September 6, 2022
This week, Smith Stone Walters’ Global Immigration Team would like to highlight the following news from Australia, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and South Korea.
Australia: Post-graduate employment law for selected majors
The Minister for Education has announced that international students who have graduated from Australian universities in subjects with a shortage of skilled workers will be allowed to work in Australia for an additional two years.
Post-graduate employment rights for selected degrees in areas with proven skill shortages are increased by:
- Two years to four years for selected bachelor’s degrees
- Three years to five years for selected master’s degrees
- Four years to six years for selected PhDs.
Germany: Financial requirements for the student visa
Effective January 1, 2023, the amount of money that student visa applicants must deposit into a blocked account will increase by 8.5% from EUR 10,332 to EUR 11,208.
Applicants for a new or extended student visa must prove their financial means by opening a blocked bank account in their home country. The amount deposited in this account will be blocked in the bank until the student arrives in Germany, after which he can withdraw up to EUR 861 monthly (EUR 934 monthly from January 1, 2023).
Saudi Arabia: Changes to tourist visas
The Saudi government has announced that residents of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are now allowed to apply for a tourism e-Visa, while permanent residents of the United Kingdom, United States and European Union can now obtain a 12-month tourism visa upon arrival.
Holders of a valid tourist or business visa issued by the UK, US or EU (which has been used at least once to enter the visa issuing country) can still apply for a visa on arrival in Saudi Arabia.
The tourism e-Visa is a one-year, multiple-entry visa that allows tourists to stay in the country for up to 90 days. It was already available to visitors from the following countries:
- North America: Canada, United States.
- Europe: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro , Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom.
- Asia: Brunei, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea.
- Oceania: Australia, New Zealand.
Singapore: Changes to the Work Pass Framework
The government has announced changes to the Work Pass framework aimed at better attracting top talent and experienced tech professionals in areas with skills shortages.
Effective January 1, 2023, a new Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass will be introduced. There will be a few ways to apply for it. Applicants must be earning a fixed monthly salary of $30,000 and above, comparable to the top 5% of Employment Passport (EP) holders. Individuals with outstanding achievements in the fields of arts and culture, sports, science and technology, and research and teaching may qualify even though they may not meet the salary criterion. The pass will be a personalized 5-year work pass, allowing holders to simultaneously incorporate, operate and work in multiple businesses in Singapore. Your spouses can work on a consent form. Pass holders are not subject to the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) and forthcoming Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) job posting requirements. Card holders are asked to provide MOM with yearly updates on their professional activities to ensure they are using the flexibilities granted to make a meaningful contribution.
Effective September 1, 2021, the government will introduce a new benchmark tied to the top 10% of EP holders. EP applicants of this quality remain exempt from the FCF job posting requirement and the upcoming points-based Complementary Assessment Framework (COMPASS). You are still eligible for the Personalized Employment Passport (PEP). This benchmark will provide more clarity and transparency regarding MOM’s work pass framework for talent. To align with this single benchmark, the exemption limit for FCF job posting requirements and COMPASS will be increased from $20,000 to $22,500. The salary criterion for the PEP will also be raised to $22,500. These thresholds are reviewed annually against the benchmark, taking into account prevailing economic conditions.
For all Employment Pass applications:
- The Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) job posting period will be reduced to 14 days from September 1, 2022. The FCF job posting period was increased to 28 days in October 2020 amid a weak labor market to give job seekers more time to respond to job offers, but the labor market has since recovered strongly.
- From now on, all EP applications will be processed or given an update to employers within 10 working days instead of three weeks.
- Experienced professionals filling certain technical positions on the COMPASS Shortage Occupation List are offered the option of a 5-year EP. Compared to the typical passport duration of 2 to 3 years, a longer passport duration gives both experienced tech professionals and companies more certainty in their workforce planning.
South Korea: Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA).
Effective September 1, 2022, nationals of all 112 visa-waiver countries and regions, including Jeju Island, are required to obtain a Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA).
- Eight countries are currently suspended from K-ETA: Japan, Kiribati, Macau, Micronesia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Taiwan and Tonga.
- Travelers should apply via the K-ETA app or website at least two weeks before departure. The fee is KRW 10,000 and the K-ETA is valid for two years. K-ETA holders are exempt from presenting an arrival card.
- Nationals of visa-requiring countries do not need to apply for a K-ETA.
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