Latest updates in global

This week, the Global Immigration team at Smith Stone Walters would like to share the following recent updates from Canada, Denmark, Indonesia, Ireland, Lithuania, Sweden and the United States.

Canada: Francophone Mobility Program extension

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced the extension, for a period of two years, of the Francophone Mobility Program to eligible candidates with a moderate command of French for all National Occupation Classification jobs with the exception of those in primary agriculture.

Previously, this program was only applicable to highly skilled French-speaking temporary workers.

The French language proficiency criteria are also updated for all foreign nationals applying for a work permit under the Francophone Mobility Program. The temporary foreign national must have a moderate language proficiency of French for oral comprehension and oral expression. This is equivalent to a level 5 of the language requirements.

Furthermore, applicants must now provide documentary proof that they meet these language requirements. This evidence may be, but is not limited to: a French evaluation test or the French competencies test, a diploma or degree from a French college or university, or a document confirming studies at a French-language institution.

The Francophone Mobility Program was launched in 2016 with a Labour Market Impact Assessment exemption.

Denmark: Replacement of residence cards required for some permanent residents

The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) has announced that certain permanent residents are required to replace their residence cards.

This is applicable to third country (i.e., non-EU, non-EEA and non-Swiss) citizens with permanent residence in Denmark as a family member of an EU citizen.

  • Effective 3 August 2023, residence cards issued before 1998 to third-country family members to EU citizens, where the family member has the right to permanent residence, will no longer be valid.
  • Effective 3 August 2026, residence cards issued between 1998 and 2011 to third-country family members to EU citizens, where the family member has the right to permanent residence, will no longer be valid.
  • Effective 3 August 2026, residence cards issued from 3 August 2016 to 3 August 2021 to third-country family members to EU citizens, where the family member has the right to permanent residence, will no longer be valid.

The above-named permanent residents, if currently residing in Denmark, must apply for a new residence card. This applies even if there is no date of expiry on the residence card. No fee will be charged to obtain a new card.

If a residence card expires while the holder is resident outside Denmark, they must apply for a re-entry permit at the local Danish embassy in their country of residence.

Indonesia: Electronic visa on arrival for nationals of 159 countries

The Ministry of Law and Human Rights of Indonesia has clarified that the visa-free visit policy previously applicable to 169 nationalities now only applies to the 10 countries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam.

Nationals of the remaining 159 countries are now eligible for an electronic visa on arrival (e-voa).

The visa-free policy was temporarily suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic but is now cancelled for all except nationals of the 10 ASEAN countries.

Effective 9 June 2023, the Indonesian government has also lifted the requirement for inbound travellers to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination. The obligation to download and use the SATUSEHAT application also no longer applies.

Ireland: Changes to Irish visa applications in India

Effective 19 June 2023, supplementary application forms are no longer required for Irish visa applications in India. Visa applicants should only provide the relevant documents depending on their visa category, as listed here.

Visa applicants must include all relevant information in their online AVATS application. Applicants who use an immigration or visa agent must provide their details in the online AVATS application. Failure to declare details of an agent could be grounds for a visa refusal.

Ireland: Re-entry visa requirements suspended for under 16s

The Department of Justice has suspended re-entry visa requirements for children under 16 with immediate effect and until further notice.

Children under 16 who are currently residing in Ireland and who wish to re-enter Ireland must be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian who holds an in-date permission to reside in Ireland. The adult accompanying the child must also provide appropriate documentation to prove they are the legal parent or guardian of the child in question.

Suitable documents to prove the relationship between the parent or guardian and the child are:

  • A birth or adoption certificate, or guardianship papers showing the relationship with the child;
  • A marriage/divorce certificate if the child’s parent has a different surname;
  • A death certificate in the case of a deceased parent.

Any child who is not currently residing in Ireland and wishes to enter Ireland can apply for an entry visa at their nearest VO or mission.

Please note that current applications for re-entry visas for children under 16 will be returned along with passports to customers in the coming days.

Lithuania: Changes to national visa application process

Effective 1 July 2023, all applications for national visas must be submitted via the MIGRIS website of the Migration Department and will be processed by the external service provider chosen by the Migration Department.

Currently, national visa applications are submitted via the Electronic Application Module (EPM) of the Migration Department before biometrics are collected at Lithuanian consulates or visas centres.

In advance of this change, the Electronic Application Module (EPM) of the Migration Department closed for national visa applications from 19 June 2023.

  • Applicants who have submitted an application before that date will still have their applications processed.
  • Urgent cases during the transitional period before 1 July 2023 will be assessed individually.

Also from 1 July 2023, the following categories of applicant are no longer eligible for a national visa, and will have to apply for a temporary residence permit instead:

  • Foreign employees who have a work permit issued by the Employment Service;
  • Citizens of Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, New Zealand, South Korea, Canada and Belarus, who until now received national visas in a simplified manner;
  • Foreign nationals coming to work in shortage occupations;
  • Foreign nationals who have submitted an application to issue or change a residence permit or a family member card of an EU citizen;
  • Teachers and researchers coming to work in higher education institutions under employment contracts;
  • Full-time students coming to study at higher education institutions registered and operating in the Republic of Lithuania.

Temporary residence permits, which allow stays of up to five years in some cases, are generally processed in one to three months, while national visas, which only permit stays of up to one year, are generally processed in less than three weeks.

Finally, from 1 July 2023, services for foreign nationals at the Migration Department’s branch in Elektrėnai will close, while services for Lithuanian citizens will continue to operate as usual.

After 1 July 2023, services for foreign nationals will still be available at the Migration Service’s branches in Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, Panevėžys, Marijampolė, Alytus, Tauragė, Telšiai, Utena, Visaginas and Šalčininkai.

Sweden: Pop-up passport checking stations in US & Canada

In July 2023, visa exempt applicants for student and work permits will be able to have their passports checked at five temporary locations in the United States and Canada, without a prior appointment.

The requirement to present the passport in person at a Swedish diplomatic mission was introduced on 1 November 2022. Previously, visa-exempt applicants could receive their permit and enter Sweden without visiting an embassy or consulate.

The locations and dates are as follows:

  • 3 July 2023: Swedish consulate in Vancouver, Canada
  • 4 July 2023: University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  • 5-6 July 2023: University of California Berkeley, San Francisco, USA
  • 7 July 2023: University of California LA, California, USA
  • 10-11 July 2023: Rice University, Houston, USA
  • 12-13 July 2023: DePaul University, Chicago, USA.

Applicants who require a visa or a residence permit card to enter Sweden cannot have their passport checked at these summer pop-up stations.  Instead, they need to visit the Embassy of Sweden in Washington D.C. or Ottawa to provide fingerprints and to be photographed.

The same is true for those who require an interview, for example if they have applied for a residence permit to move to a family member in Sweden.

United States: New app for ESTA applications

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced the launch of a new mobile application to enable travellers potentially eligible to enter under the Visa Waiver Program to submit Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) applications easily and quickly from their smartphones, mobile devices or tablets.

ESTA is an automated system which determines the eligibility of visitors traveling to the United States and whether such travel poses any law enforcement or security risk.

Prior to the launch of the ESTA mobile app, travelers applied for authorization only through the official CBP website, which continues to service ESTA applications.

Travellers can use the new app to:

  • Launch an ESTA application;
  • Scan an image of their passport;
  • Have their passport read and confirmed;
  • Upload a live video selfie to confirm their identity;
  • Add personal and travel details to their application;
  • Answer eligibility questions;
  • Review and submit their application;
  • Make changes or updates to their application or profile;
  • Receive notifications and application status updates;
  • Save time by storing their preferences and profile details within the app.

The ESTA mobile app is available in 24 different languages and was designed to serve travellers in all 40 countries whose citizens are permitted by DHS to travel to the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa. The app is available on both iOS and Android app stores.

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.

Share story
Back to top of page