- Global – Processing Expected to Slow During Ramadan – Late May to Late June
- Update – India: Foreign Nationals Exempted from Aadhaar Requirement
- European Union Approves Visa-Free travel for Ukrainians – Effective Early June
- French Authorities Increasing Enforcement of Posted Worker Requirements
Global – Processing Expected to Slow During Ramadan – Late May to Late June
During Ramadan, foreign nationals and their employers should expect longer immigration processing wait times in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, and parts of Asia. Ramadan is expected to begin on May 27th and end on June 25th; exact dates will vary by country.
Ramadan is the 10th month of the Islamic calendar and is a time during which Muslims fast from dawn to sunset and increase time spent in prayer and introspection, with work hours reduced throughout the region. After Ramadan, residual processing delays may continue, due to accumulated application backlogs.
In anticipation of slower processing timelines, employers and travelers to affected countries are encouraged to plan ahead and check with individual offices for time-sensitive applications.
Update – India: Foreign Nationals Exempted from Aadhaar Requirement
Indian authorities have recently announced that foreign nationals living in India will not be required to obtain an Aadhaar number to file tax returns. As we reported on May 5, 2017, the Aadhaar card is a unique 12-digit identification card issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to every individual who resides in the country, similar to US social security numbers. The Finance Act, 2017, made it mandatory to quote an Aadhaar number to file income tax returns (ITR) or to apply for or renew a Permanent Account Number (PAN). Foreign nationals residing in India can continue to submit their tax returns using their individual PAN and do not need to obtain an Aadhaar number.
European Council Approves Visa-Free travel for Ukrainians – Effective Early June
The European Council recently adopted a proposal that will allow Ukrainian nationals to travel to the Schengen region without obtaining visas. When the regulations come into effect in early June 2017, Ukrainian nationals with valid biometric passports will not need visas for short trips for business, family visits, or tourism. Visa-free visits can last up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
The regulation does not apply to all EU states; the UK and Ireland regulate entry requirements in accordance with their respective national laws. EIG will continue to monitor the changes and provide updates as information becomes available.
French Authorities Increasing Enforcement of Posted Worker Requirements
In France, companies hosting posted workers from outside of France are required to maintain records demonstrating compliance with social security requirements. The requirements are not new. For the past few years, French host companies have been required to complete online declarations for all posted workers (both EU and non-EU nationals). Host companies have also been required to verify that all posted workers are either covered by social security from their home country while in France or are registered for French social security for the duration of their stay.
Recently, French authorities have increased enforcement of these requirements. If a host company is found to be non-compliant, penalties can include fines and back payment of French social security contributions.
In addition, in coming months, French authorities will be implementing a €40 fee for each posted worker declaration. This fee is expected to be implemented by January 2018.