March 18, 2011

Following the devastating earthquake on 11 March, many businesses are evacuating staff from Japan.  Immigration matters should be considered, and Pro-Link GLOBAL has the following updates in relation to this.  Additionally, we can confirm special measures that have been put in place by the Hong Kong Immigration Bureau for intra-company transferees from financial institutions in Japan.

Sendai Immigration Bureau 

Sendai Immigration Bureau is open and functioning as usual; however, we expect delays of at least two weeks with all applications.

Re-Entry Permits  

Foreign nationals wishing to exit Japan should be sure that they are in possession of a valid re-entry permit.  The Tokyo Immigration Bureau has opened a dedicated counter for issuing single re-entry permits; however long queues and waiting times are reported.  All of Pro-Link GLOBAL’s clients already hold valid re-entry permits.  

Expiring Visas

Renewal applications should be submitted as normal.  The situation for foreign nationals who have exited Japan and whose visas may expire while they are outside Japan is not currently clear.  Under normal circumstances, this would invalidate immigration status and trigger the need for a new application.  Pro-Link GLOBAL’s recommendation therefore has to be that such individuals should remain in Japan where possible; if this is not possible, please contact us for case-specific advice. 

Hong Kong Special Provisions  

The Hong Kong immigration Bureau has announced an expedited service for intra company transferees from financial institutions in Japan.  To qualify, the transferees must have worked in a financial institution in Japan immediately prior to moving to Hong Kong.  The expedited visa should be applied for pre-arrival, but change of status from visitor to work authorized under the special visa is also possible.  The expedited visa category has less documentary requirements than a standard employment visa, and government approval time is expected to be just two business days.

Message from Pro-Link GLOBAL 

Pro-Link GLOBAL extends our heartfelt sympathies to everyone affected by the tragic disaster in Japan.  We are grateful that all our friends and colleagues in Japan, so far, are safe and well, but our thoughts are with the thousands of families who have lost someone, or who are still searching.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

  • Ensure that all foreign national employees in Japan have the necessary re-entry permit to allow exit
  • Contact Pro-Link GLOBAL if you have employees wishing to exit Japan but whose visas are due to expire shortly
  • Contact Pro-Link GLOBAL for more advise on the special immigration category in Hong Kong for financial institutions.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader 

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification.  Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGNM correspondent office in Japan to provide this GLOBAL Brief to you.