Legal Update

Oct 1, 2021

October 2021 Global Immigration Alert

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Please note: while we address some country-specific updates related to the COVID-19 outbreak, the below contains information regarding global restrictions and closures as they stand today. Given the constantly changing nature of this situation, we highly recommend reviewing any global mobility inquiries on a case-by-case basis, including any consulate-specific or immigration authority resources, in “real-time” before traveling internationally. Please reach out to our Global Mobility Team in advance of any international travel.

Barbados - New Remote Work Visa Announced

Barbados has created a new visa category called the “12-Month Welcome Stamp” in response to the worldwide shift to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic and in an effort to increase tourism.  The new program allows foreign nationals working for employers outside Barbados who earn an income of at least $50,000 USD per year to live in Barbados for up to a year while working for their overseas employer(s).   Applications may be made via an online system, with a processing time of approximately one week.  Additionally, 12-Month Welcome Stamp holders would be considered nonresident in Barbados for the purpose of income tax, and would continue to pay tax in their home countries.  Please see the government of Barbados’s website for more details regarding the program.

Canada - Updated Entry Procedures

Canada has now opened its borders to tourists who are fully vaccinated, effective September 7, 2021.   In order to be considered fully vaccinated, a traveler must have received the full series of a vaccine (or a combination of vaccines) accepted by the Government of Canada and must have received the last dose at least 14 days prior to the day the traveler enters Canada.  The vaccines accepted by the Government of Canada are the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines.  Travelers can receive their vaccine in any country, and must provide documentation supporting their vaccination in either the English or French languages, or with a certified translation from the original language to English or French.

In addition, all travelers coming to Canada are required to use the ArriveCAN mobile app prior to arrival where they will submit their personal and travel information.  They will also need to show a pre-arrival COVID-19 molecular test result taken within 72 hours prior to their scheduled entry (by land) or boarding time (by air).   Notably, travelers may also be selected at random to undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Canada.  The traveler will also need to show proof of  vaccination, and must not have any symptoms of the virus.   If the traveler meets the above mentioned requirements, they will be exempt from quarantine in Canada; however, they will still be expected to prepare a quarantine plan in case the border officer determines the traveler does not meet these requirements.

Unvaccinated individuals under 12 years of age who are accompanying a fully vaccinated parent, step-parent, or guardian will be allowed to enter Canada without completing a 14 day quarantine, but must follow strict public health measures.  All children over the age of 5 are still required to complete the mandatory pre-arrival COVID-19 test.

Foreign nationals who are not vaccinated are not allowed to enter Canada unless they qualify for an exemption, such as temporary workers, international students, diplomats, and other individuals traveling for an essential reason.  These individuals are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival if they are not fully vaccinated.

Canada has also lifted the ban on direct flights from India as of September 26, 2021.  Travelers eligible to enter Canada will be able to board direct flights from India to Canada with the following additional conditions applied:  

  • Travelers must have proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test from the approved Genestrings Laboratory at the Delhi airport taken within 18 hours of the scheduled departure of their direct flight to Canada.
  • Prior to boarding, air operators will be checking each traveler’s test results, ensuring they are eligible to come to Canada and that fully vaccinated travelers have uploaded their information into the ArriveCAN mobile app or website. Travelers who are unable to meet these requirements will be denied boarding.

Direct Flights from Morocco continue to be suspended until October 29, 2021.

 Chile - Travel Ban Changes and Mobility Pass

The travel ban prohibiting non-residents from entering Chile will be lifted as of October. Starting on October 1, 2021 foreign nationals who are not Chilean residents will be permitted to enter the country as long as they have a Mobility Pass (Pase de Movilidad), which can be obtained by completing an online form to document completion of COVID-19 vaccination.  The Mobility Pass may be obtained online (here). Incoming travelers are still required to comply with all quarantine and COVID testing requirements upon arrival in addition to obtaining a Mobility Pass.  Please see the  Chilean Ministry of the Exterior website for further details and updates.

 EU - (Reminder) EU Online Re-Open Tool Available for Travel Restrictions and Entry Requirements

We’d like to offer a reminder that the EU commission has created an online tool that allows users to quickly review travel restrictions and entry requirements for EU countries, both for travelers within the EU and those from non-EU countries.  Users simply select the destination country in the drop down menu in order to view current requirements and restrictions.  Information about local COVID measures and the current health situation is also available on the Re-Open tool.  The information is consistently updated to provide current requirements, and features links to local authority resources for additional details.  Please see here to access the tool.

Greece - New “Digital Nomad” Visa Category Announced

A recently announced immigration law will allow third country (non-EU) citizens to obtain special “Digital Nomad” visas in order to live and work remotely in Greece.  Under the regulations, a Digital Nomad is defined as a third-country national working remotely in Greece for an employer or client(s) outside Greece, and includes freelancers and self-employed foreign nationals.  This new visa category is designed to attract residents and provide flexibility for non-EU citizens wishing to work remotely in response to the increasing prevalence of remote work.  Digital Nomad visas may be granted for 12 months, with the option of applying for a 2-year national visa available in some situations.  Visa applications are handled by the relevant Greek consulate or Embassy with jurisdiction over the applicant’s place of residence.  Minimum requirements for visa eligibility include proof of employment and/or sufficient financial means (estimated salary of at least EUR 3,500 on a monthly basis). 

 South Korea -  Electronic Travel Authorization System

A new Electronic Travel Authorization system, called “K-ETA,” is now required for travelers as of September 2021.  Travelers eligible for visa-free entry (visa-waiver nationals) are required to obtain an K-ETA prior to travel to South Korea.  The Korean government previously piloted the new system for only 21 countries, and it is now fully implemented for all 112 visa-free entry and visa-waiver eligible countries.  K-ETA applications must be submitted at least 24 hours in advance of travel, and may be valid for up to two years upon approval.   Only travelers with approved K-ETAs are permitted to board flights headed for South Korea.  As of September 1, 2021 priority entry K-ETA applications for essential business purposes are also available.  It is important to note that the K-ETA requirement does not alter any COVID restrictions or visa-free entry suspensions currently in place, and travelers are still required to comply with all requirements including COVID testing and quarantine.  Please see here for more information about obtaining K-ETAs. 

 Sri Lanka - “Nomad Visa” for Expatriates

The Government of Sri Lanka recently announced the introduction of a new “Nomad Visa” for foreign expatriates who wish to work remotely from Sri Lanka.  The responsible Ministry, the Tourism Development Authority of Sri Lanka, will formulate an internal procedure on vetting applications for the granting of Nomad Visas to prospective applicants and then issue its mandatory recommendations for the granting of such visas.

In the interim, it is currently possible to work remotely using an  Ex - Sri Lankan Residence visa if the visa holder's scope of services is limited to servicing the foreign employer.  In addition, it is crucial that the visa holder does not perform services for any Sri Lankan entity.

 United Arabic Emirates - Remote Work Visa Route

The UAE offers a remote work visa option under the Dubai Virtual Working Programme.   This visa/work permit route is available for individuals employed outside of the UAE, allowing them the benefits of residing in the UAE for up to one year while continuing to be employed by a foreign entity.  If approved, the applicant would be granted a residency visa in the UAE for one year, and the applicant will also have the option of sponsoring the spouse and dependents (who will also be issued a one-year residency visa).   It is important to note that the applicant would need to earn over $5,000 USD (net of taxes) per month in order to be eligible to apply under this route.   Participation in the program is not automatically renewable, and must be re-applied for at the expiry of the one-year period.

The application for the Dubai Remote Working Visa has to be undertaken by the individual themselves – the initial contact with the authorities may be made online here.  Thereafter the relevant documents, as requested by the agent for the Dubai Government, would need to be submitted via email.

 UK - Immigration News and Procedure Updates

The UK has announced updates to its COVID-19 related travel rules that will come into effect after 4 am on October 4, 2021.  Updates include a wider list of approved vaccinations and more relaxed entry rules for fully vaccinated travelers.  Those who are considered fully vaccinated no longer will need to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test, book a day 8 test, or self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival.  Details of the new rules can be found here.

On September 10, 2021, the UK government published changes to the UK immigration rules. The changes clarify, amend, and streamline existing work and visitor routes in the UK.  Many of the changes were pre-announced and are now enforced through an update to the UK immigration legislation. This includes changes to the UK entry for EU/EEA nationals, clarifications to the UK visitor rules, launch of the International Sportsperson route, and changes to the Youth Mobility Scheme.

Entry to the UK for EU/EEA nationals:

Starting October 1, 2021, EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens will only be able to enter the UK using their passport to demonstrate nationality and identity.  National identity cards will no longer be accepted as valid travel documents, unless the person used that card for their EU Settlement Scheme application.  If EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens do not have a passport as of  October 1, they are liable to be refused entry to the UK.  Exceptions may only be made for people who used the ID cards for their UK status and they will be able to come to the UK using those ID cards until end of 2025.

Changes to the visitor rules, including providing further clarity on employees of overseas manufacturers or suppliers:

The Home Office has clarified the visitor route rule regarding employees of overseas manufacturers or suppliers coming to the UK as visitors.  The employee of an overseas company may install, dismantle, repair, service, or advise on machinery, equipment, computer software, or hardware (or train UK based workers to provide these services) where there is a contract of purchase, supply, or lease with a UK company or organization and either:

(a) the overseas company is the manufacturer or supplier; or

(b) the overseas company is part of a contractual arrangement for after sales services agreed at the time of the sale or lease, including in a warranty or other service contract incidental to the sale or lease.

Clarification to the UK business traveler rules now confirms that employees of the companies who are not manufacturers themselves can also be a part of the contractual agreement for after sales services to be eligible for the permitted business visitor entry.  Additionally, training of UK based workers on the permitted activities is also allowed.

Launch of the International Sportsperson route:

From October 10, 2021, the new International Sportsperson route will replace both Tier 2 Sportsperson and the Tier 5 Creative or Sporting Worker routes.  The new route will continue to offer a dedicated option for anyone wishing to come to the United Kingdom for 12 months or less.  As before, the route requires a sponsorship from the Governing Body and a Certificate of Sponsorship.  Those wishing to stay for longer than 12 months must also speak basic English (level A1).  It brings together the previous T2 and T5 into one category to make it simpler and more straightforward for professional sportspeople and their sponsors.

Youth Mobility Scheme update:

As of January 1, 2022, the T5 (Temporary Worker) Youth Mobility Scheme will be rebranded and named the Youth Mobility Scheme.  Iceland will be added to the Youth Mobility Scheme country list with an allocation of 1,000 places.  India will also be added to the list of countries with an allocation of 3,000 places, but only where invitation to apply arrangements apply.  Indian national applicants will also need to meet further qualification and skills level requirements.  The scheme is being updated to allow citizens and nationals of the countries listed to apply for this route for up to 2 years to come to the UK and work without specific sponsorship.