Global immigration news

This week, the Global Immigration team at Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following recent updates from Australia, China, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States.

Australia: Increase to the Financial Capacity Requirement for Student and Student Guardian visas

From 10 May 2024, the amount of money that Student and Student Guardian visa applicants need to have to be eligible for the visa is increasing.

The financial capacity requirement has been updated to align with a proportion (75 per cent) of the national minimum wage. This will better indicate the amount of money considered reasonable to provide a minimum standard of living while studying in Australia. This proportion considers that students are out of course session for 25 per cent of the year. During this time they may return home or have access to unrestricted work.

The below list outlines the funds applicants need to show to meet the minimum financial capacity requirement, which has increased from 10 May 2024.

  • Primary applicant – Increased from AUD 24,505 to AUD 29,710.
  • Spouse or de facto partner of the student primary applicant – Increased from AUD 8574 to AUD 10,394.
  • Dependent child – Increased from AUD 3670 to AUD 4449.
  • Annual school costs – Increased from AUD 9661 to AUD 13,502.
  • Personal annual income if there is no member of the family – Increased from AUD 72,465 to AUD 87,856.
  • Personal annual income where there is a member of the family unit – Increased from AUD 84,543 to AUD 102,500.

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will assess applications lodged before 10 ​May 2024 under the financial capacity requirements in effect at the time of application.

China: Extended vias exemption for 12 countries

The spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry has announced that it has decided to extend the visa-free policy for short-term visits to China for nationals of 12 countries until 31 December 2025.

The policy applies to nationals of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland for stays of up to 15 days for business, tourism, family visits and transit.

China: New measures to facilitate movement between mainland China, Macau and Hong Kong

Effective 6 May 2024, the National Immigration Administration (NIA) has announced the implementation of six new measures and policies to facilitate the movement of citizens and businesspeople.

The measures include:

  • New online processing of applications for the renewal and replacement of entry certificates in any of 20 mainland cities;
  • Submission anywhere in China of applications for business visit endorsement for mainland residents going to Hong Kong and Macau, regardless of the applicant’s place of household registration or residence;
  • Extension of the period of stay in Hong Kong and Macao for holders of business endorsements from 7 days to 14 days;
  • Expansion to Beijing and Shanghai of applications for exit endorsement for talents in six categories;
  • Visas for over one year for mainland residents who go to Macao to participate in exhibitions, seek medical treatment or engage in performing arts and other activities;
  • Facilitation of excursions from the mainland to Macau and Hong Kong.

The talent exit endorsement has been implemented in the mainland cities of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) on a pilot basis since 20 February 2023. Under the new measure, apart from the expansion of application to Beijing and Shanghai, other existing arrangements of the talent exit endorsement remain unchanged. The six categories of talents (i.e. outstanding talents, scientific research talents, education talents, healthcare talents, legal talents and other talents) who meet the eligibility criteria can apply to the mainland authorities for a talent exit endorsement with a validity period of five years, three years or one year. They can travel to and from Hong Kong or Macau multiple times within the validity period of the exit endorsement and stay in Hong Kong for a duration not exceeding 30 days during each visit.

Italy: Online application now available for new out-of-quota work permit

Non-EU nationals who have worked abroad for at least twelve months for Italian companies, or companies owned by Italian companies, can also come to work in Italy for those same companies, regardless of the quotas authorized by the government.

This is a new category of out-of-quota work permit introduced a few months ago in the Consolidated Law on Immigration.

Since 16 April 2024, the form to request the authorization of the entry of these workers into Italy is available on the Service Portal of the Ministry of the Interior.

The same form will continue to be used for applications for intra-corporate transfers as referred to in Article 27-quinquies of the Italian Immigration Law.

Netherlands: Residence guidance for Ukrainian nationals

The immigration and naturalisation authority (IND) has announced that from 6 May 2024, third-country nationals with a temporary residence permit in Ukraine can collect a residence sticker with which they can demonstrate permission to stay and work in the Netherlands for the time being. IND will send a letter on this subject to around 1900 third-country nationals and to their lawyers.

The letter follows the decision by the Minister for Migration on 25 April 2024 to freeze the consequences of the termination of temporary protection for this group. Because of this, third-country nationals with a temporary residence permit in Ukraine can make longer use of the rights they had under the Temporary Protection Directive (TPD).

The freezing and thereby the rights of the TPD will apply until 4 March 2025 at the latest, or earlier if the Court of Justice of the European Union (EU court) issues a judgment before this date. On 25 April 2024, the Council of State requested a preliminary ruling from the EU court on the interpretation of the TPD. And on the termination of temporary protection for this group of third-country nationals.

New Zealand: Updated guidance on employer accreditation renewals

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has provided updated guidance to support employers and their advisers with renewing their accreditation.

The guidance covers:

  • who should renew their accreditation
  • the best time to apply – we recommend six weeks before accreditation expires
  • choosing the right accreditation type
  • the evidence to provide for faster processing
  • how to apply.

For faster application processing, employers should provide supporting documents up front that show evidence of being a viable and genuinely operating business or organisation, compliance with business standards and settlement support for their AEWV employees. If this information is not provided and INZ needs to request it, the application will take longer to process.

Supporting documents can include, but are not limited to:

  • latest available evidence showing the business is viable and genuinely operating;
  • GST or PAYE records showing the business’ Inland Revenue (IR) number;
  • latest available evidence showing the time provided to employees to complete the Employment New Zealand employee modules;
  • Evidence showing that the Employment New Zealand employer modules have or will be completed;
  • Evidence showing that settlement support information was provided within one month of the AEWV holder starting to work;
  • the latest organisation chart, showing structure and positions in the business to help INZ understand the structure and nature of the business operation.

United States: Japanese language and culture specialists can now stay for up to three years

Under a new Memorandum of Cooperation with Japan, the US Department of State (DOS) has extended the permitted duration of stay under the J-1 visa classification for Japanese language and culture specialists from one year to three years.

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program facilitates work-based and study-based exchanges in a range of professional fields. The “specialist” category is established for experts who can thereby visit the United States to observe, consult, or demonstrate their special skills.

Eligible Japanese-national specialist are issued a J-1 non-immigrant visa valid initially for one year, with the option of a one-time extension for up to an additional 24 months, at the sponsor’s discretion.

Japanese exchange visitors are expected to share their specialized knowledge of Japanese, language, education and culture in community-based non-profit organisations, US government offices and secondary and post-secondary schools and institutions.

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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