Start your week off right by staying up to date with these key changes in immigration.

Featured Update

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Procedural Changes Announced by Ministry of Labour
In an attempt to foster more transparent options for mobility, the UAE’s Ministry of Labour announced new procedures effective immediately related to a foreign national’s job offer and employment contract. At the start of this New Year, the Ministry of Labour is now requiring the foreign employee’s offer letter to be prepared using its electronic system located at a Tas’heel Service Center. The Ministry of Labour has also amended the work permit formalities by requiring:

• A new employment contract letter to accompany the filing which is also available at the Tas’heel Service Center. This letter must be obtained within 14 days of the foreign employee’s arrival in the UAE or the employee’s change of immigration status. Notably, the terms of the employment contract must match the terms illustrated in the offer letter.
• Employees will no longer be required to appear in-person for Employment Visa cancellations or transfers to a new employer, yet remain obligated to comply with the Ministry’s documentary requirements in that regard which will require participation by the foreigner’s current or prospective employer.

As a result of these procedural changes, global employers should anticipate slight delays in work permit processing (for those doing business outside of the Free-Zones). Pro-Link GLOBAL continues to monitor these changes throughout the Emirates and will provide updates as necessary.

Immigration Changes from Around the World

CZECH REPUBLIC | Recent Legislative Changes Have Major Impact on Foreigner’s in the Czech Republic
The end of 2015 brought forth significant legislative changes on immigration regulations in the Czech Republic. Referred to as the “Amendment to the Act on Asylum in the Czech Republic,” the new law affects regulations related to both corporate and asylum immigration. Most notably, the following changes have been made to corporate immigration:

• While the window for Employee Card renewal applications has been expanded, the applications must be filed earlier in the process. Previously, renewal applications could only be filed between 90 and 14 days before the permit expiration date; however, the new legislation now allows these filings as early as 120 days, but allows no later than 30 days from the permit expiration date.
• Long-term visas will be granted with a one (1) year validity rather than the previous six (6) month period. This means that dependents of non-EU nationals must now spend the full first year in-country on a long-term visa before they can obtain long-term residency status and the benefits provided with such.
• The criteria for non-EU nationals eligible for EU Dependent Status has been extended to both children under 21 years of age and parents of EU nationals. This applies only if the individual in question is personally or financially dependent on that EU national for their care.
• New limitations have been introduced regarding the residence requirements for non-EU nationals applying for Czech permanent residence. This includes no longer allowing time spent under a foreign contract (rather than a local, Czech contract) to count towards to requisite five (5) years of residence.
• Finally, non-married partners applying for dependent status will face more stringent eligibility criteria for the status including, but not limited to, proof of long-term residence together.

The new regulations took effect on December 18, 2015.


TAIWAN | New Online Immigration Portal Launched
Now that 2016 has arrived, the Taiwanese government has officially implemented its new online immigration portal related to work permit applications, renewals, and requests for de-registration. Effective immediately, all employers in the nation will be required to utilize the new online system when requesting these authorizations on behalf of foreign employees. In order to use the system, companies are required to establish a user account with the Workforce Development Agency respectively (accessible here). If you require assistance with your company’s account set-up please contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Specialist.


TURKEY | Officials Begin to Strongly Enforce Residence Permit Cancellation Laws
As promised when the law first took effect back in May 2014, the Turkish immigration authorities are now beginning to enforce rules relative to foreigners and cancellation of residence permits for continuous presence outside of the country. Almost two years ago, the government prescribed rules limiting the ability of a foreigner to remain outside of Turkey while maintaining valid residency. The law permits:

• Up to 1 year of continuous presence outside of Turkey for residence permit holder before cancellation for those holding long-term residence permits.
• Up to 120 continuous days of presence outside of Turkey before residence permit cancellation for short-term permit holders and
• Up to 180 continuous days of presence outside of Turkey before residence permit cancellation for family residence permit holders.

While the authorities have indicated that there may be certain exceptions to these rules for those who are present outside of Turkey for reasons related to one’s health, education, or required national service, foreign nationals should expect the law to be strictly enforced for those remaining outside of the country’s borders in excess of the allotted time period prescribed by the 2014 legislation.


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. This alert was prepared by Pro-Link GLOBAL’s Counsel and Knowledge Management teams.

Information contained in this Weekly Update is prepared using information obtained from various media outlets, government publications and our KGM network of immigration professionals. Written permission from the copyright owner and any other rights holders must be obtained for any reuse of any content posted or published by Pro-Link GLOBAL that extends beyond fair use or other statutory exemptions. Furthermore, responsibility for the determination of the copyright status and securing permission rests with those persons wishing to reuse the materials. Interested parties are welcome to contact the Knowledge Management Department (km@pro-linkglobal.com) with any additional requests for information or to request reproduction of this material.