EIG Dispatch | August 19, 2016


  • Guangdong Province Relaxes Immigration Rules to Attract Skilled Foreign Nationals
  • United Kingdom Launches 24-Hour Super Priority Visa Service in Nigeria
  • Turkey Passes New Work Permit Laws
  • Italy Extends Family Reunion Rights to Same-Sex Spouses
  • DOJ Proposes New Rule on Unfair Immigration Employment Practices

Guangdong Province Relaxes Immigration Rules to Attract Skilled Foreign Nationals

Effective August 1, 2016, Guangdong authorities implemented new immigration rules that make it easier for skilled foreign nationals to live and work in the Guangdong pilot free trade zone and in the Guangdong  Province. The new policy is designed  to promote Guangdong as an innovation-driven economy and specifically aims to attract senior-level professionals, investors, highly skilled and tech talent, foreign students, and overseas Chinese who were either born or previously held Chinese household registration in the Province.

The new policy introduces 16 measures, including quicker approvals for skilled workers, simplified permanent residence applications, subsidies for foreign students’ start-ups, and accelerated visas and residency applications for Chinese living abroad.  Other notable changes include lowered thresholds for investors to apply for permanent residency, allowing foreign nationals who satisfy salary and taxation criteria to apply for permanent residency, a fast track for highly talented workers, and visa exemptions for foreign nationals from specific countries.  With these relaxed immigration policies, an increase in foreign worker applications in Guangdong Province is anticipated.

United Kingdom Launches 24-Hour Super Priority Visa Service in Nigeria

On August 1, 2016, the United Kingdom (“UK”) announced the launch of a new 24-hour Super Priority Visa (“SPV”) Service in Nigeria.  The SPV is an additional service to the UK’s Priority Visa Service (5 to 7 day processing time) and Standard Visa Service (15 day processing time).  The SPV costs £ 750, not including the visa fee, and it applies to visitor visas and student visas.  It is available to applicants applying at the Abuja and Lagos Victoria Island Visa Application Centers.  The availability of a 24-hour visa processing service provides travelers greater flexibility during unplanned or urgent travel.

Turkey Passes New Work Permit Laws

Published on August 13, 2016 and effective immediately, Turkey implemented the Law on International Workforce, which has made significant changes to employment criteria for foreign nationals. A new government agency, The International Workforce Policy Board, has been created for the purpose of outlining the foreign employment criteria. The Board will enforce a three-step, points-based system to evaluate work permit applications.  Most notably, the law has created “Turquoise Cards” for foreign nationals who have either obtained a high educational level, possess extensive professional experience, have made contributions to science and technology, or will contribute to investment in Turkey.  The Turquoise Card is initially issued for three years and can be renewed indefinitely. Dependents of Turquoise Card holders will be provided residence permits. Additional measures in the new law include work permit exemptions for foreign non-resident board members of Turkish joint stock companies, non-executive partners of companies, and cross-border service providers.

Italy Extends Family Reunion Rights to Same-Sex Spouses

Italy’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has passed a new law that extends enforcement of all legislation, administrative acts, and collective agreements to individuals in same-sex civil unions. From an immigration perspective, the law will allow a legally married same sex spouse in a foreign country to qualify as a dependent when seeking immigration services and residence permits in Italy. To benefit from the new policy, the spouses must be entered into a legally registered civil union and must provide documentary evidence of the marriage or civil union, whether in Italy or abroad. The new policy was confirmed in a ministerial circular released on August 5, 2016.

DOJ Proposes New Rule on Unfair Immigration Employment Practices

On August 15, 2016 the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register that revises regulations implementing a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) concerning unfair immigration employment practices. Specifically, the proposed revisions simplify and add definitions of statutory terms, update how discrimination charges can be filed, and  introduce the Office of Immigrant and Employee Rights Section, the office that will now be responsible for enforcing the antidiscrimination provision of the INA.  Some of the terms defined in the new rule include “hiring” and “recruitment and referral for a fee.”

Through these proposed updates, the DOJ aims to harmonize the regulations with the amended statutory text, update and clarify the procedures for filing and processing charges of discrimination, and ensure there are effective investigations of immigration-related employment practices.  Comments on the proposed rule are due by September 14, 2016.