Discover key changes to immigration regulations in China, Côte d’Ivoire, Singapore, and Switzerland.
CHINA | New Talent Visa Rules and Benefits Details Released
Effective January 1, new regulations for the "R Visa" for high-level talent allow multiple stays in China of up to 180 days at a time – with a visa validity of up to ten years, a streamlined online application system, and reduced processing times. As we reported earlier, these improvements to the R Visa are designed to attract high-level talent: including technology experts, scientists, entrepreneurs, and others with high-demand skills. See our Immigration Dispatch of January 8.
To obtain an R visa, applicants must qualify as Category A under the new classification standards implemented as part of the new work permits system last year. Those qualifications include:
- the qualifications of the applicant’s Chinese employer;
- the applicants own professional qualifications and experience;
- the applicant’s salary; or
- a score of at least 85 points under the new scoring system.
For a complete guide to China’s new work permits system, including the new categories and points-based scoring system, download our updated e-book China’s New Work Permits System Brings Challenges and Improvements here.
Benefits of this revised R Visa include:
- Longer stays (180 days) compared to the M Visa for business (just 90 days);
- Valid for between five and ten years with multiple entries and no associated visa processing fees;
- Same visa privileges granted to the applicant's spouse and children;
- Once the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) has issued a Confirmation Letter for High Level Foreign Talents, the R visa may be obtained at a Chinese consulate abroad;
- Both pre-approval and visa issuance steps for the R Visa are expected to be quicker than for an M Visa (business) or Z Visa (work);
- R visa holders who wish to work in China long-term can obtain a work permit and work-related residence permit through a simplified and expedited online process.
The 2013 "Administrative Regulation on the Entry and Exit of Foreigners" introduced the R visa, or talent visa, for highly skilled and urgently needed foreign talents. Until now, however, there has been no nationally-consistent implementation of the R visa. Although applicable nationally, these new Implementation Measures for Foreign Talent Visa System are being piloted in nine provinces or cities, including Beijing and Shanghai. For more information on how the R Visa may benefit your company, please reach out to your Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Specialist.
Immigration Changes from Around the World
CÔTE D’IVOIRE | Deadline for Converting to New Biometric Residence Cards Fast Approaching
Nationals of non-ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) countries holding temporary residence permit cards in Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) have until February 1 to exchange their old residence cards for new biometric residence cards (Cartes de Résident). All unconverted temporary residence permits will become invalid on February 1. This deadline, originally set for December 31, 2017, has been extended. However, after February 1, any non-ECOWAS national resident in Côte d'Ivoire without a biometric resident card will be subject to a penalty.
Côte d'Ivoire has been in the process of transitioning over to a national biometric identification card system for its citizens over the past two years. See our previous Immigration Dispatch of August 14. Since August, applicants for new residence permits have been receiving the new biometric cards, which have a five-year validity period, an increase from the old card validity of one year.
Companies with non-ECOWAS foreign employees in Côte d'Ivoire should ensure those employees with the old form residence card have obtained the new biometric residence card from the Office Nationale d’Identification prior to February 1 in order to avoid penalties and complications with future immigration processes.
SINGAPORE | Applicant’s Contact Details Required for Pass Applications
Effective January 26, employers must provide their foreign workers' contact details to complete transactions via the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM’s) EP Online portal for Employment Passes (EPs), S Passes, Training EPs, Dependent Passes, and Long-Term Visit Passes. The pass holder's email address is required for pass applications, and email addresses and Singapore mobile numbers are both required for pass renewals or issuance requests.
The contact details are being required to enable pass holders to receive important updates during emergencies or other pass-related matters. A similar requirement was introduced previously for Work Permit (WP) holders in November. For more details, see our Immigration Dispatch of October 30.
SWITZERLAND | New Job Advertising Requirement for Certain Occupations Coming July 1
Starting July 1, employers wishing to hire foreign nationals for jobs in Switzerland which have a high local unemployment rate will be required to perform labor marketing testing by advertising the position online for five days through the Swiss Public Employment Service (PES). Details and lists of affected occupations will be reportedly be released closer to the July 1 implementation date. Initially, the requirement will be applied only for occupations with an unemployment rate of 8 percent or above, with this threshold being lowered to 5 percent in January 2020.
Companies employing foreign nationals in Switzerland should take note of this new requirement and allow for the additional five days for applicable occupations when planning assignments in Switzerland. For details on this new requirement and specific guidance on its impact on planned assignments, companies are encouraged to reach out to their Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Specialists.
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 Côte d’Ivore partner office “Africa Relocation Services”, our PLG China partner office “Shanghai Foreign Service Group”, our PLG Switzerland partner office “Sgier und Partner”, Newland Chase, and Peregrine Immigration Management 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any additional requests for information or to request reproduction of this material.