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.

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As of July 2022, Costa Rica officially opened the application process for the country’s new remote worker visa under the immigration category “Stay (Estancia) for Remote Workers and Service Providers.” Like many countries, Costa Rica suffered a hit to its tourism sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. The country created the digital nomad visa in an effort to attract long-term visitors and stimulate the local economy. The law enabling the new visa category was signed in August 2021, but administrative and logistical requirements have delayed implementation until now.

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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. 

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On April 27, 2022, the European Commission – the executive arm of the European Union – proposed the digitalization of the Schengen visa process. If implemented, the proposal would enable an online visa application platform and replace visa stickers in passports with a secure electronic status. Applicants may still need to visit consular posts to submit biometric data, such as fingerprints. Under the Commission’s proposal, Schengen Area member countries would have five years from the date of implementation to switch to the digitalized visa platform.

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On April 22, 2022, the Irish government announced an expansion of the eligibility criteria for the country’s multiple entry short stay visas. The changes mean that foreign nationals from all visa-required countries will now be eligible to apply for a five-year, multiple entry short stay visa.  The government’s announcement is intended to ease administrative burdens and facilitate multiple short-stay trips by visa-required nationals as the country emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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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

Effective January 17, 2022, the Romanian government has begun implementing a new “Digital Nomad” visa designed to allow foreign nationals to enter the country for work purposes without first being sponsored by a local employer. The new visa is expected to provide increased flexibility to remote workers while also helping to attract human and financial capital during a time of critical labor shortages. Romania’s introduction of the Digital Nomad visa follows the launch of remote work visas in countries such as Iceland and the United Arab Emirates.

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On December 23, 2021, the Department of State announced that consular officers are now authorized to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain temporary work visa applicants who have petitions approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  This authorization will expire on December 31, 2022.  Interviews may be waived for temporary workers applying for the following visa types:  H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q.  As the authorization requires a USCIS-approved petition, it does not appear to apply to individual visa applications submitted pursuant to approved “L” blankets.  In order to qualify, an applicant must meet the following requirements:

Continue Reading State Department Will Waive Interviews for Many Temporary Work Visa Applicants

The United Arab Emirates’ (“UAE”) most recent five-year multiple entry visa was launched by the Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (“GDRFA“) on November 22, 2021 aiming to create flexibility for professionals, especially the employees of multinational companies.  The new visa scheme allows foreign employees to visit their employer in the UAE