Global immigration news

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.

Greece: Residence permits for British nationals

The Greek government has announced guidance for British nationals already living in Greece who wish to apply for residency. The announcement laid out the steps that applicants will need to take and which documents will be required in order to be compliant with immigration law from January 2021.

As of 1 January 2021, British nationals living in Greece will be able to apply for a residence permit. The length of residence permit granted will depend on how long the applicant has been resident in Greece.

British nationals and family members who have resided in Greece and have proven registered permanent residence of five years or more can apply to obtain a ten-year residence permit.

British nationals and their family members who reside in Greece but do not have permanent residence can apply for a five-year residence permanent. Individuals will need to provide sufficient evidence of residency when applying for a permit.

Applications can be lodged from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021. Further guidance will be provided for British nationals arriving after 1 January 2021 in due course.

USA: Proposed changes to business visitor regulations

On October 21 2020, the USA’s Department of State (DOS) proposed to amend its regulation governing visas for temporary visitors for business (the B-1 non-immigrant visa classification) by removing two sentences defining the term “business”.

The B-1 visa classification allows foreign nationals to enter the USA to perform “legitimate business activities” whilst remaining employed abroad. The proposed revisions to this category would remove the option to obtain a B-1 visa “in lieu of” a H-1B speciality occupation or H-3 trainee visa.

DOS have stated that “removing these two sentences, and thus removing any question about whether the referenced employment or labor might be permissible B-1 activity, not only conforms the regulation to the applicable statutory framework, but also furthers the goals” of President Trump’s Executive Order 13788, Buy American and Hire American.

If the rule is finalised, it would remove a longstanding policy that allowed foreign nationals to enter the USA on a B-1 visa to perform short-term H-1B services in certain circumstances whilst remaining on a foreign payroll.

The regulation will now go on to receive further scrutiny and will not take effect until it is finalised, a process that usually takes several months.

Europe: Directive for minimum wages across Member States

The European Commission has proposed an EU Directive seeking to ensure workers are protected by adequate minimum wages across the European Union, to allow a decent living wherever they work.

Minimum wages exist in all EU Member States, yet in the majority of countries, workers are affected by insufficient adequacy and gaps in the coverage of minimum wage protection. For this reason, the proposed Directive creates a framework to improve the adequacy of minimum wages and to improve workers’ access to protections in the EU.

The proposal seeks to achieve this goal by collective bargaining, adequate minimum wages, variations, stakeholder input and compliance and effective enforcement. The proposal also helps protect employers that pay decent wages to workers by ensuring fair competition.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said: “Today’s proposal for adequate minimum wages is an important signal that also in crisis times, the dignity of work must be sacred. We have seen that for too many people, work no longer pays. Workers should have access to adequate minimum wages and a decent standard of living. What we propose today is a framework for minimum wages, in full respect of national traditions and the freedom of social partners. Improving working and living conditions will not only protect our workers, but also employers that pay decent wages, and create the basis for a fair, inclusive and resilient recovery.”

Let us help you reach your global immigration goals

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.

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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