Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries in the Asia Pacific region have imposed some of the world’s most stringent restrictions on international travel. As countries around the world have begun to eliminate COVID-related entry requirements on international travelers, the Asia Pacific region has been slower to return to pre-pandemic travel norms. However, that trend has now begun to change, as countries across the region have loosened or dropped their vaccination and testing requirements, quarantine procedures, and health screening protocols. Visa-free travel has also resumed for several countries, representing a significant relaxation of COVID-era restrictions.

Continue Reading Asia Pacific Countries Join Global Trend in Reducing COVID Entry Requirements

By the end of August, there were reports indicating that some Indian consulates and the local registration authorities in India started requiring foreign nationals seeking or holding Employment (E) visas to provide proof that their salaries were being paid or were paid in India. Most recently, it seems like the Indian government reversed this requirement. Although no formal announcement was made either as to the payroll localization requirement or the most recent reversal, the move is a welcome change for global employers, many of which choose to maintain foreign assignees on their home country’s payroll.

Continue Reading India Reverses Payroll Localization Requirement for Employment Visa Holders

Effective October 1, 2022, Singapore will only require certain applicants for work pass renewals to be fully vaccinated. Specifically, only Work Permit and S Pass holders employed in the construction, marine shipyard, or process sectors, or those staying in dormitories, will be required to be fully vaccinated to apply for renewal passes. All applicants for new passes must continue to be fully vaccinated. The announcement from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is expected to ease the renewal process for many MOM pass holders.

Continue Reading Singapore Updates COVID Vaccination Requirements for Work Passes

*This blog was originally posted on September 9, 2022. It has been updated with additional information on September 26, 2022.

Effective September 29, 2022, Taiwan will fully reinstate visa-exempt travel authorization for all previously eligible foreign nationals. The move represents one of Taiwan’s most significant steps toward normalizing international travel procedures and reflects a growing trend toward relaxing entry restrictions tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. While COVID-related entry requirements remain relatively strict in East Asia compared to the rest of the world, countries including Singapore, Japan, and South Korea have begun rolling back obstacles to international travel.  

Continue Reading Taiwan to Fully Restore Visa-Free Entry

On August 24, 2022, Singapore’s Ministry of Health announced a relaxation of the country’s COVID-related entry restrictions for international travelers. Specifically, as of August 29, travelers who are not fully vaccinated are no longer required to complete a seven-day home isolation period after arrival or complete post-arrival PCR testing. Singapore’s announcement is part of a recent rollback of COVID-19 entry requirements by various countries in East Asia, including Japan and South Korea.  

Continue Reading Singapore Relaxes COVID-19 Entry Requirements

As countries around the world have begun to loosen or even eliminate entry requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan has maintained comparatively stringent restrictions on entry by foreign nationals. However, the Japanese government is increasingly easing these restrictions, allowing larger numbers of foreign nationals to enter the country through several different visa pathways. While major restrictions remain in place, foreign nationals seeking to enter Japan now have greater opportunity to do so than at any point in the last two years.

Continue Reading Japan Begins Easing COVID Entry Restrictions for Foreign Nationals

Australia’s Department of Home Affairs (DHA) is experiencing longer-than-usual processing times for key employment-based visa categories, according to data released by the government. Specifically, expanded processing times have been recorded for the Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage visa and the Subclass 400 Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) visa. The expanded processing times come amid recent changes to Australia’s permanent residency pathways and the relaxation of COVID-related restrictions on entry by foreign nationals. 

Continue Reading Expanded Government Processing Times for Australian Visas

Employers are responsible for verifying the identity and employment authorization of newly hired employees. The Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) is critical to any employer’s onboarding process for new hires, but ongoing Form I-9 maintenance is equally important with respect to existing employees who need to renew their work authorization documents with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Some employers have faced challenges in this regard following DHS’s recent announcement of a Temporary Final Rule increasing the automatic extension period for employment authorization for certain individuals from 180 to 540 days. The rule was intended to provide additional security to both employees and employers while their renewal applications are being adjudicated by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). However, the rule also raises significant considerations for employers seeking to maintain proper Form I-9 compliance and avoid liability for past errors.

Continue Reading Critical Form I-9 Compliance Risks as DHS Changes Work Authorization Rules

Effective June 1, 2022, the Italian government has lifted all COVID-related entry requirements for international travelers. Under the new rules, travelers are no longer required to conduct pre- or post-arrival testing, complete pre-departure registration, or demonstrate proof of vaccination. The elimination of COVID-related entry requirements makes Italy part of a growing number of countries that have loosened or eliminated COVID-related entry requirements on international travelers, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, and Sweden.

Continue Reading Italy Eliminates All COVID-Related Entry Requirements

Effective May 23, 2022, South Korea has loosened its pre-arrival COVID-19 testing requirements for foreign nationals. Specifically, foreign nationals seeking to enter the country can now present either a negative PCR test or a supervised rapid antigen test (RAT). Previously, only PCR tests were accepted. The RAT must be conducted by a health care provider such as a hospital or clinic; at-home RATs are not accepted. South Korea’s move represents another incremental relaxation of the country’s COVID-19 entry requirements and follows the easing of quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travelers in April.

Continue Reading South Korea Updates COVID-19 Entry Requirements