August 10, 2015
These important immigration updates are brought to you by Pro-Link GLOBAL’s Counsel and Knowledge Management teams.
SWITZERLAND | Third quarter L-Permit (ShortTerm) quota exhausted for EU/EEA nationals
The third quarter quota for EU/EEA L-Permits (Short Term) has been exhausted in all Swiss cantons as of this week. Companies wishing to file this category of work permit must now wait until October 1, 2015, when the next allotment of permits is released and the application stream re-opens. Currently, only EU/EEA nationals filing for L-Permits (Short Term) are affected; however, as Q3 progresses, other work permit quotas for both EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA nationals may be exceeded.
Under certain exceptional circumstances, some cantons may still accept L-Permit applications for EU/EEA nationals before the October 1 re-opening of the category. This determination must be made on a case-by-case basis and the final decision is always at the discretion of the local Swiss authorities.
This development should not come as much of a surprise: after drastically reducing the 2015 work permit quota levels for both EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA work permits, the EU/EEA L-Permit quotas have been quickly exceeded in all three quarters this year. As reported in our December 2014 blog post, the Swiss Federal Council reduced the number of EU/EEA L-Permits allocated from 3,000 in 2014 to 2,000 in 2015 (500 per quarter).
Companies planning assignments for EU/EEA nationals to Switzerland in Q4 are strongly encouraged to begin application preparations as soon as possible in order to file before the Q4 quota is exceeded.
Immigration Changes from Around the World
CANADA | Express Entry System – Monthly draw for July completed
The Express Entry system for Canada has now completed its monthly draw for July. The draw is Canada’s 13th instance of issuing its monthly “Invitations to Apply” (ITA) for permanent residence to those candidates who meet a minimum score on its points-based system. In line with an upward trend in the number of ITAs awarded in each consecutive month, 1,581 ITAs were issued for July.
Remarkably, July’s minimum score to receive an ITA for permanent residence was 451 points (down from a high of 886 points in January). With these scores, individuals are now invited to apply for permanent residence without LMIA job offer endorsement or provincial nomination. While the increase in ITAs will positively affect the Federal Skilled Worker and Skilled Trades Programs, Provincial Nominee Program and the Canadian Experience Class, the overall issuance of ITAs appears much lower than what the government had intended.
Hungary | New regulations to protect local workforce announced, implementation details remain unknown
The Hungarian government is taking measures to ensure access to the local job markets for Hungarian and EU nationals. In its decree of July 18, 2015, the total number of non-EU nationals working in Hungary is not to exceed the monthly average of job openings. As it is entirely possible for the number of job openings to exceed the number of non-EU nationals working in Hungary, several questions have arisen as to the decree’s implementation. For one, it remains to be ascertained by the government exactly how the figures will be calculated (outside the use of published workforce requests). A quantitative report illustrating the number of job openings in comparison to the number of non-EU nationals working in Hungary is “in the works” and due to be published later this month. However, the law’s immediate business impact is yet to be seen. Pro-Link GLOBAL and our local teams will continue to monitor these developments and will provide updates as they are made available to the public.
Italy | Staffing constraints lead to processing delays during August holiday season
The Milan Immigration Office announced this week that due to staffing constraints, the issuance of work permits, permit conversions, and/or clearances for dependent family members are subject to processing delays. The staffing shortage is immediate and is estimated to last through the remainder of the month of August. Italian employers hiring non-EU nationals should anticipate the delay to carry over into the month of September due to an anticipated backlog of work permit applications. Appointments with the Immigration Office in Milan should be made as soon as possible.
Summer processing delays can be common for many European countries. Accordingly, employers should be sure to account for these potential delays when rendering new assignments.
United Arab Emirates | Streamlined medical and biometric procedures rolled out in TECOM Free Zone
The UAE government continues to streamline its immigration processing in the Free Zones. As of July 26, 2015 visa applicants who are required to undergo a medical examination and provide biometric data are now able to complete both steps in one location. For those entities which sponsor visa applicants in the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone (TECOM), the previous practice of using a TECOM courier to provide and submit forms is a thing of the past. With the new procedures now in place, the visa applicant can now collect the necessary documents and forms to complete their medical examinations and apply for their Emirates ID card in one central location; DKV Block-12. Both procedures can be completed consecutively at that location to finalize the work authorization process.
United Kingdom | Home Office warns of scam targeting foreign nationals
A wide scale scam is taking place in the United Kingdom which appears to be targeting foreign nationals. Individuals posing as Home Office officials have been phoning visa holders and other foreign nationals residing in-country to inform the individual there is an ongoing investigation as to the legality of the individual’s immigration status and the possibility of deportation. The scam is perceived as genuine by the victims as the caller is able to readily cite the victim’s personal data which can be the victim’s passport number, visa number and other private data. The culprits then demand money in exchange for resolution of the alleged claims. With the detailed information possessed by the scammers, employers could be the next victims targeted.
As a practice, the Home Office does not call applicants to collect immigration fees via telephone. Thus, foreign employees in the U.K. should be instructed not to provide any detailed information to anyone claiming to be from the Home Office over the telephone.
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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