Discover key changes to immigration regulations in Argentina, Brazil, China, Hungary, and Italy.
CHINA | New Integrated Work Permit System Debuts in Shanghai
The much-anticipated new Chinese “Foreigners Service Work Management System” went live in Shanghai last week as expected, with the first new integrated work permit reportedly being issued on November 3 to the Dean of Students at the SJTU-ParisTech Elite Institute of Technology in Shanghai. The application was processed through the new online application system, which purports to have significantly fewer document requirements than the current paper-based system. Applicants receiving approvals through this online system will be issued a temporary paper version of the new “Foreigners Work Permit,” which will be exchanged for a new plastic RFID permit card after the new system is fully implemented in April.
As Pro-Link GLOBAL reported previously, the new system administered through the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) combines the current two-permit system – with its often-varying regional requirements – into an integrated, national, standardized scheme. The effort to streamline the current process is designed to attract more highly-skilled foreign talent to China by making it easier for employers and their foreign employees to obtain work authorization in China. While officially the nation-wide implementation is scheduled for April 1, 2017, SAFEA announced that it was rolling out the new system as a pilot program in eight provinces starting November 1. See our Global Brief of October 27 for more details. However, the new system is currently only operating in Shanghai and does not appear to be up and running yet in the other seven provinces as previously announced by SAFEA.
At Pro-Link GLOBAL, we are optimistic that the new system will be a tremendous benefit to both sponsoring employers and foreign employees alike by providing a smoother and more uniform system for the work authorization process in China. With that said, we are cautioning clients to be prepared for some uncertainty regarding the specific procedures as the system is implemented. As we reported before, the Chinese government has been slow in releasing detailed guidance on the new system, and there are many informal rumors about the implementation of, and procedures for, the program. SAFEA has cautioned applicants that document requirements and procedures may be subject to periodic changes as the system is implemented and refined.
An important first step for our clients operating in Shanghai to take immediately, if they have not done so already, is to register for online application submission and processing on the SAFEA website. At the time of this writing, only employers based in Shanghai are able to register for the new system, but we advise companies in other regions to do so as soon as the system is available in their regions. The registration can be completed at the following website: http://fwp.safea.gov.cn/index_index.action.
Pro-Link GLOBAL continues to proactively seek more details on this major change in the work permits process through our Shanghai and Tianjin offices and through our contacts in the Chinese consular posts abroad. We will issue continual updates through future editions of our Immigration Dispatch and client alerts as official details are made public. For specific concerns regarding active or upcoming immigration cases, please contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL advisor directly.
Immigration Changes from Around the World
ARGENTINA | Foreign Nationals Required to Have New Digital DNI for International MERCOSUR Travel
Effective immediately, foreign nationals residing in Argentina will need the new digital Documento Nacional de Identidad (DNI) card for passport-free travel to MERCOSUR member and associate countries. Older, non-digital versions of the DNI, such as the red and green books or the old non-digital blue card, are no longer valid for international travel to these countries, but will be accepted for domestic travel or other identification purposes within Argentina through April 1, 2017.
The DNI is the primary identification card used by citizens and foreign national residents of Argentina for virtually all identification purposes in Argentina. Holders of the digital DNI are also able to travel to the MERCOSUR treaty countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela without a passport.
Most foreign nationals who received their DNIs in 2014 and after will already have the new digital card. However, DNI holders can check to verify that their current card meets the new requirements by visiting the Ministry of Interior’s National Registry of Persons website at http://www.dni.gov.ar/inicio/index.php. If their current DNI card is not of the new digital format, foreign nationals are encouraged to contact their immigration advisors for assistance in obtaining the digital DNI prior to any international travel within MERCOSUR member nations. Until they receive the new digital DNI, foreign nationals are reminded to carry their passports, Argentine residence authorization documents, and to check visa regulations for the countries they will visit while traveling within other MERCOSUR countries to avoid complications and delays in re-entering Argentina.
BRAZIL | New Rule Makes It Easier to Bring Foreign Tech Talent to Brazil
On October 6, the Brazilian Ministry of Labor issued a new Service Order which now allows Brazilian companies to act as intermediaries in applying for visas for foreign technical workers providing services to multiple Brazilian companies. The new Service Order (no. 01/2016) revises Normative Resolution No. 61/2004, and governs work authorization and visas for foreign nationals under technology transfer agreements and agreements for provision of technical assistance. It now provides a second exception to the general rule that only the company receiving the foreign worker’s services may act as sponsor.
Under the new rule, Brazilian companies may act as a sponsor of a foreign employee if that Brazilian company has a contract with the employee’s foreign employer that gives the Brazilian company the exclusive rights to provide the foreign company’s technical services in Brazil. The Brazilian sponsoring company may then contract with other Brazilian companies for the foreign worker to provide the services locally. The companies receiving the services are not required to be part of the same corporate group as the sponsoring company. This enables more Brazilian companies to benefit from high-demand foreign talent where the cost for any one company employing and bringing the foreign professional to Brazil would be impractical.
HUNGARY | New Intra-Company Transfer Rules In Effect
On September 30, Hungary became the third European Union nation to officially implement into its laws the provisions of the EU Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Directive (2014/66/EU), following close on the heels of Romania’s similar move earlier this year. See our Immigration Dispatch of October 3 for more details. While under the Directive, EU members are to have drafted their ICT legislation by November 29, there has been a long period of inactivity on the Directive since the first EU member to adopt the measures – Spain – did so in September of last year. The goal of the ICT Directive is to increase mobility and provide greater flexibility for foreign employees from outside the EU to transfer between company affiliates in the member states through a uniform and convenient system. For more details on this permit and the EU ICT Directive, download our free white paper “EU ICT Permit: Potential Game Changer for EU Mobility?”.
The new law creates two new work and residence permit categories in Hungary – the “Intra-Corporate Transfer Permit” and the “Long-Term Mobility Permit.” Eligible applicants must be non-European Union (EU)/non-European Economic Area (EEA)/non-Swiss nationals who are transferred to a Hungarian company as a senior employee or expert, or as a trainee-worker, by their foreign employer company in the same enterprise group.
In addition, as part of the EU ICT Directive, Hungary will also allow eligible foreign nationals holding an ICT permit issued by another EU member state to perform short-term work activities in Hungary without obtaining another permit. It is important to note that only non-EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who hold an ICT permit sponsored by an EU company within the same corporate group as the proposed Hungarian company are eligible for this immigration option. The ICT Permit will then authorize the foreign national to work for the Hungarian affiliate for up to 90 days. If the foreign employee’s assignment will exceed 90 days, the employee will be required to obtain a Long-Term Mobility Permit, which provides work and residence authorization for over 90 days.
To qualify for either of the new permits, applicants must be continuously employed by their sending company, or another company within the enterprise group as follows:
- For senior employees and experts - minimum employment time is six months; or
- For trainee-workers – minimum employment time is three months.
Numerous other requirements also apply and cover professional and educational credentials, salary, health insurance, accommodations, and sufficient financial support. For details on the new Hungarian Intra-Corporate Transfer Permit and Long-Term Mobility Permit and its applicability for assignments within your company, please contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL advisor.
ITALY | Liberalized Document Requirements Should Speed Work Permit Issuance
The Italian Ministry of Labour (MOL) and Ministry of the Interior (MOI) have issued a joint circular which will simplify document submission requirements in support of work permit applications. Effective immediately, certificates of foreign social security coverage will no longer need to be translated and legalized when the foreign national’s country of citizenship has a bilateral social security agreement in place with Italy. This change should save eligible foreign nationals significant time in the document finalization stage and reduce overall processing times in Italy, as the translation and legalization was often a lengthy process.
Pro-Link GLOBAL’s KGNM office in Italy, however, indicates that the finer details and application of this latest joint MOL-MOI circular are still somewhat unclear. Further provisions may also be provided by the Italian authorities which, when implemented, may further alleviate translation and legalization requirements for other submitted documents as well. Our immigration advisors in Italy will continue to clarify the information with the MOL and MOI so that we may streamline the application process for our clients wherever possible.
Reminders: Recent and Upcoming Immigration Implementations
The following are reminders of recent or upcoming implementation dates that you should know:
- November 10, Canada: Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) becomes mandatory for visa-exempt foreign nationals (U.S. nationals exempt from this requirement) traveling to Canada. See our Immigration Dispatch of October 3 for details.
- November 19, Australia – Major changes to the Temporary Activity Visa scheme take effect. See our Global Brief this week for details.
- November 24, United Kingdom: Changes to Tier 2 immigration category take effect. See our Global Brief this week for details.
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 Argentina Office “Holistic Mobility Services”, our PLG | KGNM Brazil Offices “MRS Global” and “[Veirano Advaogados”, our PLG | KGNM Hungary Office “Move One Inc.”, and our PLG | KGNM Italy Offices “LCA Lega Colucci & Associates” and “Professional Relo SRL” 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 (email@example.com) with any additional requests for information or to request reproduction of this material.