Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Dispatch: Panama, Azerbaijan, the Netherlands, Poland and Russia

Discover key changes to immigration regulations in Panama, Azerbaijan, the Netherlands, Poland and Russia.

Panama Skyline

Featured Update

PANAMA: International Executive Visas Now Harder to Obtain

New stricter rules for International Executive visas have taken effect in Panama, making them harder to obtain. International visas apply to the category of foreign nationals employed by a multinational company headquartered abroad, which operates a local branch office in Panama and are most often used for multinational company executives.The new rules make it significantly more difficult to qualify and apply for International Executive visas and may result in fewer multinational companies sending their foreign national executives to Panama. Note that companies still choosing to send foreign executives to Panama should be prepared to deal with higher costs, increased documentation requirements, and longer processing times.

Key provisions of the new rules are:

  • The minimum salary to be paid to the foreign national has increased to USD 5,000 (from USD 1,000) per month. The required salary must be specified in the work letter and paid through foreign payroll.
  • The company must provide a certificate issued by a public registry that shows that either the headquarters abroad or the local Panama office has been in existence for at least ten years.
  • The company’s local office must consent to an inspection by the National Immigration Service.
  • The company must provide two years of financial statements for either the foreign headquarters or the local office.
  • The new rules were implemented in Resolution 13931 of the General Director of Migration signed June 8, 2016. The requirements came into force June 20th and may apply equally to new applications or renewals filed after that date.

Immigration Changes from Around the World

AZERBAIJAN: Temporary Residence Permits Now Required for Short-Term Assignments

Foreign nationals who work in Azerbaijan (including those on short-term assignments), must now apply for a temporary residence permit. Previously, foreign nationals could work on short-term assignments in Azerbaijan based only on a work permit, without needing to obtain a temporary residence permit.Now, in order for the foreign employee’s local employment contract to be considered valid under the Labour Code, the contract must be e-registered with the government's online system. To do that, a personal identification number (PIN) is required. Since that PIN is only available in the temporary residence permit, foreign nationals must now obtain temporary residence permits.Temporary residence permits are initially issued for one year and can be extended up to four times. The duration of the employee’s residence permit is equal to the duration of their work permit. Once the new Azerbaijan Service and Assessment Network (ASAN) system is in place, temporary residence permits will be available to nationals of pre-approved countries via a single, streamlined online application system. Pro-link GLOBAL’s KGMN – Azerbaijan office reports that the ASAN system is still in the development stage and may yet be several months from coming online.

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NETHERLANDS: Two Changes Affecting Highly Skilled Migrants and Japanese Nationals

Highly skilled migrants whose employment ends while their residence permits are still valid are now permitted to remain in the Netherlands for up to three months from the formal end date of their employment. During these three months, the foreign national may search for other employment as a highly skilled migrant with a new sponsor. Prior practice only permitted this stay if the initial employment ended through no fault of the employee.The change now allows the highly skilled migrant to be automatically entitled to this three-month job search opportunity, regardless of the reason employment ended. The employee may have been terminated for wrong-doing, or have voluntarily resigned, and they will still receive an automatic three-month opportunity to find another job within the Netherlands. However, if the employee is unable to find employment with another acknowledged sponsor within the three months, their residence permit will be canceled, and the employee must exit the country.Japanese nationals will continue to be exempt from work permit requirements until January 1, 2017. The State Secretary of Justice has announced that it will be delaying the re-introduction of the work permit for Japanese nationals until the start of next year. The Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service had previously announced that it would be reinstating the work permit requirement for Japanese nationals starting October 1st. (See our July 15 Global Brief)Employers considering employment of Japanese nationals in the Netherlands over the next several months now have a brief window of opportunity to get the employees in place ahead of the January cut-off to avoid the work permit requirement. The employees would then be allowed to work without work permits for the duration of their temporary residence permits, only having to obtain their work permits upon future renewals after January 1st.

POLAND: New Act Sets Requirements for Employers of Foreign Workers

President Andrzej Duda has signed an act implementing EU Directive 2014/67/EU into Polish law effective June 18th. The act establishes rules for employers of foreign workers on short-term assignment in Poland regarding record keeping and reporting to the National Labour Inspectorate (PIP) and carries fines for employers in non-compliance. The act further introduces protections for foreign workers in line with Polish labor laws regarding working hours, holidays, minimum pay, health and safety standards, maternity leave, and non-discrimination policies.Employers who had foreign employees on the act’s effective date have until September 18, 2016 to bring themselves into compliance with the new recording keeping and reporting requirements. Specific details on the procedures fully implementing the act are still forthcoming from the PIP. Pro-Link GLOBAL’s KGNM Office in Poland has made a formal request for interpretation to the PIP and hopes to have a more detailed analysis of the new requirements in the upcoming weeks.

RUSSIA: Requirements for Submitted Documents Changing

With the ongoing restructuring of the Russian Department of Federal Migration Service (FMS) into the Ministry of Internal Affairs, standards for document submission during the immigration process are changing. While the formal restructuring of the former FMS into the Head Migration Department of Internal Affairs was officially effective June 1st, the new administrative processes are now taking shape. Foreign national employees and their employers in Russia should keep in close contact with their immigration professionals to ensure they are complying with current procedures.Most recently, the requirements for the formalization of documents submitted within the work permit application process have changed. Multi-page documents submitted either to the new head Migration Department (formerly the FMS) or to the Moscow Department of Immigration (formerly the External Labour Migration Office, Moscow region) – such as labor contracts, appointment decisions, health insurance agreements – must have sequential page numbers, be stitch bound, and verified by an employer company seal. These requirements apply equally to submitted originals and copies.

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 Panama Office “Icaza, Gonzalez-Ruiz & Aleman;” our PLG | KGNM Poland Offices “Express Relocations;” and our PLG | KGNM Russia Offices “Intermark Group Inc.,” “Move One Inc.,” and “Smithbridge Advisory Services LLC” 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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