18 February 2021
As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to dictate international travel restrictions, it comes as no surprise to see a raft of global immigration rule changes already introduced this year.
Smith Stone Walters prides itself on delivering dependable global immigration advice. With this in mind, we would like to highlight the following key updates.
Canada: Increased invite numbers from Canadian Experience Class pool
The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is an immigration programme that allows individuals who have worked in Canada for at least one year to become a permanent resident. The CEC forms part of Canada’s Express Entry immigration system.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) conducts regular draws from the pool of eligible candidates who have submitted an interest, and invites candidates above a certain rank to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
IRCC has recently surpassed all previous permanent residence draws by inviting 27,322 individuals to apply, a marked increased from the usual 4,000. In order to qualify, candidates require a minimum score of just 75, again, greatly reduced from the 450 score usually required.
The scoring system or the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is based on language, work experience and education as well as several other factors. The reason for such an increase in invitation numbers is to hit Canadian Government targets concerning new permanent residents as well as increased immigration in general.
Clients should be aware that there is a 90-day period in which to file an application following an invite and subsequent to this there may well be delayed processing given the increased volumes.
Belgium: Leading the way in UK Citizens Business Visitor Activity
Belgium will now base its permitted business visitor activities upon the EU-UK Free Trade Agreement, found here.
The document affords UK business visitors greater flexibility in Europe, being able to do far more than existing rules allow for.
The change in approach does not impact the time UK nationals can spend in Belgium as visitors, which is up to a maximum of 90 days in any 180 day period. It also does not limit the Posted Worker requirements that may apply given the individual’s situation.
Whether other countries will follow suit or continue to maintain their existing national business visit idiosyncrasies remains to be seen, but regardless employers should be aware and take steps to ensure their workforce are not inadvertently working in Europe.
Portugal delays changes to the Golden Visa Scheme
Officially initiated back in 2012 as a way to attract more investors to Portugal, the Golden Visa Scheme is a five-year residency-by-investment scheme for non-EU nationals.
Portuguese authorities have now announced that changes to the Golden Visa Scheme which were initially due to be implemented in July 2021 will now be delayed for several months until 1 January 2022.
The pandemic has undoubtedly influenced this decision, with fewer investors being able to visit Portugal to inspect possible property investments, being a driving force.
The main change to the rules will be the need for property investment to be away from the metropolitan regions of Porto and Lisbon, as well as the coastal areas such as The Algarve. On top of this, an increase in the value to 500,000 Euros will be introduced.
The changes will leave the following options for the Golden Visa come 2022:
- Property purchase with a value of 500,000 Euros located in the Azores and Madeira or inland territories of mainland Portugal.
- A donation of 500,000 Euros to range of activities, such as scientific research
- A bank transfer into the country of 1.5 million Euros
- Purchase of investment funds to a value of 500,000 Euros.
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.