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Top 5 Global Immigration Updates for August 2017

August 31, 2017

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Were you struggling to fall asleep Sunday night? Maybe it was the intense season finale of Game of Thrones or maybe it was a touch of anxiety over all of the law changes recently effecting your expat population in Europe, the Middle East, and New Zealand. Rather than counting sheep tonight, read-up on August’s top 5 global immigration updates. We did the research for you and give you our targeted recommendations to advance your global mobility program amidst significant changes in the Czech Republic, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and New Zealand. With our firm but cushiony-soft support, you’ll confidently navigate the ever-changing world of corporate immigration… and sleep like a baby tonight. Pleasant dreams!

Top 5 Global Immigration Updates for August 2017:

    1. CZECH REPUBLIC – Major New Legislation Brings New ICT Rules and Other Changes 
      A broad new piece of legislation that Pro-Link GLOBAL has been following for some months came into force in the Czech Republic on August 15. Act No. 222/2017 made extensive changes to the Republic’s Act on Stay of Foreigners: including various changes to the current rules on employee cards, permanent residency, temporary residency, and long-term visas, as well as the introduction of three new permit categories for intra-company transfers (ICTs), foreign investors, and seasonal workers. Learn more. 
    2. SAUDI ARABIA – Higher Saudization Levels Under Nitiqat System Required to Apply for Block Visas
      As part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and the continuing goal of the Saudization of the country’s labor market, the Saudi government is implementing new higher local worker hiring levels in order for companies to be eligible for block visas for foreign workers. The new Saudization levels take effect September 3, and Pro-Link GLOBAL offered this review of the changes and some practical recommendations for companies in meeting this latest iteration of the Nitiqat program. Learn more.  
    3. QATAR – Ongoing Gulf Crisis Brings Visa-Free for 80 Nations and Permanent Residency Opportunities
      In the ongoing saga of the diplomatic and trade boycott of Qatar by 16 nations of Middle East, Qatar is striking back with a “public relations” move using its immigration policy. In an announcement on August 9, the monarchy introduced a program to grant visa-free entry to citizens of 80 countries for stays of up to either 90-days or 30-days. In the previous week, on August 2, the Qatari cabinet also approved a new law that would allow the Ministry of Interior to grant permanent residency to some foreign nationals already living the country. The changes represent significant steps toward greater openness and economic independence for the wealthy Persian Gulf nation. Learn more. 
    4. GERMANY – Major Delays at Foreigners Offices May Necessitate Visa-Waiver Nationals to Obtain Long Stay “D” Visas
      Major delays at the in-country Foreigners Offices due to increased case volumes and staffing shortages have pushed the processing times for the combined Work-Residence Permit cards to as much as several months in some cases. Thus, Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Specialists now recommend that some visa-waiver foreign nationals obtain a Long Stay “D” Visa from the German consulate abroad prior to departing their home country. This additional step will allow the foreign employee to begin work activities while waiting for his/her residence permit to be issued. Learn more. 
    5. NEW ZEALAND – “Kiwis-First” Immigration Changes Will Increase Costs for Businesses… Much Less Than Originally Feared
      In response to recent record-high immigration levels in New Zealand, the government announced plans last April to pursue what they deemed a “Kiwis-First” plan to revise its employment-based immigration system. After extensive public comment and debate, significant changes to the Essential Skills Visa and Skilled Migrant Visa programs were implemented  August 28. While new income threshold requirements will undoubtedly increase costs for companies employing foreign labor in New Zealand, the changes are far less concerning for businesses than initially anticipated. However, companies with foreign employees should still take note of the changes, as they are significant. Learn more. 

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