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ANNUAL REVIEW

Corporate Immigration 2017

October 2017  |  LABOUR & EMPLOYMENT

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Corporate immigration is important matter, requiring companies to pay attention to employee credentials prior to the commencement of their employment in whatever region of the globe. It is essential that companies have oversight of the immigration status of potential employees, with right-to-work checks carried out promptly to ascertain time frames and ensure compliance with relevant laws, polices and regulations. Given that many companies are struggling to find enough skilled workers in the domestic labour pool, a failure to carry out adequate checks on potential employees may disrupt operations and result in statutory penalties significant enough to jeopardise a company’s viability in the long term.

 

UNITED STATES

Jeffrey Bell

Polsinelli

“The election of Donald Trump as president of the US has led to a great deal of unpredictability regarding companies’ ability to send employees to the US for business meetings or to sponsor foreign national employees for work visas and permanent status. As a candidate Mr Trump ran on a policy of restricting immigration, both legal and illegal, and now president Trump has taken actions to implement his campaign promises. President Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning citizens of six majority Muslim countries – Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Syria – from entering the US.”

 

ARGENTINA

Sofia Inchauspe

Navarro Castex Abogados

“Argentina is a country which promotes quality of life, security and cultural development, and is especially attractive for families with children, with the most popular destination being Buenos Aires. Generally speaking, it has always been a moderately attractive country for foreign entrepreneurs. However, in December 2015, a major development saw the new government of Mauricio Macri remove the obstacles for sending foreign currency to other countries by companies and individuals. This has made Argentina considerably more attractive for foreign entrepreneurs. Furthermore, while legal security and stability are still weak, there is steady progress in this regard.”

 

UNITED KINGDOM

Ivon Sampson

Healys LLP

“The Immigration Act 2016 which came into effect in April 2016 has substantially changed the employment landscape for Tier 2 sponsor licence holders. The Tier 2 category, which operates under a points based system, permits UK employers to recruit skilled professionals from outside the European Economic Area to come to the UK to work. Before an applicant can apply for this type of visa, they must first have been offered a job by a UK employer and given a certificate of sponsorship by them. Employers can only issue such certificates if they hold a Sponsor’s Licence. The cost of obtaining such a licence – including legal fees – is in the region of £5000 to £7500.”

 

FRANCE

Karl Waheed

Karl Waheed Avocats

“France is making a great effort to be attractive to foreign nationals with skills, talent and investors. New laws and regulations have come into effect as of 1 November 2016. These include exempting individuals from a work permit requirement for short-term assignments in certain areas, creating multiple-year permits to replace many annually renewable categories, and creating a supra category called ‘Talent Passport’. This contains the current favoured categories of EU Blue Card, international service providers, scientists, performing artists, skill & talent and investor, as well as new categories of young graduate employee, entrepreneur, start-upper and executive officer.”

 

SPAIN

Marla Vanessa Bojorge Zúñiga

Bojorge & Associates

“In Spain, there has been a significant change in legislation concerning immigration and labour. Knowledge and professional experience is now recognised, as well as the investor or worker who belongs to a group of companies established outside Spain. Previously, it was very difficult and time consuming to obtain a work permit. There was no specific immigration legislation regarding an ‘investor’ or a ‘highly qualified’ worker, for example. Everything came down to limiting the type of ‘non-lucrative’ permit, which authorises individuals to reside, but not to work, in Spain, and to provide sufficient financial resources without relying on relatives.”

 

BELGIUM

Tanel Feldman

Immigration Law Associates

“On 13 July, the European Commission had referred Belgium to the European Court of Justice for failing to fully implement the Single Permit Directive: Directive 2011/98/EU. The first referral dated 19 November 2015 was put on hold in April 2016. The delay is due to the complex implementation of the transfer of competences on economic migration from the federal state to the regions, following the state reform. Legislative proposals were adopted by the different governments. The Council of State in its opinion considered that a cooperation agreement must be first adopted between the federal state, the Walloon Region, the Flemish Region, the Brussels-Capital Region and the German Speaking Community.”

 

NETHERLANDS

Arend van Rosmalen

Mynta Law B.V.

“Outsourcing the employment of foreign nationals to specialised seconding agencies and payroll services is very common in the Netherlands. This has clear advantages. The hiring company does not have to take on any special responsibilities in dealing with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND). Seconded employees’ contracts are also mandatorily governed by collective agreements which provide more flexibility for the employer and its clients. The process of residence and work permit applications can also be managed more efficiently by the specialised seconding agencies.”

 

LUXEMBOURG

Philippe Schmit

Arendt & Medernach SA

“On 8 February 2017, the Luxembourg Parliament voted a new immigration law, which entered into force on 24 March 2017. The main objective of the Law is to implement two directives into national law which not only introduce four new categories of residence permits in Luxembourg – a residence permit as seasonal worker, a residence permit in case of temporary intra-company transfers, a residence permit for investors and a residence permit within the framework of a business continuity plan for non EU-companies – but also provide for various substantial amendments to the currently applicable immigration provisions which aim to increase Luxembourg’s attractiveness as a host country for foreign talent.”

 

GERMANY

Dr Gunther Mävers

michels.pmks Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft mbB

“There are no specific major corporate immigration developments which have had an impact on recruitment efforts. However, the fact that the German economy remains stable and strong has a constant impact on recruitment efforts. In particular, even though foreign companies have never stopped investing in Germany and the region, there seems to be an increasing interest in such investments, which is having an indirect impact on recruitment efforts and corporate immigration.”

 

MACEDONIA

Dragan Dameski

Debarliev, Dameski & Kelesoska Attorneys at Law

“The immigration law system in independent Macedonia was established in the 1990s and has since been amended. The latest change to the immigration law system took place in 2015 when a new Law on Employment and Work of Foreigners was adopted. The law provides foreigners, as well as Macedonian authorities, with a simpler and faster procedure for obtaining residence and work permits. The main sources of immigration law in Macedonia are the Law on Employment and Work of Foreigners, the Law on Foreigners, the Law on Labor Relations and the ‘rulebook on the manner for issuance of opinion for fulfilment of the conditions for issuing temporary residence permit for foreigner for work’.”

 

SINGAPORE

Ruth Wilkins

Magrath Global

“The introduction of the Fair Consideration Framework three years ago arguably represented a watershed moment in Singapore’s immigration policy. Since that time, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), together with the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP), have placed increasing emphasis on the adoption of fair, responsible and progressive work practices. This, in turn, directly impacts on the MOM’s assessment of work pass applications. Elements of the TAFEP Guidelines which have a particular bearing on corporate immigration in Singapore are those requiring employers not to discriminate based on race, gender, age, religion or marital status during the advertisement, recruitment and selection process.”

 

CHINA & HONG KONG

Antonia Grant

Lewis Silkin LLP

“Hong Kong has a generally flexible and transparent immigration policy. In fact, most of the major developments stem from late 2014 and 2015, where the emphasis was on retaining and attracting foreign talent to develop the professional talent pool and grow the economy. Programmes like the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS) and the Admission Scheme of Mainland Talent and Professionals (ASMTP) were introduced to boost the available skills and knowledge for Hong Kong companies.”

 

PHILIPPINES

Phil Recentes

Gulapa Law

“There are two developments that are going to impact on the recruitment of foreign hires to work in the Philippines. First, some regional offices of the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) are now strictly enforcing the understudy training programme (UTP) by making it a requirement for an alien employment permit (AEP) application. While Philippine law has always required the submission of a UTP, this requirement used to be submitted 30 days after the arrival of the foreign hire in the company and not as a requirement for the AEP application. Through the UTP, the company must ensure the transfer of technology and knowledge to at least two Filipino understudies through the foreign hire.”

 

AUSTRALIA

Glenn Ferguson

Sajen Legal

 “In April 2017, the government announced major changes to the skilled migration programme in Australia. This involved a full review of the occupations to reflect the skills needed in the Australian labour market. These changes will be ongoing with a new visas class for temporary work visas and enhanced requirements for permanent skilled visas. The minister responsible, Peter Dutton, said: “The government recognises the importance of enabling Australian businesses to tap into global talent to remain internationally competitive and support a strong national science and innovation agenda. The occupation lists are designed to be dynamic.”


CONTRIBUTORS

Arendt & Medernach SA

Bojorge & Associates

Debarliev, Dameski & Kelesoska Attorneys At Law

Gulapa Law

Healys LLP

Immigration Law Associates

Karl Waheed Avocats

Lewis Silkin LLP

Magrath Global

michels.pmks Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft mbB

Mynta Law B.V.

Navarro Castex Abogados

Polsinelli

Sajen Legal

 


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