What's new in global

This week, the Global Immigration team at Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following recent updates from Bahrain, Canada, Ireland, Poland and Portugal.

Bahrain: Multi-entry e-visa

The Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs (NPRA) has announced the introduction of a multi-entry e-visa for training purposes that allows its holder to stay in the Kingdom for six months.

The visa can be extended for a further six months. Applications can be submitted online for a fee of BD60. The applicant should attach a letter from a host organisation setting out details of the training.

Canada: New measures to streamline application processing

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced new online services and other measures to streamline application processing.

Permanent and temporary residence applicants already in Canada who meet certain criteria will be exempted from the immigration medical examination requirement.

The department has resumed in-person interviews with sponsors and applicants at Canadian and international offices for family reunification applications. Virtual interviews will continue to be available where possible, and will be expanded at overseas offices, including through a pilot project allowing spousal sponsorship and other clients to take part in virtual interviews at some visa application centres rather than having to travel to a visa office.

On 23 September 2022, IRCC will begin transitioning to 100% digital applications for permanent residence applicants.

In February 2022, IRCC also launched a new application status tracker that allowed permanent residence applicants, sponsors and their representatives in the spouse, partner and dependent child categories to check their application status online more easily. By spring 2023, this application status tracker will be expanded to include seven more permanent residence and temporary residence programs. IRCC also introduced a citizenship application status tracker for clients in May 2021, which will be expanded to include access to representatives this month.

From Autumn 2022, IRCC will publish forward-looking estimates of how long it will take to process an application.

IRCC also plans to expand its online application tool for citizenship applications to minors under the age of 18 years by the end of 2022.

Ireland: Electronic employment permits and new permission for doctors

Effective 1 September to 31 October 2022, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment started issuing all employment permits in an electronic format with the addition of the signature of a senior official on behalf of the Minister, as well as a unique permit number. There is no requirement to exchange current permits for this updated permit format and all existing permits issued will continue to remain valid.

Also effective 1 September 2022, non-EEA doctors already in Ireland for 21 months or more with a General Employment Permit may apply for a new permission granting them the right to work without a permit. Their spouses or partners will also receive a permission allowing them to work.

The request for Stamp 4 support letter form should be completed and returned, along with a recent payslip, to EPStamp4@enterprise.gov.ie marking the subject title Doctors Stamp 4 Request. An acknowledgement email will be issued shortly after submission of the form. No further action is required by the applicant.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment will notify applicants once applications are approved and will send requests on the applicants’ behalf to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice will then process applications and issue the Stamp 4 permission directly to the doctors concerned. Applicants must ensure that their address and contact details held by the Department of Justice are correct.

Poland: Poland Business Harbour (PBH) programme expanded

Poland has expanded its Poland Business Harbour (PBH) programme to cover nationals of any country working in strategic industries. Originally the scheme was available only to Belarusian nationals, and in 2021 it was expanded to include nationals of Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine.

Under the scheme, individual IT specialists, start-ups and mature companies sponsored by a Polish partner company can obtain a special visa allowing the holder to work without a work permit, set up business activity, and bring their immediate family to Poland.

Portugal: New Mobility Agreement for nationals of Portuguese-speaking countries

Under a newly approved Mobility Agreement, Portugal will expedite visa processing for nationals of other Portuguese-speaking countries.

The member states of the Community of Portuguese-Language Countries (CPLP) are Cape Verde, East Timor, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and Sāo Tomé and Principe.

Portuguese consulates can now issue short-stay, temporary or residence visas to citizens of these countries without a prior opinion from the Borders and Immigration Agency (SEF).

Other changes introduced recently include:

  • A new jobseeker visa, issued for a stay of 120 days, renewable for another 60 days. If the holder finds a job during this time, they can apply for work-based residence status from within Portugal, rather than having to exit and apply from abroad.
  • The possibility of granting a visa for temporary stay and residence to professionals who work remotely outside Portugal (digital nomads).
  • The EU Blue Card is now valid for an initial two years, renewable for three years at a time. Previously it was valid for one year and renewable for two years at a time.

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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