Latest updates in global

This week, the Global Immigration team at Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following recent updates from Brazil, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, Israel, Japan and Russia.

Brazil: Visitor visa changes from October 2023

The Brazilian Government has decided to reinstate the visitor visa requirement for citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States, effective 1 October 2023.

The decision followed consultations with these four countries on the possibility of granting visa exemption to Brazilian nationals, on the principle of reciprocity.

The visa exemption was established in 2019, based on the principles of reciprocity and equal treatment. Brazil does not grant unilateral visitor visa exemption to other countries without reciprocity.

From the date of entry into force of the measure, the Brazilian Government will adopt the electronic visa procedure, which was in force before the unilateral exemption.

Canada: Post-graduation work permits

Effective 6 April 2023, international graduates with a recently expired or expiring post-graduation work permit (PGWP) will qualify for an additional or extended work permit to stay longer and gain additional work experience for up to 18 months.

Foreign nationals whose PGWP has already expired in 2023 and those who were eligible for the 2022 PGWP facilitative measure will also have the opportunity to apply for an additional 18-month work permit. Those with expired work permits will be able to restore their status, even if they are beyond the 90-day restoration period, and will receive an interim work authorization while awaiting processing of their new work permit application.

PGWP holders who are eligible for the facilitative process will soon receive messages about logging into their online IRCC Secure Account, starting 6 April 2023, to opt in and update key personal information.

The PGWP Program allows international graduates to obtain an open work permit to gain valuable Canadian work experience. A PGWP is typically not extendable. PGWP holders who want to extend their stay in Canada as a worker are usually expected to apply for another type of work permit as their PGWP expires. Public policies previously adopted in 2021 and 2022 provided the opportunity for an additional work permit for those with expiring PGWPs.

Denmark: Changes to the Danish Aliens Act

On 23 March 2023, the Danish Parliament passed a number of amendments to the Danish Aliens Act which affect different schemes handled by the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI).

Among the changes to the work schemes, a new supplementary Pay Limit scheme will be available. The scheme can be used by third-country nationals who are employed in Denmark with a yearly salary of at least DKK 375,000 (lower than that the minimum salary for the current pay Limit Scheme). Moreover, the Fast Track scheme will include a supplementary pay limit track with the same minimum yearly salary.

Additionally, the Positive List for People with a degree and the Start-up Denmark scheme will expand to a broader range of applicants.

Third-country nationals who complete a Danish professional bachelor’s, master’s or PhD programme will automatically be granted a job-seeking period of three years with the right to work for three years after having completed their educational programme.

The Establishment card scheme will be abolished. However, third-country nationals with a residence permit under this scheme will still be able to apply for an extension of their establishment card after 1 April 2023.

The new rules come into effect on 1 April 2023 and on this date the relevant application pages and rules will be published on

European Union: Single work and residence permits for third-country nationals

The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee has agreed draft legislation updating streamlining the issuance of single work and residence permits for third-country nationals.

The committee set a limit of 90 days for reaching a decision on these applications, compared to the current limit of four months.  The time limit would be further reduced to 45 days for applicants selected through an EU talent partnership and those already holding a single permit in another EU country.

The committee amended the European Commission’s original proposal to include seasonal workers and those with temporary protection status.

Under the amended rules, there would also be a simplified procedure for single permit holders to change employer, and they would be allowed to maintain their status while unemployed and seeking new employment, for at least nine months, up from the three months proposed by the Commission.

Members of the European Parliament now have to negotiate the final form of the legislation with the Council of the EU.

Israel: STEP Work Permits

The Israeli government has begun to implement regulations stipulating that one-year B-1 or STEP Work Permits will be declared void if they are not activated in time. Activation is the processing of the work permit at the Ministry of Interior within a certain timeframe from the permit start date, depending on the type of work visa.

For B-1 work visas, activation must be completed within 90 days of the permit start date (unless an exemption applies). For STEP B-1 work visas, activation must be done within 30 days of the permit start date. Failure to activate the work permit within these timeframes results in the permit being declared void.

The government has also declared void any SEA Work Permit which is not used to enter Israel within 30 days from the permit’s start date. Employers of foreign nationals whose permits have been declared void need to reapply for a new permit. This process involves additional government fees and could potentially delay start dates for foreign workers.

Japan: Digital Certificates of Eligibility

As of 17 March 2023, a copy (as an alternative to the original) of the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) can used to apply for a visa at any Japanese consular office. The COE can be issued by email and this email or a printed copy can be submitted in support of the visa application. This avoids the need for the applicant to wait to receive a hard copy of the COE via the mail.

The digital COE option is available on request to applicants for the following categories of visa and their dependents:

  • Business Manager visas;
  • Intra Company Transfer visas;
  • Engineer/Specialist/International Services visas;
  • Highly-Skilled Professional visas; and
  • Spouse of Japanese national visas.

Russia: Salary notifications for Highly Qualified Specialists

Salary notifications for Highly Qualified Specialists (HQS) are due by 28 April 2023.  Employers have until this date to report to the migration authorities the salaries of HQS foreign national employees for the first quarter of 2023.

Quarterly notifications must be submitted to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) within 30 days of the end of each quarter, and the reported salary should be at least RUB 167,000 per calendar month or RUB 501,000 per quarter.

Violation of the established notification procedure may lead to administrative fines on the employer. Failure to pay the salary in the minimum amount established for HQS may lead to the company being banned from employing new HQS employees for two years.

The Highly Qualified Specialist (HQS) program allows companies in Russia to employ foreign national workers for up to three years (renewable) with various benefits including a simplified application process and exemption from quotas.

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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