Latest updates in global

This week, the Global Immigration Team at Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following updates from France, Malaysia, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

France: Minimum legal salary to increase

Effective 1 May 2022, the national minimum monthly wage (SMIC) will increase by 2.65% to EUR 1645.58. The SMIC is the minimum legal salary for all workers in France, and it affects the minimum salary thresholds for some types of work permit, including:

  • Talent Passport– Employee on Assignment: Gross annual pay of at least 1.8 times the statutory national minimum wage (SMIC), i.e., EUR 35,544.53 per year (previously EUR 34,627.32).
  • Talent Passport – Qualified Employee/Employee of an Innovative Company: Gross annual pay of at least twice the statutory national minimum wage (SMIC), i.e., EUR 39,493.92 per year (previously EUR 38,474.80).

The salary threshold for the “EU Blue Card” version of the Talent Passport, for highly skilled employees, is not calculated using the SMIC, but is 1.5 times the average annual gross salary set by decree, which equals €53,836.50 as of 1 January 2022.

Malaysia: Updates to the pass endorsement procedure

Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has announced a new, third option for the pass endorsement procedure, in addition to the existing options of pass delivery and walk-ins (with appointment).

Effective 18 April 2022, pass endorsement can also be carried out at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 1 (KLIA1). The three pass endorsement options are now as follows:

  • Pass Delivery. The pass sticker will be delivered to selected MSC Status Companies within MSC Malaysia Cybercity/Centre area in Cyberjaya, Petaling Jaya and Kuala Lumpur only. The applicant or HR staff must affix the endorsement into the passport.
  • Walk-in (with appointment). The company must bring the original passport of the applicant to the eXpats Service Centre for the endorsement of the pass sticker. An appointment must be booked online first. If there are no slots available online, the Company can email to request a slot.
  • Endorsement at KLIA – at the ESD Satellite Centre (ESC), KLIA1
    • The collection/endorsement of the pass sticker at ESC is only for applicants (and any dependants) who are outside Malaysia and approved under Employment Pass Categories I and II (EPI & II).
    • The company will be notified via email to download aconfirmation letter when it is ready in the eXpats system.
    • The applicant(s) will need to print and carry the confirmation letter for collection/endorsement of the pass at the ESC at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 1 (KLIA1).
    • If the pass sticker cannot be issued at ESC for whatever reason, the company can email to arrange one of the other two available options.

It is important to note that, once the preferred option is selected and submitted for pass endorsement, it cannot be withdrawn or revised. Companies must therefore ensure they select and submit their preferred option.

Russia: Changes relating to Highly Qualified Specialists

The Russian government has submitted a draft law that amends procedures and requirements for Highly Qualified Specialists (HQS). The current version of the draft law, which, if approved, would take effect 1 September 2022, includes the following key changes:

  • The minimum salary for HQS is raised from RUB 167,000 per month to RUB 750,000 per month.
    • The reduced minimum salary requirement for certain employers is not amended.
  • Applicants can submit a copy of their employment contract, certified by their employer, rather than an original.
  • Applicants are no longer required to undergo migration registration.
  • HQS employees and their dependents are able to obtain an indefinite permanent residence permit (not dependent on work authorisation) if they have been employed and lived in Russia for two years on the basis of an HQS permanent residence permit linked to their work permit.

Employers who fail to submit accurate information on the taxable income of HQS employees within six months of a reporting deadline can be prohibited from hiring HQS for up to two years.

  • Those who receive an HQS work permit must collect the permit within 30 days after entering Russia. If the HQS is in Russia during processing, they must collect the work permit within 30 days of receiving an approval notice.

United Arab Emirates: Recent immigration updates

The UAE government has approved new regulations on the entry and residence of foreign nationals.  Among the changes introduced are the following:

Golden Residence Scheme

  • The golden residence scheme has simplified the eligibility criteria and expanded the categories of beneficiaries. The 10-year residence is granted to investors, entrepreneurs, exceptional talents, scientists and professionals, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers and first-line heroes.
  • Amendments allow golden residence holders to sponsor family members.
  • There is no restriction related to the maximum duration of stay outside the UAE in order to keep the golden residence valid.
  • Real estate investors can obtain golden residence when purchasing a property worth at least than 2 million dirhams ($544,500).

Green Residence

  • Green residence: 5-year residence is available for freelancers and self-employed individuals without requiring a sponsor or employer in the UAE.
  • Green residence for investors or partners: 5-year residence for investors establishing or participating in commercial activities. This replaces the previous residence validity of 2 years
  • New residence types: 5-year residence visa to attract talents, skilled professionals, freelancers, investors and entrepreneurs.

Entry Visas

  • New entry visa categories are introduced which do not require a host or sponsor for the first time. In addition, all entry visas are available for single or multiple entry, are valid for 60 days from their issuance date and can be renewed for a similar period.
  • Job exploration entry visa: This does not require a sponsor or a host. It is granted to those classified in the first or second or third skill level as per the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The minimum educational level should be a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.
  • Business entry visa: Entry without requiring a sponsor or host to encourage investors and entrepreneurs to explore business and investment opportunities in the UAE.
  • Tourist visa: A 5-year multiple-entry tourist visa has been introduced and it does not require a sponsor; it requires proof of having a bank balance of $4,000 or equivalent during the last six months prior to submitting the application.
  • Entry permit to visit relatives or friends: This visa type will be offered to relatives or friends of a UAE citizen or residence and will not require sponsorship.
  • Entry permit for a temporary work mission: This visa type is intended for foreign nationals who have a temporary work assignment, such as probation testing or a project-based mission, in the UAE. This visa type requires sponsorship by the employer and for the applicant to hold a temporary work contract or letter from the employer that clarifies the purpose of the visit and provides proof of health fitness for the work being performed.
  • Entry permit for study and training: This visa type is intended for foreign nationals attending training and study courses or participating in an internship program in the UAE. Applicants require sponsorship from a university or educational or research institution licensed by their country or government authorities or a private entity. A letter issued by the entity, clarifying the details of study, training, or internship and its duration is required.

Expert advice on global immigration

If you need support with any aspect of worldwide immigration, Smith Stone Walters is here to help.

To speak to a member of our Global Immigration team, please contact us today.

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