European Immigration: Key
changes for migrant

Many European countries have recently introduced key changes to their respective immigration rules which may impact some migrant workers who are employed or seeking employment in these countries.

This week, the SSW Global Immigration team would like to highlight the following recent updates from France, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain.

France: Inflation increases minimum wage requirements

The government has increased the monthly minimum wage (le SMIC) effective 1 August 2022, due to inflation.

The minimum wage has increased by 2.01% from EUR 1645,58 to EUR 1,678.95, thus increasing the wage requirement for several work immigration categories, including:

  • Intra-Company Transferees (ICTs) to EUR 1,678.95 per month.
  • Passeport Talent – Employees on Assignment to EUR 3,022.11 per month.
  • Passeport Talent – Qualified Employees to EUR 3,357.90 per month.

The minimum wage for EU Blue Card holders is 1.5 times the average gross salary of reference fixed by the government which currently works out at EUR 53,836.50 per year.

Ireland: Changes to the Employment Permit system

On 29 July 2022, the Minister for Business, Employment and Retail announced that the government will publish a new law intended to modernise the Employment Permit system in Ireland.

A Seasonal Employment Permit will be introduced which will allow for a short-term employment permit to cater for short-stay and recurrent employment situations in sectors where this type of employment occurs.

Salary thresholds will be index-linked to ensure they at least keep in line with wage growth in Ireland.

The legislation will provide for additional conditions, such as training or upskilling, to be attached to the granting of an employment permit.

New provisions will also enable subcontractors registered in Ireland to access the employment permit system, in recognition of modern labour market practices and value chains.

The labour market needs test will also be revised extensively to make it more relevant and efficient.

The bill will be published in Autumn 2022.

Netherlands: Changes to residence permit rules for highly skilled migrants

From 22 July 2022 until 22 January 2023, highly skilled migrants who are not required to have a provisional residence permit (MVV) can start working even when the residence document has not yet been issued. A Residence Endorsement sticker (in Dutch: verblijfsaantekening or VA-sticker) is not required.

However, their approval notification (in Dutch: kennisgeving) must mention this work authorisation, which is only allowed for up to 4 months.

Highly skilled migrants waiting for a residence document after having been granted a residence permit extension can continue to work with the expired residence document.

The highly skilled migrant must, however, make an appointment to collect the residence document or have their biometric data taken as soon as possible, in any case within 2 weeks after receipt of the notification. They must be able to show the notification and an appointment confirmation when asked for this (and if applicable the expired residence document).

Highly skilled migrants who are coming to the Netherlands with an MVV were already allowed to work while waiting for the residence document. However, this is on condition that the employment agreement based on which the MVV and right of residence have been granted has already become effective.

Spain: Immigration reforms to help alleviate labour shortages

On 27 July 2022, the government approved reforms to the immigration law to facilitate the employment of foreign nationals in Spain.

Under this reform, foreign nationals who have been living in Spain for at least two years, with or without documentation of legal immigration, are permitted to enrol in training courses for jobs in high-demand economic sectors (mostly agriculture and services).  Once enrolled, they will be permitted to apply for permanent residence.

Moreover, foreign national students currently studying in Spain are allowed to begin working in Spain straight after thy have completed studies, rather than having to wait three years, as previously.  They are also allowed to combine their schooling with up to 30 hours of work per week.

The new law also aims to facilitate the work visa process for foreign workers in areas facing labour shortages.

Expert advice on European immigration

If you need support with any aspect of European 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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