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.

Canada - Update of Canadian National Occupation Classification (NOC) System

On November 16, 2022,  Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that they were updating their Canadian National Occupation Classification (NOC) system.

The NOC enables IRCC to identify an individual's occupation and the level of skill or experience required.  The former NOC 2016 placed emphasis on whether a job position was “NOC 0, A, or B (managerial to skilled trades).  The new NOC 2021 has instead introduced a system based on a candidate's training, education, experience, and responsibilities (TEER) categories.  The new NOC/TEER system has also updated the previous 4-digit occupation codes to 5-digit occupation codes. 

How do these NOC changes affect you?

For Permanent Resident (PR) Applications through Express Entry:

  • All Express Entry profiles that have not received an invitation to apply (ITA) should update their NOC as soon as possible. They will not be eligible to receive an ITA until their profile is updated with the new NOC 2021 code.
  • Express Entry Profiles that have received an ITA prior to November 16th, 2022 will continue to use the previous NOC 2016 code for the PR application submission. In addition, this change will not affect already submitted PR applications.

Work Permits/Offer of Employment (OOE):

  • The enforcement of NOC 2021 codes will not affect applications already in process at the Canadian consulate level, even if the candidate has not yet entered Canada. Any work permits issued after November 16th, 2022 will have both NOC 2016 and NOC 2021 codes referenced.
  • Offers of Employment submitted before November 16th, 2022 with previous NOC 2016 codes will automatically be updated when the work permit is issued upon entry.

Greece - Implementation of Online System

The Greek Ministry of Immigration and Asylum implemented an online filing system for initial residence permit applications on behalf of Non-EU Nationals.  Please see further details here.

Malaysia - Introduction of ePASS

As with many other countries, Malaysia is also focusing on digitalization.  As of December 1, 2022, the Immigration Department of Malaysia will introduce a new ePASS for renewal of the Employment Pass (EP) for employees and their dependents.   The ePASS replaces the physical EP sticker affixed to the passport.  This new process requires that the company be registered with the Expatriate Services Division (ESD) and that the previous active pass was endorsed in the same passport. Please see further details  here.

Portugal - Nomad Visa Introduced

Portugal amended its immigration law to introduce a Nomad visa category, which is currently being implemented.

The Nomad visa application should be filed with the Portuguese Consulate which has jurisdiction over the applicant's place of residence.

The Nomad visa can be granted as:

  • a Temporary Stay Visa (TSV, period of stay is under one year) or
  • a Residence Visa (period of stay is more than one year).  

The residence visa is granted for a period of 120 days and allows a subsequent filing of a residence permit application. The TSV does not allow such a residence permit application.   For further details please also see  here

Saudi Arabia - Apostille Convention Takes Effect

The Apostille Convention will enter into force for Saudi Arabia on December 7, 2022.

From that date on, contracting parties are obliged to waive the legalization requirement for public documents issued by Saudi authorities and accept Apostilles issued by Saudi Arabia's designated competent authorities.  Likewise, Saudi authorities must accept Apostilles for incoming foreign public documents issued by the competent authorities of other contracting parties.

The Apostille process replaces a usually time consuming and expensive legalization process with issuance of a single document, the Apostille, in the place where the documents originates.

With this most recent addition, the Apostille Convention now has 122 Contracting Parties and has become one of the most widely applied multilateral treaties in the area of legal cooperation, with several million Apostilles issued each year.  More information on this Convention is available in the “Apostille” Section of the HCCH website which can be found  here.

Switzerland - Quota for 2023

The Swiss Federal Council announced the following permit quota numbers for 2023:

Work permit quotas for EU/EFTA Nationals:

  • L permits: 3,000
  • B permits: 500

Work permit quotas for Non-EU/EFTA Nationals:

  • L permits : 4,000
  • B permits : 4,500

These numbers are consistent with the current quota for 2022.  

As of January 1, 2021 the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons between Switzerland and the UK no longer applies due to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union as a result of “Brexit.”  For that reason the Swiss Federal Council has decided on separate quotas for UK Nationals for 2023.

In 2023, up to 3,500 workers can be recruited from the UK:

  • L permits: 1,400
  • B permits: 2,100

Extension of Services Mobility Agreement

Switzerland and the United Kingdom extended their Services Mobility Agreement until December 31, 2025.   The rationale for this move is to give service providers such as business consultants, IT experts, and engineers easy access to the labor market.  This Services Mobility Agreement was put in place with the end of the free movement of persons between Switzerland and the United Kingdom due to Brexit.

Under the agreement, Switzerland continues to apply the online notification procedure to UK professionals seeking to provide a service in Switzerland for a maximum period of 90 days per calendar 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.