Please note: while we address some country-specific updates related to the COVID-19 outbreak, the below contains information regarding global restrictions and closures as they stand today. Given the constantly changing nature of this situation, we highly recommend reviewing any global mobility inquiries on a case-by-case basis, including any consulate-specific or immigration authority resources, in "real-time" before traveling internationally. Please reach out to our Global Mobility Team in advance of any international travel.
China - Exemptions for Official M Visa Invitation Letters Available for Some Nationalities
The Chinese authorities have recently announced that holders of valid residence permits who are nationals of certain countries are now able to apply for a visitor visa at a Chinese embassy or consulate in these countries without an official letter of invitation (LOI or "PU Letter"). This new policy is an additional avenue for exemptions to current restrictions, which prevent residence permit holders from entering China. The restrictions requiring residence card holders to obtain a new M visitor visa in order to travel remains in place, though the process to apply for the M visa is simplified with the elimination of the official invitation letter in some cases. However, the implementation of this new policy currently varies depending on the location and should be confirmed before a visa application is filed.
The new policy applies to residence permit holders who are citizens of the following countries:
Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
EU - Updated Travel Restrictions and Recommendations
The EU commission continues to evaluate and monitor the COVID-19 case numbers worldwide to make recommendations to member states regarding entry requirements and travel restrictions. The most recent list of third countries from which travel to the EU is permitted was updated on August 8, 2020. Additional third countries have been added to the list of permitted travelers, including South Korea and Japan. Some EU member states and Schengen area countries have also implemented regulations requiring negative COVID-19 tests as part of entry requirements for third country nationals. Please see the EU Commission's official website for a complete list and updated information.
Israel - Elimination of Quarantine Requirement for "Green Locations"
Travelers arriving from jurisdictions classified by the Israeli government as "Green Locations" are no longer required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Israel. The quarantine requirements are still in place for travelers entering from countries considered "Red Locations" unless an exemption is obtained in advance of travel. The classification is based on the number of COVID-19 cases and infection rates. Data is monitored continuously, and the Green and Red Location lists are updated on an ongoing basis. Please see the Israeli government's dedicated COVID-19 website for an up-to-date list.
Poland - Changes in Employer Requirements for Posted Workers
A new act by the Polish government (the Act Amending the Act on Posting Workers in the Framework of providing Services and Certain Other Acts) will take effect on September 4, 2020. The Act introduces a number of changes relating to EU workers posted to the Republic of Poland. Among these changes is the distinction of the terms and conditions that must be guaranteed to a worker depending on the period of posting. Where the duration of a posting is shorter than 12 months, the employer must guarantee their posted workers a specified set of terms and conditions of employment as set forth in the Act.
This is also applicable if the posting period is extended up to 18 months, but only on the condition that a substantiated notification is submitted to the Labour Inspectorate (PIP). The notification should be sent to PIP no later than the last day of the 12-month period of posting. In this case, the employer is obligated to provide a posted worker all the terms and conditions of employment, which are required by the applicable laws or internal company regulations and to which workers employed in the territory of Poland are entitled. The Act also introduces changes to the setting of remuneration for a posted worker, mandating that all the mandatory elements of remuneration required by the Labor Code and other laws regulating the rights and duties of employees be met.
Singapore - Work Pass Requirement Changes and Updated Entry Procedures
The Singapore government is continuing to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on various industries and businesses to assess changes in the job market. Based on the weakened job market, the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will update EP and S Pass criteria to accommodate changing conditions and economic need. The changes will be designed to support the extension of the Jobs Support Scheme, as well as the introduction of the Jobs Growth Incentive program announced earlier this year.
As of September 1, 2020, the minimum qualifying salary amount for work pass holders will be raised to $4,500 for new applications. From December 1, 2020, the minimum qualifying salary for Employment Pass candidates in the financial services sector will be raised to $5,000 for new applications. The qualifying salaries for older and more experienced candidates in their (age 40 and older) will be raised correspondingly and will remain around double the minimum qualifying salary for the youngest applicants. The new salary criteria will apply to renewal applications starting May 1, 2021.
Current restrictions require that all foreign nationals holding Singapore permits (passes) must obtain entry approvals from the relevant government agencies to enter Singapore. Entry permission may be requested up to 30 days before departure. Upon entry, they are required to serve Stay-Home Notice (SHN) or self-quarantine. The amount of time they must remain self-isolated depends on their travel history and country from which they arrived. Experience shows that it is difficult to obtain such entry approvals, as numbers are limited. More information regarding quarantine and entry requirements may be found on the MOM's website.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.