Immigration updates – 21st of June

Contributor(s): Daniel King
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    Australia

    Government changes certain visa conditions

    The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has announced that, from 1 July 2024, visa conditions 8107, 8607 and 8608 are changing in response to the government’s Migration Strategy. These changes address worker exploitation and productivity and support the labour market mobility of temporary migrants who have the following visas:

    • Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457)
    • Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482)
    • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (provisional) visa (subclass 494).

    Holders of these visas who stop working with their sponsoring employer will have more time to find a new sponsor, apply for a different visa or arrange to depart Australia. These visa holders will have up to:

    • 180 days at a time, or
    • a maximum of 365 days in total across the entire visa grant period.

    During this time, visa holders can work for other employers. This includes work in occupations not listed in their most recently approved sponsorship nomination. This will ensure that visa holders can support themselves while they look for a new sponsor.

    Unless exempt, a visa holder cannot work for another employer unless they have ceased work with their sponsoring employer. Visa holders must remain in their nominated occupation while working for their existing sponsor.

    Sponsors must still let the department know if there is any change in situation within 28 days. This includes ceasing sponsorship or if a visa holder resigns.

    Visa holders must not carry out any work that is inconsistent with any licence or registration needed for their nominated occupation. This includes any conditions or requirements they are subject to.

    The changes apply to existing visa holders, as well as those granted a visa on or after 1 July 2024. Any periods a visa holder stopped working for their sponsor before 1 July 2024 will not count towards the new time periods outlined above.

    China

    Australia and New Zealand added to list of unilateral visa-free countries

    The Chinese Premier has announced that that China will include Australia and New Zealand in its list of unilateral visa-free countries. This will allow passport holders of these two countries to enter China without a visa for business, tourism, visiting relatives and friends and transit for up to 15 days.

    During Premier Li’s recent meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the two sides agreed to provide each other with reciprocal access to multi-entry visas of up to three to five years’ duration for tourism, business and visiting family members.

    Denmark

    Authorities publish updated income statistics applicable from 1 July 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 first quarter of 2024 and will take effect for applications submitted from 1 July 2024. It is expected that the income statistics will be updated each quarter and that the next update will take effect from 1 October 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 30 June 2024 will be evaluated according to the income statistics for the first quarter of 2024. 

    Applications between 1 April 2024 and 30 June 2024 will be evaluated according to the income statistics from the fourth quarter of 2023. 

    Finland

    Automated post-decision monitoring of specialists’ residence permits

    The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) has announced that it will start using automated post-decision monitoring of specialists’ residence permits from 17 June 2024.

    The purpose of automated post-decision monitoring is to verify whether the holder of a residence permit for a specialist still meets the requirements for the permit. This post-decision monitoring initiative covers residence permits for a specialist issued on or after 1 January 2023.

    A residence permit for a specialist can be granted to a person who arrives in Finland to work in an expert position that requires special expertise and meets all the permit requirements. Post-decision monitoring will focus on the key requirements for the permit. The Finnish Immigration Service will verify whether the specialist has been paid a salary that meets the income requirement, for example.

    Automated post-decision monitoring is already being used to monitor the permits of students and startup entrepreneurs. Expanding the scope of post-decision monitoring to cover work-based residence permits is part of the Government’s action plan against labour exploitation.

    Ireland

    Transfer of registration responsibility for Cork and Limerick

    Effective 8 July 2024, responsibility for first time registration and renewal of Irish immigration residence permissions for persons residing in counties Cork and Limerick will be transferred from the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) to Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) of the Department of Justice.

    From that date, the first-time registration of Irish residence permission for applicants residing in counties Cork and Limerick will now be carried out at the Registration Office, 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2. This will be in addition to the current registrations for counties Dublin, Kildare, Meath, and Wicklow.

    Appointments for first time registration can be booked using the Freephone number (1800 800 630). Operators are available between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday to arrange appointments. Applicants for registration will be required to provide the operators with their passport details and a valid email address to arrange appointments.

    For those who do not have all required documents with them at the appointment, ISD will be unable to complete the registration and issue an Irish Residence Permit card. These applicants will be required to book a return appointment to the Registration Office to complete registration.

    On the day of the appointment, applicants will be required to pay a fee of €300 depending on the type of permission they are seeking.

    Also from 8 July 2024, online renewals of permission from applicants living in counties Cork and Limerick should be submitted using the Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) online renewal portal. Applicants will not need to attend the Burgh Quay Registration Office in person to renew permission.

    The GNIB will continue to undertake first registrations and renewal responsibilities for applicants residing outside of counties Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Wicklow, Cork and Limerick.

    Please note that all applications, Ireland-wide, for renewal of residence permission, including when changing Stamp category, are accepted by both ISD and GNIB up to 12 weeks prior to expiry to allow sufficient time for processing.

    New Zealand

    Updated work rights for partners of a student

    Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has announced that partners of students studying level 7 or 8 qualifications specified on the Green List, can now apply for a work visa with open conditions.

    INZ has updated the Green List with the main Bachelor degrees and Bachelor Honours qualifications that lead to registration for certain occupations. These are occupations that have registration as a requirement instead of New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) qualifications.

    This means people with student visas studying for these registration qualifications can now support their partner’s application for a Partner of a Student Work Visa.

    Those interested can check the Green List appendix in the amendment circular for the eligible qualifications.

    For partners who are now eligible, their dependent school-aged children can be treated as domestic students. The children can apply for a Dependent Child Student Visa so they will not have to pay tuition fees to go to school. This currently applies to anyone with a Partner of a Student Work Visa.

    United Arab Emirates

    Government expands “work bundle” to cover all emirates

    The UAE Government has announced the launch of the second phase of the Work Bundle, expanded to include all emirates through the digital Work in UAE platform, providing a range of services enabling private-sector companies, individuals, and investors to complete employment and residency procedures using a single unified, integrated platform.

    The platform is built on the principle of requesting data only once, reducing duplication of procedures and requirements.

    The Work Bundle was launched for Dubai in March 2024, and provides a range of services including issuing a new work permit, requesting a status adjustment, issuing and renewing a visa and employment contract, Emirates ID, residency and medical examination services, as well as cancelling a worker’s employment contract, work permit and residency.

    The necessary steps are reduced from 15 steps requiring 16 documents to five steps needing only five documents. It also reduces the number of visits customers are required to make to service centres from seven to just two, significantly decreasing the processing time from 30 business days to just five.

    United States

    Measures to facilitate lawful permanent residence for noncitizen family of US citizens

    On 18 June 2024, the President and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new process to help noncitizen spouses and children of US citizens to apply for lawful permanent residence without leaving the country.

    They also announced a program to allow Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and other Dreamers (children brought to the US without documentation), who have earned a degree at an accredited US institution of higher education in the United States, and who have received an offer of employment from a US employer in a field related to their degree, to more quickly receive work visas.

    In order to be eligible for a green card, noncitizens must – as of 17 June 2024 – have resided in the United States for 10 or more years and be legally married to a US citizen, while satisfying all applicable legal requirements. On average, those who are eligible for this process have resided in the US for 23 years.

    Those who are approved – after a case-by-case assessment of their application by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – will be afforded a three-year period to apply for permanent residency. They will be allowed to remain with their families in the United States and be eligible for work authorization for up to three years. This will apply to all married couples who are eligible.  

    The announcement states that this action will protect approximately half a million spouses of US citizens and approximately 50,000 noncitizen children under the age of 21 whose parent is married to a US citizen.

    USCIS Extends Employment Authorization Documents under Temporary Protected Status Designations of El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan

    US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is extending the validity of certain Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) issued to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries under the designations of El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan through 9 March 2025. USCIS will send a Form I-797, Notice of Action, notifying beneficiaries who are affected by this extension.

    Current TPS beneficiaries under one of these designations who have not yet re-registered for TPS under the most recent extension for that designation must submit Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status, during the current re-registration period to keep your TPS benefits. DHS previously extended the re-registration periods for individuals to submit TPS applications:

    • El Salvador now runs until 9 March 2025;
    • Honduras now runs until 5 July 2025;
    • Nepal now runs until 24 June 2025;
    • Nicaragua now runs until 5 July 2025; and
    • Sudan now runs until 19 April 2025.

    While the re-registration periods end on different dates, EADs are all extended until the same date: 9 March 2025. Instructions for re-registration for TPS and renewal of EAD can be found in the most recent Federal Register notice that extends TPS for the relevant country (or extends and redesignates that country for TPS).

    Portuguese nationals now eligible for E1/E2 visas

    Effective immediately, Portuguese nationals are eligible to apply for E-1 and E-2 trade and investment visas. The E-1 and E-2 visas allow individuals to enter the United States to conduct substantial trade or invest a substantial amount of capital respectively.

    The US embassy in Lisbon recently announced the full implementation of the Advancing Mutual Interests and Growing our Success (AMIGOS) Act, signed by the US president in December 2022, which includes Portuguese access to these visas.

    Further information is available here.

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