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.

Pro-Link GLOBAL immigration dispatch

Featured Update

Canada – new rules for Express Entry Permanent Residency Program takes effect

Effective 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.

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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”.
An award of 600 points will now be reserved only for those with enhanced nomination certificates through a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).Under the new rules, the definition of a “qualifying offer” has also been expanded. Applicants eligible for these points will now include those with one year of employment with their current employer on a work permit issued under certain “International Mobility” categories including, but not limited to:
  • International agreements held with Canada – such a North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA) professionals
  • “Canadian Interest” – such as intra-company transferees
Additionally, points will now be awarded for holding Canadian education, with 15 points being given for one to two year post-secondary programs, and 30 points awarded for three-year college or university programs, certain professional degrees, Master’s degrees, and Doctorates.Finally, Under IRCC’s recently released Immigration Plan for 2017, Canada expects to offer permanent residence to seven per cent more applicants in 2017 over 2016. Foreign nationals residing in Canada are encouraged to contact your immigration advisors for an assessment of their qualifications for the Express Entry system under these new rules.

Immigration changes from around the world

China – implementation of new work permit system continues

In 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-person

Recent 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 period

The 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 collections

A 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 December

With 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 
Fines and other sanctions may be imposed for non-compliance, so posting companies should consult their labour counsel and immigration advisors now if they have questions regarding their obligations under the new regulations and to ensure they are in compliance from December 26 forward.

United Kingdom – new priority service launched for Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsorship requests

Effective 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)
Requests submitted through the new system will be processed within five working days, rather than the advertised 18-week service standard. To ensure the expedited processing, a maximum of 20 requests will be accepted through the new system each day, Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm. Instructions on how to use the new Priority Service are available on the UK government website here. Note that the priority service is not available to restricted certificates of sponsorship.

Reminders: Recent and upcoming immigration implementations

The 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.
Finally, please note that due to the upcoming U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, Pro-Link GLOBAL will not publish an Immigration Dispatch next Monday 28 November. We will return to our regularly scheduled publications the following week on Monday 5 December.

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Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online Directory   now to our Global Mobility Toolkit Caveat Lector | Warning to ReaderThis 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 Canada Offices “Kranc Associates” and “Rekai LLP”, our PLG | KGNM Indonesia Offices “Asian Tigers Mobility Limited” and “PT Rami Formality Services”, and our PLG | KGNM Italy Offices “LCA Lega Colucci e Associati” and “Professional Relo SRL” 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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