Latest updates in global

Global immigration rules and procedures are changing by the day, as governments around the world begin to ease lockdown measures and certain overseas visa centres begin a phased reopening. However, certain restrictions and exemptions are still in place in most countries, therefore travellers should be aware of the current rules in their destination country before travelling.

With this in mind, Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following key updates in global immigration this week.

Ireland: Latest business travel advice

The Irish government has announced that Ireland will move to Level 5 of its ‘Resilience and Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19’ framework from midnight on Wednesday 21 October.

The plan is a risk management strategy designed to allow individuals, families and businesses in Ireland to better understand and prepare for the measures the government might introduce to stop the escalation and transmission of coronavirus. Level 5 is the most restrictive level of the plan.

The Irish Government continues to advise against non-essential travel for all countries. However, after discussing this with the Department of Foreign Affairs, it has been advised that ‘non-essential’ travel principally refers to vacations only.

Business travel and moving to Ireland for the purposes of work are deemed ‘essential’, but restriction of movement for 14 days after arrival is required by health officials.

Belgium: Minimum salary requirements to increase

Effective 1 January 2021, the minimum annual salary for foreign workers in some regions of Belgium will increase.

In the region of Flanders, the following minimum salary requirements will apply:

  • EUR 69,638 for executives (including managers under the forthcoming EU Intra-Company Transferee (ICT) Permit)
  • EUR 52,229 for EU Blue Card applicants
  • EUR 43,524 for specialists and trainees under the EU ICT Permit and for highly-skilled permit applicants
  • EUR 34,819.20 for locally hired staff under 30 years old.

The minimum annual salary for foreign workers in the region of Brussels will increase as follows:

  • EUR 72,399 for executives
  • EUR 56,111 for EU Blue Card applicants and managers under the EU ICT permit
  • EUR 44,889 for specialists and EUR 28,056 for trainees under the EU ICT Permit
  • EUR 43,395 for highly skilled permit applicants.

Employers of foreign nationals currently under the above categories must increase foreign nationals’ minimum salaries to comply with the new rule. Changes in salaries to existing visa holders may have to be reported to the authorities.

Costa Rica: New electronic platform for visa applications

The introduction of an electronic platform on which foreign nationals in Costa Rica can file initial immigration applications and submit electronic copies of their application documents is now open for certain application types.

The launch of the new system means some applicants will be able to lodge their visa applications without a personal appearance.

The General Immigration Directorate (DGME) is rolling out the platform in phases, with a limited number of application types already eligible for the system.

SSW Global Immigration

At Smith Stone Walters, moving people across borders is our business.

Our team of immigration experts manage and support immigration moves throughout the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. We have spent years refining our global immigration capability, with a carefully selected choice of local partners to meet every client need.

If you need advice or support in reaching your business’s global immigration goals, Smith Stone Walters would be delighted to help. Contact us today to discuss your requirements – we are immigration experts.

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