What's new in global immigration?

Global immigration rules are changing by the day, both in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and as a result of legislative updates across the globe.

Smith Stone Walters is here to help businesses and individuals keep on top of these developments and identify any changes that may impact your immigration goals. With this in mind, we would like to highlight the following key updates in global immigration.

New Zealand: Expression of Interest (EOI) fee introduced for border exception applications

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) have confirmed that starting 10 August 2020, fees will be introduced for applicants who submit a request for an exception for travel.

Currently, the New Zealand border remains closed to almost all travellers due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. However, individuals who are required in the country for a critical purpose can apply for an Expression of Interest (EOI).

In the last few months INZ have received over 27,000 border exception requests, which historically have been free of charge. However, due to a significant increase in requests, INZ have announced that border exception EOI requests will now incur fees, so that they are able to cover processing costs.

In addition to this, employers will be able to request for exceptions for critical workers online, instead of using the previous manual system. All fees are to be paid online when submitting the EOI application form.

The new approved charges are:

  • NZD $380 for employers or other organisations seeking entry for “other critical workers” (or organisations or agencies that sponsor requests)
  • NZD $45 for individuals requests under all other established and future critical purpose categories

We advise that individuals first consider whether they fall under the exception list on the New Zealand government website before applying. Alternatively, if you are unsure about your status please contact an SSW consultant for further guidance on this matter.

Estonia: Digital Nomad visa officially launched

Following our published article on 18 June 2020, we can now provide further updates on the Estonian digital nomad visa.

As of 1 August 2020, Estonia officially launched their digital nomad visa to the public, meaning that eligible location independent workers can now apply for the chance to come to Estonia to live for up to a year with the peace of mind that they can legally work without restrictions.

In the past, both digital nomads and remote workers have faced ambiguity when working while traveling, without knowing the extent of the law that protects them. As such, Estonia’s innovative approach is transforming how people in the world choose to work.

The eligibility criteria is as follows:

  • You can perform your work duties remotely using telecommunications technology
  • You are able to work independent of location
  • You either have an active employment contract with a company registered outside of Estonia, conduct business though your own company registered abroad, or work as a freelancer for clients mostly outside of Estonia
  • You can provide evidence that your income met the minimum threshold during the six months preceding the application- currently, the monthly income threshold is €3504( gross tax)

One of the key features of Estonia’s Digital Nomad visa is that it will allow individuals to travel across other Schengen countries, without having to apply for another visa.

All applications can be submitted online or by visiting the nearest Estonian Embassy to you. Once submitted, the average processing time is 30 days. The state fee will depend on the planned period of stay, either Type C (short stay) which is €80 or Type D (long stay) which costs €100.

Iceland: Permission to stay without a visa extended

All foreign nationals situated in Iceland who are unable to return to their home country as a result of travel restrictions, isolation or quarantine will be allowed to stay in Iceland without a residence permit or visa until 10 September 2020. This announcement surpasses the earlier temporary provision first introduced in the beginning of April.

This provision applies to foreigners who were staying in Iceland before the introduction of travel restrictions on 20 March 2020 on the basis of:

  • A residence permit which has now expired or expires before he/she can leave the country
  • A visa which has now expired or expires before he/she can leave the country
  • Being visa exempt, but will have stayed longer than 90 days in the Schengen area before he/she can leave the country

We encourage clients to regularly check government websites for updates on rules and regulation, or to consult an SSW advisor to be prepared.

Need help to reach your global immigration goals?

Smith Stone Walters will continue to post updates on the latest global immigration news to ensure you stay informed. If you have questions about the latest changes, or need support reaching your global immigration goals, we are here to help.

At Smith Stone Walters, moving people across borders is our business. Our expert team are experienced in managing and supporting immigration moves throughout the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.

Contact us today to discuss your requirements – we are immigration experts.

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