Pro-Link GLOBAL immigration dispatch: Canada, Hungary, Romania, Turkey and the UK

Discover key changes to immigration regulations in Canada, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

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Featured Update

Romania – new ICT worker law benefits non-EEA/EU/Swiss nationals

A new law designed to harmonise Romania’s immigration law with European Union directives is bringing changes to the country’s rules regarding intra-company transfers (ICTs). The law amends Government Ordinance 25/2104 to introduce the new term “ICT worker.” An ICT worker is defined in the new rules as a non-European Union/non-European Economic Area/non-Swiss national who is transferred to a Romanian company for up to three years as a manager or specialist, or for up to one year as a trainee, by an employer in a foreign country in the same corporate group. The new rules also provide significant benefits for non-EU/EEA/Swiss foreign nationals already holding ICT permits issued by another EU member.While the specifics and timetables for implementation are still being formulated by the General Inspectorate for Immigration, the new rules will provide that:
  • ICT managers and specialists must have been employed in the same corporate group as the sending company for six months prior to submitting their work authorisation application and have a minimum of three years of relevant professional experience;
  • ICT trainees must have been employed in the same corporate group of the sending company for three months prior to submitting their work authorisation application and possess an undergraduate university degree;
  • Holders of ICT permits issued by another EU nation will be exempt from the requirement to obtain long-term residence permits. Such assignees will receive a new permit called a “Mobile ICT Permit” and can begin work on their assignment in Romania as soon as their work authorisation application is submitted, without need to wait for approval; and
  • ICT assignees with residence permits and Mobile ICT Permit holders can sponsor dependents even if their residence authorisation is valid for less than one year.
The General Inspectorate for Immigration and the Government of Romania are reportedly now working to determine an annual quota figure for the new ICT worker category. It is still unknown whether the quota for this new category will be taken from the current quota or if additional work authorisation quotas for employers will be implemented beyond the current levels. Until a quota is established, these new provisions for ICTs will not be available to non-EU/EEA/Swiss foreign nationals assigned to Romania. Pro-Link GLOBAL’s KGNM offices in Romania Turkey are eagerly monitoring government sources for news of when the new category will open and looks forward to the benefits it may afford our clients.This move is intended to encourage the migration of qualified workers from non-EU/EEA/Swiss nations to Romania, and it appears to be an early step by Romania to begin implementing provisions of the so-called EU ICT Permit called for by the EU Intra-Company Transfer Directive (2014/66/EU and PE-CONS 58/14). Under the Directive, all EU member states are to have communicated a draft of their proposed measures for implementation to the EU Commission by 29 November of this year. Until now, the only EU member to have fully implemented the Directive’s provisions has been Spain in September 2015, with Bulgaria taking some initial legislative steps earlier this year and France due to implement its provisions in November. See our Global Briefs of 25 September 2015 and 22 April for additional details. However, we may see additional nations move toward implementation yet this year. Pro-Link GLOBAL believes the EU ICT Permit will have a major positive impact on global mobility in Europe if it is fully implemented. For more details on this permit and EU directive, download our free white paper “EU ICT Permit: Potential Game Changer for EU Mobility?”.

Immigration changes from around the world

Canada – deadline for mandatory ETA postponed again 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) (commonly still referred to as CIC) has once again delayed making the Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) mandatory for all visa-exempt foreign nationals traveling to Canada. The eTA was originally scheduled to become mandatory on 15 March of this year; however, the IRCC extended that deadline initially to 30 September, and now again to 10 November. See our Immigration Dispatch of February 1 and our Global Brief of 27 August 2015 for additional details.Barring an additional extension, foreign nationals not requiring a visa may still to travel to Canada without the eTA until November 9 but thereafter will require the eTA prior to arrival. While the eTA is easy to obtain online with minimal cost, some travellers have been reluctant to use it until now because it triggers an IRCC background “inspection,” which in some cases has caused applicants to be denied an eTA due to a criminal matter in their past. However, starting November 10, it will no longer be optional.Concurrent with the upcoming mandate of the eTA, the IRCC is also requiring Canadian citizens to have a Canadian Passport to re-enter their home country. This has created an unintended problem for many dual citizens of Canada who previously travelled on their foreign passport and proof of Canadian citizenship. Despite the deadline extension, some dual-nationality citizens of Canada caught outside the country during this transition are being denied re-entry if traveling by air on a passport of a visa-required nation. This recent extension of the eTA and passport deadline is in part an attempt by the IRCC to rectify the situation.Going forward, all visa-exempt foreign nationals are advised to obtain their eTA prior to travel, and all dual-nationality Canadian citizens are advised to obtain their Canadian Passports prior to exiting the country.

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Hungary – new requirements for employers of posted workers

Hungary is the latest European Union country to implement into its laws the mandates of the EU Posted Workers Directive (EU Directive 2014/67). We’ve recently reported on similar implementations in Italy and Ireland. See our Immigration Dispatches of 12 September and 26 September for additional details.As of 1 September, employers of foreign nationals posted in Hungary must register by creating an account online at the Ministry of National Economics’ Department of Labour Inspection’s (DOLI’s) website. After registering, the company must notify the DOLI of any EEA foreign nationals posted by the company in Hungary. Thereafter, the company must notify the DOLI prior to the start date of any future postings or changes in current postings. While some information is provided on the website and employers are encouraged to submit questions regarding the new requirements, more details regarding the new procedures for posted workers are still forthcoming. In the meantime, the DOLI is stressing that the new-posted worker requirements do not replace any existing duties of employers of posted workers but are additional notification requirements designed to bring Hungary into compliance with the EU Directive.

Turkey – new law brings changes to residence permit rules

As we reported previously, Turkey’s new Law on International Workforce (No. 6735), enacted in August, is making sweeping changes to its immigration system which should have favourable impacts on those foreign nationals employed or posted in Turkey. See our Immigration Dispatch of 29 August. As the Turkish government proceeds to implement the law into practice, we are seeing more improvements to both the rules for work and residence authorisations.The coming improvements to the Residence Permit Law include: 
  • Short-term residence permits will be valid for up to two years, an increase from the current one-year validity;
  • Dependent residence permits will be valid for up to three years, an increase from the current two-year validity;
  • Residence permits will no longer be cancelled by stays outside the country of 120 days (for short-term residence permits) and of 180 days (for dependent residence permits), with stays abroad being regulated by more lenient standards. These new standards have yet to be announced, however; and
  • Special short-term residence permits will be issued valid for up to five years for nationals of Northern Cyprus and other unemployed foreign nationals and their families who are making significant investment in Turkey.
We remind foreign nationals in Turkey that these new provisions are still in the implementation phase, and until more detailed regulations are announced by the Ministry of the Interior, foreign nationals should continue to follow the current rules and processes. Pro-Link GLOBAL will continue to monitor the implementation progress here through its KGNM offices in Turkey and report on specifics as they become available.

United Kingdom – new passport return service for EEA/Swiss nationals applying for residence

Beginning 1 October, many local authorities and registration service offices within the United Kingdom will begin offering premium passport return services for qualified person registration certificates and permanent residence cards. For a fee, European Economic Area country nationals and Swiss nationals applying for these services can have their passports photocopied and the copies submitted along with their applications. The local authority will then allow the applicant to keep their passport while the Home Office processes their residence application. Because the foreign national keeps their original passport, they may still travel if the need arises while their application is pending. This is welcomed news for frequent business travellers who in the past were essentially “grounded” until their registration certificate or residence card arrived. For a list of town halls, register offices, registration services, service centres, and passport offices who will be offering the new passport return service, consult the Borders and Immigration publications section of the UK Government website or contact your local authority. Note that this new service is only available to nationals of EEA countries and Switzerland. All other foreign nationals must surrender their original passports at the time of submitting their residence applications at their local authority. 

Reminders: recent and upcoming immigration implementations

The following are reminders of recent or upcoming implementation dates that you should know: 
  • 1 October, Switzerland – The Fourth Quarter visa quota opened. L and B Permits may be available but vary by canton. (See our Immigration Dispatch of 6 September for additional details)
  • 1-7 October, China – Golden Week is being celebrated as a national holiday throughout mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau. Private companies, public offices, government offices, and overseas consular posts are closed, but will re-open again on the following Saturday and Sunday (8-9). Expect delays at all stages of the immigration process, both during and after. Also, expect travel within the country to be congested during this time.
  • 2 October, Saudi Arabia - New significantly higher visit visa fees and re-entry fees took effect. (See our Global Brief of 2 September for fee schedule and additional details).
  • 3 October, Brazil – The labour strike by workers in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs enters its seventh week. A general meeting of the union is scheduled for today at 2:30PM EST to announce the results of a membership vote to end the strike held last week. Significant backlogs and delays continue in the processing of work and residence authorisations and visas in numerous overseas Brazilian Embassies and Consulates. Some consulates have suspended visa services altogether, while Embassies and some consulates are continuing limited visa processing at diminished capacity. Expect significant delays due to the backlog, even if the strike ends. (See our Immigration Dispatch of 6 September for additional details)
  • 4 & 11-12 October, Israel – Private companies, public offices, government offices, and overseas consular posts will be closed on the 4th for Rosh Hashanah and the 11th and 12th for Yom Kippur.

For related news and features, visit our Immigration section.

Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreCaveat 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 Offices “Kranc Associates” and “Rekai LLP”, our PLG | KGNM Hungary Offices “Move One Inc.”, our PLG | KGNM Romania Offices “Partners in Relocation BV”, and our PLG | KGNM Turkey Office “Yalcin Toygar Tufekci Law Office” 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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