Latest updates in global

This week, the Global Immigration team at Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following recent updates from Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States.

Canada: Parents and Grandparents Program

The Canadian government has begun sending invitations to apply under the Parents and Grandparents Program to 23,100 interested potential sponsors, with the aim of accepting up to 15,000 completed applications in 2022.

Due to the number of “interest to sponsor” forms remaining in the pool of submissions from 2020, IRCC will send invitations to apply to randomly selected potential sponsors from that pool instead of opening a new interest to sponsor form.

Those invited to apply as part of this process will use our new Permanent Residence Portal or the Representative Permanent Residence Portal, which allows applications to be submitted electronically.

IRCC will once again use a lower income requirement for the sponsorship of parents and grandparents. For the 2020 and 2021 tax years, the income requirement for sponsors will be the minimum necessary income, instead of the minimum necessary income plus 30%, and regular Employment Insurance benefits and temporary COVID-19 benefits (such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit) will be allowed to be included toward the sponsor’s income. These measures will ensure that sponsors and applicants are not unfairly penalized for a temporary loss of a sponsor’s income during the pandemic.

Those who wish to reunite with their parents and grandparents in Canada, but who are not invited this year, may consider having their parents or grandparents apply for a super visa, a multiple-entry visa that is valid for 10 years. Enhancements to the super visa, implemented in the summer of 2022, allow super visa holders to stay in Canada for up to 5 years at a time, with the option to extend their visit by up to 2 years at a time without leaving the country.

Ireland: Belarus and Russia removed from Short-Stay Visa Waiver Scheme

The Minister for Justice has announced that Belarus and Russia will be removed from the list of countries which may avail of the Short Stay Visa Waiver Scheme.

The Short-Stay Visa Waiver Programme, allows nationals of certain countries who have entered the United Kingdom on foot of certain UK short stay visas, to travel to Ireland without the requirement to obtain an Irish visa. They instead may use the time remaining on their current leave to remain in the UK.

In relation to visa applications from Russian citizen, Ireland currently assesses all visa applications from Russian nationals on a case-by-case basis. Every application is assessed according to criteria appropriate to the category of visa sought and includes evidence of financial standing, health insurance, and where appropriate, an employment permit etc. Checks are also carried out for any adverse immigration history or criminal record.

The Irish government has also clarified that they will not recognise Russian passports issued in occupied foreign regions for the purpose of issuing visas and crossing external borders. The non-recognition Russian passports issued in occupied foreign regions will not affect the asylum rights of any individual or the right of any Ukrainian national who is entitled to Temporary Protection.

New Zealand: Guidance for visa applicants on medical certificates

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has provided guidance to applicants submitting on medical certificates in support of visa applications via Immigration Online.

Visitor Visa applicants should only provide medical certificates if requested.

INZ has received a high number of medical certificates that had not been requested, and this has created pressure in the system. Many Visitor Visa applicants will not need to provide medical certificates, so customers can save time by waiting to see if INZ determines one is necessary.

Those who have been asked to provide a medical certificate should do so.

Those who have applied for a Visitor Visa (excluding Group Visitor Visas and Visitor Visa for people from Pacific Islands), a 2021 Resident Visa, or an Accredited Employer Work Visa, can check their application status online.

  • For those who have been asked to provide medicals, their status will be updated with ‘Waiting on you to provide medicals’.
  • Those who have provided the requested medical certificate don’t need to do anything further.
  • In addition to checking the medical certificate, an application may also undergo third-party checks, such as checking for a New Zealand Police Certificate. The ‘waiting for medical certificate’ status will not change until all items INZ is waiting for have been received.

South Korea: More countries eligible for K-ETA

Effective 1 November 2022, K-ETA will be available to the following eight additional countries – Japan, Kiribati, Macau, Micronesia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Taiwan and Tonga.

Japan, Macau and Taiwan were temporarily added from 4 August to 31 October 2022.

From 1 November 2022, all 112 visa-waiver countries are eligible for K-ETA. Nationals of visa-required countries are not required to obtain K-ETA.

Travellers should apply via the K-ETA app or website at least 72 hours 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.

K-ETA is for those travelling for tourism, business, events or family visits.

United States: COVID-19 flexibilities extended

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is extending certain COVID-19-related flexibilities until 24 January 2023.

Under these flexibilities, USCIS considers a response received within 60 calendar days after the due date set forth in the following requests or notices before taking any action, if the request or notice was issued between 1 March 2020, and 24 January 2023, inclusive:

  • Requests for Evidence;
  • Continuations to Request Evidence (N-14);
  • Notices of Intent to Deny;
  • Notices of Intent to Revoke;
  • Notices of Intent to Rescind;
  • Notices of Intent to Terminate regional centres;
  • Notices of Intent to Withdraw Temporary Protected Status; and
  • Motions to Reopen an N-400 Pursuant to 8 CFR 335.5, Receipt of Derogatory Information After Grant.

In addition, USCIS will consider a Form I-290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion, or a Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings (Under Section 336 of the INA), if:

  • The form was filed up to 90 calendar days from the issuance of a decision we made; and
  • That decision was made between 1 November 2021, and 24 January 2023, inclusive.

As a reminder, the reproduced signature flexibility announced in March 2020 became permanent policy on 25 July 2022.

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