Please note: while we address some country-specific updates related to the COVID-19 outbreak, the below 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. Please reach out to our Global Mobility Team in advance of any international travel.
Australia - Passenger Limitations for International Arrivals
The Prime Minister of Australia announced a temporary reduction of the international arrivals “cap” (the limited number of incoming passengers permitted to enter Australia) from July 14, 2021 through August 31, 2021. The number of allowed arrivals will be reduced by 50% during this period as a measure to limit COVID transmissions, particularly transmissions of the Delta variant. Australian citizens returning home will be given priority, and the Australian government has increased the number of available repatriation flights.
New Zealand - Online Application System Suspended for Essential Skills Visa
The online application system for submitting Essential Skills Visa applications is suspended until August 30, 2021. Physical paper visa applications must be submitted by mail or in-person until the electronic filing system becomes available. Applicants applying for visa renewals will no longer need to provide documents already submitted during previous applications in light of the changes to the system.
Additionally, the New Zealand government has announced the maximum visa validity that may be granted to applicants with salaries below the median wage will be increased from 1 year to 2 years. Further, the total visa validity limitation of three years for applicants with salaries below the median wage level will be temporarily eliminated; applications filed prior to June 30, 2022 will not be subject to this requirement. This means Essential Skills Visa holders earning below the median wage do not need to spend 12 months outside New Zealand after holding a visa for three years in order to renew their visas.
For more information about the Essential Skills Visa please see the New Zealand immigration agency’s website.
South Korea - Long-Term Visas Automatically Extended
Long-term Korean visas due to expire within the next two months will be automatically extended for a period of 90 days. The Korean immigration authorities confirm all Alien Registration Cards (ARCs) with expiration dates between July 19, 2021 and September 30, 2021 will be extended due to the pandemic. No action is required by the visa holders, and extensions will be granted automatically. The extension concession will not be granted for visa holders who are physically outside of Korea on or after the start of the extension program (July 19, 2021). Standard extension applications may still be filed within four months of the new expiration dates (i.e., 90 days from the ARC expiration). For more information please see the Korean Immigration Service (KIS) website.
UAE - Programmers and Coders Eligible for New Visa Program
The UAE has announced a new visa program designed to attract coders and software engineers, called the “Golden Visa program.” Under the new system, up to 100,000 visas will be granted to foreign nationals with backgrounds and qualifications in Computer Science and Software Engineering. Golden Visas will be considered long-term visas granting work and residence authorization for a period of 5 or 10 years depending on the applicant’s eligibility. The UAE government also seeks to establish up to 1,000 new technology companies over the next five years. Applications for Golden Visas may be made by foreign nationals abroad, or those currently residing in the UAE in another status.
United Kingdom - Displaced Talent Pilot Program
A new pilot program has been announced which will apply the UK’s current work visa rules to displaced workers in an effort to facilitate applications for skilled refugees and displaced migrants. This pilot program focuses on applicants from Jordan and Lebanon who will receive help and support in applying for UK work visas under the UK points-based system. The initiative is part of a larger effort announced by the Home Secretary to support displaced migrants and refugees settling in the UK.
The UK Home Office announced that the pilot program will include up to 100 applications, with the hopes of ultimately opening a new labor market for UK employers in the future. The program removes many of the document and administrative requirements under the Skilled Worker system which are found to be challenging for displaced applicants. For more information regarding the recent announcement, please see here.