January 13, 2012

Many Asian countries observe government holiday schedules between January 22nd and January 28th. Holiday schedules may affect processing of work and residence permit applications due to closure of a host country’s immigration/ labor ministries and consular posts or possible delays due to reduced government staff.

The Lunar (Chinese) New Year (known in China as “Spring Festival”) is the most important traditional holiday in Southeast Asia. It marks the end of the winter season, analogous to the Western carnival. The festival begins on the first day of the first month (Chinese: 正月; pinyin: Zhēng Yuè) in the traditional Chinese calendar and ends with Lantern Festival, which is on the 15th day. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the “Lunar New Year“.

The Lunar New Year is observed as a public holiday in a number of countries and territories where a sizable Chinese population resides. Since Chinese New Year falls on different dates on the Gregorian calendar every year on different days of the week, some of these governments opt to shift working days in order to accommodate a longer public holiday. For 2012, government office closures will be observed in various countries and times as follows:

  • Hong Kong- January 23rd, 24th, and 25th
  • Indonesia-January 23rd
  • Malaysia- January 23rd and 24th.
  • People’s Republic of China- January 22nd through January 27th
  • Philippines-January 23rd
  • Singapore- January 23rd and 24th
  • South Korea- January 22nd through January 24th
  • Taiwan, January 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 26th
  • Thailand-The provinces of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat, and Satun will be celebrating the New Year on the 23rd but it is not a national holiday.
  • Vietnam- January 23rd through January 26th, while some private offices may also be closed on January 27th.

While significant delays in processing work/residence permit and visa applications are not expected, clients and assignees should bear in mind to check local government sites and/or consular websites for holiday schedules.

The Chinese Consulates in the US are closed from January 23-25, 2012 for the Spring Festival.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices in the US will be closed on January 23rd.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

Companies considering assignments commencing during the Spring Festival should consult with their Global immigration service providers to determine any anticipated closures and processing delays for specific destination countries.

Assignees with assignment start dates in early February 2012 should strive to file work permit applications with the appropriate host country government agencies no later than next week.  Depending on the host country’s holiday schedule, work and residence permit applications may be delayed by at least one week. Assignees and family members should be advised to kindly observe flexibility and patience with ministerial or consular authorities due to closings or reduced staffing between January 22nd and 27th.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader 

This content is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or final guidance for any immigration matter. Readers are reminded that a country’s immigration laws and requirements may change with little to no advance public notice. Questions regarding specific immigration matters should be addressed to your Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist.