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EIG Week in Review (June 20, 2014)

June 23, 2014

Highlights

  • Update: French Immigration Reform
  • Canada Changes Definition of “Dependent Child” for Immigration Purposes
  • Projected Changes to Chinese Immigration Policies
  • Smart Gate Program to Minimize Immigration Wait Times in Dubai Airports

Update:  French Immigration Reform

We previously reported that French immigration reform is expected from newly-elected French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.   As an update to this report, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve recently announced that two bills modifying the rights of foreigners are expected to be introduced by the end of June 2014.  The drafts of these bills includes several legislative changes, such as:

  • Removal of the obligation to apply for a work permit for an assignment of less than 3 months;
  • Removal of different resident permits that will be combined under a new resident permit for those who hold a “talents passport”;
  • Removal of Contract of Reception and Integration (CAI);
  • Widespread use of the resident permit valid for several years (4 years maximum) after a first resident permit is valid for one year;
  • Widespread use of the long stay visa valid as a resident permit, which avoids foreigners having to file their application at the Prefecture during the first year of residence in France.

Additionally, the French Parliament is discussing three pieces of legislation, aimed to prevent frauds for posted workers, combat social dumping in the building sector, and assert the independence of labor inspectors.

As previously reported, the European Union adopted a Directive to facilitate multiple temporary intra-group transfer of workers within several member states of the European Union.  The EU Directive will affect the following third country national workers in France:

  1. Manager: person holding a senior position, who primarily directs the management of the host entity
  2. Specialist: person possessing specialized knowledge essential to the host entity’s areas of activity, techniques or management.
  3. Trainee employee (paid work): a person with a university degree who is transferred to a host entity for career development purposes or in order to obtain training.

With these updated procedures, a new resident card will be issued, with the notation “Mobile ICT” to combine those various categories.  The visa validity for intra-corporate transfer will be less than 3 years for Managers and Specialists and less than 1 year for trainee employees.

One notable change under the Directive is that after the first intra-company transfer, it will be possible to subsequently post a worker in another host entity of the group, located in a second EU-member State.

EU-member States are to implement the Directive by November 29, 2016 but does not apply to the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark.

Canada Changes Definition of “Dependent Child” for Immigration Purposes

As of August 1, 2014, a child must be 18 years old or younger to qualify as a “dependent child” of the primary applicant for purposes of Canadian temporary or permanent residence applications – a significant change from the current 22 years of age or younger requirement.

The start date for this change has been finalized by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) after more than a year of debate following proposed changes issued in May 2013. The original start date for this change was January 1, 2014. This change is premised on the idea that persons over 18 years of age are capable of undergoing the immigration process independently.

Exceptions will be granted to children who are 19 years or older who are able to demonstrate that they have depended substantially on the support of a parent since before turning  19, and who are unable to be financially self-supporting due to a physical or mental condition.

Projected Changes to Chinese Immigration Policies

Skilled Immigration System

Due to socioeconomic development and in an effort to facilitate the introduction of overseas talent into the Chinese workforce, Chinese officials have announced intent to adopt a skilled immigration policy, whereby the skills in most high demand by the Chinese workforce are identified and appropriated accordingly.  This policy is set to include a points-based assessment system aimed to rate the applicant based on the list of skills needed.

Zhang Jianguo, Head of State Administration of Foreign Experts Affiars, spoke about these intended changes specifically earlier this week during an international symposium on talent exchange and skilled immigration policies.  Zhang emphasized that a points-based system, along with the skill “wish list,” can help to assess the eligibility of an applicant as well as the contributions the applicant can make to China.

Shenzhen Work Permit Renewals

Shenzhen officials just that announced that work permit renewal applications can now only be submitted two months before expiry date, and no earlier.  Although the Labour Bureau did not give a reason for this change, this updated procedure goes into effect immediately.

Smart Gate Program to Minimize Immigration Wait Times in Dubai Airports

Dubai has opened registration for smart gates and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs encourages UAE citizens and residents, GCC nationals, and passport holders from the countries listed on the website to register and avoid having to wait in long lines at the immigration queue. The smart gates allow travelers to clear immigration in about 3-5 minutes rather than having to wait in long immigration lines. There are currently three smart gate registration centers:

  1. Dubai International Airport Terminal 1 Departure Food Court (open 24 hours)
  2. Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 Arrival GDRFA Service Center (open 24 hours)
  3. Dnata on Sheikh Zayed Road

In order to register, UAE citizents and residents, GCC nationals and passport holders from the approved countries must take their original passport for registration.  Registration is free of charge. The smart gates are automated and secure, using facial and eye-recognition technology to identify and verify the user.  They provide a self service alternative to the traditional border control processes.

The process for using the smart gates is said to be easy and hassle free: 1) Scan your passport’s personal details page; 2) Enter the gate and stand on the marked footprints; 3) Stand still and look at the camera until the word “OK” is displayed on the screen; 4) Proceed to the baggage reclaim once the gate opens.