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ICYMI: A global mobility update with big changes in 10 countries!

With our latest ICYMI post, we have a variety of information to share with you! Those in global mobility understand that it's essential for companies to comply with immigration laws and visa requirements of the countries where they intend to send employees. On top of legal compliance, companies need to maintain a positive reputation and avoid potential disruptions to business operations. Visas serve as official permissions granted by the host country for the employee to enter, stay, and engage in specific activities. In the past, one type of visa we have written a bit about are "golden visas", which are a little different! 

Let's start with "what is a golden visa"? A Golden Visa refers to the immigration program which allows wealthy individuals to get a residence permit or even citizenship in another country simply by purchasing a house there or making a relatively large investment or donation. Different countries have different investment options, which range from $250,000 to millions. Typically, to apply for a Golden Visa, you must purchase a property (real estate) in a foreign country. Learn more in this Worldwide ERC article about how this visas and how they are being challenges in certain countries due to rising housing costs.

Now let's look around at the world and what's changing right now:

  1. New Zealand – New changes have been implemented to New Zealand’s Skilled Migrant Category Resident visa and their Accredited Employer work visa. The Skilled Migrant visa’s current system will be replaced with a more simplified point system and offer additional options for demonstrating skills. The Accredited Employer visa is increasing its maximum stay duration from three years to five years. These changes will take place this fall.
  2. Middle East/North Africa/Asia – Government offices will be closed across the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia for Eid-al-Adha. These closures will take place for the duration of the holiday which begins June 28th and ends July 2nd. Employers and foreign nationals should expect delays in immigration processing during the holiday and coming weeks as the offices catch up.
  3. United StatesGreen Card eligibility criteria has been eased. This relaxation will enable individuals waiting for green cards to work and remain in the United States under certain criteria. The USCIS has outlined this criteria for the initial and renewal applications of the Employment Authorization Documents. This change is expected to benefit the technology industry where Indian technology professionals have been experiencing long wait times for green cards and permanent residency.
  4. Canada – As we mentioned last time, Canada is pushing for French language skills to be more represented in their immigration policies. While there are talks of Quebec requiring some knowledge of the French language for foreign nationals, Canada as a whole is expanding their Francophone Mobility Program for the next two years. This program is intended to increase the number of French language speakers coming to Canada. This expansion allows companies to make offers to individuals who can demonstrate a moderate command of the French language in all fields except agriculture.
  5. European Union – The EU has agreed upon new rules to digitalize the Schengen visa application to allow nationals to apply for visas online. These changes are intended to make the application process more efficient and improve security in the Schengen area. These changes need to be formally finalized before they take effect.
  6. Germany – A new law has been passed in Germany, reforming the immigration system. According to the Erickson Immigration Group, “this new immigration reform aims to make access to the German labor market easier for third-country nationals. The goal of the German government is to become more attractive to third-country nationals, facilitate the migration process, and expand the possibilities, especially in the field of work migration.” This new law targets skilled labor, experience, and potential. It is lowering the salary thresholds for their Blue Card visa as well as increasing the list of accepted professions and will also be expanding the opportunities for other skilled immigrants and students.
  7. Finland – A new government has been implemented in Finland resulting in new, stricter, immigration laws being proposed. There is a slew of new changes that have been proposed, some of which are: restricting family unification conditions and limiting the age of children to 21, tightening citizenship and permanent residence conditions, including requiring a minimum of six years of legal residence or four years for those with a master’s degree, an annual income of at least EUR 40,000 with two years of work history, or have a proficiency in Finnish or Swedish with three years of work history. There are several more changes being proposed, including those that impact EU citizens, and work-based residence permits.
  8. Ireland – New immigration changes have been made in Ireland as Indian nationals are no longer required to submit supplementary application forms when applying for a visa. Additionally Irish citizens located in Hong Kong and Macao are now able to apply for passports online.
  9. Spain16 Spanish airports will be facing delays and potential flight cancelations through June 30 due to workers striking over working conditions and pay of air traffic controllers. Flights using Spanish airspace and all other Spanish airports will most likely also be impacted and lingering disruptions may result after the strikes end due to airports trying to accommodate passengers and repositioning crafts and crews.
  10. United Kingdom – Heathrow airport is expecting major delays as union strikes are being organized this summer. It is reported that approximately 2,000 officers will participate in the strikes, pushing for higher wages due to the high cost of living and inflation. Newland Chase reports that the strikes are to take place on the following dates:

    June: 24th, 25th, 28th, 29th and 30th

    July: 14th, 15th, 16th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st

    August: 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th

    These strikes overlap school, bank, and religious holidays which are major travel times and will likely result in major delays and some possible flight cancellations.

Residency by investment programs provide individuals with a pathway to residency or citizenship in a foreign country through financial investments. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, several countries such as Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain introduced “golden visa” programs to attract foreign investment. These initiatives proved highly successful, attracting billions of dollars in foreign capital and playing a significant role in revitalizing real estate markets in cities where demand had previously been subdued. But the era of golden visas in Europe, which catered to affluent foreign investors seeking improved travel opportunities, enhanced lifestyles, and effortless retirements, seems to be ending.


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