Pro-Link GLOBAL immigration dispatch – Canada, China, Indonesia, Italy and the United Kingdom
Discover key changes to immigration regulations in Canada, China, Indonesia, Italy, and the United Kingdom.
Canada – new rules for Express Entry Permanent Residency Program takes effectEffective 19 November, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has revamped the scoring system for selecting immigrants for permanent residence in Canada via its Express Entry Program. The changes will primarily benefit foreign nationals seeking permanent residence who are currently working in Canada on work permits exempt from Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs).Those negatively affected by these changes may prove to be foreign nationals with LMIA-backed positions who benefited under the old scheme. In almost all cases, the changes will result in lower overall scores and selection thresholds, but a more level “playing field” for candidates in the various work permit categories.Canada’s Express Entry program, launched in January 2015, is a points-based system used to evaluate applications for permanent residence. It uses a 1200-point maximum scale with points awarded based on factors such as language proficiency, education, work experience, and current employment in Canada. While applicants selected from the Express Entry pool are not automatically granted Canadian permanent residence, candidates selected in a draw are issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) that subsequently allows them to complete their Canadian permanent residence applications via a specialised online portal. Under these new rules, the period for providing information after receiving an ITA has been increased from 60 days to 90 days.
The threshold for selection varies depending in each “draw” for permanent residence permits based on the number and scores of applicants. Typically, achieving a score in the range of 470 to 500 points allows for a successful application. Under the old points system, the “holy grail” for many applicants was a job offer backed by an LMIA (“Arranged Employment”), which garnered the applicant 600 points and almost always ensured selection. However, many applicants already holding LMIA-exempt work permits with Canadian companies struggled to achieve sufficient points for selection because their employment was not subject to the LMIA requirement and the 600 points.For draws after 19 November, LMIA-based job offers will no longer have their former pre-eminence in what will now be a more nuanced points system. Qualifying job offers will be worth at least 50 points regardless of whether the offer is subject to the LMIA requirement. Depending on the position, the job offer may be worth either of the following:
- 200 points for occupations listed as senior management positions in various fields
- 50 points for any other type of “qualifying job offer”.
- International agreements held with Canada – such a North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA) professionals
- “Canadian Interest” – such as intra-company transferees
Immigration changes from around the world
China – implementation of new work permit system continuesIn the developing story surrounding the new national “Foreign Service Work Management System” in China, the Chinese State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) and local media outlets are reporting that the new online electronic system has processed its first cases in Shandong and Tianjin. However, Pro-Link GLOBAL’s Immigration Specialists in our China offices reveal that these completed cases are merely initial test cases and that the new system continues to be unavailable to user registration and general application submission in all provinces but Shanghai. Even in Shanghai, the new online system is not fully functioning with technical system issues still being ironed out.Local authorities state that they expect the new system to be functioning properly soon and that companies may soon register online for application submission for the nine provinces included in the initial pilot program announcement. Authorities in Beijing still indicate that, beginning 1 December, all applications for the new Foreigners Work Permit will be required to be submitted online. It remains to be seen whether the authorities will push this deadline out depending on the implementation timeframe for this city.Despite these short-term inconveniences during the transition, Pro-Link GLOBAL remains enthusiastic about the long-term benefits of the new nation-wide automated system for China and is optimistic that the current technical glitches and lack of process guidelines will soon be rectified. We are continuing to closely monitor the developments from our Shanghai and Tianjin offices and work with local officials and our clients to smoothly navigate the transition to the new system. For more details on China’s new work permits system, see our Global Brief of 27 October and Immigration Dispatch of 7 November, and subscribe to our e-newsletter for our on-going updates from China and around the world.
Indonesia – new interim KITAS to make renewals easier, company representatives required to process applications in-personRecent changes to the immigration process in Indonesia are bringing both positive and negative amendments for foreign nationals working in the Southeast Asian island nation. With one of the largest economies in the region but with the fourth highest population in the world, Indonesia remains one of the world’s poorest nations in terms of per-capita GNP and is increasingly reliant on skilled foreign workers to support its vital mining, petroleum, and manufacturing sectors.
Changes to KITAS Permits: new bridging option during renewals and changes in validity periodThe Indonesian Directorate General of Immigration (DGI) has announced new rules for renewing Temporary Limited Stay Permits (KITAS), which allow foreign nationals to remain in the country while their Work Permit (IMTA) renewal applications are processed. Previously, if the KITAS was expiring prior to the IMTA being renewed, the applicant would have to exit the country to avoid an overstay.Under the new rules, foreign nationals may now apply for a new interim three-month “renewal KITAS” issued with a concurrent multiple-exit re-entry permit (MERP). This three-month KITAS can be issued before the renewal of the IMTA, allowing the foreign national to remain in Indonesia while their renewal application is pending. However, they may not continue working once the initial IMTA expires until the renewed IMTA is issued.In a related change, the DGI will also revise the calculation method of the validity period for the twelve-month KITAS. Once implemented, the permit’s validity period will now start running once the IMTA is issued and not upon the date of the foreign national’s entry into Indonesia. This change allows the IMTA and KITAS validities to run concurrently and expire on the same date.Note, however, that while these two changes to the KITAS policy have been publicly announced by the DGI, our Pro-Link GLOBAL KGNM offices in Indonesia report that local immigration authorities have yet to formulate procedures implementing the changes. For the time being, we are advising foreign nationals renewing IMTAs to follow the current procedures until further guidance is issued.
Company representatives must appear in-person for permit filings and collectionsA third change in the immigration policy is less favourable to companies and foreign nationals applying for IMTAs and KITASs in Indonesia. The DGI has also announced that third-party representatives will no longer be permitted to deal directly with the DGI and local immigration offices on the company’s behalf. Effective 14 November, company representatives are now required to appear in person to submit applications and collect issued permits. Companies’ third-party immigration service providers can continue to assist at all stages of the process, including document gathering, application preparation, tracking and monitoring of applications, and accompanying company representatives to the DGI and local immigration offices. However, company representatives must now be present for direct interaction with immigration authorities. Pro-Link GLOBAL’s KGNM Offices in Indonesia expect that this change will be challenged by adversely-affected companies due to the lack of notice and input in the decision and the undue burden on company representatives. There is a strong possibility that the DGI may reconsider the decision after input from affected companies. We will continue to work closely with local authorities on this issue, and look forward to reporting on positive developments in the coming weeks.
Italy – regulations implementing posted worker requirements take effect 26 DecemberWith an effective date of 26 December, The Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Policies (MOL) has now issued specific regulations and guidelines implementing the provisions of Italy’s Decree N. 136/2016 implementing the provisions of the EU Posted Workers Directive (2014/67). See our Immigration Dispatch of 26 September for details. The regulations place obligations on companies posting foreign employees for assignments in Italy.Under the regulations, employers must complete the following to comply with the Decree:
- Appoint a representative in Italy for the purposes of labour negotiations and the sending and receiving of any official notices and documents related to the posting
- Establish an account as a posting employer on the MOL’s website
- Submit electronic notification of the posting through the website by end-of-business the day before the assignment begins
- Submit similar notification through the website within five days of any change in the assignment conditions
- Maintain records during the assignment and for two years thereafter, including the employment contract, pay slips, dates of the assignment start and ending, proof of actual salary payments, and proof of social security coverage
United Kingdom – new priority service launched for Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsorship requestsEffective 7 November, the United Kingdom’s Home Office has launched a new Priority Service for A-rated Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsors providing expedited processing of change of circumstances requests. For a fee of GBP £200 per request, licensed sponsors can submit requests through the online system for:
- In-year certificate of sponsorship (CoS) allocations
- Follow on CoS allocations
- Adding new Level 1 users
- Replacing Authorised Officers (AOs)
Reminders: Recent and upcoming immigration implementationsThe following are reminders of recent or upcoming implementation dates that you should know:
- 19 November, Australia – Major changes to the Temporary Activity Visa scheme take effect. See our Global Brief of 17 November for details.
- 24 November, United Kingdom – Changes to Tier 2 immigration category take effect. See our Global Brief of 8 November for details.
- 29 November, Netherlands – New ICT Permit rules take effect. See our upcoming Global Brief this week for details.
- 1 December, Canada – Temporary Visa requirement lifted for Mexican nationals; Electronic Travel Authorizations (eTAs) implemented. See our Global Brief of 13 July for details.