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

Featured Update

TURKEY | Electronic Pre-Application for Consular Visas Now Required
Effective January 5, 2016, applicants filing for Turkish visas must first submit all their application data online through the “Pre-Application System for Turkish Sticker Visa” program (here). This change affects all Turkish consular visa categories including, but not limited to, business; work; and Assembly, Maintenance and Service (AMS) visas. Applicants eligible for Turkish E-Visas are not affected by these new procedures.

Applicants will be required to complete an online application form and also upload copies of required documents. The information provided will be sent to the appropriate consulate for pre-processing.

Applicants must then schedule an appointment (through the online system) with the consulate to submit their application in-person. Document requirements for this submission include a signed application form and the original documents previously uploaded to the online system. The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends applying for visas at least one month before the intended travel date, and applicants should allow for possible delays due to the implementation of the new system.

Immigration Changes from Around the World

GLOBAL | Several Countries Announce Changes to 2016 Minimum Salary Requirements
The beginning of 2016 brought forth several changes to the minimum salary thresholds for local and foreign employees around the globe. The following minimum salary changes have been made and are effective as of January 1, 2016:

Belgium

• Type-B Work Permit Holders (Highly Skilled Foreign Nationals) – must earn at least EUR €39,802 annually (previously €39,824);
• Type-B Work Permit Holders (Senior Management and Executive Level Foreign Nationals) – must earn at least EUR €66,406 annually (previously €66,442); and
• Blue Card Holders – must earn at least EUR €54,466 annually (previously €51,494).

Germany

• Blue Card (Non-Shortage Occupation) Holders – must earn at least EUR €49,600 annually (previously €48,400); and
• Blue Card (Shortage Occupation) Holders – must earn at least EUR €38,688 annually (previously €37,753).

Ireland
Irish authorities have increased the national minimum wage threshold to EUR €9.15 per hour (€18,556 annually). This change affects several classifications of expatriates in Ireland including holders of the following:

• Dependent/Partner/Spouse Employment Permit;
• Internship Employment Permit;
• Exchange/Reactivation/Sport and Cultural Employment Permits;
• Atypical Working Scheme Authorization; and
• Intra-Company Transfer or Contract for Services Employment Permit – when the employee’s home salary requires an additional amount to meet the proper wage levels.

Israel
Israeli authorities have increased the average gross monthly salary minimum to ILS 9,334 (previously ILS 9,123). This change has the following affects:

• B-1 Foreign Expert Permit Holders – must earn at least ILS 18,668 monthly (double the gross monthly salary minimum); and
• To note, foreign nationals in the Short Employment Authorization (SEA) or Short-Term Expedited Process (STEP) immigration categories are not affected by this change.

Netherlands

• Knowledge Migrants (over 30-years-old) – must earn at least EUR €4,240 monthly (previously €4,189);
• Knowledge Migrants (under 30-years-old) – must earn at least EUR €3,108 monthly (previously €3,071);
• Recent Graduates from Dutch Universities – must earn at least EUR €2,228 monthly (previously €2,201); and
• Blue Card Holders – must earn at least EUR €4,968 (previously €4,908).


MADAGASCAR | Foreign Nationals Now Required to Obtain Work Permit Prior to Visa Application Filing
The Magalasy Administration has announced that they will no longer permit foreign nationals entering Madagascar for work purposes to apply for their Transformable (Entry) Visa until the foreign employee’s Work Permit has been issued. Previously, foreign employees were permitted to apply for their Transformable Visa by simply providing proof (“attestation de dépôt”) that their Work Permit application was filed and processing in Madagascar. The foreign employee could then enter Madagascar, begin work, and file their residence permit application, all under the Transformable Visa.

However, effective January 5, 2016, the Magalasy Ministry of Foreign Affairs has officially ended this practice. Going forward, foreign employees entering Madagascar will be required to provide the Magalasy Consulate General/Embassy proof that their Work Permit has been approved before being eligible to apply for their Transformable Visa.

Reminders: Recent and Upcoming Immigration Implementations

The following are reminders of recent or upcoming implementation dates that you should know:

• February 1, 2016: Canadian sponsoring employers will be required to advertise job postings on the new Job Bank website instead of through the old system (which will be closed). Employers will require a Canadian Social Insurance Number in order to access the new portal.
• January 4, 2016: In advance of the 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Brazilian federal authorities announce that nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, and the United States are eligible for visa-free travel into Brazil for the purposes of tourism/leisure. Citizens of these four nations will enjoy this temporary visa-free regime for stays of up to 90 days from June 1 – September 18, 2016. Employers are reminded that foreign nationals entering Brazil for any other purposes (including work or business trips) will still require a visa to enter the country.

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 at 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 Turkey Offices “Specialist Relocation & Organization” and “YTT Law Office,” and our PLG | KGNM Madagascar Office “HK Log Services” to provide you this update.

Information contained in this Monday Dispatch 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.