What's new in global

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

Canada: Latest immigration changes announced

Online application trackers expanded:

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is expanding online application status trackers to four new categories of permanent residence applications.

Online application status trackers were first launched in May 2021 for citizenship applications and in February 2022 for immigration applications, starting with spouse, partner and dependent child sponsorship categories. Now, Express Entry applicants and their representatives can use the online application status tracker for Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program and Provincial Nominee Program applications.

Deadline extended for Hong Kong graduates:

Canada is extending the deadline to apply and expanding eligibility to Hong Kong residents who have graduated within the past ten years from a post-secondary learning institution in Canada or abroad. This means that more Hong Kong residents can pursue their career goals and gain valuable work experience in Canada for up to three years. Previously, applicants had to have graduated within the past five years.

In addition, the Government of Canada has established two pathways to permanent residence for eligible Hong Kong applicants and their families.

Netherlands: Temporary measures for highly skilled migrants extended

The temporary measure permitting certain highly skilled migrants to start work on arrival before receiving a residence document, has been extended until further notice. Originally implemented on 22 July 2022, the measure was due to expire on 22 January 2023.

Highly skilled migrants who are not required to have a provisional residence permit (MVV) can start working even when the residence document has not yet been issued. A Residence Endorsement sticker (in Dutch: verblijfsaantekening or VA-sticker) is not required.

However, their approval notification (in Dutch: kennisgeving) must mention this work authorization, which is only allowed for up to 4 months.

Highly skilled migrants waiting for a residence document after having been granted a residence permit extension can continue to work with the expired residence document.

The highly skilled migrant must, however, make an appointment to collect the residence document or have their biometric data taken as soon as possible, in any case within 2 weeks after receipt of the notification. They must be able to show the notification and an appointment confirmation when asked for this (and if applicable the expired residence document).

Highly skilled migrants who are coming to the Netherlands with an MVV were already allowed to work while waiting for the residence document. However, this is on condition that the employment agreement based on which the MVV and right of residence have been granted has already become effective.

New Zealand: Working Holiday Scheme reopening dates

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has announced the reopening dates for its capped Working Holiday Schemes.

The table published here outlines the date each scheme will open, as well as how many places are available in each scheme for 2023.

Once each scheme opens, applications will be open until the quota is filled. Once the quota is filled, the scheme will close until 2024.

In 2022 the Prime Minister of New Zealand and the President of Spain agreed changes to increase the Spain WHS cap from 200 to 2,000 and allow the visa holder to work for the full 12-month duration of the visa. Similarly, the New Zealand Government and the Government of Vietnam agreed changes to increase the Vietnam WHS cap from 100 to 200. Work is under way to have formal agreements in place to allow these changes to be implemented.

Switzerland: Hiring of highly skilled non-EEA nationals

Effective 1 February 2023, the Swiss Federal Council put in place measures to facilitate the employment of highly skilled non-EEA nationals.  The measures were announced in early 2022.

The measures include the following:

  • Swiss employers seeking to hire highly skilled non-EEA nationals to fill vacancies in certain shortage positions or professions are now exempt from the requirement to conduct labour market tests. These positions include:
    • Executives in information and communication technology (ICT); management consulting; finance and insurance; machine, electrical and metal; chemical and pharmaceutical; and food production;
    • Engineers, scientists and researchers in mathematical, scientific and technical fields, and specialized ICT professionals;
    • Healthcare professionals;
    • University teachers
  • Cantonal authorities may still require labour market testing on a case-by-case basis.
  • Highly skilled non-EEA nationals employed in certain occupation on the skills shortage list can obtain a residence permit without a university degree if they have completed a vocational training course or have at least five years of relevant professional experience.

United Arab Emirates: Online visit visa extensions

The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP) launched a new service permitting visit visa holders to extend the validity of their entry visa online.

Holders of a tourist or GCC visa valid for entry within 60 days who cannot enter within this limit can apply online to have their visa extended by up to 60 days.

Holders of a medical or study visa valid for entry within 90 days who cannot enter within this limit can apply online to have their visa extended by up to 90 days.

The extended entry permit should be issued by email within 48 hours.

United States / Ireland: Working Holiday programme extended

Ireland and the United States have agreed to extend the US-Ireland Working Holiday/Intern Work & Travel programme for a further five years.

First established in 2008, the Intern Work and Travel programme allows Irish citizens or permanent residents, who are students or recent graduates, to spend up to 12 months living and working in the US. Likewise, eligible people in the US are welcome to take advantage of the programme to come to Ireland for up to a year also.

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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