Global immigration news

This week, the Global Immigration team at Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following recent updates from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.

Canada: 13 more countries now qualify for visa-free travel

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that certain travellers from 13 more visa-required countries are eligible for visa-free travel to Canada.

Effective 6 June 2023, travellers from the following countries who have either held a Canadian visa in the last 10 years or who currently hold a valid United States non-immigrant visa can apply for an electronic travel authorization (eTA) instead of a visa when travelling to Canada by air:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Costa Rica
  • Morocco
  • Panama
  • Philippines
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Seychelles
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Uruguay

Eligible Brazilian nationals continue to qualify for visa-free air travel to Canada with an eTA.

Individuals who already have a valid visa can continue to use it to travel to Canada. Those who are not eligible for an eTA, or who are travelling to Canada by means other than air (for example, by car, bus, train and boat—including by cruise ship), will still need a visitor visa.

Travellers from visa-exempt countries also need an eTA to fly to Canada, but do not require one if entering by land or sea.

An eTA, which costs CAD 7, is electronically linked to a traveller’s passport. It is valid for up to five years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. eTA holders can travel to Canada as often as they want for short stays (normally for up to six months at a time).

Denmark: More application types moved online

Effective 1 June 2023, the Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) has made it mandatory to use an online application form when submitting several more types of application.

The additional application types now requiring an online application are:

  • Application for residence and work permit on grounds of salaried work (AR1 online)
  • Application for a residence and work permit as a PhD student (PHD1 online)
  • Application for a residence and work permit as a family member of a foreign national who is to work or study in Denmark (MF1 online)
  • Application for a residence and work permit as an intern (PR1/3 online) – except for commuters
  • Application for a residence and work permit as a volunteer or in order to obtain a Danish authorization as a doctor, dentist or nurse (XG1 online)
  • Application for dispensation to prevent a residence permit from lapsing (BF1/2 online).

If the relevant online application is not submitted, SIRI can reject the application. There are some exceptions for special circumstances, such as illness, disability or lack of digital skills.

Finland: New guidance for applications submitted via Enter Finland portal

The Finnish Immigration Service has published guidance for those who have applied for an extended permit or for a new residence permit card via the Enter Finland portal without needing to visit a physical service point. The number of these applicants has recently increased, and they are reminded that there is no need to contact Enter Finland to follow up their application.

Currently, processing will begin within approximately three weeks after submitting the application online.

On application, Enter Finland will tell the applicant whether or not they need to visit a service point.

For first-time residence permit applications, the applicant must always visit a Finnish embassy or consulate (or a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service) if they apply from within Finland) to prove their identity in person.

A visit to a service point of the Finnish Immigration Service is not always required for applicants apply via “Enter Finland” for an extended permit, a new residence permit card or a new residence card. To avoid visiting a service point, applicants must also use online banking credentials, include a digital photo retrieval code, pay the processing fee in advance and use the same account credentials as they used for their previous permit applications

If a visit to a service point is not required, Enter Finland will send a notification and will show the applicant the diary number of their application. If necessary, they can then print out a certificate of a pending application via Enter Finland.  If any additional information is required for the application, Enter Finland will contact the applicant.

Luxembourg: Old format residence cards no longer valid from 3 August

The Directorate of Immigration of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has announced that old-format residence cards and permanent residence cards for third-country nationals who are family members of a European Union citizen will cease to be valid on 3 August 2023.

As of 1 June 2021, residence permits and permanent residence cards in Luxembourg will be issued in the form of biometric smartcards. Cards issued before 1 June 2021 in the old format (secure printed paper with photo) can still be used during a transitional period, as long as they have not yet reached their expiry date. This transition period ends on 3 August 2023, so cards issued in the old format before June 2021 will cease to be valid on 3 August 2023, even if they have an expiry date after 3 August 2023.

Holders of old-format residence permits must exchange it for a new one before 3 August 2023 in order to continue to have a valid residence document and to avoid problems when travelling abroad or dealing with the authorities. The Directorate of Immigration has confirmed that all those affected have been informed by letter of the procedure to be followed, and should exchange their cards as soon as possible.

United Arab Emirates: 10-day grace period for expired visas abolished

It is widely reported that the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security (ICP) has confirmed that the 10-day grace period for travellers to Dubai whose visas have expired has been abolished. Other emirates eliminated the grace period previously.

Holders of visit visas should apply for an extension before the expiry date or leave the country. All visitors who overstay their visas will now have to pay an AED 50 daily fine.

Vietnam: Reporting deadline for employers

The deadline for employers to submit the next semi-annual report on foreign nationals employed in Vietnam is 5 July 2023.

The report submitted to the Ministry of Labour, invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) must include any foreign nationals who have worked in Vietnam between 15 December 2022 and 14 June 2023.  Those whose work permit applications are still pending on 14 June 2023 do not need to be included. Employers who miss the deadline may be subject to government fines.

Another report is due on 5 January 2024, covering those who have worked in Vietnam between 15 December 2022 and 14 December 2023.

Expert advice on global immigration

If you need support with any aspect of global 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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