Global immigration news

This week, the Global Immigration team at Smith Stone Walters would like to highlight the following recent updates from China, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates.

China: Australia and New Zealand added to list of unilateral visa-free countries

The Chinese Premier has announced that that China will include Australia and New Zealand in its list of unilateral visa-free countries.  This will allow passport holders of these two countries to enter China without a visa for business, tourism, visiting relatives and friends and transit for up to 15 days.

During Premier Li’s recent meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the two sides agreed to provide each other with reciprocal access to multi-entry visas of up to three to five years’ duration for tourism, business and visiting family members.

Denmark: Authorities publish updated income statistics applicable from 1 July 2024

The Danish Agency for International Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) uses income statistics made by the Confederation of Danish Employers (DA) in the case processing of applications to decide if an offered job is within the Danish standards for salary. This applies to the Pay Limit Scheme, the Positive List and the Fast Track Scheme, among other routes.

The new income statistics contain information from the first quarter of 2024 and will take effect for applications submitted from 1 July 2024. It is expected that the income statistics will be updated each quarter and that the next update will take effect from 1 October 2024.

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 71,020.83 per month (2024 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.

Applications for a residence and work permit after 30 June 2024 will be evaluated according to the income statistics for the first quarter of 2024.

Applications between 1 April 2024 and 30 June 2024 will be evaluated according to the income statistics from the fourth quarter of 2023.

Finland: Automated post-decision monitoring of specialists’ residence permits

The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) has announced that it will start using automated post-decision monitoring of specialists’ residence permits from 17 June 2024.

The purpose of automated post-decision monitoring is to verify whether the holder of a residence permit for a specialist still meets the requirements for the permit. This post-decision monitoring initiative covers residence permits for a specialist issued on or after 1 January 2023.

A residence permit for a specialist can be granted to a person who arrives in Finland to work in an expert position that requires special expertise and meets all the permit requirements. Post-decision monitoring will focus on the key requirements for the permit. The Finnish Immigration Service will verify whether the specialist has been paid a salary that meets the income requirement, for example.

Automated post-decision monitoring is already being used to monitor the permits of students and startup entrepreneurs. Expanding the scope of post-decision monitoring to cover work-based residence permits is part of the Government’s action plan against labour exploitation.

Ireland: Transfer of registration responsibility for Cork and Limerick

Effective 8 July 2024, responsibility for first time registration and renewal of Irish immigration residence permissions for persons residing in counties Cork and Limerick will be transferred from the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) to Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) of the Department of Justice.

From that date, the first-time registration of Irish residence permission for applicants residing in counties Cork and Limerick will now be carried out at the Registration Office, 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2. This will be in addition to the current registrations for counties Dublin, Kildare, Meath, and Wicklow.

Appointments for first time registration can be booked using the Freephone number (1800 800 630).  Operators are available between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday to arrange appointments. Applicants for registration will be required to provide the operators with their passport details and a valid email address to arrange appointments.

For those who do not have all required documents with them at the appointment, ISD will be unable to complete the registration and issue an Irish Residence Permit card. These applicants will be required to book a return appointment to the Registration Office to complete registration.

On the day of the appointment, applicants will be required to pay a fee of €300 depending on the type of permission they are seeking.

Also from 8 July 2024, online renewals of permission from applicants living in counties Cork and Limerick should be submitted using the Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) online renewal portal. Applicants will not need to attend the Burgh Quay Registration Office in person to renew permission.

The GNIB will continue to undertake first registrations and renewal responsibilities for applicants residing outside of counties Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Wicklow, Cork and Limerick.

Please note that all applications, Ireland-wide, for renewal of residence permission, including when changing Stamp category, are accepted by both ISD and GNIB up to 12 weeks prior to expiry to allow sufficient time for processing.

New Zealand: Updated work rights for partners of a student

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has announced that partners of students studying level 7 or 8 qualifications specified on the Green List, can now apply for a work visa with open conditions.

INZ has updated the Green List with the main Bachelor degrees and Bachelor Honours qualifications that lead to registration for certain occupations. These are occupations that have registration as a requirement instead of New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) qualifications.

This means people with student visas studying for these registration qualifications can now support their partner’s application for a Partner of a Student Work Visa.

Those interested can check the Green List appendix in the amendment circular for the eligible qualifications.

For partners who are now eligible, their dependent school-aged children can be treated as domestic students. The children can apply for a Dependent Child Student Visa so they will not have to pay tuition fees to go to school. This currently applies to anyone with a Partner of a Student Work Visa.

United Arab Emirates: Government expands “work bundle” to cover all emirates

The UAE Government has announced the launch of the second phase of the Work Bundle, expanded to include all emirates through the digital Work in UAE platform, providing a range of services enabling private-sector companies, individuals, and investors to complete employment and residency procedures using a single unified, integrated platform.

The platform is built on the principle of requesting data only once, reducing duplication of procedures and requirements.

The Work Bundle was launched for Dubai in March 2024, and provides a range of services including issuing a new work permit, requesting a status adjustment, issuing and renewing a visa and employment contract, Emirates ID, residency and medical examination services, as well as cancelling a worker’s employment contract, work permit and residency.

The necessary steps are reduced from 15 steps requiring 16 documents to five steps needing only five documents. It also reduces the number of visits customers are required to make to service centres from seven to just two, significantly decreasing the processing time from 30 business days to just five.

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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