What's new in global

With global immigration rules and guidance changing by the day, it is important for businesses and individuals to keep on top of the latest developments to identify any changes that may impact your immigration goals.

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

France: Work permit applications moved to new online platform

In a bid to make the process more efficient, France has recently changed the application procedure for work permits.

Under the change that took effect on 1 April 2021, the Labour Offices (DIRECCTE) will no longer process work permit applications for foreign nationals and instead, employers will need to submit work permit applications on a new online platform (SMOE).

Key points:

  • The SMOE platform will send work authorisation directly to both the employer and employee once the application is processed. Prefectures will no longer take part in this process.
  • Employers will soon be able to submit “Talent Passport” applications on the SMOE platform. This is expected to be implemented in May. Eventually, the platform will be open to applications from ICTs, posted workers and other residence permit applicants.
  • Officials have established the following seven platforms to handle work permit applications based in different regions in France:
    • Avignon (seasonal work).
    • Bobigny (Departments 91/93/94/77 and Bourgogne Franche Comté).
    • Nanterre (Departments 75/78/92 and Centre Val de Loire).
    • Béthune (North).
    • Tulle (West).
    • Clermond-Ferrand for (Southast, Mayotte and Reunion).
    • Cayenne (French Guyana, Guadeloupe and Martinique).

Bulgaria: Streamlined and digitised processing.

In Bulgaria, the application for employment-based work visas and residence permits will be streamlined into the same government organisation to make it easier to receive a work permit along with a residence permit.

Key points:

  • Foreign nationals no longer have to go to the migration office upon arrival to register and get their residence permit. A single application process allows those applying for an EU Blue Card or an intra-company transferee (ICT) work permit to be able to apply for their residence permit at the same time.
  • There will be stricter documentation requirements as well as new processing deadlines.
  • The migration office will handle applications and in turn will be in contact with the Employment Agency to receive any updates regarding the labour market. Upon approval of the work authorisation, foreign nationals will need to apply for a D visa within 20 calendar days and a residence permit within two weeks upon arrival to Bulgaria.
  • Renewals for the EU Blue Card and the combined work and residence visa must be submitted within 60 days of expiration.

USA: Employers encouraged to consider additional options after H-1B lottery

Employees who had a H-1B petition denied in a previous fiscal year, and who were not selected in this year’s lottery, may be able to ask for reconsideration of their previous petition if the denial was based on one or more policies that have since been rescinded. This option will likely impact a relatively small number of petitioners.

Additionally, employers are encouraged to consider alternatives for applicants who were not selected in this year’s H-1B registration lottery. These alternatives may include:

  • F-1 Optional Practical Training
  • J-1 exchange visas.
  • O-1 “extraordinary ability” visas.
  • L-1 intracompany transfer visas.
  • Country-specific non-immigrant visas.
  • E-2 Treaty Investor visas

Need help to reach your global immigration goals?

If you have questions about global immigration issues, or if you need support in reaching your global mobility 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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