Start your week off right by staying up to date with these key changes in immigration.
SWITZERLAND | Clarification Issued for Eight Day Short-Term Work Exemption and Q1 L-Permit Quota for EU/EFTA Nationals Reached
Two major announcements were made by the Swiss authorities recently.
Eight-Day Short-Term Work Permit Exemption Defined
While the Swiss authorities have historically allowed foreign nationals to work in Switzerland for up to eight days per calendar year without notification or work authorization, there remained long-term confusion regarding whether these eight days were calculated against the individual employee only or against both the employee and his/her employer in Switzerland. Recently, however, Swiss authorities have provided official guidance as to when the eight day work permit exemption applies to an individual and/or a company.
The official differentiation is now determined by the country from which the foreign employees are being assigned to Switzerland:
• If foreign nationals are assigned to Switzerland from a country outside of the EU/EFTA, the eight days are counted against only the employee.
• If foreign nationals are assigned to Switzerland from a country within the EU/EFTA, the eight days are counted against the employee and the assigning company per calendar year. The nationality of an expatriate is not a factor. During the eight days a company can assign as many employees as needed without a work permit. After the eight days all employees (including those who will enter Switzerland later during the calendar year) must register their presence through an online system. Once registered, the foreign nationals can work up to 90 days (also counted against the company) without a work permit.
The new online registration process allows for better tracking of short-term work assignments in Switzerland.
Short Term (L) Permit Quotas for EU/EFTA Nationals in First Quarter Exhausted
Following the announcement that the 2016 Swiss Work Permit quotas for both EU/EFTA and non-EU/EFTA nationals would remain at the 2015 levels, it was widely anticipated that the shortages for affected work permits would continue. It therefore does not entirely come as a surprise that the first reports of Q1 quotas being exhausted have been issued: as of this week, the first quarter quota for EU/EFTA Short-Term (L) permits has been reached. These permits will not be issued again until the beginning of the second quarter.
Pro-Link GLOBAL advises its clients to initiate cases for assignment with planned start dates between now and the end of the second quarter as soon as possible. Some cantons allow applications to be filed already in advance of the start date to the new quarter (to be approved only once the new quarter begins) while other cantons will only accept new applications again on April 1.
As the end of the first quarter draws closer, it is anticipated that the quotas for additional work permit categories will be exhausted as well. For additional details regarding the 2016 work permit quotas, please see our December 2015 Global Brief on the subject.
Immigration Changes from Around the World
CHILE / MOROCCO | Apostilled Public Documents to be Accepted Beginning Summer 2016
In December 2015, Chile and Morocco signed the Hague Apostille Convention with their memberships becoming fully effective in August 2016. The Convention allows the signing member nations to accept public documents (e.g. birth, marriage, and death certificates) issued by another member nation for legal purposes, should the document in question be affixed with an apostille certification.
Some benefits of being a signing member of the Hague Apostille Convention include reduced time and cost spent processing documents, consular staff abroad have more time to address other requests from individuals and companies, and an increase in foreign trade.
Sponsoring employers and employees going on assignment to either Chile or Morocco should see shorter document gathering and finalization stages of their immigration procedures. It is important to note, however, that both the country issuing the document and the country where the document will be used must be signatories to the Hague Apostille Convention. Morocco will become a member on August 14 and Chile on August 30 of this year.
INDONESIA | Online Application Process Implemented for KITAS and MERP Immigration Steps
Effective February 1, 2016, foreign nationals applying for their Temporary Stay Permit (KITAS) and Multiple Exit Re-Entry Permit (MERP) are now required to pre-submit their application materials online. This new requirement has only been introduced in certain locations within the JABODETABEK Area: DKI Jakarta, Bogor (West Java), Depok (West Java), Tangerang (West Java), and Bekasi (West Java).
Required documents for the online application step include, but are not limited to, a copy of the applicant’s passport, visa sticker, and arrival stamp. After the online application is submitted, an electronic confirmation will be received within 3-7 days. A printed version of this confirmation must be included in the applicant’s final in-person KITAS application filing and submission of biometric information.
The KITAS/MERP online process is expected to roll out in other locations in Indonesia; however, there may be some delays during this transition. Currently, the online KITAS/MERP application procedures are only applicable to initial applications and not for foreign nationals seeking to renew their work and residence authorization in Indonesia.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Foreign Nationals Now Eligible to Apply for Work Permit In-Country
All foreign nationals can now enter the UAE on a Visitor Visa and then apply for their Work and Residence Permits, in country. Previously, this was only permitted for visa-waiver nationals. The new process also applies to spouses of residents and any other visa holder needing to make a change to an entry permit per the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA).
It is important to note that application fees will be higher for this in-country change of status than for the “standard” employment visa process handled outside of the UAE. These changes were implemented to lessen delays due to new work permit procedural requirements. Pro-Link GLOBAL reported on the new requirements in our earlier Monday Dispatch.
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. We worked with our PLG | KGNM Indonesia Offices “Asian Tigers Mobility” and “PT Rami Formality Services;” our PLG | KGNM Switzerland Offices “Convinus” and “Sgier und Partner GmbH;” and our PLG | KGNM United Arab Emirates Offices “Executive Expatriate Relocations” and “HelpXpat” to provide you this update.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any additional requests for information or to request reproduction of this material.