What's new in global

This week, the Global Immigration team at Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following recent updates from Australia, Belgium, Hong Kong and Sweden.

Australia: Changes to temporary visa rules

As of 18 October 2022, the Australian Government is streamlining health requirements for temporary visa applicants in Australia.

Eligible temporary visa applicants in Australia will not be required to undertake medical examinations and chest x-rays in order to meet the health requirement.

Temporary visa applicants in Australia will be required to undertake relevant medical examinations and/or chest x-rays if they:

  • have applied for a medical treatment, temporary protection or a provisional visa
  • expect to incur medical costs or require medical treatment
  • intend to work as (or study to be) a doctor, dentist, nurse or paramedic
  • will enter a hospital, aged or disability care facility (if higher tuberculosis risk)
  • are pregnant and intending to have the baby in Australia
  • will work or train at an Australian childcare centre
  • are aged over 75 years (if applying for a visitor visa)
  • have had previous household contact with tuberculosis or
  • are requested to do so by the Department.

Applicants must complete questions on their form truthfully.

This measure applies to all eligible temporary visa applications currently with the Department and new applications made in Australia. The Government will review these arrangements in early 2023.

The Department’s contracted service provider will be in touch with eligible applicants soon to cancel appointments where they are no longer required and provide refunds.

Medicals already completed will be considered by the Department in the normal way.

Belgium: New salary thresholds from January 2023

From 1 January 2023, new salary thresholds will apply in the Belgian regions. These salary requirements will apply to all requested single permits set to begin in 2023.

Below is an overview of the new thresholds for each region and employment category:


  • Employers applying for new or renewal work authorizations on or after 1 January 2023 must increase the salary to comply with the new threshold. Immigration applications that do not meet the minimum salary requirement will be rejected.
  • Employers with pending applications as of 1 January 2023 must increase the salary to comply with the new threshold and must inform the regional authorities.
  • Employers must also ensure that the salaries of existing employees already working in Belgium comply with the new thresholds as of 1 January 2023.

Hong Kong: Top Talent Pass scheme

The Hong Kong government has announced a new Top Talent Pass scheme for people earning at least HKD 2.5 million per year and who have graduated from the world’s top 100 universities.

These graduates must have graduated in the last five years or have at least three years of work experience. The scheme grants a two-year visa.

The following changes were also announced in the Chief Executive’s policy address:

  • Under the General Employment Policy scheme and the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals, the requirement to carry out a labour market test will be removed for certain shortage occupations and for jobs with an annual salary of at least HKD 2 million.
  • The annual quota for the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (currently 4000 places) will be suspended for two years and the Talent List will be updated.
  • The permitted stay permit under the Immigration Arrangements for Non-local Graduates (IANG) will be extended from one to two years.

Sweden: Work and residence permits for self-employed persons

Effective 1 November 2022, applicants for a work permit or a residence permit for self-employed persons must personally show their passport before the Swedish Migration Agency can make a decision.

The new requirement affects both people who are applying for a residence permit for the first time and those who are applying for an extended residence permit, but it applies only to applicants using a passport that they have not previously shown to the Swedish Migration Agency, a Swedish embassy, or the consulate-general. Those applying with a passport that they have already shown in connection with a personal visit, do not need to show it again.

If the Swedish Migration Agency wants to see an applicant’s passport, they will contact the applicant with information about how to book an appointment. Applicants should not send their passports.

Those who need an entry visa or residence permit card to travel to Sweden will usually have their fingerprints taken and be photographed when they present their passport at an embassy or consulate-general.

Their family members must also show their passports before they can get a residence permit. Children under the age of five are not required to show their passport in person, but if a child needs a residence permit card, he or she must the main applicant to be photographed.

Those applying for a permanent residence permit and meeting the requirements to be granted one do not need to show their passport.

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.

Share story
Back to top of page