Global immigration news

This week, the Global Immigration team at Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following recent updates from Australia, Czechia, Finland, Italy, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Australia: Visas for GPs programme ends 16 September

The Visas for GPs programme ends on 16 September 2023. From this date, International Medical Graduates (IMGs) looking to work in Australian primary care do not need to submit a Health Workforce Certificate (HWC) as a part of their visa application.

HR Plus will accept applications for a HWC until 5 September 2023, and applications for HWC Exemptions until 13 September 2023.

Under the Visas for GPs programme, employers who are sponsoring a visa for an International Medical Graduate (IMG) must apply for a Health Workforce Certificate. Hospital employers who are sponsoring a temporary or provisional visa for an IMG must apply for a Health Workforce Exemption Certificate.

Czechia: Digital nomad visa for qualified IT professionals

Effective immediately, the government has approved a fast-track digital nomad visa procedure, focused on highly qualified IT professionals from eight countries or regions.

Eligible applicants must be nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, United Kingdom or United States.  They must also be one of the following:

  • an employee of a foreign company who has the intention of working for more than three months from the territory of the Czech Republic online using telecommunication means (the person remains in an employment relationship with his/her foreign company and does not enter into an employment relationship in the Czech Republic);
  • a freelancer who is (or will become) a holder of a Czech business license and thus a self-employed person;
  • the husband, wife or registered partner of the main applicant, or their minor child or dependent student under 26 years of age.

Interested individuals must submit an application to be included in the Digital Nomad program and, if successful, another application for a long-term visa.

A place on the program is valid for one year. If an application for extension is successful, the applicant must then apply for a long-term residence permit and complete an adaptation-integration course.

Finland: Applications for study residence permits up by 48%

According to the Finnish Immigration Service, the number of first applications for residence permits for studies has increased to 8762 by the end of July 2023 compared with 5911 at the same time in 2022, an increase of approximately 48%.

Of those non-EU applicants who applied for a residence permit for studies in January-July 2023, a clear majority were degree students. They accounted for 86% of all applicants. The highest number of applications are currently coming from Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka, India and Russia.

7,039 first residence permits for studies were awarded between January and July 2023. The majority, around 95 per cent of the applications, are approved. Typically, negative decisions are based on difficulties in proving sufficient financial resources.

The first residence permit is applied for when the student has been granted a place to study and they plan to move to Finland. The first permit is usually applied for from abroad. Most applicants receive a positive decision. Students arriving from abroad can obtain a residence permit for the duration of their studies.

In addition to a study place in Finland, the residence permit for studies requires that the student has sufficient financial resources to live in Finland and insurance to cover the costs of possible medical treatment in Finland. Students from outside the EU are not eligible for student financial aid, and they pay tuition fees to their higher education institution in Finland.

On average, this year, students have received their first residence permit within 41 days. Approximately 60 per cent of those who apply for a first residence permit for studies get a decision within 30 days or less.

However, there is currently a backlog of applications, with approximately 1780 first applications awaiting a decision.

Italy: Seasonal worker quotas increased

On 14 August 2023, the government published a supplementary decree which makes available 40,000 new quotas for seasonal workers in the agricultural sector and the tourism and hotel sector.

The new quotas are in addition to the 44,000 quotas already provided for by the decree of the Decreto Flussi of 2022 and sold out in a few hours (0ver 150,000 applications for seasonal work were submitted).

The supplementary decree will be valid for applications already submitted until 14 August 2023 within the scope and according to the procedures established by the Decreto Flussi of 2022.

Applications will then be processed according to the chronological order of arrival (on a first come first served basis), starting from the seasonal worker “click day” of 27 March 2023. The click day is the day on which employers can begin submitting online applications for specific categories of foreign worker.

Saudi Arabia: New reporting requirement for businesses

The Minister of Human Resources and Social Development has approved a decision requiring companies with more than 50 employees to disclose their training data annually through the Qiwa portal.

By the end of each year, eligible companies must disclose training data, including hours and trainee counts, training plans, activity reports, trainee numbers and budget allocation for the next year.  Companies should be able to show at least eight training units per trainee per year.

The Ministry has posted a procedural guide to the disclosure mechanism (in Arabic).

United States: New online appointment request form

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has launched a new online form for individuals, attorneys, and accredited representatives to request an in-person appointment at their local field office without having to call the USCIS Contact Centre.

This online appointment request form allows individuals or legal representatives to request an in-person appointment at a field office only, for ADIT stamps, Emergency Advance Parole, Immigration Judge Grants, and more. It is not a self-scheduling tool and individuals cannot schedule their own appointments with USCIS.

The USCIS Contact Center will review submitted forms and the availability of in-person appointments at a specific field office. Individuals may request a specific date and time for an in-person appointment, but USCIS cannot guarantee that the requested appointment date will be scheduled. USCIS will confirm and schedule the individual for an available in-person appointment date and time. The Contact Center may need to contact an individual either by phone or email depending on the appointment reason and urgency, using the reference number provided to them at the time the request was submitted.

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