What's new in global

This week, the SSW Global Immigration team would like to highlight the following updates from Ireland, Australia and Taiwan.

Ireland: Short Stay Visa Wavier programme resumes

In Ireland, the Short Stay Visa Waiver programme has resumed after being temporarily suspended due to COVID-19. The programme allows those visiting the UK on short-stay visas to travel to Ireland for less than 90 days without an Irish visa. Under the agreement, the visa holders must leave Ireland before their permission to stay in the UK comes to an end.

Following the addition of seven new eligible countries, there are now 24 countries covered by the programme, as follows:

  • Bahrain
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • China
  • Colombia
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kosovo
  • Kuwait
  • Montenegro
  • North Macedonia
  • Oman
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam.

UK short stay visas are permitted, except those issued for visitors in transit or visitors seeking to marry or enter a civil partnership.

The Short Stay Visa Waiver programme is not reciprocal. It does not permit a person who is a visa required national under UK immigration rules to enter the UK on an Irish visa. If you wish to enter the UK (including Northern Ireland), you must be in possession of a valid UK visa.

Chinese and Indian nationals may visit the UK and Ireland in some circumstances using a single short stay visa issue by either country, under the British Irish Visa Scheme.

Australia: New routes for Hong Kong citizens

Australia is set to open two new permanent residence visa streams for eligible Hong Kong and British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders on 5 March 2022:

  • Subclass 191 – The Hong Kong (regional) stream – For primary visa holders who were usually resident in Australia for a continuous period of at least three years immediately before applying and who lived, worked and studied exclusively in a designated regional area for that period, while holding the qualifying visa.
  • Subclass 189 – the Hong Kong stream— For primary visa holders who were usually resident in Australia for a continuous period of at least four years immediately before applying, and who held the qualifying visa during that period.

There are approximately 8,800 existing temporary skilled, temporary graduate and student visa holders who will be eligible for these new visas.

Taiwan: Rule changes for foreign professionals

Amended work, residence and tax rules for foreign professionals recently took effect in Taiwan. Among the changes are the following:

  • The period of continuous residence in Taiwan required for foreign special professionals to apply for permanent residency is reduced from five years to three, further reduced by one year for those who have obtained a PhD in Taiwan.
  • Ordinary foreign professionals are still required to have resided continuously in Taiwan for five years before they can apply for permanent residency, but that period can now be reduced by one or two years, respectively, for those who have obtained a master’s degree or PhD in Taiwan.
  • To qualify for permanent residence, foreign professionals now must have been present in Taiwan for an average of 183+ days per year, rather than 183+ days in each year of residence.
  • Graduates of the world’s top universities are now eligible to engage in specialised or technical work in Taiwan without the requirement for two years of work experience.
  • The field of National Defence is added to the list of fields eligible for foreign special professionals, and a new mechanism is introduced for recognising other eligible fields.
  • Foreign professionals and foreign special professionals who enter the country with a visa exemption or visitor visa, and their dependent relatives, can now apply for an Alien Residence Certificate without needing to apply for a resident visa;
  • Foreign professionals and their dependent relatives are now exempt from applying for work permits once they have obtained permanent residence.
  • Employment Gold Card holders may apply for up to two pre-expiry extensions of six months each, rather than having to wait until their card has expired, as previously.
  • Adult children of all types of foreign professional are now eligible for personal work permits.
  • Visitor visas for up to one year are now available for lineal ascendants of all special and senior professionals.
  • The tax concession for foreign professionals is extended from three years to five years.
  • Foreign special and senior professionals who are employers or self-employed business owners, and their dependent relatives, can join the National Health Insurance system without a six-month wait.

Questions about global immigration?

If you would like advice on current entry restrictions for your destination country, or assistance with any other area of immigration, Smith Stone Walters would be delighted to help.

To speak to a member of our global immigration team, please contact us today.

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