16 September 2021
This week, the Global Immigration team at Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following general updates from Ireland, the United Arab Emirates and the Philippines.
Ireland: Short-stay visa processing resumes
As the Irish government enters the next phase of their COVID-19 recovery plan, Ministers have announced the resumption of short-stay visa processing from Monday 13 September 2021.
If you require a visa to travel to Ireland, you should submit your application 8 weeks before you travel. The application process consists of the following three steps:
- Complete the online application form
- Refer to the checklists available on the Irish Embassy website and gather your supporting documents
- Submit your signed application form and supporting documents to the appropriate office.
All remaining COVID-19 restriction on entry visa and preclearance processing have also been lifted. However, all travellers arriving into Ireland must continue to comply fully with measures required by law, including producing proof of vaccination, recovery from COVID-19 or a negative PCR test to Immigration Control at their port of entry.
United Arab Emirates: New visa categories announced
The UAE has announced an expansion of the eligibility criteria for its Golden Visa, alongside the introduction of a new “Green Visa” and a “Freelancers Visa” and other changes to the residency system. Details of the implementation and timing of these new policies are yet to be announced.
The UAE’s Golden Visa allows expats to live, work and study in the UAE without needing a national sponsor. Golden Visas are issued for five or ten years and are renewed automatically. The changes mean eligibility has now been expanded to include:
- Specialists in science, engineering, health, education, business management and technology.
The application process for a Golden Visa has also been simplified for highly skilled and specialist residents, investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, pioneers, leading students and graduates.
A brief overview of the two new visa categories to be introduced is as follows:
- Green Visa – This new category caters for skilled workers, investors, entrepreneurs, outstanding students and exceptional graduates. The Green Visa does not require a sponsorship from an employer and provides a grace period of up to six months to find a new job if the individual loses their old one, rather than the present 30 days. The Green Visa will also permit foreign residents to sponsor their parents, as well as their sons up to the age of 25, rather than 18 as at present.
- Freelancer Visa – This new category will allow those who are self-employed to work without obtaining a work permit or employment contract
Other immigration changes being introduced in the UAE include:
- The duration of business trip permits is to be expanded from three to six months
- Children aged 15 years and over will be permitted to apply for a new visa and a temporary work permit to gain work experience in the UAE.
Philippines: New guidance for work permits
The Philippines’ Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) has issued an advisory permitting foreign nationals to apply for an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) or Certificate of Exemption / Exclusion if they are intending to come to the Philippines for “essential” work for at least six months.
This follows the recent release of guidelines permitting Philippine companies to apply for work visas on behalf of their foreign employees, even if the employee is out of the country. The Bureau of Immigration (BI) or the Department of Justice (DOJ) will forward the visa application to the Department of Foreign Affairs Office of Consular Affairs (DFA-OCA), and the consulate will issue the visa once approved.
The implemented visa is only valid for 90 days. The foreign national must report to the BI or the DOJ within seven working days from their release from quarantine or isolation for full implementation of the visa and to submit their biometrics. A copy of the valid visa must then be submitted within 30 working days to DOLE after completion of the 14-day quarantine.
Previously, an entry stamp proving the foreign employee’s physical presence in the Philippines was required in support of a work permit application.
Under the new guidelines, the BI and DOJ will now accept digitised or scanned copies of original documents, including documents authenticated or apostilled abroad, as long as the original documents are submitted on a later date.
Global immigration support
Due to the constantly evolving nature of global immigration, country-specific rules may change at short notice. For this reason, Smith Stone Walters recommends checking the entry rules of your destination country before departure.
For up to date advice before you travel, please contact the SSW Global Immigration team.