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On January 1, 2024, the South Korean government launched a pilot program for digital nomad (or “workation”) visas. The pilot program will allow foreign nationals who work remotely for overseas corporations to live and work in South Korea for up to two years. With the introduction of the pilot program, South Korea joins several other countries – including Spain, Italy, Romania, Iceland, the United Arab Emirates, and Malaysia – in seeking to attract an increasingly mobile class of global talent through digital nomad visas.Continue Reading South Korea Opens Pilot Program for Digital Nomad Visa

As of November 25, 2023, Australia’s Department of Home Affairs is moving forward with key updates to the country’s permanent residency pathway for temporary skilled workers. Under the changes, announced earlier this year, all subclass 482 visa holders are eligible to apply for permanent residency. Previously, subclass 482 visa holders in short-term occupations were unable to seek permanent residency. The changes also allow short-term subclass 482 visa holders to renew their visas indefinitely, and reduce the required employment period before seeking permanent residency from three years to two. The new policies are designed to provide more equitable access to permanent residency in Australia.Continue Reading Australia Implements Changes to Permanent Residency Program

On September 21, 2023, the Indian government suspended the processing of visa applications in Canada. The Indian embassy in Ottawa and consulates in Toronto and Vancouver outsource visa operations to BLS International, a third-party provider of consular support services for diplomatic missions around the globe. According to a message posted on the BLS website

On July 18, 2023, Canada’s newly announced program offering open work permits to holders of U.S. H-1B visas closed after it reached the maximum number of applicants – less than two days after its launch. Under the Canadian government’s “Tech Talent Strategy,” ten thousand open work permits have been made available to foreign nationals who hold H-1B specialty occupation visas from the United States. The program is intended to improve the mobility of high-tech talent in North America by expanding the options for H-1B holders facing long waits for U.S. permanent residency (i.e., green cards). While the popularity of Canada’s program was widely expected, the speed with which the 10,000-permit limit was reached underscores the high demand for labor mobility in North America among employers and employees alike.Continue Reading Canada’s Work Permit Program for U.S. H-1B Visa Holders Maxes Out in 48 Hours, as U.S. Conducts Second H-1B Lottery

On June 27, 2023, the Canadian government announced a new “Tech Talent Strategy” aimed at increasing the country’s attractiveness to global talent. Central to the government’s strategy is a program that offers three-year open work permits to foreign nationals who hold H-1B specialty occupation visas in the United States. Spouses of US H-1B visa holders would also be eligible for work authorization in Canada, and children would be eligible for study permits. The Tech Talent Strategy also includes provisions that promote Canada as a destination for digital nomads, improve the allocation of visas to startup companies, and streamline work permit processes. The open work permit program for H-1B visa holders is set to go into effect on July 16, 2023.Continue Reading Canada Offers Open Work Permits to US H-1B Visa Holders as Part of “Tech Talent Strategy”

Australia’s Department of Home Affairs has announced that all subclass 482 visa holders will be eligible to apply for permanent residency by the end of 2023. Currently, subclass 482 visa holders in short-term occupations are unable to seek permanent residency. The government will also allow short-term subclass 482 visa holders to renew their visas indefinitely, and will reduce the required employment period before seeking permanent residency from three years to two. The new policies are designed to provide more equitable access to permanent residency in Australia.Continue Reading Australia Expands Eligibility for Permanent Residency

Effective July 1, 2023, the Australian government will raise the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) from AUD $53,900 to AUD $70,000. The move is a response to the government’s independent “Review of the Migration System,” which recently recommended actions for updating Australia’s immigration system. Raising the TSMIT will affect eligibility for the Subclass 482 visa – a Temporary Skill Shortage visa designed to allow employers to sponsor a suitably skilled foreign worker to fill a position for which a qualified Australian candidate cannot be found. According to the government announcement, around 90% of full-time jobs in Australia are now paid more than the current TSMIT.Continue Reading Australia Raises Income Threshold for Skilled Migrant Visas

Effective April 1, 2023, South Korea has temporarily exempted travelers from twenty-two countries and regions from the requirement to obtain a Korean Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) before entry. The exemption will be in place through at least December 31, 2024. Among the locations covered by the exemptions are the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan. According to the notice by South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the temporary policy is intended to support the revitalization of the country’s tourism industry, which has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.Continue Reading South Korea Announces Travel Authorization Exemptions

The United Kingdom and India have announced a reciprocal Young Professionals Scheme (YPS) that will allow select nationals of each country to live, work, study, and travel in the other for up to twenty-four months. The visa program is open to Indian nationals between 18 and 30 years of age who hold at least a bachelor’s degree, have at least £2,530 in savings, and do not have any children. UK nationals seeking to travel to India are subject to similar requirements. Indian nationals will be required to enter their names in a ballot (lottery) system, with 2,400 applicants selected per ballot. UK nationals are not subject to a ballot system. The reciprocal program is intended to foster closer economic and cultural ties between the United Kingdom and India by opening binational opportunities to the countries’ young professionals.Continue Reading UK and India Announce Reciprocal Visa Program for Young Professionals

Effective September 1, 2023, the government of Singapore will require companies sponsoring foreign nationals for new Employment Passes (EPs) to verify the individual’s academic credentials. This policy will also apply to renewal applications as of September 1, 2024. Previously, verification of academic credentials was only required at government request and for select countries and institutions. Singapore’s announcement is intended to prevent fraudulent submissions and ensure the authenticity of visa applicants’ qualifications.Continue Reading Singapore Adopts Education Verification Requirement