Global immigration news

This week, the Global Immigration team at Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following updates from Australia, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and South Korea.

Australia: Post-study work rights for select degree subjects

The Minister of Education has announced that international students graduating from Australian universities in skills shortage subjects will be permitted to work in Australia for an additional two years.

Post study work rights for select degrees in areas of verified skill shortages will be increased from:

  • Two years to four years for select bachelor’s degrees
  • Three years to five years for select master’s degrees
  • Four years to six years for select PhDs.

Germany: Student visa financial requirements

Effective 1 January 2023, the amount of money which student visa applicants must deposit in a blocked account will increase by 8.5%, from EUR 10,332 to EUR 11,208.

Applicants for a new or renewal student visa must prove their financial means by opening a blocked account in their home country. The amount deposited in this account is blocked in the bank until the student arrives in Germany, after which they can withdraw up to EUR 861 per month (EUR 934 per month from 1 January 2023).

Saudi Arabia: Changes to tourism visas

The Saudi government has announced that residents of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are now permitted to apply for a tourism eVisa, while permanent residents of the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union can now obtain a 12-month tourism visa on arrival.

Holders of a valid tourist or business visa issued by UK, US or EU (which has been used at least once to enter the visa-granting country) continue to be able to apply for a visa on arrival in Saudi Arabia.

The tourism eVisa is a one-year, multiple entry visa, allowing tourists to spend up to 90 days in the country. It was already available to visitors from the following countries:

  • North America: Canada, United States.
  • Europe: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom.
  • Asia: Brunei, China (Including Hong Kong and Macau), Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea.
  • Oceania: Australia, New Zealand.

Singapore: Changes to the work pass framework

The government has announced changes to the work pass framework, intended to better attract top talent and experienced tech professionals in areas of skills shortages.

Effective 1 January 2023, a new Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass will be introduced. There will be a few routes to apply for it. Applicants will need to earn a fixed monthly salary of $30,000 and above, comparable to the top 5% of Employment Pass (EP) holders. Individuals with outstanding achievements across the arts and culture, sports, science and technology, and research and academia, can also qualify even if they may not meet the salary criterion. The Pass will be a personalised, 5-year work pass that allows holders to concurrently start, operate, and work for multiple companies in Singapore at any one time. Their spouses will be able to work on a Letter of Consent. The Pass holders will not be subject to the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) job advertising requirement and the upcoming Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS). Pass holders will be asked to notify MOM annually of their professional activities, to ensure that they utilise the flexibilities accorded to contribute meaningfully.

Effective 1 September 2021, the government will introduce a new benchmark pegged to the top 10% of EP holders. EP applicants of this quality will continue to be exempted from the FCF job advertising requirement and the upcoming points-based Complementary Assessment Framework (COMPASS). They will also continue to be eligible for the Personalised Employment Pass (PEP). This benchmark will provide greater clarity and transparency on MOM’s work pass framework for talent. To align to this single benchmark, the exemption bar for the FCF job advertising requirement and COMPASS will be raised from $20,000 to $22,500. The salary criterion for the PEP will also be raised to $22,500. These thresholds will be reviewed annually against the benchmark, taking into account prevailing economic conditions.

For all Employment Pass applications:

  • The Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) job advertising duration will be reduced to 14 days effective from 1 September 2022. The FCF job advertising duration was increased to 28 days in October 2020 amidst a weak job market to give jobseekers more time to respond to job opening, but the labour market has since recovered strongly.
  • With immediate effect, all EP applications will be processed, or an update will be given to employers, within 10 business days rather than three weeks.
  • Experienced professionals filling specific tech occupations on the COMPASS Shortage Occupation List will be offered the option of a 5-year EP. Compared to the typical pass duration of 2 to 3 years, a longer pass duration will give greater certainty to experienced tech professionals as well as businesses in their workforce planning.

South Korea: Korea Electronic travel Authorization (K-ETA).

Effective 1 September 2022, nationals of all 112 visa-waiver countries and regions, including Jeju Island, are required to obtain Korea Electronic travel Authorization (K-ETA).

  • Eight countries are currently suspended from K-ETA: Japan, Kiribati, Macau, Micronesia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Taiwan and Tonga.
  • Travellers should apply via the K-ETA app or website at least two weeks before departure. The fee is KRW 10,000 and the K-ETA is valid for two years. K-ETA holders are exempt from submitting an Arrival Card.
  • Nationals of visa-required countries are not required to obtain K-ETA.

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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