Global Updates – Cyprus, India, Malaysia, and Mexico
CYPRUS – New Intra-Corporate Transfer Permit Implemented
Effective immediately, Cyprus has implemented a new intra-corporate transferee (ICT) permit.
The new permit, in line with the European Union (EU) ICT Directive, facilitates intra-EU mobility, and doesn’t have the strict employer eligibility criteria which characterizes the existing intra-corporate transfer route (the work and residence permit for international companies).
The Ministry of the Interior signed an Order in October 2017, implementing the new ICT permit in accordance with the Alien and Migration (Amendment) (Ref. 2) Law of 2017, which entered into force on 17 February 2017, and in which Directive 2014/66/EU was transposed into Cypriot law.
Eligibility and Validity
The new ICT permit is available to third-country nationals transferring to work in Cyprus within the same group of companies, as managers, specialists or trainees. Managers and specialists must have worked for their sending company for at least twelve (12) months; trainees for at least six (6) months.
The combined work/residence permits are issued with a validity of up to three (3) years for managers and specialists, and up to one (1) year for trainees.
A holder of an ICT permit issued in Cyprus will be able to work in another EU member state for a company of the same group, for stays of up to 90 days in a 180-day period, without a separate work permit, although the host country may require a notification. For stays of more than 90 days, a “mobile ICT permit” for that country may be required.
A holder of an EU ICT permit issued in another EU member state can work at a company of the same group in Cyprus for up to 90 days without obtaining a separate permit, although their employer must notify the Cypriot authorities of the assignment. For assignments of more than 90 days in Cyprus, a holder of an EU ICT permit issued in another EU member state must apply for a long-term mobility permit.
Employers intending to transfer third-country nationals to Cyprus from outside the EU within the same group of companies should consult with their immigration advisor at McCown & Evans to confirm the latest details of the new ICT permit.
INDIA – Reminder: Deadline Approaching for Conversion of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) to Overseas Citizens of India (OCI)
Indian consulates and embassies around the world are urging holders of Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cards to convert them to Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cards before the 31 December 2017 deadline.
Please note that, from October 2018, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will only accept machine-readable travel documents. The existing PIO cards are hand written and will, therefore, become invalid travel documents.
- An ordinance of 6 January 2015, amending the Indian Citizenship Act, unified the two schemes and, on 9 January 2015, the immediate withdrawal of the PIO scheme was announced.
- The deadline for the conversion of PIO to OCI has been extended several times since January 2015.
- The OCI is valid for the holder’s lifetime and is accompanied by a lifelong multiple-entry visa to India, with no requirement to report to the FRRO, regardless of length of stay.
Applicants should submit their ‘PIO in lieu of OCI’ applications at their local Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in India or at the overseas mission or consulate of jurisdiction. PIO card holders can continue to use their valid PIO cards until converted.
MALAYSIA – MDEC Announces Changes to Employment Pass Application Process
Effective 15 November 2017, the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has introduced reduced and more consistent processing times for employment passes, a new online application portal and new service fees, paid online in advance of application submission.
New Processing Times
- MDEC is now guaranteeing faster government processing times for Employment Pass applications.
- MDEC will remain as the main focal point for all application matters and will liaise directly with the Immigration Department of Malaysia (IDM) on the endorsement of passes.
- The new, improved process includes approval from MDEC and IDM within a service level agreement (SLA) of seven (7) working days from date of submission. Endorsement of passes by IDM is expected to be completed within an SLA of two (2) working days from date of submission.
- New processing timelines apply to new and renewal applications only. Applications involving transition of employers are expected to take longer due to additional requirements.
- Timelines are subject to submission of complete information/documents to support application processing. For returned cases, the above SLA will apply once complete information is provided to MDEC.
Moving forward, MDEC will no longer accept payment via bank-draft, banker’s check or cashier order. Since 15 November 2017, payment to MDEC inclusive of immigration fee must be made through online payment facilities such as online bank transfers, credit cards or debit cards.
- MDEC has increased fees relating for all Employment Pass applications, Dependent Pass / Social Visit Pass applications, and Amendment of Approval Letter filings.
- The payment of service fees to MDEC must be made ”prior to Stage 1 submission” while the immigration fee must be paid to MDEC during submission of passports for endorsement procedures (Stage 2).
- Payments are non-refundable.
New Online Portal
MDEC is expecting to roll out an enhanced version of their “eXpat” online portal which will cater to both MSC and ICT status companies. The new portal has been available for use since15 November 2017.
MDEC transitioned to the enhanced version of the eXpat portal on 15 November 2017. MDEC has established the following cut-off dates allowing companies to plan and complete processing of ongoing cases using the current system. Failure to comply with these cut-off dates will lead to automatic annulment of ongoing cases, thus forcing companies to resubmit fresh applications through the new system thereafter.
Stage 2 (Endorsement)
- For stage 1 approvals issued before 15 November 2017, companies are allowed a grace period until 29 December 2017 using the current eXpat system to complete endorsement procedures (Stage 2). Under the current eXpat system, the processing timeline and MDEC fee will remain unchanged. Delays in completing Stage 2 by 29 December 2017 will lead to automatic cancellation of Stage 1 approval and the company will be required to reapply using the new eXpat system.
- For KIV applications (Stage 2), companies must revert to their designated MDEC client manager before 29 December 2017. Failure to meet the deadline will result in automatic cancellation of pending Stage 2 applications.
- Companies may wish to use the new eXpat system from 1 January 2018 onwards, based on the revised guidelines stated above.
Malaysia Digital Economy Sdn Bhd (MDEC) processes Employment Passes for Information Communication Technology (ICT) companies and companies registered for Multimedia Super Corridor Malaysia (MSC Malaysia) status. The Expatriate Services Division (ESD) of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) is another agency which issue Employment Passes for foreign nationals in Malaysia.
Information Communication Technology (ICT) companies and companies registered for Multimedia Super Corridor Malaysia (MSC Malaysia) status in Malaysia should work closely with their immigration supplier to manage pending and upcoming employment pass applications.
MEXICO – Reminder: Failure to Report Change of Address May Lead to Financial Penalty
Employers of foreign nationals in Mexico are reminded that all foreign residents in Mexico must notify the Mexican National Immigration Institute (INM) of their personal address within 90 days of any change of address due to the recent earthquakes in Mexico, or for any other reason.
Failure to comply with this obligation may subject the foreign resident to the payment of a fine.
Employers should ensure their employees notify the INM of any change of address within 90 days to avoid financial sanctions.