Please note, while we address some country-specific updates related to the COVID-19 pandemic, this Alert contains information regarding global restrictions and closures as they stand today. Given the constantly changing nature of this situation, we highly recommend reviewing any global mobility inquiries on a case-by-case basis, including any consulate-specific or immigration authority resources, in “real-time” before traveling internationally.
Brazil – New Work Visa Categories Based on Citizenship
As of October 2, 2023 Brazil is introducing two immigration visa categories based on citizenship. Eligible citizens of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) will be able to live and work in Brazil for up to two years. Please see further details here.
The first visa category is a Temporary Visa which is issued by a Consulate and available for foreign nationals of certain professions or who will conduct certain activities in Brazil. The second category is an in-country Residence Authorization available to any citizen of a CPLP country.
India - Processing of Visa Applications on behalf of Canadian Citizens Suspended
India suspended processing of Indian visa applications for Canadian nationals; this also includes evisas. Canadian nationals who already hold a visa, including the overseas citizen of India (OCI) card, can still travel. Canadian nationals should check for updates prior to making travel arrangements. Please see further details here.
Poland –Possible Travel Restrictions
Interior Ministers of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have expressed possible restrictions of movement or even closure of borders for travelers from Belarus and Russia due to challenges to stability in those regions. It is to be expected that, if borders actually close, they will most likely include land air border crossings with Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia
New Zealand – Median Wage Threshold to Increase
The median wage is updated in immigration policy each February. This is based on the rate published by Statistics New Zealand the previous June. Several New Zealand work and residence visas are indexed to this median wage, including the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) and Skilled Migrant Residence Visa (SMR). The median wage was updated by Statistics New Zealand in June 2023 to $31.61 hourly. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will apply the new median wage to all applicable temporary and residence visa categories, from February 2024 onward. Notable consequences will include:
- Employers will need to pay most employees at least $31.61 hourly to qualify for an AEWV.
- Employers will need to pay at least twice the median wage ($63.22 hourly) to avoid labor market testing for Job Checks.
- Individuals applying for SMR must be paid $31.61 hourly for ANZSCO levels 1, 2, and 3 roles or $47.42 for ANZSCO levels 4 and 5.
Slovakia – Temporary Ease of Requirements Continue
Foreign nationals who entered Slovakia legally (either with a visa or under a visa-free regime) and who have not yet been granted residence status are authorized to remain in Slovakia until one month after the declaration of an end of the crisis, which will be until October 15, 2023 (or until the expiry of the visa OR authorization under the visa-free regime if this is a later date).
The crisis in connection with the ongoing war in Ukraine and state of emergency remain still in force, thus the following changes in legislation are still applicable (other transitional provisions implemented due to Covid cease to apply):
- Expiry dates of Temporary, Permanent, or Tolerated residence do not apply - residence permits remain valid. Their validity will be extended until two months after the revocation of the extraordinary crisis situation related to the war in Ukraine.
- Processing times of Foreign Police to decide on majority of the applications (30 to 90 days from complete submission) do not apply.
- Foreign nationals who have applied for a Temporary Residence according to § 31 section 3 of Act 404/2011 on Residence of Foreigners or for a permanent residence permit for 5 years, are authorized to stay on the territory of the Slovak Republic until the decision on the application is made.
- Holders of temporary protection status are obliged to report the change of address at the Municipality Office instead of the Foreign Police.
- Validity of Confirmation on possibility to fill in a vacant position (standard or highly qualified) and Work Permits remain valid and are automatically extended until two months after the revocation of the extraordinary situation related to the war in Ukraine. This does not apply for Confirmations and Work Permits for seasonal employment.
- Request for change of employer for foreign nationals who already hold Additional Information on Employment (Single Permit holders) can also be filed directly by the employers to the Labor Office.
- Employment according to § 23 a paragraph 1 letter u) of Act 5/2004 on Employment Services is possible not only for 8 weeks but until the application for Residence Permit is not processed and decision issued.
- Employment of holders of Temporary Residence Permit for employment purposes is possible during the renewal process until two months after the revocation of the extraordinary situation related to the war in Ukraine.
United Kingdom - Increase in UK immigration fees and Expansion of Youth Mobility Visa
Over the summer we reported that all UK government filing fees are going to increase by 15 to 20%. We now have a confirmation that the increased fees will come into force on 4 October 2023. The new fees are published here, and we see the following most important changes:
- Visit visas increase by 15%, from £100 to £115 for 6 months or £376 to £400 for 2 years
- Skilled Worker visas and other work-type visas fees are up by 15%
- Spouse visa fee are up by 20%, from £1,538 to £1,846
- Indefinite Leave to Remain applications are up by 20%, from £2,404 to £2,885
- Naturalisation as British citizen applications are up by 20%, £1,250 to £1,500
In addition to the UK visa filing fees, the costs of issuing a Certificate of Sponsorship for most work visa routes increase from £199 to £239.
Priority visa services are now at the same level for applications outside and outside the UK. This is now £500 for all applications, which means there is a decrease of £73 in settlement priority services outside the UK and an increase of £250 for non-settlement routes.
All clients who are considering applying for UK visa or to naturalise as a British national are encouraged to proceed with the application before the scheduled increased on 4 October 2023.
Expansion of Youth Mobility Visa
The following changes to the Youth Mobility Scheme will take effect on 31 January 2024:
- The age range for Australian and Canadian nationals will be extended to 18 – 35 (previously 18-30 years old).
- Australian and Canadian nationals will be able to apply for permission to stay on this route.
- The route will be open to applications from Andorran nationals, and the maximum total allocation of places available for use by nationals or citizens of Andorra participating in the Youth Mobility Scheme in 2024 is 100.
All applications submitted on or after 31 January 2024 will benefit from the above provisions.