Immigration updates – 17th of May

Contributor(s): Daniel King
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    Finland

    Updated salary requirement for EU Blue Card holders

    Effective 13 May 2024, the salary requirement for an EU Blue Card as a highly-qualified worker will be lowered to the same level as that for a residence permit as a specialist. In 2024, the required monthly salary is EUR 3638.

    Foreign nationals can apply for an EU Blue Card in Finland if

    • they are coming to Finland for highly qualified employment (as a highly skilled worker);
    • their salary is at least EUR 3638 in 2024; and
    • they have completed a higher education degree that takes at least three years to complete, or they are a highly skilled worker.

    Applicants must have confirmed employment lasting at least six months before applying for the permit.

    An EU Blue Card can be granted for a maximum of two years. If the work lasts for less than two years, the EU Blue Card will be valid for the duration of the employment relationship and for three additional months thereafter.

    France

    Residence permit holders will receive expiry notifications

    The Directorate General of Foreigners (DGEF) has launched a new digital notification system to help residence permit holders to remember to renew their permission on time.

    Foreign nationals holding a residence permit issued as part of an application submitted online via the ANEF system will be alerted simultaneously by email and SMS of the imminent arrival of the period within which their renewal application must be submitted.

    The system will send out two sets of notifications – the first four months before expiry and the second two months and one week before expiry.

    Residence permit holders must apply for renewal no earlier than four months and no later than two months before the expiry of the permit. A renewal request after the expiry of this period is subject to a late payment fee of EUR 180.

    Ireland

    Eligible spouses and partners of employment permit holders allowed to work

    The Ministers for Justice and Enterprise, Trade and Employment have announced that eligible spouses and partners of General Employment Permit and Intra-Corporate Transferee Irish Employment Permit holders will now be registered on a Stamp 1G permission, rather than a Stamp 3, allowing them to work without first obtaining a separate employment permit of their own.

    In addition to this announcement, spouses and partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit holders and Researchers on a Hosting Agreement currently on a Stamp 3 are also now eligible for a Stamp 1G.

    Effective 15 May 2024, eligible spouses and partners with a Stamp 3 endorsed on their current in-date Irish Residence Permit (IRP) card have had their permission to remain in Ireland varied to the same conditions as Stamp 1G. They do not need to make an application to the Registration Office where they reside in counties Dublin, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow or their relevant An Garda local immigration office in the rest of Ireland to change their current permission from Stamp 3 to Stamp 1G, or acquire a new IRP.

    A new Irish Residence Permit on Stamp 1G conditions will issue to eligible persons when they seek to renew their current Stamp 3 permission upon its expiry.

    Eligible spouses and partners do not need to acquire a new IRP card to engage in employment. They can provide prospective employers this letter in conjunction with their current IRP card endorsed with a Stamp 3, which explains this temporary administrative arrangement. This arrangement is valid during the transition period until 15 May 2025. After this date, eligible spouses and partners will have renewed their IRP cards to Stamp 1G.

    To be eligible for this varying of permission, those who currently reside in Ireland must meet the following criteria on 15 May 2024:

    • A spouse or partner of General Employment Permit (GEP) or Intra-Corporate Transferee (ICT) permit holder; OR
    • a spouse or partner of a Critical Skills Employment Permit Holder (CSEP) or Researcher on a Hosting Agreement; OR
    • a spouse or partner of a Non-Consultant Hospital Doctor (NCHD) on a Multi-Site General Employment Permit; OR
    • a spouse or partner of someone who previously held one of the above and is now on Stamp 4 permission; OR
    • a spouse or partner of someone who has been issued a Reactivation Employment Permit for a GEP, ICT or CSEP Employment Permit.

    And:

    • Granted permission to reside in Ireland under the Non-EEA Family Reunification Policy;
    • Legally resident in the State on a valid Stamp 3;
    • Wish to engage in employment in Ireland;
    • A non-EU/EEA/UK/Swiss national.

    This does not apply to:

    • All other family members, other than spouses or partners, of Employment Permit, Hosting Agreement or Intra-Corporate Transferee Permit holders; NOR
    • a spouse or partner of an Employment Permit, Hosting Agreement or Intra-Corporate Transferee Permit holder, who is present in the State on a different type of permission, such as, visitor conditions or Stamp 2 (study); NOR
    • a spouse or partner of an Employment Permit, Hosting Agreement or Intra-Corporate Transferee Permit holder who does not have permission be in the state.
    • Stamp 3 holders, who have been issued Stamp 3 permission for other reasons and are not spouses or partners of an Employment Permit, Hosting Agreement or Intra- Corporate Transferee Permit holder.

    The application process for eligible spouses and partners who wish to join their family member in Ireland remains unchanged.

    United Kingdom

    Migration Advisory Committee publishes rapid review of Graduate route

    On 14 May 2024, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published its rapid review of the Graduate route commissioned by the government in March 2024. The MAC recommends retaining the Graduate in its current form.

    The accompanying letter states:

    We have not found evidence of widespread abuse on the Graduate route, where we define abuse as deliberate non-compliance with immigration rules, and we conclude that the route is not undermining the integrity and quality of the UK higher education system. However, we have reason to believe that some agents and subagents recruiting international students are mis-selling UK higher education and exploiting students in the process. We expect the impact on public finances of Graduate visa holders on the route to be small but positive, as most appear to work, are young, and have no recourse to public funds.

    The MAC also notes:

    The changes to the rules on student dependants which were implemented in January and are in effect a change to the dependant rules of the Graduate route, will likely have a significant effect on Graduate route usage going forward. Whilst initial data suggests these changes are already substantially reducing international student numbers, we believe their full impact should be assessed before considering further changes.

    The MAC also recommends:

    • that the government establishes a mandatory registration system for international recruitment agents and subagents to help ensure that the quality of UK higher education is upheld, and students are protected from exploitation; and
    • that the government only opens new routes or makes significant policy changes when it has a plan for how it will collect and monitor data to assess the effectiveness of the route and understand wider impacts.
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