What's new in global

This week, the Global Immigration team at Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following recent updates from Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Vietnam.

Germany: EU Blue Cards

Effective 1 January 2023, the salary threshold for EU Blue cards is due to increase to EUR 58,400 (up from EUR 56,400 in 2022).

In addition, the minimum salary for EU Blue Card holders in shortage occupations will increase to EUR 45,552 (up from EUR 43,992 in 2022).

Employers of existing EU Blue Card holders only need to adjust the salary of these employees if they intend to renew their EU Blue Card on or after 1 January 2023, or if the start date is on or after this date.

The EU Blue Card (Blaue Karte) applies to highly-skilled employees with a local job offer and a salary at least two-thirds of the German pension fund contribution ceiling, which changes slightly every year.

The Blue Card regulation also applies to skilled employees in shortage occupations (‘Mangelberufe’ – scientists, mathematicians, engineers, doctors in human medicine, academic specialists in IT and communication) with an annual salary of at least 52% of the German pension fund contribution ceiling.

For shortage occupations, the labour authorities must check that the employment conditions match the local standards, and the employer must submit an official format job description.

Hong Kong: Online applications now available for all visa types

The Immigration Department (ImmD) has announced that online visa applications are extended to all visa application types effective 29 November 2022.

Applicants for visas and entry permits for visits, employment, investment, training, residence and study can complete the entire application process online without having to visit an immigration office in person.

Applicants can submit their visa applications, make payment and collect their visa or entry permit through the department’s mobile application, its website or the GovHK website.

Applicants may continue to use the existing methods to submit their applications and pay the fee. The eligibility criteria of relevant applications and fees will remain unchanged regardless of the submission method.

Ireland: IRP processing delays

The Immigration Services Registration Office at Burgh Quay in Dublin is currently experiencing a very large volume of applications with a current processing time to renew an Irish Residence Permit (IRP) card of approximately six weeks.

Following the completion of the renewal of Registration, it may take a further two weeks to receive the new IRP card. Therefore, those wishing to renew their registration should allow sufficient time to complete the process to ensure they remain in permission while in Ireland.

If an employee’s IRP card has expired and they are unable to obtain a valid registration card by the expiry date of their current IRP card, they are still legally permitted to remain in Ireland on the existing conditions of their current IRP card for a maximum of eight weeks. This eight-week provision is subject to the employee providing proof that they have applied to renew their registration prior to their current IRP card expiring.

All renewals in the Dublin Area are processed online and applicants are issued with a receipt of application detailing the date of application and a unique application number (OREG number). Once the online renewal application has been approved an application completed e-mail is sent to the applicant. This email confirmation can be used as proof of registration while the applicant awaits the delivery of their new IRP card

If, however, their current permission expired prior to submitting an application for renewal, they are considered out of permission and therefore not legally permitted to remain or work in Ireland.

Malaysia: Autogate system expanded to foreign nationals

The Immigration Department has extended the use of its autogate system at Kuala Lumpur International Airport to foreign nationals holding Long-Term Passes.  The facility could previously only be used my Malaysian nationals.

Long-Term Passes include Employment Pass, Dependant Pass, Professional Visit Pass, Residence Pass Talent and Temporary Employment Visit Pass.

Netherlands: Visa requirements for Turkish nationals

Effective 1 December 2022, Turkish nationals transferring at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport need an airport transit visa, unless an exemption applies.

Exemptions cover the following Turkish national travellers:

  • Holders of a valid Schengen visa.
  • Holders of a valid long-stay visa (MVV) issued by a country in theSchengen area for a country in the EU or EEA, Canada, the United States or Japan.
  • Holders of a valid residence permit issued by a country in the Schengen area, Andorra, Canada, Japan, San Marino or the United States.
  • Holders of a valid Caribbean visa or residence permit for one or more Caribbean parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (Aruba, Curaçao, St Maarten, Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba)
  • Those travelling on a Turkish diplomatic passport, service passport or official passport.
  • Family members of a national of an EU or EEA member state or Switzerland.
  • Crew members of an aircraft, and the airline is registered in a country party to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention).

If none of the above apply, a visa is required.  Those leaving the Schiphol international transit zone or transferring at another airport in the Netherlands require a Schengen visa. Anyone else requires an airport transit visa.

Vietnam: Semi-annual report deadline

The deadline for employers to submit the second semi-annual report on foreign nationals employed in Vietnam is 5 January 2022.  The report must include any foreign nationals who have worked in Vietnam between 15 December 202 and 14 December 2022.  Those whose work permit applications are still pending on 14 December 2022 do not need to be included. Employers who miss the deadline may be subject to government fines.

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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