Global immigration news

This week, the SSW Global Immigration team would like to highlight the following updates from Canada, the Czech Republic and Ireland.

Canada: Updates to work permits and residence applications

The Canadian government has announced that Express Entry draws will soon resume, and that invitations for candidates to apply for permanent residence, under the federal high-skilled streams (including the Canadian experience class, federal skilled worker class and federal skilled trades class) will begin in early July 2022.

In addition, starting in summer 2022, former international students who are in Canada and have a post-graduation work permit expiring between January and December 2022 will qualify for an additional open work permit of up to 18 months. Details of a simplified, expeditious process for this will be available in the coming weeks.

Finally, new measures have been announced for those who applied for permanent residence through the temporary resident to permanent resident pathway in 2021 (now closed to new applications).

  • Applicants will no longer be required to remain in Canada while their application is being processed.
  • Applicants who apply for an open work permit while waiting for their permanent residence application to be finalized will be able to get work permits valid until the end of 2024. This will ensure that all permanent residence applications will be finalized before applicants will need to apply to extend their temporary status again.
  • To support family reunification, immediate family members who are outside Canada and who were included in a principal applicant’s permanent residence application will be eligible for their own open work permit.

Czech Republic: New rules for EU Blue Card holders

Effective 1 May 2022, the minimum gross salary for holders of EU Blue card increases to CZK 56,758.50 per month (up from CZK 53,417 per month).

The Blue Card is an EU-wide long-term residence permit for highly skilled employees with a local job offer in the destination country and a salary at least 1.5 times the average gross annual salary for that position. The Blue Card offers some concrete benefits to the applicant. The applicant must have completed a university degree or higher vocational education of at least three years.

The Blue Card is issued in line with the employment contract duration plus two months, with a maximum validity of two years (renewable).

In October 2021, the European Council adopted a revised Blue Card directive, which must be adopted by member states during 2022 and 2023. The new rules, which will replace the existing ones, further harmonise the conditions of entry and residence for highly qualified workers and increase the attractiveness of the EU Blue Card.

In particular, they establish more inclusive admission criteria, facilitate intra-EU mobility and family reunification, simplify procedures for recognised employers, grant a very high level of access to the labour market and extend the scope to include non-EU family members of EU citizens and beneficiaries of international protection.

EU member states will be able to maintain national schemes aimed at highly qualified workers in parallel with the EU Blue Card scheme. However, the new rules will introduce a number of provisions to ensure a level playing field so that EU Blue Card holders and their families are not at a disadvantage compared to holders of national permits.

Ireland: More nationalities eligible for 5-year multi-entry visa

On 22 April 2022, the Irish government announced the extension of the availability of the 5-year multi-entry short-stay visa option to eligible applicants from all visa required countries.

Until now, Ireland has offered 1, 2 or 3-year multi-entry visas, with the 5-year option only available to Chinese nationals (since 2019). A multi-entry visa permits the holder to travel to Ireland on a number of occasions during the dates shown on the visa.

In general, multi-entry visas are only issued to an applicant who has shown a compliant Irish travel history. With the new changes being announced by the Minister today, people who have frequent travel to the UK, Schengen zone, USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, and have observed the conditions of those visas will also be able to apply for the option of a multi-year visa (of any duration from 1 to 5 years), even if they have no previous Irish travel history.

A multi-entry visa may also be approved for some business travellers, under certain conditions, who have no previous travel history to Ireland.  The standard single entry visa option also remains available.

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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