Start your week off right by staying up to date with these key changes in immigration.
IRELAND | Recent Process Changes Seek to Improve Services and Clarify Policies
Both the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) and the Department of Justice and Equality (DJEI) have announced several changes to their processes.
The Irish immigration authorities have now officially implemented the informal practice of requiring spouses and dependents of work permit holders to reside in the country for one month prior to being issued with a multiple-entry visa. The practice has known to be enforced for some time now although not formally inscribed in the nation’s immigration regulations. The aim of the policy has always been to establish “legitimate” proof of intent to “settle” in Ireland by those spouses and dependents of primary permit holders. Prior to the policy’s formal implementation, dependent visa holders were permitted to be issued with their multiple-entry visa upon receipt of their GNIB card on arrival.
The GNIB Public Office in Burgh Quay in Dublin has introduced several measures in an attempt to decrease the long queues that have been forming at its office this past month. With immediate effect the office will be open on Mondays and Tuesdays for initial registrations only, while serving renewal applicants on Wednesday to Friday. Applicants coming to Ireland to work or conduct business will be given priority in the early morning, to minimize the amount of time they will be required to be away from their jobs. In addition, alternative arrangements are being made for students of several educational institutes, making it unnecessary for them to attend an appointment at the GNIB office, and the office has plans to operate on weekend hours temporarily.
Further, the DJEI has announced that as of October 12 the Employment Pass Section will no longer pre-check applications for completeness. Incomplete applications will typically be returned within 48 hours, and no records will be kept on returned applications.
In addition, applicants who pay the relevant fee by electronic fund transfer should be aware that fees will need to be paid within 5 working days from submitting the applications, to avoid the application to be rejected.
While the DJEI experienced significant delays during the spring and summer months due to higher than anticipated volumes of application filings, processing times are starting to decrease again and applicants should currently anticipate DJEI processing times to be approximately 4-5 weeks. For the most up-to-date processing times for specific employment-based petitions, please contact your Pro-Link Global Immigration Specialist for further information.
Immigration Changes from Around the World
KYRGYZSTAN | Kyrgyzstan Joins Eurasian Economic Union as Newest Full Member State
As the newest member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), Kyrgyzstan’s nationals are now eligible to work in Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia without having to secure work authorization from the respective immigration authorities. The EEU is a relatively new economic union, first coming into force as of January 1, 2015. Kyrgyzstan’s ascension into the EEU is aimed at growing the nation’s economy by fostering cross-border business relationships and deregulating the movement of persons between the member states who are seeking employment opportunities. As a result, employers in these member states can now hire foreign nationals from inside the union much faster and less costly.
NIGERIA | Changes to Permissible Period of Stay for Business Visitors and New Penalties for Non-Compliance
Effective immediately, the Nigerian government has limited in-country stays for temporary tourist, business, and visitor’s visa holders to 56 days aggregately. The change also implements new penalties for those temporary visa holders who overstay their visas. The new regulations do permit visa holders to extend their visas beyond the 56 day in-country allowance pursuant to the (below) extension fee schedule:
- In-country stay not exceeding 90 days: USD $200.00
- In-country stay exceeding 90 days but not exceeding 180 days: USD $1,000.00
- In-country stay exceeding 180 days but not exceed 365 days: USD $2,000.00
Importantly, employers and temporary visa applicants must be aware that the penalties for overstaying the duration permitted by the temporary visa have increased significantly. Those who fail to properly extend their visas pursuant to the above fee schedule are subject to a fine of 100% of the extension fee for that length of stay, in addition to, payment of the required extension fee. For example, if a temporary visa holder extended his temporary visa for a stay in excess of an initial 90 day period but stayed in excess of 180 days, he is subject to the $1,000.00 extension fee plus a $1,000.00 fine..
Reminders: Recent and Upcoming Immigration Implementations
The following are reminders of recent or upcoming implementation dates that you should know:
• October 1-7, 2015: China continues to celebrate the Golden Week holiday from October 1-7, 2015. The holiday is marked by both government and private office closures.
• October 12, 2015: Changes to Tier 2 Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) points-based allocation system comes into effect. These changes, first proposed in early September, primarily provide additional salary bands and corresponding points in order provide further flexibility for the non-shortage, non-Ph.D. level positions.
• October 12, 2015: European Union Visa Information System (VIS) will begin operations at embassies and consulates of all Schengen countries in China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. The VIS will require that Schengen Visa applicants submit their biometric data in-person as part of their visa application process.
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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