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EIG Dispatch | January 6, 2017

January 10, 2017

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Canada’s Latest Express Entry Draw Results in Increased Invitations
  • Short-Term Employment Authorization (SEA) Rules Clarified in Israel
  • Canada Eliminates the Four Year Rule for Temporary Foreign Workers
  • Israel Clarifies Application of the Short-Term Employment Authorization (SEA) Permit
  • Kazakhstan Expands Visa Waiver Program

Canada’s Latest Express Entry Draw Results in Increased Invitations

As an update to our previous article, Canada’s Express Entry System recently underwent significant changes.  A substantial decrease in Comprehensive Ranking System (“CRS”) points is now seen for a qualified job offer, previously awarded 600 points, now down to 50 points.  In addition, a larger emphases is being placed on human capital, skills and experience.  The 47th Express Entry Draw for permanent residence applications held on January 4, 2017, resulted in Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) issuing 2,902 invitations to apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence, an increase from the last draw of 2,080 invitations.  Due to the increase in invitations, the number of points required for a candidate to receive an invitation was only 468, the lowest threshold since February 2016.
 
To better understand the new points allocation under CRS please visit the updated CRS calculator


Short-Term Employment Authorization (SEA) Rules Clarified in Israel

The Israeli Population and Immigration Authority has issued clarification(s) to regulations for short term employment authorization (SEA) permits.  The changes, which are effective immediately, pertain to work permits for foreign nationals eligible for the visa waiver program, authorizing work for up to 45 days.   Specifically, an SEA permit is required for any short term work where an employee is getting paid and where the position requires a special expertise or skill, including equipment maintenance, repair, and installation.  The Authority also clarified SEA validity dates and renewals.

There is no waiting period to apply for a new SEA permit where the current SEA or B-1 visa expired before the end of the year.  The company may simply apply for a new SEA at the beginning of the next year.  Further, if an SEA permit’s initial validity extends from the 2016 calendar year to the 2017 year, the employee can apply for the remainder of the 45 day period any time before the end of 2017.  Finally, the minimum monthly salary for Israeli nationals has been raised from 4,825 to 5,000 Shekels.  SEA permit holders must also be paid this rate.


The Netherlands Imposes New Salary Minimums for 2017

Effective January 1, 2017, new minimum salaries are required for Highly Skilled Migrant workers (knowledge migrant employees) and Blue Card applicants in the Netherlands.  This rule applies to applications for new resident permits and renewals of existing resident permits.  The new rates do not include the nation’s mandatory 8% holiday pay.  Also not included are per diems or allowances, unless specifically guaranteed and expressed in the employment contract.  Additionally, salaries must still meet the market rate minimum for the position.  Payments must be made on a monthly basis and directly into the foreign nationals’ bank account.  The employer will be held responsible for ensuring the payments have been made and are in accordance with the new minimum requirements.

The new minimum gross monthly salaries are:

  • Highly Skilled Migrants over age 30: EUR 4240 (previously EUR 4324)
  • Highly Skilled Migrants under age 30: EUR 3170 (previously EUR 3108)
  • Employees graduating in the Netherlands within the past 1 year: EUR 2272 (previously EUR 2228)
  • Blue Card Holders: EUR 5066 (previously EUR 4968)

Failure to meet the above mentioned requirements may result in hefty fines.


South Africa Imposes Visa Requirement for New Zealand Nationals

Effective January 16, 2017, New Zealand nationals traveling to South Africa for business or tourism purposes are no longer eligible for a visa waiver.  The South African Department of Home Affairs announced the cancellation of the visa waiver for New Zealand nationals as a reciprocal measure.  Since 1996, South African nationals and New Zealand nationals could travel visa free to the respective countries for up to 90 days.  However, on November 21, 2016, the New Zealand High Commission implemented visa requirements for South African nationals traveling to New Zealand.  The change was due to an increase in fraudulently obtained or counterfeit South African passports and wide abuse of the visa waiver program.

In order to travel to South Africa for business or tourism purposes, New Zealand nationals are now required to apply for a Port of Entry Visa in person at the South African High Commission in Wellington.  The new regulation does not impact travelers entering South Africa with a Section 11(2) work authorization, as a Port of Entry Visa is applied for simultaneously with the application for work authorization.