Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Dispatch: Netherlands, Singapore, and Sweden

Key changes to immigration regulations in the Netherlands, Singapore, and Sweden.

Singapore harbour

11-18 April, 2016

Singapore: Ministry of Manpower immigration updates

Singapore's immigration authorities have announced two changes to their immigration systems.

Increased Government Analysis of Sponsoring Companies' Singaporean Core

In a recent speech, Lim Swee Say, the Minister of Manpower (MOM), emphasized the continued focus of supporting and strengthening the Singapore workforce to include employing local residents. Part of these continued efforts include refining the company requirements for Employment Pass (EP) applications. The MOM still requires applicants to meet expected qualifications, as well as having the appropriate experience and salary for a particular job.Specifically, the Minister spoke of restricting companies with a "triple weakness" from continuing to hire foreign employee. He confirmed that a "triple weakness" meant companies having a:
  • Weak Singaporean core in the work force
  • Weak focus to enhance their future Singaporean core
  • Weak impact on the economy and society in Singapore
Those companies that fall under the "triple weak" category will be placed on a "Watchlist." So far, 100 companies have been placed on the Watchlist. The majority of them are being cooperative in remedying their practices in seeking outside sources for local employees and adjustments to their HR departments.Companies not making changes will be at risk of having work pass privileges suspended and EPs will be impacted when renewals or new applications are requested.On the other hand, the Minister said companies that are "triple strong" (strong Singapore core, commitment to nurture it and strong economic or social influence) will be highlighted and work in partnership with the MOM. He said some of the areas that are strong include "smart nation, advanced manufacturing, future services and more."

Changes to Letters of Consent

The Singaporean authorities have also made minor procedural amendments to the Letter of Consent (LOC) submission procedures. LOCs provide work authorization for certain dependents and long-term stay pass holders.Traditionally, applicants had to wait until a paper copy declaration form was submitted via postal mail to finalize the issuance of their LOC; however, the Singaporean authorities have now rolled out this Declaration Form as part of the initial LOC online application process.The form is expected to be available online as of 29 April, 2016, and must be signed by the employer and employee (and employment agency if used) before online submission. The online submission is expected to expedite the application process.

Netherlands: Dutch authorities given additional authority to revoke sponsorship status

Effective 31 March, 2016 the Dutch Immigration Authorities (IND) will have the authority to revoke a company's sponsorship status if the company has not sponsored residence permits or long-term entry visas for foreign nationals in the past three years. Note that the sponsorship can be revoked only if the company is not actively or currently sponsoring residence permits for foreign nationals.Previously, a sponsorship could only be taken away if the sponsoring company had done something prohibited regarding immigration requirements and regulations.Currently, if a sponsorship is withdrawn, the IND will notify the company. If an accredited sponsorship is removed, the company is eligible to re-apply for the sponsorship status. There are no negative ramifications for having the sponsorship status removed, but if applying for reinstatement to sponsor a foreign national, the company must, once again, meet all requirements during the application process.

Sweden: Labour Union approval of offer letter now stand-alone step in work permit application

Swedish Labour Unions will now request signed offer letters to be submitted before foreign nationals are eligible to apply for a work permit. The letters must be sent to the appropriate trade union for comment and signature. Processing times for the Labour Union review and signature are currently 2-5 business days.Previously, the offer letter was submitted internally by the Swedish Migration Board to the Labour Unions as part of the adjudication process. This sometimes resulted in delays if there was an issue with the offer letter or questions regarding the employment terms.Sponsoring companies in Sweden should also note extended processing times for both initial (4-10 weeks) and renewal (6-12 weeks) applications due to the influx of refugee applications being adjudicated by the Migration Agency. Please plan well in advance to meet deadlines and contact a Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Specialist with any questions.

Reminders: Recent and upcoming immigration implementations

The following are reminders of recent or upcoming implementation dates that you should know:29 April and 3-5 May, 2016: Both public and private companies in Japan will be closed in observance of the country's Golden Week holiday. Immigration-related applications will not be accepted and processing of already-filed applications will be halted during this holiday.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 contact a 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 Netherlands Office, our PLG Singapore Office, and our PLG | KGNM Sweden Office "Newcomers Relocation" 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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