Immigration updates – 24th of May

Contributor(s): Daniel King
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    European Union

    Schengen visa fee to increase

    The European Commission has decided to increase the fee for a Schengen visa from EUR 80 to EUR 90 for adults and from EUR 40 to EUR 45 for children (aged 6-11 years), effective 11 June 2024.

    On 22 May 2024, the EU published Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2024/1415 of 14 March 2024 amending Regulation (EC) No 810/2009 as regards the amount of the visa fees, formalising this decision.

    Italy

    Residence permit for pending citizenship allows work

    The government has clarified that holders of a residence permit for pending citizenship are permitted to work.

    An eligible foreign national wishing to apply for Italian citizenship must first enter Italy and register their residency at the city hall (commune). They should have prepared all the supporting documents, duly legalised and translated as necessary, before arrival. Once they have submitted a citizenship application in Italy, they can submit an application for a residence permit for pending citizenship through police headquarters (questura) via the authorized Post Office.

    According to the government’s latest guidance, residence permits for pending citizenship can be converted into a residence permit for work purposes, allowing the holder to carry out work, even before the residence permit has been issued. While waiting for the appointment at the police headquarters for the issuance of the residence permit for pending citizenship, the holder can start carrying out a work activity supported by the submission receipt of the residence permit application, subject to the employer sending the necessary communication (Unilav) in the case of employment or reporting the employment relationship to INPS (in the case of domestic work).

    For the crediting of the salary it is necessary to open a bank or postal account, which is possible even before the issuance of the residence permit, using the submission receipt of the residence permit application.

    The government guidance also clarifies that a holder of a residence permit for pending citizenship can also apply for family reunification.

    Sweden

    Digital passport check pilot for foreign residents

    The Swedish Migration Agency has announced a pilot for digital passport check to make it easier to apply for a residence permit. Foreign students and workers from 23 countries are the first to be able to use the identification app Freja to show their passports.

    The Digital Passport Check e-service has been developed so that visa-free students and workers applying for residence permits can avoid time-consuming and sometimes expensive journeys to a Swedish mission abroad.

    The first offers of a digital passport check will be sent in the last week of May 2024, in the form of an automated email within a couple of days of an online application for a work or study permit. The email contains a personalised link to the e-service that is valid for one week. The Migration Agency (Migrationsverkert) will also send an offer to all eligible individuals who have submitted an application in 2024 but have not yet shown their passport.

    The passport check is done with the help of Freja eID Group AB, which offers functions for reviewing and transmitting passport information to Swedish authorities.

    Using the Freja app will also be a first step in creating an e-ID that other authorities can rely on during the application process. Once the user has obtained a Swedish personal identity number or coordination number, it can be updated to a full Swedish e-ID.

    Around 19,000 workers and 5,000 students are expected to benefit from the new digital passport check service every year based on statistics on the 23 countries in 2023.

    The 23 countries whose nationals may be eligible for the digital passport check pilot are:

    Albania, Argentina, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Georgia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Peru, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States.

    United Kingdom

    Upcoming changes to EU Settlement Scheme announced

    On 21 May 2024, the Home Office announced further changes to pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

    The changes support the Home Office’s practical implementation of the High Court judgment in the judicial review proceedings brought by the Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements (IMA). In response to that judgment, in July 2023 the Home Office confirmed that, from September 2023, people with pre-settled status under the EUSS would automatically have their status extended by two years before it expires if they have not obtained settled status.

    Now the Home Office has announced that it will increase the duration of pre-settled status extensions from two to five years, and will also remove the pre-settled status expiry date from the digital profiles shown to third parties in the online checking services for Right to Work, Right to Rent and View and Prove.

    Alongside this change, employers, landlords and letting agents will not be required to conduct a further right to work or rent check where the individual remains in their employment or as part of that tenancy agreement.

    In July 2023, the Home Office stated that it would automatically convert as many eligible pre-settled status holders as possible to settled status once they are eligible for it, without them needing to make an application. This is not mentioned in the most recent announcement.

    Changes to the Creative Worker route

    Effective 16 May 2024, the government updated the sponsorship requirements for the Creative Worker route to reflect changes previously published in the Statement of Changes of 14 March 2024.

    The principle change is that creative roles no longer need to fall under the Immigration Salary List (formerly known as the Shortage Occupation List). This is expected to broaden the situations in which this route can be used by employers.

    In the new guidance, the sponsor must ensure that:

    • they have complied with the relevant code of practice in Appendix Creative Worker Codes of Practice, if one exists for the role; OR
    • if there is no code of practice, that the role is in the creative industries and is in an occupation code listed in any of the tables of Appendix Skilled Occupations; and that the worker will be making a unique contribution to creative life in the UK.

    Appendix Creative Worker Codes of Practice covers the following seven areas:

    • ballet
    • dancers (other than ballet)
    • performers in film and television
    • performers in opera
    • performers in theatre
    • workers in film and television
    • models in the fashion industry.

    Occupation codes in Appendix Skilled Occupations include, among others:

    • 3411: Artists
    • 3412: Authors, writers and translators
    • 3413: Actors, entertainers and presenters
    • 3414: Dancers and choreographers
    • 3415: Musicians
    • 3416: Arts officers, producers and directors
    • 3417: Photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators
    • 3421: Interior designers
    • 3422: Clothing, fashion and accessories designers.

    Those sponsoring a worker who applied for entry clearance or permission before 16 May 2024, and who met the requirements of the Immigration Rulers in force before that date on the basis that their role is in a shortage occupation, must ensure the job was listed in Appendix Immigration Salary List (or its predecessor Appendix Shortage Occupation List) on the date the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) was assigned.

    Pop-up visa application centre in Guinea

    The UK government has announced that from 28 to 30 May 2024 only, applicants can submit their UK visa application at the British Embassy in Conakry, Guinea.

    Only applications for a visit visa (for a validity of six months, two years, five years or ten years) can be made at the “pop-up” visa clinic. Applicants for other visa routes (such as student, work, settlement) will not be able to use this service.

    Limited appointments are available, so places should be booked as soon as possible.

    Note that individuals should not apply through this clinic if they need your passport within a month of submitting the application. Passports will have to be sent to Ghana for processing and the British Embassy in Conakry will have no access to them until a decision has been made and they have been returned to Conakry.

    For those applying for a six-month visa, the intended date of travel to the UK should not be after December 2024.

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