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Swiss Quotas for 2015 Work Permits Announced
The Swiss government has announced the quotas for highly qualified workers from non-European Union/European Free Trade Agreement (EU/EFTA) countries, as well as for assignees from those countries. The Swiss Federal Council has adopted a partial amendment of the Ordinance on Admission, Stay and Employment, which will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2015. As a result, the quotas announced are lower than those for 2014 (although note that quotas for 2014 have not yet been met).
Which Work Permits Are Affected?
The quotas are imposed on a national, rather than per-company, basis, on B permits, which are long-term residence permits, valid for up to five years, and renewable.
Once the B permit quotas are reached, applicants are issued with L permits instead—valid for up to 12 months and convertible into a B permit after two years.
2015 Quotas for Non-EU/EFTA Nationals
In 2015 companies in Switzerland can recruit foreign national specialists from non-EU/EFTA countries or Croatia (which is considered as non-EU for the purposes of immigration into Switzerland) up to the following national quotas:
This means that the government has decided to reduce the amount of work permits by 1,000 for each of the above categories compared to last year.
As in previous years, half of the quota will be allocated to the cantons, with the other half kept as a federal reserve.
2015 Quotas for EU/EFTA National Assignees
The quotas for assignees from EU/EFTA countries to Switzerland for more than 90 days and for more than 120 days have also been reduced compared to last year:
These quotas will be allocated to the cantons on a quarterly basis, as before.
Although 2014 quotas have not been met, it is possible that 2015 quotas will be. Plan to submit work permit applications in good time to avoid issues.
Business Meetings May Be Included Under India’s New Online Tourist Visa System
The Indian government launched its new online tourist visa system for nationals of 43 countries on Nov. 27, 2014.
The eligible countries list includes Australia, Brazil, Germany, Japan, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. Note that the United Kingdom is not included in the list.
The new system is expected to facilitate visa processing and increase tourism to India, and is likely to be rolled out to more countries soon.
The visa is available to those traveling on leisure, for short duration medical treatment, for a “casual business visit” or to meet friends and relatives. Travelers must show proof of onward travel and sufficient funds.
The definition of “casual business visit” is not clear but could realistically be interpreted as meaning business meetings of a short duration. If there is any uncertainty over whether the activities to be carried out qualify as a business visit or not (i.e., if any activities verge on “working” in India), it is unlikely that this visa would be appropriate.
How Does It Work?
The visa applicant must apply online, at least four days before the intended date of arrival to India, for a Tourist Visa on Arrival. The visa fee (about U.S. $60) should be paid at this time. A digital photograph and copy of the passport information page must be uploaded as part of the application.
The applicant should receive an electronic travel authorization within 72 hours, which they must carry at the time of travel. On arrival to India, biometric data will be taken at the port of entry.
The visa is valid for 30 days from the date of arrival in India, is nonextendable, nonconvertible and allowed for a maximum of two visits in a calendar year.
Salary Requirement Deadline Imminent for Non-Sponsored Workers in Singapore
Personal Employment Pass (PEP) holders who obtained their PEP before Dec. 1, 2012, must meet the higher minimum salary requirement introduced on that date by Dec. 31, 2014.
In 2012, the Singapore Ministry of Manpower announced significant changes to the Personal Employment Pass route for highly skilled foreign workers, effective Dec. 1, 2012. The PEP is not employer sponsored, and allows the holder to work for any employer, with permission for the holder to remain in Singapore for up to six months between jobs to evaluate new employment opportunities.
The changes introduced in 2012 included a huge increase in the minimum annual fixed salary requirement for new PEP applicants, from SGD 34,000 to SGD 144,000. Existing PEP holders were given a deadline of Dec. 31, 2014, to meet the new minimum salary requirement.
Those whose PEPs expire between Jan. 1, 2015 and June 30, 2015, are permitted to remain in Singapore until expiration of their PEPs without being required to meet the new salary criterion.
2015 Minimum Salary Increases for Type B Work Permits in Belgium
The Belgian government has announced an increase in the minimum salary requirement for Type B work permits and Blue Cards from Jan. 1, 2015.
In addition, the Belgian region of Wallonia has adopted legislation confirming that discretionary bonuses cannot be taken into account when processing a work permit application.
Minimum Salary Thresholds
The minimum annual salary for highly skilled foreign nationals applying for Type B work permits will increase to €39,802EUR, from €39,422EUR.
The minimum annual salary for senior management and executive-level foreign nationals applying for Type B work permits will increase to €66,405EUR from €65,771EUR.
The minimum annual salary for Blue Card applicants will increase to €51,466EUR (depending on the region of Belgium) from €50,974EUR.
The Belgian government annually increases its minimum salary requirements for foreign nationals in line with inflation.
Daniel King is communications director for
Peregrine Immigration Management, which provides global immigration management software, training, project work and consulting services.
Republished with permission. © 2014 Peregrine. All rights reserved.
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