Latest updates 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.

Ireland add to the list of exemptions to visa processing suspension

Earlier in 2021, Ireland announced a suspension to the processing of visa applications. A certain number of categories were exempt from this suspension, with this list now being expanded to include the below.

  • Those travelling to Ireland for essential family reunification
  • Those, with an employment permit and travelling for essential business or employment.

Impacted individuals will be those who require a visa to enter Ireland, otherwise known as visa requiring. A full list of the nationalities that fall under this list can be found here:

This expands upon the previously released list of exemptions, including:

  • Persons travelling for imperative business reasons
  • Healthcare workers
  • Posted workers
  • Frontier workers

US releases 22,000 more H-2B visas

The H-2B programme allows US employers or US agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made available an additional 22,000 H-2B visas for the financial year 2021. Employers can now apply for these additional visas, following the initial H-2B 2021 cap being reached in mid-February.

6,000 of the 22,000 are reserved for nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, with the remaining 16,000 reserved for those who have held H-2B status in either 2018, 2019 or 2020.

Demonstration that there is insufficient supply in the local labour market is a pre-requisite to the application. Furthermore, employers should also demonstrate a business need for the workers in question and that the business would suffer irreparable harm without them.

Proposed changes to the EU Blue Card

Provisional changes to the EU Blue Card have been put forward by the EU Council and European Parliament in a bid to simplify the programme and make it more attractive to prospective applicants.

A high level summary of the proposed changes is set out below.

  • Simplified change of employer applications
  • Streamlined process for some employers
  • A broader range of permissible activities, including self-employment
  • Faster processing of visa applications
  • Reduced salary thresholds, in particular for graduates and specific occupations
  • A 6 month employment contract requirement (rather than the current 12 months)
  • Greater intra-EU mobility for card holders, with business travel permissible and moves possible after 12, rather than 18 months
  • Potential longer Blue Card validity duration

The changes are still only proposals, but if implemented may well encourage employers to use the Blue Card system over National Visa Schemes.

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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