Pro-Link GLOBAL Immigration Dispatch: United Kingdom, Colombia and Singapore

The Home Office announces UK immigration fee changes, Colombia amends visa categories for Shengen nationals and Singapore places some employment passes under greater scrutiny.

Big Ben and London bus

The Home Office has announced that UK immigration fee changes will come into effect on 18 March, 2016

Most UK immigration applications will be subject to a slight increase in fees (e.g. fee increases for visit, student and work visas are at a 2 per cent rise). However, immigration fees will be substantially higher for certain application categories such as Settlement (for both the employee and dependents) and expedited services.Some of the most notable fee changes are listed here:

Immigration changes from around the world

Colombia: Amendment to visa category for Schengen Nationals
Migration Colombia recently issued a new resolution (0175) confirming that Schengen area nationals are to utilize the PIP-05 entry permit (issued upon entry to Colombia). The February 2016 resolution usurps a decree from November 2015 and another Resolution in December directing Schengen nationals to be issued PIP-10 entry permits when traveling to Colombia.The PIP-05 is a visitor's visa permitting short stays by Schengen area nationals. Travellers are allowed to be in-country for up to 90 days, in a 180 day period, for activities including medical care, tourism, business meetings, cultural events, sports and intra-company training (no employment relationship). The PIP-05 is renewable once for an additional 90 day period.Singapore: Some employment pass renewals under additional scrutiny
The Ministry of Manpower currently appears to be reviewing employment pass renewals more closely especially for newer organizations. If immigration authorities notice a sudden increase in salaries (to meet established minimum salary requirements) or that a significantly higher number of foreign nationals, as opposed to Singaporean workers, are employed they might be prompted to look further into a renewal application.Authorities may request additional documentation to verify the employee's qualifications such as education background. Established companies that continue to maintain their employment numbers and do not have spikes in salaries have not experienced noticeable changes in the renewal process.Employment pass renewals are valid for up to three years, but if there is a question about the application some renewals may only be granted for one year.Reminders: Recent and Upcoming Immigration Implementations
The following are reminders of recent or upcoming implementation dates that you should know:
March 15, 2016: Although Canada's electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) program will technically become mandatory for all applicable visa-waiver nationals on March 15, the Canadian authorities have announced a grace period until this upcoming Autumn. During this grace period, visa-waiver nationals will be permitted entry into Canada regardless of whether they hold an eTA.Once the program comes into force entirely, it will be mandatory for all visa-waiver nationals entering Canada via an airport. Notable exemptions to this upcoming requirement include, but are not limited to, any visa-waiver national entering Canada via land or sea ports, US nationals, Canadian Permanent Residents, and any foreign national holding a valid Canadian visa. eTAs must be obtained prior to travel via an online application.March 15, 2016: As of March 15, 2016, eligible nationals of Mexico, Brazil, Bulgaria and Romania will be afforded more streamlined entry into Canada.Under the new rules, citizens of these nations will not be required to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) if the individual meets either of the following eligibility requirements:
  • The individual has previously held a Canadian TRV within 10 years preceding the date of entry
  • Alternatively, the individual holds a current US non-immigrant visa

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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 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 Colombia Office "Brigard & Urrutia," our PLG Singapore Office, and our PLG | KGNM United Kingdom Office "Smith Stone Walters" to provide you this update.Information contained in this Weekly Update is prepared using information obtained from various media outlets, government publications and our KGM network of 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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