Global Updates – Brazil, Chile, France, and India

BRAZIL – Relaxation of New Police Clearance Requirement for Certain Residence Applicants

The Brazilian Ministry of Labor has issued a Technical Note stating that current temporary residence holders applying for residence in Brazil are not required to present a legalized and translated police clearance certificates from their country of residence covering the last five years. Instead, these applicants must provide a certificate of criminal record issued by the Brazilian police.

This new policy applies equally to residence applicants whose current residence status was obtained under the previous immigration law, before the five-year police clearance certificate requirement took effect.

Note that this relaxation does not apply to first-time post-arrival residence applicants, holding visitor visas or visa waivers, who are required to submit a five-year police clearance certificate.

Background

New immigration regulations came into effect in December 2017, implementing a new immigration law (13445/2017, published May 25, 2017). The regulations introduced a requirement to present a legalized and translated police clearance certificate from their country of residence covering the last five years for initial residence authorization applications.

Depending on the applicant’s country of residence, it can take several months to obtain a police clearance certificate. Those who file police clearance applications far in advance risk having to obtain a new one, since police clearances must be less than 90 days old at the time of the initial temporary visa or residence application.

Action Items

Companies employing residence holders in Brazil whose residence is due to expire should contact their immigration advisor at McCown & Evans LLP to check whether they need to provide a legalized and translated police clearance certificate from their country of residence covering the last five years.

CHILE – Post-arrival Temporary Residence Visa for Work Purposes to Be Discontinued  

The Chilean Ministry of the Interior has announced that, effective April 23, 2018, it will discontinue the post-arrival temporary visa for work purposes, introduced in 2015.

This change does not affect existing holders of temporary residence visas for work purposes, or those with pending applications, who in both cases will retain the right to request a one-time extension or permanent residence.

Nor does this change affect applicants for temporary residence visas for assignees, Mercosur nationals, or work contract visa applicants.

New Visas on the Horizon

The Chilean Ministry of Interior also announced that a new law will be prepared in the coming months which will introduce, among others, three new temporary work visas before August 1, 2018:

  • Temporary Opportunity Visa – for work or starting a business, issued by consulates, valid for 12 months, extendable once and with an option for permanent residence;
  • Temporary International Orientation Visa – for work or starting a business, for holders of postgraduate degrees from the top 200 universities in the world, issued by consulates, valid for 12 months, extendable once and with an option for permanent residence; and
  • Temporary National Orientation Visa – for work or starting a business, for holders of postgraduate degrees from accredited Chilean universities, issued by consulates, valid for 12 months, extendable once and with an option for permanent residence.

Action Items

Employers of temporary residence visas for work purposes holders, or of those with pending applications, should consult with their immigration advisor at McCown & Evans for specific advice on their situation.

FRANCE – Government Proposes New Immigration Bill

The French Government has introduced a new bill which proposes significant changes to France’s immigration rules.

Below are the key changes which may be of interest to employers:

Pre-approval for employers

A proposed new pre-approval process for sponsoring companies would unlock streamlined work authorization process, with faster processing times and fewer required documents. Further details are not yet available.

Intra-company transfers

  • Cooling-off period – EU ICT permit holders would be required to leave France when their status expires, for a period of at least six months.
  • Work experience – To qualify for the EU ICT Permit, the employee would require a minimum of six months employment with their home country employer, rather than the three months experience required at present.
  • Dependents – The children of a primary applicant’s spouse would qualify for dependent status, rather than only the applicant’s own children, as at present.
  • Upgraded permit for non-EU graduates
  • The current temporary residence authorization (APS) issued to non-EU nationals who have graduated from a French university or school would be upgraded to a full residence permit with the right to travel in the Schengen area, thus allowing graduates increased intra-EU mobility. This would implement the EU Directive on research, studies and training.

Talent Passport

  • The four-year Talent Passport would be expanded to allow companies to qualify as “innovative” sponsors even if they have not obtained the tax status of “young, innovative company” (JEU).
  • Business projects that support the economic development of a French company would also qualify for the Talent Passport.

Accompanying Minors

Under the proposed new law, the two current travel permits for non-EU minors (the DCEM, for those born outside of France, and the TIR, for those born in France) would be unified.

Action Items

Employers in France should note the proposed changes and stay tuned for more details once the law is passed and implemented

INDIA – Various Amendments to the Immigration Regulations

The Ministry of Home Affairs in India has recently made several changes to the immigration regime. The key changes are as follows:

Modified visa cancellation policy

If a foreign national wishes to use a short duration visa (for example, a conference visa, transit visa or e-visa) to India while holding a long-term, consular-issued Indian visa, the latter will no longer be cancelled but will instead be kept on hold for the duration of the short-term visa.

New visa subcategories

The electronic business visa (e-BV) under the electronic visa (e-visa) scheme, has undergone a change to include visitation for business purposes.

The Business visa has introduced several new sub-categories such as:

  • Crew of non-scheduled airlines who operate chartered flights and special flights (B-5);
  • Foreign academicians/experts covered under GIAN (B-6);
  • Foreign nationals who are partners in the business and/or functioning as Directors of a company (B-7);
  • Other miscellaneous categories who are eligible for a business visa and are not covered under any of the subcategories listed under a business visa (B-8); and
  • Foreign nationals who are engaged in commercial sports events in India on contract and receiving a remuneration (including coaches) (B-Sports).

Student Visas

The student visa now includes a new subcategory for students coming to India for theological studies and missionary students.

Permitted activities

Foreign nationals must strictly adhere to and comply with the purpose of their visit declared at the time of submitting the visa application. However, under a recent amendment, all foreign nationals other than Pakistani nationals entering India on any visa type will now be permitted the activities allowed under a Tourist visa.

Visa categories

Generally, as part of the visa application procedure, an applicant must choose the appropriate visa subcategory from a drop-down list in the application form. However, if the applicant’s proposed activities are not covered by the subcategories or they are unsure of the appropriate subcategory, the applicant must apply under the broad category of “visa”. The visa officer will then determine the appropriate subcategory.

Visa conversions

Previously, e-visas could not be converted within India. Now, however, Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) who hold any short-term (e-visa) or long-term Indian visa and who are otherwise entitled to an entry visa, may be able to convert to an entry visa post arrival in India.

Action items

Employers or business travelers who may be affected by these changes are advised to consult their immigration specialist for more information.

INDIA – E-Services Extended Nationally to All FRROs

Effective immediately, India’s Bureau of Immigration (BOI) has rolled out nationally its new e-FRRO system for online visa-related services.

Foreign nationals touring India no longer need to physically visit the office of the Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) or the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) for visa-related services including registration and visa extension, visa conversion and exit permits, which are now available online via the e-FRRO platform.

Since February 2018, the system has been run as a pilot in four FRROs (Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai) and it has now been extended to the remaining eight FRROs (Kolkata, Amritsar, Hyderabad, Cochin, Thiruvananthapuram, Calicut, Lucknow and Ahmedabad). However, it has not yet been implemented at FRO centers such as Gurgaon, Pune and Chandigarh.

Action Items

Foreign nationals requiring visa services from FRROs in India should register for an account here.