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.
Australia - Travel Restrictions Extended
The Australian Border Force announced that travel restrictions impacting all travelers (with the exemption of Australian citizens, permanent residents, and their immediate family members) are extended until December 17, 2020. Daily entry numbers are limited and only a few Australian airports are authorized to accept international arrivals, which impacts even citizens and permanent residents ability to enter the country. Further, all international travelers are subject to quarantine requirements upon arrival. There are exemptions available for visa holders who meet certain criteria, including those who qualify based on critical skills valuable to the Australian government and/or economy. More information is available on the Australian Department of Home Affairs website.
China - Travel Restrictions Lift for Work and Residence Permit Holders
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently confirmed that foreign nationals holding valid Chinese residence permits for employment, personal matters, and family reunification are allowed to enter China without first obtaining new visas. These new guidelines are effective on September 28, 2020. If residence permits have expired after March 28, 2020, the holders may apply for relevant visas by presenting the expired residence permits and materials to the Chinese embassies or consulates on the condition that the purpose of the holders' travel to China remains unchanged. Such visa applications will not require an official invitation letter, which was needed under previous regulations.
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.
Japan - Entry Restrictions Eased
As of October 1, 2020 Japan work visa holders may enter the country under the following circumstances:
- If they have a host company or organization in Japan that can guarantee that the quarantine requirements will be met and;
- If a negative result of COVID-19 conducted within 72 hours prior to departure is available.
The necessary quarantine measures remain the same as August 28, and can be found at http://www.moj.go.jp/content/001327575.pdf [moj.go.jp].
The Japanese Ministry of Justice will soon announce details regarding the entry procedure.
Russia - Updated Entry and Travel Exemptions
As of September 12, 2020, all travelers who meet the following criteria are permitted to enter Russia:
- Crew on sea and river vessels staying in Russian ports;
- Quality control specialists for equipment produced by Russian companies and supplied according to the contracts, signed for atomic energy facilities situated abroad as well as according to the international agreements, provided such persons are listed on special requests from State Corporation Rosatom to the Federal Security Service and the Internal Affairs Ministry;
- Certification providers for new aircrafts and technical support for companies using aircrafts produced in Russia, provided such persons are listed on special requests sent from the Ministry of Trade and Industry to the Federal Security Service and the Internal Affairs Ministry;
An updated list of countries from which travel to Russia is permitted is now available, please see the Embassy website for the most up to date information (here).
United Kingdom - Update regarding EU Citizens' Right to Work and Settlement Scheme
The right of free movement for EU citizens in the UK will end on December 31, 2020. However, the new right to work check process for EU citizens will be implemented as of June 2021, requiring employers to perform new checks for employees after that point. The new procedure is not available as of yet, and at this stage the Government guidelines advise employers to keep a copy of EU employees' passports on file, even if they begin work with the company after December 31, 2020.
EU citizens who are resident in the U.K. before January 1, 2021 are required to submit applications for the Settlement Scheme prior to June 30, 2021 in order to comply with new immigration regulations. This includes individuals who already hold a document under the old EEA Regulations scheme. There are two statuses that can be given - pre-settled status or settled status.
- Pre-settled Status is for any individuals who have lived in the UK for less than 5 years.
- Settled Status if for any individuals who have lived in the UK for more than 5 years. This is permanent residency.
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.