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Each week we add immigration-related updates and other helpful information you can reference as often as you like!
Urgent Updates - September 23rd, 2022
POLAND IMMIGRATION ALERT
We would like to share a short summary of the most recent changes regarding Polish immigration rules.
- Poland Business Harbour to expand for new countries
All highly qualified employees from the IT/New Tech sector, regardless of citizenship, who are considering relocation to Poland can apply for the Poland Business Harbour visa (PBH). Their employers can benefit from fast-track transfer and fewer formalities.
PBH is a package of facilitations aimed at specialists from the IT/New Tech sector and their families, as well as start-ups and other companies considering relocation to Poland. The main part of the program is a type of visa that exempts from additional work authorisation and enables setting up a business activity in Poland.
Until now, the PBH was available only for foreign nationals from selected countries: Georgia, Armenia, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan and Russia.
Applications are accepted by Polish consulates outside of Poland.
- Entry of Russian foreign nationals
The status of Russian citizens regarding their travel ban to Poland and Schengen is being monitored. Crossing external Schengen borders to Poland and Baltics (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) for Russian citizens holding short-term Schengen visas may be not possible currently. Final regulations in this matter will be available from September 19, 2022.
- Visa application process conditionally possible in Poland
Citizens of Belarus and Ukraine can apply for a Polish national visa in Poland. It simplifies visa processing for citizens of these countries that previously could only take place outside of the territory of Poland. Applicants must meet additional conditions.
For Belarusian foreign nationals, the main requirement is the inability to return to their country of origin due to the imminent repressions there and:
- previous stay in the territory of Poland on the basis of a humanitarian visa, or
- arrival to Poland from Ukraine after February 24, 2022, provided that the applicant was legally residing in Ukraine directly before that date, or
- intention to work as an international driver.
For Ukrainian foreign nationals the main requirement is:
- intention to work as an international driver, or
- intention to work as a flight crew member.
Applications will be accepted by the Polish Foreign Ministry or appointed intermediary.
The information above has been provided by :
Head of the Immigration and Global Mobility Practice at Raczkowski, Poland
Attorney-at-law Dr. Michał Kacprzyk, Ph.D./ LL.M./ Senior Lawyer Account Manager
Weekly Updates - September 23rd, 2022
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland will bar entry on their external borders for all Russian nationals with a short-stay Schengen visa. The restriction will come into effect in Estonia on 19 September 2022 and will also enter into force in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland no later than that date.
This is not an outright entry ban and commonly agreed legitimate exceptions will remain in force for dissidents, humanitarian cases, family members, holders of residence permits, for the facilitation of freight and transportation services, diplomatic missions, Kaliningrad facilitated transit of persons.
The Directorate of Immigration is limiting the issuance of residence cards to those who need to travel abroad.
Valid travel documentation, such as a plane ticket, must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org as a confirmation.
In place of residence permit cards, applicants will receive a letter confirming the issuance of a residence permit, with information on the period of validity and employment rights.
New cards cannot be expected until autumn 2023, due to an international raw material shortage.
The Qatar Ministry of Interior has released the following information about entry to the country during the World Cup 2022:
Entry of visitors to Qatar is suspended effective 1 November to 23 December 2022 except for the following:
- Holders of Hayya Cards, who can stay in Qatar until 23 January 2022;
- Qatari citizens, residents and GCC citizens holding a Qatari ID card;
- Holders of personal recruitment visas and work entry permits;
- Humanitarian cases via the airport, based on approval from the official application platform.
Foreign nationals who have tickets for a World Cup match can apply for the Hayya Card via the website or app. The Hayya Card acts as a valid visa for entry to Qatar during the World Cup.
In addition, from 1 November 2022, Hayya Card holders are permitted to apply for a 90-day multiple-entry tourist visa to enter the UAE and/or a 60-day multiple-entry visa for Saudi Arabia.
- The South African government has extended until 31 March 2023 the validity of visas and visa waivers for those foreign nationals with pending visa or visa waiver applications.
- Previously these individuals were permitted to stay in South Africa until 30 September 2022.
- Entry-visa exempt nationals with pending long-term visa applications can exit South Africa and re-enter by presenting their Visa Facilitation Service Centre (VFS) receipt.
- Visa-required nationals are advised not to exit South Africa while their visa application is pending as re-entry requires a new visa.
- Holders of expired visas are permitted to leave South Africa on or before 31 March 2023 without penalty.
The UK government has extended eligibility for the Ukraine Extension Scheme to any Ukrainian nationals and their immediate family members who have permission to be in the UK for any length of time between 18 March 2022 and 16 May 2023.
Already eligible for the scheme are Ukrainian nationals and their family members who arrived in the United Kingdom on or before March 18, 2022 and held lawful immigration status on that date; or they were in the United Kingdom at any time before January 1, 2022 with permission to enter or stay but where their permission ended after this date. Children born in the United Kingdom to a parent who meets the rules are also eligible to apply for the scheme.
Ukrainian nationals in the UK on a seasonal worker visa until 23 December 2022, who cannot usually extend or switch to another visa, may benefit from this new concession and switch to the Ukraine Extension Scheme.
COVID Updates - September 23rd, 2022
This week, many governments have again updated their COVID-19 measures and/or the lists of countries or regions affected. Please find some highlights below – for more information on COVID-19 restrictions in any country, please get in touch. We’re happy to help.
- Effective Friday 23 September 2022:
- All COVID-19 related travel protocols are lifted. There is no more requirement to submit a pre-departure test or proof of vaccination.
- The use of face masks is optional.
- Effective 26 September 2022:
- Unvaccinated residents are permitted to return to Hong Kong but are required to undergo vaccination in order to obtain a vaccine pass to enter most premises or to dine out.
- The cap for arrivals from mainland China is lifted and travel is permitted from the whole of the mainland.
- Incoming travellers are permitted to submit a negative result of a pre-departure rapid antigen test carried out within 24 hours before departure, instead of a PCR test carried out within 48 hours before departure.
- Incoming travellers are no longer required to wait at the airport for the results of their arrival PCR test.
- Incoming travellers are no longer subject to mandatory hotel quarantine on arrival.
- Instead, incoming travellers are subject to 3-day medical observation at home or in any hotel.
- During this 3-day period, travellers are allowed to go out, go to work or to school and will have an amber code on the government’s risk-exposure app “Leave Home Safe”. However, amber code restrictions prevent entry to restaurants and bars
- After this 3-day period, travellers are still required to take PCR tests on days 4 and 6.
- Effective 11 October 2022:
- Visa-free entry is again permitted.
- Independent tourism is again permitted.
- The daily arrivals cap is abolished.
- Tourists still required proof of triple vaccination or a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test.
- Effective 17 September 2022, the EU entry ban for the Netherlands is lifted. No COVID-19 related restrictions or requirements apply to travellers entering Netherlands, including those from countries outside the EU/Schengen.
- Effective 1 October 2022:
- COVID-19 vaccination continues to be a condition for the approval of all new applications for long-term passes and work passes.
For renewal applications, vaccination also continues to be required for the renewal of existing work passes for Work Permit Holders and S Pass Holders (a) from the Construction, Marine Shipyard and Process sectors or (b) residing in dormitories.
- Effective 18 September 2022, COVID-19-related travel restrictions have been lifted. Both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated visitors no longer need to complete a pre-arrival travel form, to undertake a COVID test prior to arrival, to show a negative COVID-19 test or proof of quarantine arrangements before boarding their flight or on arrival, or to quarantine on arrival.
- Effective 20 September 2022, it is no longer necessary to complete the Spain Travel Health (SPTH) health control form NOR to present the SpTH QR code when boarding or at the arrival airport.
- Effective 13 October 2022:
- Quarantine will be lifted, but a seven-day self-initiated epidemic prevention will be required.
- Effective 29 September 2022:
- Visa exemption treatment will be fully restored.
- The weekly cap on arrivals will be increased from the current 50,000 to 60,000.
- On-arrival saliva PCR testing for arrivals when they arrive at airport/port (D0) will be ended. Instead, four rapid test kits will be given to arrivals aged 2 and older by workers at international airports/ports upon arrival. Arrivals can use the test kits during the first three days and the self-initiated epidemic prevention period.
- Mandatory quarantine will remain to be three days of quarantine and four days of self-initiated epidemic prevention. Furthermore, arrivals will be allowed to spend the entire seven-day period in a residence under the one person per room rule. As on-arrival saliva testing will be cancelled, at-home rapid testing rules for arrivals undergoing mandatory quarantine will also be changed.
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