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

Featured Update

SLOVENIA | Slovenia Implements EU Single Permit Directive, Effective Immediately
The Slovenian government has finally implemented a 2011 EU Directive calling for a single work and residence permit for those foreign nationals seeking work and residence authorizations in-country. Effective immediately, foreign nationals can either apply for the single work and residence permit at a Slovenian consulate general abroad, or their sponsoring employer can file for the single permit at the administrative unit with jurisdiction over the employee’s proposed place of residence, where their registered office is, or where the work will be carried out. In either case, consent will be obtained from the Employment Service of Slovenia (ESS) before the permit is issued. It is anticipated that the approvals from ESS should be rendered in up to 15 business days. The single permit will initially be issued with a maximum of 1 year validity, with the possibility to renew. The first Single Permit will need to be obtained before entering Slovenia.

To deter non-compliance with the new single permit process, the government announced that it has increased penalties on employers who fail to adhere to the new rule. For example, employers who enter into local labor contracts with foreign nationals who have not received authorization from ESS are now subject to a penalty up to as high as €75,000 for the most severe infringements, amongst several other amended penalties.

First passed in 2011, the Single Permit Directive had an original deadline of December 2013 for implementation in all EU nations. While most EU countries completed this Directive, Belgium and Slovenia had significant difficulties incorporating the Single Permit into their national legislation. With this recent announcement from Slovenia, Belgium now remains the only EU country not to offer a single permit.

Immigration Changes from Around the World

CZECH REPUBLIC | Foreign Employees Allowed to Continue Work during Employee Card Renewals
Foreign nationals holding Employee Cards necessitating renewal in the Czech Republic are now maintaining their work authorization status during the pendency of their Employee Card renewal applications if filed within 14 days of the permit’s expiration. Under the previous rules, while Employee Card holders were still required to file their renewal extensions within 14 days of expiration, any processing delay beyond the permit’s expiration date meant that employees were still permitted to reside in the country, but were not allowed to work until the renewed permit was issued. To remedy the undue burden on employers and foreign employees in these situations, the amendment to the legislation of single work and residence permits via EU directive sought to explicitly provide for maintenance of work authorization status for those seeking timely Employee Card renewals. The legislation is effective as of August 17, 2015.

THE PHILIPPINES | New Local Training Requirements for Alien Employment Permit (AEP) Sponsors
Employers who hire foreign talent in the Philippines are now subject to added regulations relative to preservation of the nation’s local labor force. Effective September 28, 2015, employers sponsoring foreign nationals for Alien Employment Permits (AEPs) are required to train two Filipino nationals for each foreign employee it hires. The training requirement pertains to those foreign nationals hired in “non-managerial” positions. The objective of the new legislation is to require employers to support the local labor market by assuring that there will be a transfer of skills from the foreign national to at least two Filipinos. To accomplish the objective, the Department of Labor and Employment will require that employers submit a written training proposal with the foreign national’s visa application when seeking approval. In anticipation of the law’s implementation, employers should prepare for the necessary training requirements when planning expatriate assignments.

In addition to the new training requirement, the government has also ordered that within 2 working days of receipt of an AEP application, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will be required to post a notice regarding the application on its website and in the Public Employment Service Offices, as well as publish it in a newspaper of general circulation for a duration of 30 days. The notice will include the foreign national’s name, position, employer his or her address, a brief description of the functions to be performed, qualifications, monthly salary range, and other benefits. During this publication period any Filipino worker who considers him or herself willing, able, and competent to perform the proposed work will be able to file an objection to the issuance of the AEP, which will be assessed by DOLE. Note that this publication will not affect the processing time of the AEP application. Rather, if an objection is received and recognized by DOLE as having merit (after the AEP has been issued) the AEP of the foreign national can be revoked.

Reminders: Recent and Upcoming Immigration Implementations

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

• September 22, 2015: Kenya and the U.S. will begin issuing reciprocal 5-year, multiple-entry business visas without amending the visa eligibility criteria. Previously, U.S. nationals could only obtain a 1-year, multiple entry business visa.
• September 27 – October 7, 2015: Several Asia Pacific countries will celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival from late September through early October. The holiday, celebrating the autumn full-moon harvest, will be marked by both government and private office closures:

· China: Holiday will be observed during the “Golden Week” from October 1-7;
· Hong Kong: September 28;
· Japan: September 21-23;
· South Korea: September 26-29;
· Taiwan: September 26-28.

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.

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