Discover key changes to immigration regulations in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Indonesia, Malaysia, Qatar, Singapore, Sweden, and the United Arab Emirates.
SINGAPORE | Detailed Recruitment Questions Added to Online Employment Pass Application
On November 10, without official previous announcement, the Singaporean Ministry of Manpower (MOM) added several questions to the Employment Pass (EP) online application form. Employers are now required to give additional, detailed information about their local worker recruitment practices. This unexpected change may cause delays in applications already being prepared for submission, as this additional information will now need to be gathered and provided in order to submit new EP applications through the online portal.
Now in addition to listing the basic monthly salary and fixed monthly allowance, employers must answer the following new questions regarding their recruitment processes as part of Section F (Job Advertisement Information) of the EP application:
- Has your firm advertised this position on the Jobs Bank? (If Yes, please provide the following: Job posting ID, Posting date of advertisement, Expiry date of advertisement, and Occupation in Singapore);
- Has your firm searched for other candidates for this job using other recruitment methods and channels? (If Yes, please advise which recruitment methods and channels did your firm use? (1) Job advertising websites, Newspapers, (2) Trade publications/magazines, (3) By engaging employment agencies/professional placement firms, (4) By tapping on personal networks of existing employees, (5) By tapping on the firm’s internal talent pool/job portal, and (6) Others)”;
- Has your firm considered other candidates for the job? Please provide the number of applicants who reached the various stages of the application process for the job: (number of Singapore Citizens, Permanent residents, and Foreigners who applied for this job, were interviewed for this job, were offered this job, or were hired for this job);
- My firm has considered local candidates fairly. My firm is applying for this EP because: ((1) Candidates considered did not have good technical skills/expertise for the job, (2) Candidates considered did not have as good as “soft skills”, (3) Candidates considered did not have enough relevant industry experience, (4) Candidates considered did not have good qualifications, (5) Our firm was unable to meet the salary expectations of the candidates who were considered for the job, (6) Candidates turned down our offer of employment, (7) No candidates turned up for the interview, (8) Insufficient candidates applied for the job or turned up for the interview to fill the number of available vacancies); and
- How did your firm source for this EP applicant? ((1) Local job advertising websites, (2) Foreign job advertising websites, (3) Newspapers, (4) Trade publications/magazines, (5) By engaging local employment agencies/professional placement firms, (6) By tapping on personal networks of existing local employees, (7) By tapping on personal networks of existing foreign employees, (8) Your firm’s internal talent pool/job portal, and (9) Others)”.
Starting immediately, companies applying for EPs for foreign national employees in Singapore must ensure that they are making sufficient efforts to recruit local Singaporean and permanent resident candidates and keeping detailed records of these efforts to enable them to readily answer these new questions on the online application form. As Pro-Link GLOBAL has reported before, the trend with the MOM in Singapore is toward the tightening of processes and enforcement to encourage the hiring of local labor. For questions regarding, or assistance in meeting, these additional requirements, companies are encouraged to reach out to their Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Specialists.
Immigration Changes from Around the World
CZECH REPUBLIC | Visapoint Visa and Resident Permit Appointment System Being Replaced
The Visapoint system has now closed and is no longer available for booking appointments for visa or residence permit applications. All appointments available until November 30, 2017 have already been booked and remain valid.
A new registration system to apply for visas and residence permits is slated to be introduced on December 1. More details are expected to be released on November 24, 2017 via the various websites of the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Embassies and Consulates General. Employers of foreign nationals requiring visas or residence permits for the Czech Republic are advised to allow for delays while the new appointment booking system is implemented.
DENMARK | Civil Registration Process in Copenhagen Has Changed
Effective immediately, the online application and appointment booking system for the Danish Central Person Register (CPR) registration at International House in Copenhagen has been suspended until further notice. All CPR applicants in greater Copenhagen must now visit International House in person, queue, and wait for an appointment. At this point, estimates of waiting times are not available. However, some third party relocation and immigration providers have been given access to a special online system for booking more timely appointments.
In a more positive development, the registration authorities at International House no longer require marriage certificates to be legalized for CPR registration purposes if they have already been accepted by the Danish Immigration Authority in support of a successful application for a work and residence permit.
The CPR system is Denmark’s civil registration system. CPR registration is required for foreign nationals staying in Denmark for more than three months with an EU registration certificate or a residence permit. The CPR number is essential for any transactions with the Danish authorities, including tax and social security purposes. Companies should ensure that their foreign national employees who are resident in Copenhagen visit International House in person for their CPR registration through this new process or contact their Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Specialist to check the possibility of prescheduling an appointment.
INDONESIA | Domicile Letter Now Required for Limited Stay Permit Applications in South Jakarta
Effective November 6, foreign nationals applying for a limited stay permit (ITAS) at the South Jakarta immigration office must submit a domicile letter as proof of residency in support of their application. The change brings the South Jakarta office into line with the other immigration offices in Jakarta which had already implemented this policy.
For an initial ITAS application, an applicant staying in an apartment or a hotel must submit a domicile letter from the management of the apartment building or hotel. An applicant staying in a private residence is required to submit a domicile letter from the local village or municipality office (kelurahan). Renewal ITAS applicants staying in a private apartments or houses must also provide domicile letters from the kelurahan.
MALAYSIA | Foreign Nationals With Renewed Passports Must Transfer Permits Before Exiting
Airport immigration authorities in Malaysia have recently begun refusing permission to exit to foreign national permit holders who have a new passport but have not yet transferred their Malaysian permits. Holders of Employment Passes, Dependent Passes, Professional Visit Passes, Student Passes, and Long-Term Social Visit Passes who have renewed their passports but have not completed the Transfer of Endorsement (TOE) procedures to transfer their permits to the new passport will not be permitted to exit Malaysia. Note that this requirement to complete the TOE process prior to exiting applies even if the foreign national has begun the process and can present a submission acknowledgement from the immigration authorities.
The estimated processing times for the TOE procedures at the different processing agencies vary from 3 to 20 business days. The Putrajaya and MYXpats centers of the Expatriate Services Division (ESD) typically require 3 to 5 business days. Similar processing times apply for the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC); while TalentCorp typically takes 14 to 20 business days to complete the TOE process. Companies and their foreign employees with new passports should take note of this increased enforcement of exit procedures and ensure that they complete the TOE procedure before making any travel plans.
QATAR | Companies Must Wait 20 Days After Rejection to Resubmit Block Visa Amendment Applications
Effective immediately, the Qatari Ministry of Labour has implemented a new rule requiring employers whose block visa amendment applications have been rejected to wait 20 days before resubmitting the application. Companies wishing to hire foreign nationals in Qatar must first obtain a block visa approval from the Ministry of Labour reflecting the number, gender, nationality, and job title of the workers they wish to hire. Once block visa approval is received, the company is able to proceed with hiring and obtaining individual visas for their foreign workers.
Companies in Qatar applying to amend their block visas should take note of this new rule and allow for a longer timeframe in their labor force planning to anticipate the delay should their block visa application be rejected.
SWEDEN | New Intra-Corporate Transfer Permit Coming in March 2018
The Swedish Migration Agency has announced that it plans to implement the European Union (EU) Intra-Corporate Transfer (ICT) Directive (2014/66/EU) starting March 1, 2018. The new intra-corporate transfer (ICT) work and residence permit will be available to third-country nationals transferred to work in Sweden as managers, specialists and trainees within the same corporate group.
Holders of ICT permits issued by Sweden will be able to work in another EU member state for a company of the same group for assignments of up to 90 days in a 180-day period without separate work permits, although the host country may require a notification. For assignments of more than 90 days, a “mobile ICT permit” for that country may be required. Conversely, holders of an EU ICT permit issued by another EU member state will be able to work at a related company in Sweden for up to 90 days without obtaining separate work permits. For assignments of more than 90 days in Sweden, holders of EU ICT permits issued by another EU member state can apply for work and residence permits for long-term mobility.
Reportedly, the new ICT permit will be available through an online application process. Pro-Link GLOBAL is continuing to monitor the progress in Sweden toward the EU ICT permit and will report on details as they become available approaching the March 2018 implementation.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Process Changes for Some Foreign Nationals Switching Companies and for Dependent Family Members
The Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA) free zone has eliminated the “Internal Visa Transfer” option for foreign employees transferring to a new employer within the DCCA. Employees in this situation may now only use the “Government Transfer” option, which requires a medical examination. Previously, many foreign nationals switching employers preferred the “Internal Visa Option” which did not require a medical test. Foreign nationals switching employers should now allow for this additional time to obtain the medical examination.
In a separate development, in Abu Dhabi, the original Emirates IDs of the sponsors of the primary visa holder are now required in support of visa applications for dependent family members. Sponsors and applicants should take note that immigration authorities will then scan the original Emirates ID to determine whether the sponsor is currently out of the country, and the application will be rejected if the sponsor is not in the UAE at the time of its submission. Sponsors and applicants are encouraged to coordinate the submission timing of dependent visa applications accordingly.
Caveat Lector | Warning to ReaderThis 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 Czech Republic partner International Business Support, our PLG Denmark partner Copenhagen Relocations, our PLG Indonesia partner PNB Law Firm, our PLG Malaysia partner Permit Pro, our PLG Qatar partner Futuregate Business Services, our PLG Sweden partner NIM.MERSION, our PLG United Arab Emirates partner Sesam Business Consultants, Newland Chase, and Peregrine Immigration Management to provide you this update.
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