not necessary to apply for a work permit. 

    Applicants, who must submit their application in person at the consulate, require proof of education or professional experience to be qualified as a highly-skilled worker:

    • A Bachelors’ Degree or a post-secondary professional qualification (lasting at least three years); OR
    • At least three years of relevant professional experience gained in the seven years prior to the application submission, proving that the applicant is a manager or specialist in the specific field; OR
    • A professional qualification supported by at least five years of professional experience (providing, as supporting evidence, the employment contract or the binding offer + company information and a letter from the employer specifying: role, starting date and duration of the contract.)

    Applicants also require:

    • An annual income at least three times the minimum required for exemption from health care participation expenses;
    • Health insurance for the entire period of stay;
    • Accommodation in Italy;
    • At least six months of work experience as a digital nomad or remote worker;
    • (For remote workers) an employment contract or job offer for a highly qualified position (the salary must not be lower than the average net salary for the field);
    • Round-trip travel ticket reservation for short-term Schengen Visa shorter than 90 days; One way travel tickets reservation for long-term National visa longer than 90 days;
    • a declaration signed by the employer attesting the absence of criminal convictions in the last five years.

    The consulate notes that it can take up to 90 days to process remote worker visa applications and up to 120 days to process digital nomad visa applications.  The applicant’s passport will be kept by the consulate during processing. 

    Online application now available for new out-of-quota work permit 

    Non-EU nationals who have worked abroad for at least twelve months for Italian companies, or companies owned by Italian companies, can also come to work in Italy for those same companies, regardless of the quotas authorized by the government. This is a new category of out-of-quota work permit introduced a few months ago in the Consolidated Law on Immigration (Dec. 286/1998, art. 27 paragraph 1, letter i bis).

    Since 16 April 2024, the form to request the authorization of the entry of these workers into Italy is available on the Service Portal of the Ministry of the Interior

    The same form will continue to be used for applications for intra-corporate transfers as referred to in art. 27-quinques.


    Residence guidance for Ukrainian nationals

    The immigration and naturalisation authority (IND) has announced that from 6 May 2024, third-country nationals with a temporary residence permit in Ukraine can collect a residence sticker with which they can demonstrate permission to stay and work in the Netherlands for the time being. IND will send a letter on this subject to around 1900 third-country nationals and to their lawyers.

    The letter follows the decision by the Minister for Migration on 25 April 2024 to freeze the consequences of the termination of temporary protection for this group. Because of this, third-country nationals with a temporary residence permit in Ukraine can make longer use of the rights they had under the Temporary Protection Directive (TPD).

    The freezing and thereby the rights of the TPD will apply until 4 March 2025 at the latest, or earlier if the Court of Justice of the European Union (EU court) issues a judgment before this date. On 25 April 2024, the Council of State requested a preliminary ruling from the EU court on the interpretation of the TPD. And on the termination of temporary protection for this group of third-country nationals.

    New Zealand

    Updated guidance on employer accreditation renewals

    Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has provided updated guidance to support employers and their advisers with renewing their accreditation.

    The guidance covers:

    • who should renew their accreditation
    • the best time to apply – we recommend six weeks before accreditation expires
    • choosing the right accreditation type
    • the evidence to provide for faster processing
    • how to apply.

    For faster application processing, employers should provide supporting documents up front that show evidence of being a viable and genuinely operating business or organisation, compliance with business standards and settlement support for their AEWV employees. If this information is not provided and INZ needs to request it, the application will take longer to process.

    Supporting documents can include, but are not limited to:

    • latest available evidence showing the business is viable and genuinely operating;
    • GST or PAYE records showing the business’ Inland Revenue (IR) number;
    • latest available evidence showing the time provided to employees to complete the Employment New Zealand employee modules;
    • Evidence showing that the Employment New Zealand employer modules have or will be completed;
    • Evidence showing that settlement support information was provided within one month of the AEWV holder starting to work;
    • the latest organisation chart, showing structure and positions in the business to help INZ understand the structure and nature of the business operation.

    United Kingdom

    Government extends seasonal worker visa route for 5 years

    The UK government has announced that it will extend the seasonal worker visa route for five years until 2029, “to give businesses time to plan effectively… to invest in automation and move away from a reliance on migrant labour”.

    43,000 visas will be available to the horticulture sector in 2025, with another 2000 visas for poultry. Further detail of the number of visas available for 2026 to 2029 will be set out later this year.  This represents a reduction of 2000 visas in addition to removing the extra 10,000 visas potentially available if sector demand had required.

    The Migration Advisory Committee’s ongoing inquiry into the Seasonal Worker visa route is due to be published in summer 2024.

    United States

    Japanese language and culture specialists can now stay for up to three years

    Under a new Memorandum of Cooperation with Japan, the US Department of State (DOS) has extended the permitted duration of stay under the J-1 visa classification for Japanese language and culture specialists from one year to three years. 

    The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program facilitates work-based and study-based exchanges in a range of professional fields. The “specialist” category is established for experts who can thereby visit the United States to observe, consult, or demonstrate their special skills.

    Eligible Japanese-national specialist are issued a J-1 nonimmigrant visa valid initially for one year, with the option of a one-time extension for up to an additional 24 months, at the sponsor’s discretion. 

    Japanese exchange visitors are expected to share their specialized knowledge of Japanese, language, education and culture in community-based non-profit organisations, US government offices and secondary and post-secondary schools and institutions. 

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