Latest updates in global immigration

This week, the Global Immigration team at Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following recent updates from Canada, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland & Kazakstan.

Canada: New permanent residence pathway for Ukrainian nationals

Effective 23 October 2023, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will introduce a new permanent residence pathway for Ukrainian nationals.

To qualify, Ukrainian nationals must be in Canada with temporary resident status and have one or more family members in Canada. Those who are eligible include Ukrainian spouses, common-law partners, parents, grandparents, siblings and children or grandchildren of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

Ukrainians holding a Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) visa will have until 31 March 2024, to travel to Canada under the temporary special measures. Following the end of overseas applications under CUAET on July 15, 2023, Ukrainians and their family members can still apply for a temporary resident visa to come to Canada, under pre-existing immigration measures.

Once in Canada, temporary residents will be eligible to apply for an extended stay of up to three years through study permits and open work permits, all of which will be prioritized. They will also have access to settlement services, such as language training and employment services.

Denmark: Updated income statistics 

The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) has published updated income statistics which will take effect 1 August 2023.

When processing most immigration applications, SIRI assesses whether the salary corresponds to Danish standards with reference to income statistics produced by the Confederation of Danish Employers (DA). This applies to the Pay Limit Scheme, and the Fast Track Scheme, among other routes.

SIRI will usually assume that the salary corresponds to Danish standards, and will not make further assessment, if it is stated in the application form and employment contract that:

• The employer is covered by a collective agreement though a membership of an employers’ association.
• The employment is covered by a collective agreement in the relevant sector.
• The salary is at least DKK 67,812.50 per month (2023 level).

If the above-mentioned terms are not documented in the employment contract, SIRI will assess whether the salary offered corresponds to Danish standards, using the income statistics from the DA as a guideline.

All the applications that SIRI receives before 1 August 2023 will be evaluated by the previous income statistics from fourth quarter of 2022.

SIRI will use the updated income statistics on all applications submitted from 1 August 2023.

The statistics made by The Confederation of Danish Employers (DA) will be updated every quarter, approximately two months after the end of the latest quarter.

For the Positive List for Skilled Work, salary correspondence with Danish standards is never automatically accepted. An assessment is always made using Danmarks Statistik’s wage register as a guideline.

All applications that SIRI receives before 1 August 2023 will be evaluated by the previous wage statistics from third quarter of 2021.

SIRI will use the updated wage statistics from the first quarter of 2023 for all applications submitted from 1 August 2023.

Hungary: New category of residence for work for foreign nationals

On 13 June 2023, the Hungarian parliament approved legislation establishing a new category of residence for work (“guest worker”) for foreign nationals, effective 1 November 2023.

The new guest worker application will be streamlined as, unlike the existing single work and residence permit route, it will not require an official opinion from the labour authority.

However, there are several disadvantages: guest worker residence can only be issued for up to two years with a single one-year renewal (the single permit can be renewed indefinitely);guest workers cannot sponsor dependents;guest worker residence does not count towards permanent residence; and guest workers will not be able to change status to a different residence category within Hungary, but will have to return to their country of origin and apply from there.

Only certain employers can apply for guest worker status for their employees, namely:

  • Employers of record (EOR) or temporary work agencies which have passed a special government certification process;
  • Privileged employers, including those with a strategic government partnership agreement, those operating a strategically important investment in the national interest and those with a partnership agreement under the Priority Exporter Partnership Programme.

The new category applies to third-country nationals from certain countries outside the EEA and from non-neighbouring countries.

In the coming months, the government is expected to clarify the qualifying nationalities, occupations and employers and the number of places available in this residence category.

Ireland: Suspension of visa-free entry for people with refugee status extended

The government has extended the suspension of visa-free entry for people with refugee status for at least another 12 months.

The suspension of the European Agreement on the Abolition of Visas for Refugees (Council of Europe) means that refugees currently require a visa to travel to Ireland, rather than only a Convention Travel Document.

The suspension, introduced for an initial 12 months in July 2022, will next be reviewed by the Department of Justice and Department of Foreign Affairs in July 2024.

Signatory countries to the European Agreement issue Convention Travel Documents to refugees, which allows the holders of these documents to travel to other signatory countries without the need of a visa or prior clearance for the purpose of visiting that country for up to three months.

The visa exemption applies to holders of a Convention Travel Document issued by Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, or Switzerland.

The visa-waiver arrangements for people fleeing the war in Ukraine remains unaffected.

Kazakhstan: Changes to the work permit rules

The government has published a new law introducing changes to the work permit rules. The principal changes are as follows:

  • A work permit can be issued for the purpose of work in multiple regions (or cities) with the approval of the executive body of each additional region. The approval is requested as part of the work permit application process.
    • The approval may be given only within the quotas allocated for each relevant region;
    • The state fee is to be paid to the budget of each region (under the intra-company transfer procedure, no state fees are collected).
  • When calculating the foreign-to-local ratio (which must be at least 70% of local employees belonging to categories 1 and 2 and at least 90% of local employees belonging to categories 3 and 4 the company must also account for any employees engaged under outsourcing contracts.
  • The exemption from the foreign-to-local ratio requirement will apply to representative and branch offices of foreign entities employing up to 10 people (previously up to 30 people).
  • The processing time for work permit renewal decisions is reduced from three to two business days.
  • For intra-company transfer permits, the requirement to submit vacancy reports to the employment centre has been cancelled. Previously, such reports were mandatory, and the work permit application could be accepted no earlier than 15 days after submitting such a report.

Are you moving staff around the world?

If you need support with any aspect of global immigration or wish to provide key support to your assignees in moving overseas, 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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