Global Updates – Italy, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom
ITALY – 2018 Quota Decree Published
The Italian government has announced a cap of 30,850 on the number of workers from outside the EEA allowed in Italy for 2018. The total number of quotas is the same as for 2017, and the number per category of workers is only slightly different.
- More than half the quotas are reserved to entries for seasonal work (18,000 – up from 17,000 in 2017).
- Most of the remaining quotas are reserved for permit conversion (9850 – down from 10,850 in 2017) to allow foreign nationals already in possession of a residence permit in Italy or the EU to change status, i.e., to convert this into a permit for employment or self-employment.
- The remaining quotas are for self-employed work (2400) and special categories (600) of foreign nationals (such as South American nationals with Italian ancestors or individuals who have completed specific training in their country of residence).
Immigration for work purposes in Italy is based on a quota-system which is fixed annually by means of a Decree – the so-called “Decreto Flussi”.
The decree sets the numerical limits for each category of foreign national allowed to apply for a work permit and the period during which applications can be submitted. Permits are normally granted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Several categories of workers are excluded from the cap and are not subject to a fixed limit, such as intra-corporate transferees, highly skilled, executives or managerial employees assigned to the Italian branch of a foreign legal entity, university lecturers and professors, translators and interpreters and professional nurses.
Application forms for permit conversion, permits reserved for special categories of foreign national, and seasonal work permit application forms are all now available at a dedicated website.
Application forms must be submitted by 31 December 2018.
Employers should evaluate their need for work permits for non-EU nationals, especially if intending to hire foreign nationals holding a study, internship or vocational training residence permit, or permanent residents of an EU country. Please contact your immigration advisor at McCown & Evans LLP for further guidance.
SINGAPORE – Minimum Salary Thresholds for Dependent Privileges Increased 1 January
Effective 1 January 2018, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has increased the minimum salary threshold required for foreign nationals to sponsor their family members for Dependent Passes (DPs) and Long-Term Visit Passes (LTVPs).
Since January, Employment Pass and S Pass holders need to earn the following minimum fixed monthly salaries to sponsor family members:
- SGD 6000 to obtain DPs for spouses and unmarried dependent children under 21 years of age.
- SGD 6000 to obtain LTVPs for common-law spouses, unmarried stepchildren under 21 years of age, and unmarried children 21 years of age and older, under certain circumstances.
- SGD 12,000 to obtain LTVPs for parents.
Foreign Employment Pass and S Pass holders seeking Dependent Passes and Long-Term Visits Passes for family members should take note of the increased thresholds and ensure that current monthly salaries meet the new minimums to qualify for DPs and LTVPs. For further details, please contact your immigration advisor at McCown & Evans LLP.
TAIWAN – Upcoming New Foreign Recruitment Law Relaxed Rules, Adds Benefits
The Act Governing Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals will come into effect on 8 February 2018, introducing various benefits for foreign nationals working in Taiwan, and for their employers.
The Act introduces three (3) categories of foreign workers, with different qualifying criteria and benefits: Foreign professional, foreign special professional and foreign senior professional. Many of the changes also affect dependent family members.
- Foreign professionals who have been approved for permanent residence (APRC) will be able to participate in a retirement pension scheme, a portion of which will be paid for by their employer.
- The current 183-days per year minimum duration of stay for Alien Permanent Residence Card (APRC) holders to maintain their permanent residence will be cancelled.
- Foreign professionals will be able to apply for a multiple-entry “employment-seeking visa”, valid for a stay of six (6) months.
Foreign Special Professional:
- A foreign special professional must possess special expertise required by Taiwan, as specified by the relevant authorities.
- Foreign special professionals in Taiwan will be able to extend their work permit and Alien Residence Card (ARC) for stays of up to five (5) years in total (compared to the current maximum of three (3) years).
- Foreign special professionals will be able to apply for a four-in-one “gold card”, valid for between one (1) and three (3) years, that incorporates a work visa that allows them to transition between jobs without legal restrictions, a resident visa, an Alien Resident Certificate and a re-entry permit. Foreign professionals are to be allowed to apply for the card on their own without the approval of their employer.
- A tax deduction rate of 50 percent of annual income is to apply to a foreign special professional whose annual salary is TWD 3 million (approximately USD 103,000) or more for three (3) consecutive years.
- Family visit visas for lineal ascendants of foreign special professionals will be valid for up to one (1) year, rather than the maximum of six (6) months currently set for family visit visas.
Foreign Senior Professional:
- A foreign senior professional applying for work in Taiwan should have distinctive talent in scientific and technological R&D or managerial work at a special technology centre or scientific and technological institute; possess unique capabilities in science, research, industry, commerce or teaching or have been conferred top awards at prestigious international competitions.
- The dependents of a foreign senior professional will be able to apply for permanent residence (APRC) together with the principal applicant, in the same application (i.e. without fulfilling the standard requirement to have resided in Taiwan for five consecutive years, for at least 183 days per year).
Dependent Family Members:
- A foreign professional’s dependent spouse and minor children who are ARC holders will be able to enroll faster in the National Health Insurance System. Currently, enrolment is only allowed after six (6) months of residence.
- The permanent residency criteria for dependents of foreign professionals with permanent residence (APRC) has been relaxed, so that dependents no longer need to produce proof of assets.
- Adult children of foreign professionals can apply for a work permit without going through an employer.
Foreign national professionals in Taiwan, and their employers, should consult their immigration advisor at McCown & Evans LLP to ascertain how these changes may affect them.
UNITED KINGDOM – Tier 2 (General) Oversubscribed for Second Time
The number of Tier 2 (General) Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCoS) available for January 2018 was exceeded by demand for the second consecutive month.
- The total number of RCoS available to employers in January 2018 stood at 1651, after 91 RCoS were borrowed by the December 2017 allocation.
- RCoS applications submitted in January were rejected where the applicant’s salary was less than £50k, other than those employed in PhD-level or shortage occupations or recruited via a milk round exercise for recent graduates.
- RCoS applications that were rejected last month may be resubmitted in February, provided that the advertising carried out by their prospective employer remains valid.
How does it work?
- Under the Tier 2 scheme, there is an annual allocation of 20,700 restricted certificates of sponsorship (RCoS), divided into monthly allocations.
- The monthly allocations are higher earlier in the year (from April) to ensure that there are enough RCoS available when demand is high in the summer.
- If allocations are under-subscribed in any month, the surplus is carried over to the next month.
- However, if demand outstrips supply, a points threshold is triggered. Each application is awarded points based on salary and occupation.
- Jobs at PhD level and those listed as shortage occupations are awarded a higher score.
- We anticipate that February RCoS quota will once again be oversubscribed.
Affected employers in the United Kingdom should be prepared for the possibility of a qualifying application for a Certificate of Sponsorship under Tier 2 General not being granted on first request, and are advised to consult with their immigration advisor at McCown & Evans LLP.