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.
Argentina - COVID Restriction Updates and Changes
The government of Argentina announced new COVID measures on August 7, 2021, which include the extension of the existing border closure measures through October 1, 2021. While local restrictions on in-person gatherings have been re-implemented, the restrictions for some non-resident temporary visitors to enter Argentina have been lifted. Due to the prevalence of and concern regarding COVID variants, flights to Argentina from "high risk" countries including the UK, Brazil, Chile, and India are suspended. Further, from September 6, 2021 to October 1, 2021 the weekly number of passenger seats permitted for Argentine citizens and foreign residents abroad to re-enter Argentina will be increased to 16,100. Please see announcements from the authorities here for more details.
Denmark - Danish Immigration Authorities (SIRI) Processing Delays
The Danish Immigration Authorities (SIRI) have announced that due to a recent increase in Fast-Track work permit applications and backlogs caused by pandemic-related issues, Fast-Track work permit applications are experiencing significant delays in processing times. SIRI is unable to meet the 1 month processing time for Fast-Track applications, and quotes delays of 2-3 months for such applications currently. Due to the high volume and efforts to meet service targets as soon as possible, the authorities suspended the ability to contact specific immigration officers directly regarding pending cases. Communication with specific case officers is set to resume on September 1, 2021. Companies and applicants should continue to expect processing delays for Fast-Track applications over the next several months.
Ireland - COVID Travel Restrictions and Entry Requirements
The current requirements to enter Ireland for all travelers include completion of an online COVID-19 passenger locator form in advance of travel, which must be presented to the Irish Immigration Control officer upon arrival. Mandatory Hotel Quarantine remains a requirement for travelers from "Designated States" considered high-risk by the Irish authorities. Hotel Quarantine for 14 days is required for such travelers, though early release after 10 days is possible with a negative COVID test result during the quarantine period.
Those who are considered "fully vaccinated" and have valid proof of vaccination are exempted from the Mandatory Hotel Quarantine requirement (see here for details regarding Hotel Quarantine and accepted vaccines/proof of vaccination). Additionally, travelers with evidence of full recovery from COVID-19 are exempted from the Mandatory Hotel Requirement. Unvaccinated travelers from countries not considered "Designated States" are required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken within 72 hours prior to arrival and self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in Ireland.
Israel - India Removed from Travel Ban List
As of August 11, 2021 the Israeli authorities have removed India from the list of "high risk" countries for COVID infection and travel restrictions. Indian citizens may now enter Israel for business and employment purposes (subject to normal visa and work permit requirements). Israeli consulates and embassies abroad continue to work at reduced capacity due to the pandemic, and visa processing remains impacted.
Italy - Changes to Posted Worker Notification Regulations and Procedures
A recent Decree by the Italian authorities sets out new rules and procedures for Posted Worker Notifications. The new rules indicate that the maximum period of posting is reduced to 12 months (extendable to 18 months in case of motivated notification to the Ministry of Labor); after 12 months (or 18 months, if applicable) the posted worker may be subject to Italian work conditions and social security rules if more favorable to the worker. Further, in the case where a posted worker is replaced by another worker performing the same duties at the same location, the 12- or 18-month period must be calculated using the time accrued for both workers. Therefore, substituting another worker at the same location for the same responsibilities is not a feasible method to avoid the time limitation rule. The relevant Decree is under review with the authorities and awaiting registration by the Court of Accounts. Once registration is complete, the Degree will take effect the day following is publication on the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies website.
United Kingdom - Immigration Policy News and Updates
The Home Office has announced an extension of the temporary adjustments, which allow right to work checks to be completed with copies of documents via video conference due to COVID-19. The COVID adjusted right to work checks have now been extended until April 5, 2022 (inclusive). Up until and including April 5, 2022, the employers are still allowed to carry out the adjusted checks using a scanned copy or the photo of their original documents via email or mobile. After the video call with the worker to confirm their identity matches the photo on the document, the employers must remember to mark the record of the completed check as "adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19". The previously announced date of August 31, 2021 for the end of the adjusted right to work checks will no longer apply.
In addition to this announcement, the Home Office also confirmed that it has initiated a review of the availability of specialist technology to support a system of digital right to work checks in the future. The intention is to introduce a new digital solution which will also include many who are unable to use the Home Office online checking service, such as UK and Irish citizens. This would enable checks to continue to be conducted remotely but with enhanced security, which is a great news for the employers who will continue with remote working.
A gentle reminder to all EEA nationals who hold status under EU Settlement Scheme to ensure that their contact and passport details are up to date on the online portal. An EUSS status is digital and linked to the person's passport, so it important to update details of a new issued passport online before travelling. This way the digital status will be visible at the border control in order to avoid delays in entering the UK. Additionally, EUSS digital status proves the right to work and to rent in the UK and should be accessible online by employers and landlords. If an EUSS holder's passport/ID expired since they applied for settled or pre-settled status, it is important to make the necessary updates. All holders may add new documents to their UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account as soon as possible and particularly before travel.
The deadline to apply for EUSS has passed on June 30, 2021, but those who failed to apply by this date may still make a late application and are encouraged to do so as soon as possible. Non-exhaustive caseworker guidance sets out a wide range of circumstances which would constitute reasonable grounds for missing the deadline. This includes such examples where a person has or had a serious medical condition, which meant they were unable to apply by the relevant deadline; or where a person was unable to apply by the relevant deadline for compelling practical or compassionate reasons – including in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
On August 6, 2021, the Home Office also announced that EU citizens and their families who apply late to the EU Settlement Scheme will have their day-to-day rights protected while that application is considered. This means that those who applied late, but are still awaiting their decision retain their right to work, ability to rent, and benefits in the UK. Employers who hire such applicants should use the Employer Checking Service to confirm the right to work for the individuals.
Finally, as part of the UK Innovation Strategy the government announced the new High Potential Individual route. There is little information on the route so far, but we know some details from the strategy policy document and other official government announcements. The route is expected to open to those who "graduated from a top global university" or who have "other characteristics of high potential". The route will be unsponsored, which means that a successful applicant will not be tied to a particular job or employer. More details are expected to become available with a statement of changes to the Immigration Rules later this year.
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.