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, Canada, Denmark, Greece, Malaysia, South Africa and the United States.

Australia: Skilled Work Regional Visa

Candidates living and/or working in metropolitan Melbourne can now submit a registration of Interest (ROI) for the Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491) nomination.

The new expanded eligibility criteria opens Victoria’s subclass 491 visa program to skilled migrants living anywhere in Victoria, including previously ineligible metropolitan Melbourne residents who wish to relocate to work and live in a designated regional area of Victoria.

Subclass 491 visa holders must live, work and study in a regional area of Victoria for at least three years before they can apply for their subclass 191 visa, which provides permanent residency.  This means you may need to move to a designated regional area of Victoria or secure a job that provides you with regional employment.

Those who have submitted a Registration of Interest (ROI) for a subclass 190 and have not been selected can submit a new ROI for a subclass 491 after withdrawing the existing subclass 190 ROI.

There are four steps to subclass 491 visa nomination.

  • Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs using SkillSelect.
  • Using the EOI number received from SkillSelect, submit a Registration of Interest (ROI) for Victorian nomination via the Live in Melbourne portal.
  • After selection to apply for a Victorian visa nomination, apply for a subclass 491 visa nomination on the Live in Melbourne portal.
  • If the nomination application is approved, submit a visa application with the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs.

Canada: Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced that Canada will launch a new economic pathway under the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) to help employers hire skilled refugees and other displaced individuals.

The EMPP pairs skilled refugees and other qualified displaced individuals with Canadian employers who need to overcome labour shortages in key occupations.

The Government of Canada is expanding the EMPP by creating a new federal pathway to complement existing EMPP pathways.

The new federal pathway, which will open in summer 2023, will give employers more opportunities to fill a wide range of in­-demand jobs, including nurse aides, personal support workers, long-term care aides, software engineers, web designers, mechanical and electrical engineers and technicians, teachers, tourism and hospitality workers, and truck and delivery service drivers.

The application process for the new federal pathway will be easier and faster thanks to standardized eligibility criteria and the fact that only one application needs to be submitted. In most cases, applications are expected to be processed within 6 months, so EMPP newcomers will be able to move to and start working in Canada quickly.

EMPP facilitation measures include waiving some fees, making it easier to validate work experience, and letting candidates use loans to fund travel costs, settlement needs, start-up costs and fees that cannot be waived. An NGO partner provides low-interest microloans to eligible EMPP candidates who do not have the minimum funds to meet settlement requirements.

In addition, the EMPP will now include a more flexible approach to eligibility by allowing other displaced people who lack a durable solution and are in need of international protection to apply.

With the new federal pathway, employers will be able to hire refugees and other displaced people who qualify under any National Occupation Classification 2021 category (TEER 0–5).

More information on the new federal pathway, including eligibility criteria, will be available on the EMPP webpage in the coming weeks.

Denmark: Residence permits for British nationals

On 27 March 2023, the Danish government announced the extension of the deadline for British nationals to apply for residence permits based on the Withdrawal Agreement until the end of 2023. The deadline was originally set for 31 December 2021.

The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) states that it cannot yet confirm when the new deadline will come into effect. Until then, however, SIRI will continue to process cases where the assessment is that there are reasonable reasons for submitting the application late. Applications where the assessment is that there are no reasonable reasons for late submission will for now continue to be put on hold.

It continues to be a requirement that the conditions for residence based on the Withdrawal Agreement must be met, including that the applicant must have become legally resident in Denmark under EU regulations on free movement before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020. Applicants whose application has already been processed and refused, because the conditions for residence based on the Withdrawal Agreement have not been met, cannot have their application processed again.

Greece: New rules for non-EU workers

The Greek parliament has passed a new law amending the entry rules for non-EU nationals seeking to enter Greece for work to meet labour shortages in certain occupations.

Greece will permit certain categories of foreign workers already in Greece to change their place of residence.

The new law also extends the maximum duration of residence permits for second-generation migrant children (born and raised in Greece) from five to ten years.

Malaysia: Expatriate projection applications

Effective 1 April 2023, the process for Expatriate Services Division (ESD) projection (quota) applications is simplified and requests will be instantly approved.  Previously, processing time was four weeks.

Companies are still required to apply for an expatriate projection for the current year i.e., for all initial and renewal Employment Pass (EP) and Professional Visit Pass (PVP) applications.

For applications submitted before 1 April 2023 that have not yet received a decision, companies can re-submit the application from this date.

As usual, any unused quota for the year will not be carried forward to the next year.

So far, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has not made an equivalent announcement.

South Africa: Concession extended for long-term visa applicants awaiting decisions

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has extended to 31 December 2023 the blanket concession for long-term visa or waiver applicants who are awaiting outcomes of their applications.

The decision means that long term visa or waiver applicants are permitted to legally remain in the country until 31 December 2023, pending the finalisation of their applications. Those that are travelling on passports issued by countries that are not visa exempted, are required to apply for a visitor’s visa to return to South Africa until their applications have been finalised.

This concession is only applicable to applicants who have submitted an application via VFS before or on 31 March 2023.

All visitors on short term visas whose validity was issued for less than 90 days are excluded from the concession and are required to depart on or before 29 April 2023.

United States: USCIS policy updates

Effective immediately, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has updated its policy manual to address situations when the last day to file a benefit request or respond to a USCIS action falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or federal holiday. In these situations, USCIS will consider a filing or response submitted on paper timely if it is received by the end of the next business day. While the receipt date for these cases will continue to reflect the date USCIS physically received the request, USCIS will consider the benefit request timely filed.

In some cases, benefit requestors must file a benefit request or submit a response to a USCIS action within a certain time period prescribed by statute, regulation, or form instructions. Examples include filing a paper-based benefit request on the last day before a requestor’s or beneficiary’s birthday or the last day of a qualifying time period for filing, or responding to a Request for Evidence or a notice of intent to deny, rescind, revoke or terminate within the specified time frame for a response.

The policy update will apply to all benefit requests or responses to a USCIS action received on paper on or after 29 March 2023. This update does not affect electronic filings or responses submitted electronically, which are considered received immediately upon submission. USCIS is not applying this policy retroactively.

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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