Immigration Alerts

Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Dispatch | April 11-17, 2017

April 17, 2017

Discover key changes to immigration regulations in Canada, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Singapore.

Canada Express Entry System

Featured Update

CANADA | Express Entry System to Reward French Speakers and Siblings of Canadians
Effective June 6, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will make three improvements to its Express Entry System, especially for those foreign nationals with strong French language skills and siblings in Canada. Used by the IRCC to evaluate certain applications for Canadian permanent residence, the points-based Express Entry System has become a popular immigration route for eligible foreign nationals seeking to move to Canada permanently. For more information on the point-based criterion and an overview of extensive changes made to the program last November, see our Immigration Dispatch of November 21.

The upcoming June 6 changes include:

  • French Language Proficiency – An additional 15 points will now be awarded to applicants who score above a seven in all four competencies on the Niveau Niveaux de Competence Linguistique Canadiens (NLC) French language standard. If the applicant also scores a five or better on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) English language standard, the awarded points will be doubled to 30.
  • Canadian Siblings – An additional 15 points will also be awarded to applicants who have a brother or sister 18-years-old or older who are citizens or permanent residents of Canada.
  • Canadian Job Bank Registration Optional – After June 6, applicants’ registration with the national Canadian Job Bank will be optional for foreign nationals applying to the Express Entry program. Currently, registration is mandatory. 

Canada has traditionally been among the world’s most welcoming countries to foreign nationals seeking permanent residence and eventual citizenship. That – combined with the Canadian government’s progressive, pro-business immigration policies – makes the country an attractive location for international business and high-talent foreign nationals around the world. Given some of the recent and impending tightening of immigration policy in the United States, Pro-Link GLOBAL sees Canada only increasing in its attractiveness as a Western Hemisphere headquarters for the world’s top multinational corporations in the coming years. We are particularly enthusiastic about recent statements by the Canadian government showing a firm recognition of corporate immigration’s vital role in Canada’s economic success. For more on Canada’s Global Skills Strategy and other positive recent improvements to the Canadian immigration system, see our Immigration Dispatches of December 19 and November 14, and our Global Brief of March 20.

For assistance with obtaining Canadian permanent residence, reach out to your Pro-Link GLOBAL Canadian Immigration Specialist. Also see our recent in-depth Canada Global Brief of March 20 on the new Global Talent Stream and another new, innovative route to permanent residence called the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program which just became available in March.

Immigration Changes from Around the World

MALAYSIA | Revision of Employment Pass Categories and ESD Refusing Applications from Companies with Outdated Information
Effective September 1, 2017, the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs will implement a restructuring of its Employment Pass (EP) categories. Changes include:

  • Category I – The minimum monthly salary requirement for Category I will increase substantially, doubling from MYR 5,000 to MYR 10,000 (approximately USD $2,255). Category 1 will also see a significant increase in the maximum validity for which EPs will be issued: an increase to five years from the current maximum of three years.
  • Category II – The minimum monthly salary requirement for category II will be expressed as a range of MYR 5,000 to MYR 9,999, rather than the current minimum of MYR 5,000. This leaves the minimum threshold unchanged. Likewise, the maximum permit validity will remain unchanged at two years.
  • Category III – The minimum monthly salary for Category III will increase as well – though not as dramatically as Category I – from a range with a low of MYR 2,500 and a high of MYR 4,999 to a range of MYR 3,000 to MYR 4,999. The maximum permit validity period will remain unchanged at twelve months, with the option of two renewals.

Expatriate Services Soon to No Longer Accept Applications from Companies with Outdated Corporate Information on File
In an unrelated - but nevertheless important – change, the Expatriate Services Division (ESD) of the Malaysian Immigration Department has announced that, effective August 1, 2017, it will start refusing to process Employment Pass applications for companies that have not updated their information in the ESD online system. Pro-Link GLOBAL reminds companies sponsoring foreign workers in Malaysia that they are already under an ongoing requirement to update their corporate information in the ESD system at least once a year, and whenever there is a material change in information. Updates are submitted electronically using the e-info from the Companies Commission of Malaysia (Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia, SSM) and with SSM-certified hard copies of relevant company forms filed at the ESD office in Putrajaya. For any questions on the above EP changes, or for assistance with updating company information on the ESD system, please reach out to you Pro-Link GLOBAL Malaysian Immigration Specialist.

THE NETHERLANDS | New Policy Encourages Foreign Nationals to Start Businesses
Effective April 1, a new policy from the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) will give highly skilled foreign migrants, foreign students, and foreign scientific researchers more freedom to start their own businesses in the country. Under the new policy, these individuals may engage in self-employment alongside their primary work or course of study for which their current residence authorization was granted. They are free to start their own businesses so long as their primary work or study is not adversely affected. Scientific researchers under Directive 2005/71 will also have the option of either starting a business or taking employment alongside their work as a scientific researcher.

The move is part of an ongoing effort in the Netherlands to attract more high-talent foreign nationals and encourage new business start-ups. In July last year, the IND similarly amended rules to allow highly skilled migrants to remain in the Netherlands for up to three months after end of their current employment to locate another job and continue working in the country. For more details on this initiative, see our Immigration Dispatch of July 24. November of last year also saw the Netherlands adopt the European Union (EU) Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Permit, which Pro-Link GLOBAL views as a potential “gamechanger” for corporate mobility in Europe. See our Global Brief of November 22 for further information on this new permit type.

Pro-Link GLOBAL sees the Netherlands as a key strategic international business destination in Europe right now, especially with the coming Brexit of the United Kingdom from the EU. Pro-Link GLOBAL recently ranked the Netherlands #7 on our “12 Best Countries to Expand Your Business Internationally” for 2017. For an in-depth look at the Dutch corporate immigration system, watch the recording of our recent webinar covering this European business hub here.

SINGAPORE | MOM Switching to CorpPass for Online Employment Pass and Work Permit Processing
Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower is adopting the use of the new Singapore Corporate Access (CorpPass) digital identity for access to the Employment Pass Online (EP Online) and Work Permit Online (WP Online) application processing systems. Currently, CorpPass is an optional user authentication operating alongside the popular SingPass digital identity; however, CorpPass is expected to become mandatory and the sole method of access to both the EP Online and WP Online systems by the end of 2017. Reportedly, more than 1,500 companies already use CorpPass as their key to accessing various government services. Pro-Link GLOBAL recommends that companies who have not already established CorpPass accounts do so now in order to avoid delays when its use becomes mandatory later this year.

CorpPass was introduced in the fall of last year in response to recent online data security concerns. In the past, the MOM experienced problems with fraudulent work pass applications filed using SingPass identities. The hope is that CorpPass’ higher security protocols will make it less vulnerable to such misuse. CorpPass will be the universal access identity to essentially all online government services for both companies and individuals in Singapore. According to the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), over 70 government services are already available online through CorpPass and, with more agencies expected to adopt CorpPass over the coming months, the IDA expects that number to grow to 200 services accessible by the end of 2017. Beyond the MOM, the Singapore Customs, the National Environmental Agency, the Intellectual Property Office, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry are all set to begin using CorpPass by September 15.

Companies can register and set up a CorpPass account at the official CorpPass website here. A company owner, director, or board member registers as Registered Officer on the CorpPass site, who in turn designates an additional CorpPass Administrator to manage the account – generally a finance, administration, or human resources manager. The Administrator can then designate other CorpPass Users who can transact with government agencies on behalf of the company – including any desired third-party service providers like your Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Specialists.

Singapore’s employment-based immigration system is already among the world’s most technologically-enhanced, making the various processes convenient for companies operating in the country. While establishing a CorpPass account is a short-term inconvenience for company leaders, it should pay long-term dividends in terms of increased data security and ease of access to all business-related government services. Pro-Link GLOBAL encourages all companies in Singapore to begin using CorpPass now, both for these benefits and to avoid potential delays when the system becomes mandatory for EP and WP transactions later this year. To allow your Pro-Link GLOBAL Singapore Immigration Specialists to file EP and WP applications on your company’s behalf using CorpPass, contact them once your CorpPass account is established for details on adding them as one of your company’s CorpPass Users. 

Dutch Immigration ICT permit

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 Canada Office “Rekai LLP”, our KGNM Malaysia Offices “Asian Tigers Mobility Limited” and “Orientations Inc.” to provide you this update.

Information contained in this Global Immigration Dispatch is prepared using information obtained from various media outlets, government publications and our KGNM 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. 

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