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EIG Dispatch | December 23, 2015

December 23, 2015

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Reminder: Holiday Closures Will Impact Processing Times Worldwide
  • Ministerial Determination Creates Labor Market Exemptions for Chinese Nationals in Australia
  • Czech Republic Introduces Large-Scale Immigration Policy Changes
  • UPDATE: Extension of Canadian Pilot Program Providing Open Work Permits for Spouses and Common-Law Partners Seeking Permanent Residence

Reminder: Holiday Closures Will Impact Processing Times Worldwide

EIG would like to remind you that the Christmas, New Year, and other holidays will result in many government and private office closures around the world for at least two days, with many countries observing longer holiday periods at the end of the year and at the beginning of 2016. As a result, companies should anticipate slower processing times for visas, residence permits, and work permits from now until offices reopen in early January.

Some countries may close for extended periods in the coming months. Russia observes a New Year holiday and Orthodox Christmas January 1-10, with offices reopening January 11. China does not mark December 25 as an official public holiday, but will close January 1-3 for the New Year’s holiday and February 7-13 for the Chinese New Year. South Africa will close offices for varying periods between December 22 and January 11. Mexico’s immigration services will be closed for three weeks from December 18 – January 6.


Ministerial Determination Creates Labor Market Exemptions for Chinese Nationals in Australia

A controversial interpretation of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) has led to a Ministerial Determination granting certain Chinese Nationals an exemption from the Labor Market Test when applying for Australian work visas. Earlier this year, Former Labor Trade Minister Craig Emerson, reviewed the provisions of ChAFTA and determined that a labor market test was not required for Chinese investors hiring Chinese national employees in Australia. Emerson argued that labor market testing would be inconsistent with Australia’s international trade obligations under ChAFTA. The new Ministerial Determination has exempted the following classification of Chinese Nationals from Labor Market Test:

  • Executives, Senior Managers, and Managers as Intra-Corporate Transferees;
  • Specialists as Intra-Corporate Transferees;
  • Independent Executives; and
  • Contractual Service Suppliers.

The Determination was published on December 4, 2015 and took effect on December 20, 2015.


Czech Republic Introduces Large-Scale Immigration Policy Changes

Large-scale changes to immigration regulations in the Czech Republic took effect on December 18, 2015. The regulations have a mixed impact on foreign nationals by both expanding eligibility standards and tightening immigration policy in some respects. One of the many changes is the expansion of the EU dependent status definition to encompass children and other dependents of EU nationals, age 20 or below, as well as parents and other descendants/ascendants with personal or financial reliance on the EU national for care. In addition, the updated regulations require a more rigid interpretation of the five year continuous stay requirement for Non-EU nationals seeking permanent residence. The regulation excludes time spent out of the Czech Republic for business purposes exceeding ten consecutive months (or 560 days) and excludes time where the applicant remains in the Czech Republic on foreign payroll rather than a Czech contract. As an administrative change, the regulations prohibit Employee Card Renewals from being accepted earlier than 120 days and later than 30 days before the expiration of a valid Employee Card. For more information regarding the new immigration regulations, please visit the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic’s website.


UPDATE: Extension of Canadian Pilot Program Providing Open Work Permits for Spouses and Common-Law Partners Seeking Permanent Residence

As an update to a Dispatch announcement from last December, the Canadian Pilot Program, providing open work permits to spouses and common-law partners seeking permanent residence, has been extended until December 22, 2016. Prior to the enactment of this Pilot Program, individuals seeking permanent residence as a spouse or common law partner of a Canadian Citizen  were required to wait as long as 16 months for the approval of their residence application before seeking a work permit. As a result of the program, spouses and common-law partners of Canadian citizens may seek employment while applying for permanent residency either after completing their permanent residency application or by applying simultaneously. The processing time for an Open Work Permit under this program is approximately four months. Please click here for full eligibility requirements.