On December 8, 2022, the Council of the European Union voted unanimously to accept Croatia’s bid for admission to the Schengen Area. The decision means that as of January 1, 2023, all internal land and sea border controls between Croatia and neighboring Schengen states will be lifted. Checks at internal air borders will be lifted starting March 26, 2023. Croatia will also begin issuing Schengen visas beginning January 1, 2023, and will make full use of the Schengen Information System. Croatia’s addition to the Schengen Area is one of a series of recent developments in the country’s increasing integration with the European and international communities. These developments include Croatia’s adoption of the euro, addition to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, and grant of free movement in Switzerland.

Continue Reading Schengen Area Adds Croatia to Free Movement Zone

The European Commission has announced the creation of an automated electronic visa waiver program, the European Travel Information Authorization System (ETIAS), to be launched in May 2023. The new visa waiver program is intended to facilitate travel across borders while better identifying security risks for the bloc. ETIAS is one of several recent updates to the European Union’s migration scheme, including the digitalization of Schengen visas.

Continue Reading EU Announces Long-Awaited Electronic Visa Waiver Program

The conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of infrastructure. Since the Ukraine-Russia military crisis escalated two months ago, over 5.2 million Ukrainians have left their homeland as they seek safety and protection in neighboring countries and abroad.

With no visible end in sight to the military operation, the United States government has announced a new, first-of-its-kind humanitarian parole program called “Uniting for Ukraine (U4U).”

Continue Reading Landmark US Humanitarian Parole Program: “Uniting For Ukraine”

Over the past two months, approximately 5 million Ukrainians have departed their homeland due to the escalating military conflict with Russia. Poland has received the majority of these individuals—taking in more than 2.8 million people according to the latest estimate from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Provisions to Welcome Ukrainians
To support the country’s humanitarian response, the Polish government adopted a series of amendments to the country’s immigration laws, including changes directly related to the influx of Ukrainians. The changes are expected to provide increased flexibility for Ukrainian nationals in terms of residence permits, work authorization and access to public benefits. In addition, the Polish government set up a dedicated website for Ukrainian citizens that provides detailed help on a range of issues—from how to obtain a national identification number (known as a PESEL), access support services such as legal aid and medical care, and obtain a three-year temporary residence permit to how to navigate traffic rules, participate in cultural activities, and change the language of the keyboard on a smartphone.

Continue Reading Poland Expands Support for Ukrainians

With the regular changes to the UK Right to Work (“RTW”) checks over the last year or so, employers may be forgiven for having lost track of what the latest requirements are.

As mentioned in our last blog on RTW checks (You’re Joking – Not Another One! Further Changes to the Right to Work

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK Government has published details of how it is assisting Ukrainian nationals who find themselves in challenging UK immigration scenarios.

We set out below a summary of the current guidance which we will look to update on a regular basis.  The full guidance can be found here:

Support for

The UK Government has announced the immediate closure of the Investor UK immigration route to new applicants.

This was the route that allowed individuals who had GBP£2 million available to invest in active and trading UK companies to come to the UK to live, work and / or study.  This route was particularly attractive to high net worth individuals as it was the only immigration route which allowed individuals to live in the UK on a self-sufficient basis.  In addition, it enabled them to bring their dependent family members to the UK, who were also permitted to live, work and / or study in the UK.  Furthermore, it was a route which led to indefinite leave to remain in the UK (also known as permanent residence or settlement) which, depending on the amount that the individual invested in the UK, could be achieved after spending five, three or two years in the UK under this category.

Continue Reading Closure of the UK Investor Category

The official 30 June deadline to submit an initial application under the EU Settlement Scheme (“EUSS”) has now passed.  There were a flurry of last minute applications and reports of people being unable to submit their applications due to technical difficulties caused by the number of people logging onto the on-line form.  There is a significant backlog of applications and some applications have yet to arrive with the Home Office as they had to be submitted by post.  Fortunately, whilst an application is pending, an applicant continues to have the right to live and work in the UK.

Whilst the deadline for applications has come and gone, there may still be hope for some who may not have managed to submit an application in time.

Continue Reading Closure Of The EU Settlement Scheme – Not Quite The End . . . Yet