Immigration and Global Mobility Update

See below our Immigration and Global Mobility Update, which shows the changes in global mobility and immigration from around the world over the past few months. We aim to update you regularly.


Summary:   Argentina | Austria | Belgium | Brazil | Bulgaria | Canada | Chile 
 Croatia | Europe | Finland | Germany | Greece | India | Italy | Kazakhstan 
 Luxembourg | Poland | Portugal | Romania | Russia | Turkey | United Kingdom

 

Argentina

Coronavirus restrictions on travel and mandatory home isolation

Argentina’s borders will remain closed until 28 June 2020 included, for non-resident foreign nationals (Decree 274/2020, Decree 331/2020, Decree 365/2020, Decree 409/2020, Decree 459/2020, Decree 493/2020, and Decree 520/2020). 

The sale of air tickets is suspended until 1 September 2020. The National Civil Aviation Administration, has ruled that ‘Airlines that operate passenger air transport services from, to or within the national territory may reschedule their regular operations or request authorisations for non-regular operations from 1 September 2020’ (Resolution 144/2020 BO 27.4.20).

Mandatory home isolation remains in place until 28 June 2020, exclusively for people who reside or are in the metropolitan area (City of Buenos Aires and greater Buenos Aires), in the departments of San Fernando (Chaco), Rawson (Chubut), Bariloche and Gral. Roca (Río Negro) and in the city of Córdoba and its urban agglomerate (Córdoba).

The rest of the country enters the phase of "social, preventive and compulsory distancing", where a minimum distance of 2 meters must be maintained between people, and all sanitary measures must be complied with (Decree 260/2020, Decree 325/2020, Decree 355/2020, Decree 408/2020, Decree 459/2020, Decree 493/2020 and Decree 520/2020). 

Anyone arriving in Argentina (nationals and residents) must home isolate for at least 14 days (Decree 260/2020).   

Florencia Funes de Rioja, German Capoulat
Funes de Rioja & Asociados

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Argentina

Coronavirus update on consular procedure and immigration

The suspension of consular visa applications reported in the previous update is in force until further notice (Disposition 1644/2020).

The Immigration Office will remain closed until 28 June 2020. The submission and processing of all residence applications of residence in Argentina is suspended until 28.06.2020.

The National Directorate of Migrations has arranged to extend the validity of provisional, transitory, and temporary residence permits expiring between 17 March and 14 June for an additional 30 days (DNM provision 1714/2020 – DNM provision 1923/2020 - DNM Provision 2205/2020).

Florencia Funes de Rioja, German Capoulat
Funes de Rioja & Asociados

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Austria

No fingerprints or original documents required for the renewal of residence permits

For the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, the Austrian immigration authorities may refrain from taking fingerprints for applications for renewal of a residence permit, provided there is no reasonable doubt as to the identity of the applicant.

In addition, the authorities may also refrain from requesting the applicant to submit original documents and evidence, provided there is no reasonable doubt as to the authenticity and accuracy of the submitted copy documents.

These provisions were recently integrated into the by-laws of the Austrian Settlement and Residence Act and will cease to apply at midnight on 31 December 2020.

Birgit Vogt-Majarek, partner, Stefan Burischek, associate, Schima Mayer Starlinger Rechtsanwälte GmbH

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Belgium

Draft Act implementing the revised Posted Workers Directive approved

As a result of the revised Posted Workers Directive, EU Member States are required to amend their posting rules before 30 July 2020.

On 28 May 2020, the Belgian Parliament approved the draft Act on various provisions on the posting of workers. The text is now definitive and only needs to be published in the Belgian State Gazette.

The main changes to the Posting Act of 5 March 2002 include a provision that for postings in excess of 12 months, posted workers are entitled to all statutory employment and salary conditions other than those related to the conclusion and termination of employment contracts and supplementary pension schemes. The 12-month period can be extended to 18 months if this is notified with reasons. New provisions concerning the treatement of allowances and expenses have also been introduced.

Other changes include new information obligations which are criminally sanctioned for t he Belgian user company when a temporary agency worker is posted to Belgium from another country or when a temporary agency worker will be working in another EEA Member State or in Switzerland. 

Full details of the changes introduced are set out here: https://theword.iuslaboris.com/hrlaw/insights/new-rules-on-posted-workers-to-be-implemented-in-belgium

Sophie Maes, partner, Claeys & Engels

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Brazil

Changes to migration procedure and enforcement during the coronavirus pandemic

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, even though requests for prior residence authorisations and residence permits under the Brazilian Migration Law are still being analysed by the General Coordination of Labor Immigration, deferrals are not being granted other than in emergencies duly justified to the immigration authorities.

The Federal Police is also only attending emergency cases, and since 13 March 2020, deadlines have been suspended and ceased to run.

Maria Luisa Soter, partner, Veirano Advogados

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Brazil

Current coronavirus travel restrictions in Brazil

Since March 2020, travel restrictions apply to foreign nationals entering Brazil.  At present, Ordinance No. 255, valid until 21 June 2020, provides for several exceptions in addition to that for  born and naturalised Brazilians. Irrespective of the point of departure, the following foreign nationals are exempt:

  • professionals in a mission at the service of an international organisation, as long as duly identified;
  • passengers in international transit, as long as they do not leave the international area of the airport and the country of destination admits their entry;
  • foreign employees accredited to the Brazilian Government;
  • foreign nationals whose entry is specifically authorised by the Brazilian Government in the public interest or for humanitarian reasons.

With the exception of Venezuelans, the following foreign nationals are also exempt from restrictions:

  • immigrants with a definitive authorisation to reside in Brazil for a fixed or an indefinite term; and
  • who are the spouse, partner, child, parent or guardian of a Brazilian citizen; and
  • who hold a National Migration Registry Card.

 Restrictions on entry do not prevent:

  • river and air cargo transport;
  • free movement of road cargo transport, even if the driver does not meet all the requirements previously mentioned;
  • continuity of transportation and unloading of cargo, without crew members disembarking, except for medical assistance or flight connections;
  • individuals returning to their country of origin related to operational issues or termination of employment contract;
  • entry to and stay in Brazil for airline crew and employees for operational purposes, even if foreign nationals;
  • technical landings to refuel, when there is no need to disembark passengers with restricted entry into Brazil;
  • movement of border residents in twin cities with an exclusively terrestrial border line on presentation of a border resident document or other supporting document, provided that  the neighbouring country guarantees reciprocal treatment of Brazilians (does not apply to travellers from Venezuela);
  • travel for cross-border humanitarian actions previously authorised by the local health authorities;
  • entry and stay of foreign maritime crew members with an international seaman’s card issued under the terms of the ILO Convention, whose entry is requested by the maritime agent to the Federal Police, to exercise specific functions on board a vessel or platform operating in Brazilian jurisdictional waters.

 Disembarkation from water transport may be exceptionally authorised if medical assistance is required or a foreign national needs to take a connecting flight to their country of origin.

Maria Luisa Soter, partner, Veirano Advogados

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Bulgaria

Updates to coronavirus travel restrictions introduced in Bulgaria

From 14 May to 14 June 2020, entry to Bulgaria for all and by any means of transport, including aircraft, sea and rail is temporarily prohibited.

The following categories of passengers are exempt from the ban:

  • Bulgarian nationals, members of their families or their cohabitants, EU and Schengen nationals (including nationals of San Marino, Andorra, Monaco and the Vatican), foreign nationals with permanent, temporary or long-term residence in Bulgaria, and members of their families;
  • medical staff, medical investigators, and geriatric care specialists;
  • transport personnel engaged in the transportation of passengers and goods, aircraft crew members engaged in air transport and other transport personnel, as necessary, including crew members of ships;
  • diplomatic staff, foreign officials (Heads of States, members of governments) and members of their delegations, staff of international organisations, military and humanitarian personnel, in performance of their duties;
  • individuals travelling for humanitarian reasons;
  • third-country nationals, directly engaged in the construction, maintenance and safety of strategic and critical infrastructure of Bulgaria;
  • frontier workers, agricultural workers and workers in the field of tourism;
  • workers engaged in the delivery of medicine and pharmaceutical products, medical devices and personal protective equipment.

Radoslav Alexandrov, Boyanov & Co

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Bulgaria

Flexibility introduced for renewal of prolonged residence permits

Under amended rules in the context of the coronavirus crisis, a third-country national holding a prolonged residence permit which expires within three months from the end of the state of emergency (i.e. until 14 August 2020) can file an application for residence permit renewal within these three months. In normal circumstances, they need to file 14 days prior to the expiry date or be sanctioned.

In this case, their residence will not be deemed interrupted if and when they apply for a long-term or permanent residence permit.  

A foreign national holding a prolonged residence permit expiring within three months from the end of the state of emergency will be allowed to enter Bulgaria without a visa within this term.

This legislative amendment grants prolonged permit holders (especially those who are currently residing outside of Bulgaria) more flexibility by allowing them to renew their permits within a longer term without facing sanctions and experiencing an unwanted interruption to their lawful residence in Bulgaria.

Elitsa Pophlebarova, junior associate, Boyanov & Co.

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Canada

Canada changes policy on temporary workers ability to change positions or employers

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (‘IRCC’) recently released a new public policy allowing temporary foreign workers (‘TFW’) who are in Canada to change either their employer or listed job more quickly. Applicants are required to first make their work permit application to change conditions. Then, they must submit a Web Form Enquiry to IRCC, requesting the expedited change. Upon receiving an approval email from IRCC’s Web Form, the TFW will be able to transition to the new role without waiting for the new work permit to first be issued. This new policy will remain in effect until revoked by IRCC.

In the past, TFWs who wanted to change roles or employers and held ‘closed’, employer-specific work permits were required to submit a change in work permit application and wait until the new work permit was issued, before they could start the new role; a time period of anywhere between 89-120+ days. This new public policy will allow TFWs to change jobs as soon as they receive confirming correspondence from IRCC’s web form, which will usually arrive in only ten days. 

Natasha Lakhani, Associate  and Katie Van Nostrand, Partner Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark

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Chile

Online applications for Temporary Visa extensions

From 4 May 2020, Temporary Visa extensions, for foreign nationals who live in the Metropolitan Region, must be submitted online though the Department of Foreign Affairs’ website, using the registration code (‘clave única’).

Those living in other Regions must present their application in person at the Regional Office, except in the Region of Antofagasta where they must submit it by courier.

Catalina González, associate at Munita & Olavarría 

Marcela Salazar, partner at Munita & Olavarría 

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Chile

Automated registration system for visas.

The International Police (‘PDI’) announced that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, an automated visa registration system will be in place for the following visas if granted until 30 April 2020:

  • residency visas granted for the first time; and
  • Permanent Residence.

Foreign nationals will receive an email with the ‘Registration Certificate’ issued by the PDI.

To apply for their ID Cards, foreign nationals will also receive an email from the Civil Registry Office with an appointment to attend to obtain their ID Cards.

All visa extensions, changes on residence status and Permanent Residence, granted since 1 May 2020, must be registered in person before the immigration department.

Catalina González, associate at Munita & Olavarría 

Marcela Salazar, partner at Munita & Olavarría 

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Croatia

Temporary limitations on crossing national borders due to the Covid-19 situation

On 19 March 2020, the decision of the Croatian National Civil Protection Directory on temporary limitations and prohibitions of crossing national borders (the ‘Decision) came into force. Based on the Decision, all foreign (non-Croatian) nationals were prohibited from crossing the border apart from the medical staff, frontier workers, goods carriers, transit passengers, diplomatic personnel, and police officers. Croatian nationals returning from high-risk areas who did not show signs of infection were placed under medical surveillance in mandatory 14-day self-isolation based on the decision of border sanitary inspectors.

According to an amendment to the Decision which came into force on 9 May 2020, foreign nationals can now enter Croatia for justified business and economic reasons, in accordance with all epidemiological recommendations.

Foreign nationals need to have documents proving:

  • an invitation from a business entity for their travel to Croatia; or
  •  a legitimate business reason for their travel to Croatia; or
  •  an invitation to a business meeting.

The documents need to indicate the place and address where they will be staying, their contact details including phone number and the duration of their stay, specifically the date when they plan to leave Croatia.

This amended Decision will apply until 15 June 2020.

Andrej Zmikic, Divjak, Topić & Bahtijarević

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Croatia

Croatia to implement the Posted Workers Directive

In mid-January 2020, a proposal for legislation to implement the Posted Workers Directive (Directive (EU) 2018/957 amending Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of employees in the framework of the provision of services) was put into the public consultations procedure.

According to the published proposal, this legislation will be adopted and become effective in Croatia on 30 July 2020.

The aim of this new legislation is to provide a higher level of protection for employees posted or assigned to Croatia from abroad (with a temporary exemption for road transport employees). It is also designed to prevent and combat abuse and circumvention of the applicable rules on posting of employees by certain service providers more efficiently.

Andrej Zmikic, Divjak, Topić & Bahtijarević

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Europe – European Court of Justice

European Court clarifies procedure for dealing with fraudulently obtained A1 (E 101) certificates

On 2 April 2020, the European Court of Justice ruled in the joined cases Vueling Airlines (C-370/17 and C-37/18) that the courts and tribunals of the host Member State may not disregard an E101 certificate (the predecessor of the current A1 certificate) when establishing that the certificate has been fraudulently obtained.

A posted worker can continue to be subject to the social security scheme of the sending Member State under certain conditions and need not be affiliated to the social security scheme of the host Member State. The authorities of the sending State can confirm this affiliation in an official document (i.e. the E101 certificate, now replaced by the A1 certificate).

In the past, the European Court of Justice has always ruled that an E101 certificate is binding on the host Member State as long as it has not been withdrawn or declared invalid.

This binding force was restricted for the first time in the Altun case where the Court held that if the authorities of the host Member State have entered into dialogue with the authorities of the sending State through a request for review (based on information indicating fraud) and the authorities of the sending State fail to process this request adequately within a reasonable time, the court or tribunal of the host Member State establishing fraud can disregard the E101 certificate.

Vueling sought to clarify whether the court or tribunal of the host Member State can immediately disregard the certificate in case of fraud (a broad interpretation of Altun) or should it verify first whether the contestation procedure has been initiated? The European Court of Justice ruled that the courts or tribunals of the host Member State can only act against fraudulently obtained E 101 certificates when:

  • The appropriate procedure was initiated beforehand and promptly and the evidence pointing to fraud has been submitted to ensure dialogue between the competent institutions.
  • The competent institution has failed to process the request or has failed to adopt a decision within a reasonable time.

In other words, the Court confirmed the restricted scope of the Altun judgment.

Conclusion

A court or tribunal cannot simply disregard an A1 certificate and unilaterally subject posted workers to the host country social security scheme. Fraudulently obtained A1 certificates can only be disregarded when the conditions set out in the Altun judgment are fulfilled.

Sophie Maes, partner, Claeys & Engels

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Europe – European Court of Justice

A1 certificates are only binding in the area of social security

On 15 May 2020, the European Court of Justice ruled in the case Bouygues travaux publics (C-17/19) that an E101 certificate and A1 certificate are only binding on the courts or tribunals of the host Member State in the area of social security. 

A posted worker can continue to be subject to the social security scheme of the sending Member State under certain conditions and need not be affiliated to the social security scheme of the host Member State. Also workers working simultaneously in various Member States are subject to the social security scheme of only one Member State. The applicable social security scheme is confirmed by the relevant authorities in an official document, i.e. the E101 certificate (now replaced by the A1 certificate).

Unlike in the Vueling Airlines cases (relating to the procedure for dealing with suspicions of A1/E101 certificate fraud, see here, the binding force of the certificate ‘as such’ was not under discussion. The question was whether the certificate was binding in the area of employment law as well as social security.

The question was raised in the context of criminal proceedings on charges of concealed employment (among other charges) against employers who used workers covered by E101 or A1 certificates on French territory, without having made the declaration required by the Labour Code (code du travail) to the competent French authorities prior to engaging the employees. 

The employers claimed that the purpose of that declaration, (although included in the Labour Code), is to verify if the worker is affiliated to one of the branches of the French social security scheme to ensure social security contributions are paid in France.

The French government claimed that the declaration is an administrative simplification allowing the employer to complete several formalities not solely relating to social security simultaneously, to ensure compliance with French terms and conditions of employment.

The European Court of Justice ruled that it is up to the national judge to determine the purpose of the declaration (if it is solely social security related, an E101 or A1 certificate would preclude this declaration; if it also relates to employment law, an E101 or A1 certificate would have no effect on the obligation to make the declaration).  

The Court concluded, however, that the certificates are binding on the host Member State but only in relation to social security.

Conclusion: An A1 certificate prevents the host Member State, as a rule, from unilaterally subjecting a worker to its local social security scheme. However, that does not mean an A1 certificate is sufficient; other obligations in the host Member State may also apply.

Sophie Maes, partner, Claeys & Engels

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Europe

Cross-border workers’ applicable social security regime may change from 1 May 2020

On 1 May 2010, a Regulation on the coordination of social security systems entered into force for EU Member States (Regulation EC 883/200). However transitional measures were in force for ten years. These expired for EU Member States on 30 April 2020. From 1 May 2020, the ‘new’ Regulation applies in full , including to those who were still covered by the ‘old’ Regulation (EEC 1408/71) under the transitional arrangements. This may have a significant impact on the applicable social security where a worker is simultaneous employed in several Member States.

The ‘new’ Regulation introduced a number of important changes in the event of simultaneous employment in various Member States. These include:

  • Simultaneous employment as an employee in various Member States: to be subject to the social security of the residence state, the old Regulation required the employee to perform only a ‘part’ of his or her job in the residence state, while under the new Regulation, the employee must work there a ‘substantial part’, i.e. 25% of working time or remuneration. Previously it was often sufficient to work only one day per month on average in the residence state to be subject to the social security scheme of the residence state: this is no longer the case. 
  • Simultaneous employment as an employee and as a self-employed person in various Member States: under the old Regulation, an individual working as an employee in one Member State who were self-employed (e.g., a director in Belgium) in another Member State could be subject to the social security regime in each Member State for the activity concerned (‘split’) if the self-employed activity was pursued in a country listed in Annex VII. The new Regulation abolished Annex VII, meaning workers who are also self-employed in another Member State are also subject to the social security scheme of the competent Member State for their employed activities.
  • International transport: Specific rules for international transport that Regulation (EC) 883/2004 have now been abolished. 

The new Regulation provided for a transitional measure for individuals who would be subject to the social security scheme of a Member State other than the one to which they were subject under the old rules. They could remain subject to the social security regime applicable to them before 1 May 2010 for ten years if their situation was unchanged and they had not requested the application of the ‘new’ rules themselves. This transitional measure applied for a maximum of ten years.  For EU Member States, the transitional measure expired on 30 April 2020.

For third-country nationals, it only ends on 31 December 2020 and for some countries where the Regulation entered into force later, it will remain in force for longer, specifically Switzerland (30 March 2022) and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (until 31 May 2022).

It is therefore possible that some employees or self-employed individuals will be subject to the social security regime of another EU Member State from 1 May 2020. This may be the case, for example, for those who combine a directorship in a Belgian company with activity as an employee in another Member State that is unchanged since before 1 May 2010.  

Sophie Maes, partner, Claeys & Engels

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Finland

Update on impacts of Covid-19 on immigration and global mobility in Finland

Some COVID-19 restrictions are still in force, but the Finnish Government has gradually started opening border traffic and restarted immigration processes with the following recent changes.

  • Border traffic between Finland and other countries is restricted, but some restrictions have been removed. As of 14 May 2020, cross-border commuting for employment and commissions and other essential traffic is permitted across the Schengen internal borders. Individuals arriving from abroad to work must prove their work-related ground upon entering Finland. External border traffic restrictions remain in force at least until 14 June 2020.
  • Recreational travel abroad is not recommended for the time being.
  • Travellers returning to Finland from abroad should stay at home in quarantine-like conditions for 14 days. This applies currently to anyone entering the country.
  • Employees working in certain essential fields can work without applying for an extended permit if they have a valid residence permit. This temporary amendment is in force at least until 31 October 2020.
  • The Finnish Immigration Service Migri has started granting residence permits as of 14 May 2020. However, Finnish missions abroad still remain closed until further notice and are not seeing new applicants for interviews.
  • The restrictions on travelling inside Finland (to and from Uusimaa region) are no longer in force since 15 April 2020.

Further information is available here:

https://migri.fi/en/coronavirus

https://finlandabroad.fi/frontpage

https://um.fi/frontpage

https://www.raja.fi/current_issues/guidelines_for_border_traffic

https://www.poliisi.fi/coronavirus_info/restrictions_on_movement  

Iisa Koskela, Associate at Dittmar & Indrenius

Matias Tamlander, Knowledge Management Trainee at Dittmar & Indrenius

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Germany

Regulations on executive employee immigration amended

Regulations regarding the immigration of executive employees have recently changed. Under these rules,

  • leading employees (who meet specific criteria, e.g. with power to hire and dismiss employees or who have general power of attorney for the company);
  • managing directors and CEOs entitled to legal representation of the company; and
  • specialists with company-specific knowledge for the exercise of qualified local employment;

are eligible for a combined residence/work permit for the purpose of employment if their working conditions are not less favourable than those of comparable domestic employees. Regarding salary, this will usually be assumed if the employee will earn at least EUR 82,800 gross salary per year in the new position (2020 threshold).

Alternatively, executive employees may also be eligible for a ‘Blue Card EU’, the newly introduced residence/work permit for the purpose of qualified employment pursuant to the Skilled Immigration Act, or an ICT Card.

Please note that the above only applies to employees, while self-employed executives (often applicable to managing directors) will require a residence/work permit for the purpose of self-employment.

Companies should assess in each individual case which residence/work permit the employee is eligible for and which is the most advantageous.

Julia Uznanski, Associate at KLIEMT.HR Lawyers

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Greece

Changes to migration policies in the context of the coronavirus pandemic

For non-EU citizens and given the current Covid-19, situation, the submission of asylum applications for those entering Greece illegally was suspended for one month (Legislative Act No. 45/2-03-2020). These individuals would return to their country of origin without registration.

In addition, the duration of residence permits has been extended (Legislative Act no. 55/11-03-2020) and the validity of national entry visas that expired after 11 March 2020 or will expire by 31 August 2020 is automatically extended until 30 September 2020 (Legislative Act 84/13-04-2020).

Dimitrios Kremalis, Fani Batsila, Kremalis Law Firm

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India

Current travel restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19

In an order dated 30 May 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs has announced that the Indian nationwide lockdown would be lifted in a phased manner, except in containment zones where the lockdown has been extended till 30 June 2020. Until this date, the following measures have been adopted:

All incoming passenger traffic from international destinations is prohibited, except for citizens of India who are stranded abroad or individuals required to come to India for an emergency such as death of a family member.

International travel is only permitted from India for:

  • citizens of the destination country;
  • individuals who have a green card or OCI card;
  • Indian nationals holding a visa of the destination country with a minimum residual validity of three months; and
  • any individual with a confirmed letter of employment / internship / admission in an educational institution holding a visa of the destination country with a residual validity of at least one month.

Domestic travel is now permitted with precautionary measures.

All existing visas issued to nationals of any country who have not yet entered India are suspended except those issued to diplomats, official passport holders, those in the UN or international organisations, those on Employment, Project visas and the operating aircrew of scheduled commercial airlines. 

Visas of all foreign nationals already in India remain valid and may be extended from within the country.

Visa free travel for OCI card holders is presently suspended.

Vijay Ravi, Senior Partner, Kochhar & Co.
Sabrina Sawhney, Senior Associate, Kochhar & Co.

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Italy

Italy starts reopening its borders

From 3 June 2020, it is possible to travel from one Italian region to another, with no restrictions, while complying with social distancing rules.

From the same date, travellers from EU countries and the Schengen area (plus UK, Northern Ireland, Andorra, Monaco and Vatican City) are generally allowed to enter the country, with no quarantine requirement.

Borders will continue to be closed, at least until 15 June 2020 to non-EU travellers, who are only allowed to enter the country in specific cases (for work needs, health reasons, or to return to their residence or domicile).

Valeria Morosini, partner, Toffoletto De Luca Tamajo

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Kazakhstan

Mobility restrictions still in place as Kazakhstan eases quarantine

On 11 May 2020, the state of emergency in Kazakhstan related to Covid-2019 ended. Gradually, domestic and international flight routes are being partially opened. 

However, quarantine measures and restrictions on movement in Kazakhstan remain.  Entry of foreign nationals is significantly restricted, but exit is already possible.

Anyone entering Kazakhstan is isolated for up to two days in a hospital for laboratory testing on Covid-19 unless they have a valid negative PCR-testing for Covid-19.  Individuals with negative Covid-19 test results must remain in home quarantine for 14 days.

Until 1 November 2020, the unilateral visa-free regime for citizens of 57 countries has been suspended (except for the EAEU countries and other countries with visa-free entry under international agreements). 

Expired visas, temporary and permanent residence permits, and work permits will be valid until 10 July 2020.  Foreign nationals will be able to leave Kazakhstan according to these documents.  Penalties will not be imposed until this date. However, in order to stay in Kazakhstan after this date, foreign nationals and their employers should extend their expired permits before that date on usual grounds.

It should also be noted that the rules for obtaining work permits, temporary and permanent residence permits, as well as notifying a foreign national's stay in Kazakhstan have changed.

Larissa Yemelyanova, senior associate, AEQUITAS

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Luxembourg

Bill would extend immigration derogations in the context of the Covid-19 crisis

A bill tabled on 19 May 2020 proposes temporarily extending the effects of certain derogatory measures taken within the context of the fight against Covid-19 in immigration matters.

The three-month period within which the third-country national authorised to enter Luxembourg must apply for a residence permit would be increased to six months between 1 January and 31 July 2020 for third-country nationals who have made a declaration of arrival to the municipality of their place of residency in Luxembourg, in accordance with the amended Law of 29 August 2008 on free movement of persons and immigration.

  • The period of validity of residence permits that expire after 1 March 2020 would be extended until 31 August 2020.
  • The stay of third-country nationals with short-stay visas, as well as the stay of third-country nationals not subject to the visa requirement whose stay has just exceeded ninety days after 1 March 2020, would be declared regular until 31 July 2020.

Following the recommendations of the European Commission concerning the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU, the bill plans to incorporate the ban on third-country nationals entering Luxembourg and the exemptions to this temporary ban, which were implemented by the Grand-Ducal Regulation of 18 March 2020 introducing measures to fight against Covid-19 and which currently apply until 15 June 2020 inclusive. The law would cease to have effect on 31 December 2020.

Dorothée David, CASTEGNARO

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Poland

Travel to Poland during the coronavirus pandemic

Entry to Poland for non-Polish nationals is limited until 12 June 2020. The borders remain open only for certain categories of foreign nationals, that is, those with permanent and temporary residence permits as well as work permits. The restriction does not apply to spouses and children of Polish citizens or to EU citizens who reside in Poland.

All international flights have been suspended. However, from 1 June, domestic flights will be possible. Until further notice, the passenger movement by international rail transport is suspended. Temporary border controls with Schengen countries have been restored. Only selected land and sea borders remain open.

Anyone entering Poland is subject to 14-day home quarantine together with all family members living in the same household, other than individuals crossing internal EU borders (Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania and sea borders with Denmark and Sweden) who are travelling for the purpose of work in Poland or in a neighbouring country.

No limitation have been imposed on, exit traffic from Poland, however if an employee is ordered to travel to a place where the risk of a disease is high, he or she can refuse, proving that this poses a health threat. Organisations are still advised to refrain from business travel.

Michał Kacprzyk, Senior Associate, Head of Immigration Practice in Raczkowski

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Portugal

Border control between Portugal and Spain

Until midnight on 15 June 2020 movement between Portugal and Spain of international freight, international passenger transport, cross-border workers and seasonal workers with a duly documented employment relationship are allowed, in addition to movements of emergency and rescue vehicles and the emergency services. Border control checks will be made by the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) at predetermined land border posts.

Bruno Barbosa, partner, pbbr

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Romania

General mobility restrictions during the newly established Romanian state of alert

A state of alert has been established in Romania for 30 days from 18 May 2020, following a series of acts recently adopted.

In terms of general mobility within Romania, during the state of alert, local movement or journeys are allowed without justifying documents.

Movement or travel outside local areas is restricted, as a rule, with exceptions such as: movement for professional purposes, based on an affidavit, ID cart (badge) from work or certificate issued by the employer; participation in family events involving a limited number of people; agriculture activities, etc.

Teodora Gogu, Junior Associate, NNDKP

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Romania

International mobility and frontier access during the newly established Romanian state of alert

During the state of alert, anyone who comes to Romania from a foreign country must either isolate at home or in quarantine, depending on the country where they come from, with a series of exceptions (e.g. airline pilots and navigation personnel; members of Parliament, drivers of certain vehicles etc.). The exceptions only apply when the individuals in question do not manifest symptoms of illness.

As a rule, entry to Romania for foreign citizens and stateless individuals is currently prohibited. There are exceptions for:

  • family members of Romanian citizens;
  • family members of nationals of other EU/EEA/ Swiss Confederation Member States, with residence in Romania;
  • individuals in possession of a long-stay visa, a residence permit or a document equivalent to a residence permit issued by the competent authorities, or an equivalent document issued by the authorities of other states, under EU law;
  • persons travelling with professional interest, as proven by visa, residence permit or other equivalent document;
  • diplomatic or consular personnel, personnel of international organisations, military staff or humanitarian aid personnel;
  • passengers in transit, including those repatriated as result of the granting of consular protection;
  • passengers traveling for imperative reasons;
  • individuals in need of international protection or travelling for other humanitarian reasons.

Flights to Austria, Belgium, the Swiss Confederation, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain, the United States and Turkey and from these countries to Romania are suspended for all Romanian airports during the state of alert. A series of exceptions apply, for example: state aircrafts, humanitarian or medical emergency flights, cargo transport or correspondence, charter flights transporting seasonal workers from Romania to other states or the repatriation of foreign citizens.

International road transport of individuals through regular and occasional services to and from Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Swiss Confederation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Turkey is suspended during the state of alert. Subject to a series of cumulative conditions, this prohibition may not apply in some cases.

The temporary closure of a series of frontier access points is maintained during the state of alert.

Teodora Gogu, Junior Associate, NNDKP

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Romania

Treatment of foreign citizens during the newly established Romanian state of alert

The documents issued by the General Inspectorate for Immigration will remain valid for 90 days after the end of the state of emergency that preceded the current state of alert.

The right of residence of foreign citizens who are in Romania through entry visas, international conventions or European law exempting them from the visa regime, will continue for 90 days after the expiry of the state of emergency, and no legal sanctions will be imposed. For further entries or periods of residence in Romania, the extension described here will not be taken into account for calculating any legal time limits on stay. 

Entry visas for Romania that expire during the current state of alert without having been used due to the temporary travel restrictions at European Union level will not remain valid. The foreign citizens in question may apply for other entry visas when the travel restrictions are lifted following the applicable rules.

Teodora Gogu, Junior Associate, NNDKP

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Romania

Other mobility restrictions will be adopted during the Romanian state of alert

Further measures and restrictions regarding transport of persons and goods, travelling nationally and internationally, temporary closure of some frontier points will be established by the competent authorities during the current state of alert.

As regards air transport special measures and restrictions related, for example, to the sanitation of shared spaces, pieces of equipment and means of transport, plus distancing rules for passengers and personnel will also be adopted in the near future.

Teodora Gogu, Junior Associate, NNDKP

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Russia

Migration terms suspended for the Covid-19 crisis

On 18 April 2020, the Russian President signed a Decree establishing a temporary suspension of migration terms.

According to this Decree, the validity period of migration documents (such as visas and work and residence permits) for all foreign nationals legally residing in Russia, is automatically extended if they expire from 15 March until 15 June 2020.

Irina Anyukhina, Margarita Egiazarova, ALRUD law firm

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Russia

Employers in Russia can hire foreign workers without required migration documents

In accordance with the presidential Decree of 18 April 2020, employers that comply with the required sanitary and epidemiological measures will be able to hire both foreign nationals who arrived in Russia on a visa, but do not having work permits, and foreign nationals who arrived in Russia from visa-free countries who do not having migration ‘patents’. Employers that hire foreign nationals from visa countries will have permission to attract and employ foreign nationals.

Irina Anyukhina, Margarita Egiazarova, ALRUD law firm

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Russia

Entry ban for foreign nationals extended by Russian Government

On 29 April 2020, the Russian Government extended the temporary restriction of entry into the country for foreign nationals and stateless persons for an indefinite period. The ban was previously valid from 18 March until 1 May 2020. Some categories of individuals (e.g. individuals with diplomatic, official or ordinary private visas issued in connection with the death of a close relative, etc.) are exempt from the entry restriction.

Irina Anyukhina, Margarita Egiazarova, ALRUD law firm

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Russia

Foreign employees in Moscow can only obtain digital passes though their employers

Starting from 25 May, digital passes allowing movement in Moscow for foreign nationals can only be obtained by their employers. Previously all employees had to obtain these passes themselves.

Irina Anyukhina, Margarita Egiazarova, ALRUD law firm

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Russia

Personnel servicing imported equipment can enter Russia

Personnel conducting technical services on imported equipment are entitled to enter the country in accordance with the general rules under a Government Order dated 29 April 2020. However, these individuals must be included in the list of specialists submitted to the Federal Security Service by the federal authority acting in the relevant sphere of activity (that is, where the ‘host’ organisation operates).

Irina Anyukhina, Margarita Egiazarova, ALRUD law firm

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Russia

Highly-qualified specialists can get migration documents according to general rules

Highly Qualified Specialists (HQSs) are not exempted from the requirement to obtain or extend work permits in accordance with general legal requirements. Moreover, in the absence of special regulations, notifications on the conclusion and termination of an employment contract with a foreign national (in particular, with an HQS), as well as on compliance with the requirements for salary payment to HQSs must be submitted within the legal deadlines.

Currently, HQS, residing in Russia may apply for prolongation of or obtain new/additional work permits. The migration authorities will accept and consider their documents as usual, however, the consideration terms may be prolonged. HQS who remain outside Russia still cannot get back, and cannot apply for any migration documents from abroad.

Irina Anyukhina, Margarita Egiazarova, ALRUD law firm

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Turkey

New postal Residence Permit procedure introduced in Istanbul

On 14 May 2020, the Migration Directorate made an important announcement regarding the resumption of processing of Istanbul-based Residence Permits. For Residence permit applications in Istanbul with appointments scheduled between 1 June and 17 August, applications must not be filed in person, but by local Turkish post to the district migration location to which they applied. The date by which applications must be posted is depending on appointment date has been provided in a table published by the Migration Directorate. Although it is welcome that applicants do not need to appear at crowded government offices there have been significant tracking issues with postal applications in the past. Specifically, when renewal applications have been made by post previously, the processing time for renewal applications and exit document production has often been increased, and there is an increased incidence of the Migration Directorate losing track of applications.

Maria Lianides Celebi, senior partner, Bener Law Office

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United Kingdom

Government announces quarantine plans for arrivals to the UK

The Government published its COVID-19 recovery strategy for the UK on 11 May, including plans to require most arrivals to the UK by air, rail and sea to self-isolate in their accommodation for 14 days.

No commencement date has yet been announced for the measure.

There will be exemptions from the quarantine requirements, including arrivals from the Common Travel Area (Republic of Ireland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands), along with individuals who need to enter the UK more rapidly due to international obligations, to provide supplies (e.g. lorry drivers delivering goods) or to support national security or critical infrastructure work.

The UK made a joint statement with France on 10 May confirming that any quarantine measures introduced between these countries will be made in a ‘concerted and reciprocal manner’, however no specific agreement between the countries has yet been concluded.

The UK Government has promised to publish further details shortly on how the arrangements will work, as well as a list of exemptions.

 

Once implemented, the arrangements will be reviewed on a regular basis in line with developments relating to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Andrew Osborne, partner, Lewis Silkin

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