Here are recent updates on Global Immigration for International Migrants from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Korea and Vietnam.

Australia: Pilot Program for Skilled Refugee Labor Agreement

Starting from July 1, 2023, the Australian Government, in partnership with Talent Beyond Boundaries, has initiated a pilot program with the objective of offering skilled refugees a pathway to reside and work in Australia. This program enables authorized Australian enterprises to utilize a Labour Agreement to sponsor skilled refugees for employment in their organizations.

Endorsed Australian employers can utilize the Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement pilot program to sponsor approved skilled overseas workers under employer-sponsored visa programs, either on a permanent or temporary basis.

  • The Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) visa program, subclass 494, offers a permanent pathway to a Permanent Residence visa (subclass 191) after a period of three years.
  • The Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa program, subclass 186, allows for direct entry by eligible applicants.
  • The Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa, subclass 482, is available for individuals seeking temporary employment in Australia.

Businesses seeking to sponsor workers under a Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement for any of the aforementioned employer-sponsored visas now have access to the following occupations:

Prior to applying for a Labour Agreement under the Skilled Refugee Labour Agreement pilot program, Australian businesses must obtain written endorsement from Talent Beyond Boundaries. Employers who wish to participate in the pilot should register their interest with Talent Beyond Boundaries.

Canada: Enhanced Immigration Measures to Support Canadian Businesses

Canada has introduced several measures to support businesses in the country, as announced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). These measures include the following:

Open Work Permit Stream for H-1B Visa Holders: Starting from July 16, 2023, H-1B speciality occupation visa holders in the United States, along with their immediate family members, can apply for a Canadian work permit. Approved applicants will receive an open work permit for up to three years, allowing them to work for any employer in Canada. Spouses and dependents can also apply for a temporary resident visa, along with a work or study permit if required. This measure will be in effect for one year or until a maximum of 10,000 applications is reached, with only principal applicants counting towards the cap.

Innovation Stream under the International Mobility Program: By the end of 2023, Canada will establish an Innovation Stream to attract highly talented individuals. This stream will provide an exemption from the labour market impact assessment process and offer two options. Firstly, Canada will make available employer-specific work permits for up to five years to workers designated to contribute to the country’s industrial innovation goals. Secondly, highly skilled workers in select in-demand occupations will be offered open work permits for up to five years.

The Global Skills Strategy will reinstate the 14-day service standard for work permits, ensuring expedited processing times.

Promotion of Canada as a Destination for Digital Nomads: Canada aims to position itself as an appealing destination for digital nomads, allowing them to live and work in the country for up to six months without a work permit, as long as they have visitor status.

Canada: Removal of Study Program Duration Limit for Temporary Foreign Workers

Refugees, Immigration, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have recently announced an immediate temporary measure that eliminates the duration limit for study programs in which temporary foreign workers can enrol without requiring a study permit.

Previously, foreign workers had permission to study while working, but only in programs with a duration of six months or less. If the program exceeded this timeframe, they had to apply for a separate study permit.

Under this new temporary measure lasting three years, foreign workers now enjoy the liberty to engage in full-time or part-time educational pursuits throughout the entirety of their work permits or until the policy concludes, without encountering any limitations regarding the duration of their chosen programs.

This provision applies to individuals who possess a valid work permit or have submitted a work permit renewal application on or before June 7, 2023, and have the authorization to work. If a foreign worker intends to study beyond the duration specified in their work permit, they must still apply for a separate study permit.

Ireland: Examination of Critical Skills Occupation List

The launch of a comprehensive review by the Minister of State for Business, Employment, and Retail on June 26, 2023, marks a significant development regarding the occupations listed on the Critical Skills Occupation List and Ineligible Occupations List for employment permits. This review calls for active participation from employers and stakeholders to provide valuable submissions and contribute to the assessment process.

The authorities have announced a public consultation to assess the eligibility of occupations listed on the Critical Skills Occupations List and the Ineligible Occupations List for employment permits. They are inviting submissions from representative bodies, government departments, agencies, and other interested parties to actively participate in this process and contribute their valuable input.

Interested parties who perceive skill or labour shortages or surpluses within their industry, affecting occupations in their sector adversely, are encouraged to submit their feedback. This provides an opportunity for them to voice their concerns and contribute to the ongoing review process.

Stakeholders are advised to include in their submissions any relevant factors they deem impactful within their sector. This may involve providing information on skills or labour shortages, recruitment efforts, challenges related to retention, pertinent training incentives, the business impact, expansion plans, and any other supporting evidence or data, such as industry surveys, reports, and sector-specific perspectives. Such details will enable a comprehensive assessment and potential adjustments to the lists under review.

Submissions for the review process can only be made through the designated form provided on the department’s official website. The submission period will commence on June 26, 2023, and remain open until August 18, 2023.

New Zealand: Reimbursement of Health Screening Costs for 2021 Resident Visa Applicants

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has announced its decision to provide reimbursements to 2021 Resident Visa applicants for the expenses incurred for unnecessary health screenings, such as medical checks and chest X-rays, that were requested but ultimately deemed unnecessary.

In 2022, the Enhanced Immigration Online system requested new medical certificates from applicants in cases where their existing medical certificates could not be located.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will reach out to 1049 identified affected applicants and extend an invitation for them to request a reimbursement. Applicants have until 23:59, September 30, 2023, New Zealand Daylight Time (NZDT), to submit their reimbursement requests.

Applicants seeking reimbursement must provide supporting evidence of payment, which can include either:

  • A receipt issued by their medical practice
  • An email or letter of confirmation from the medical practice.
  • A copy of the bank statement displaying the relevant transactions.

New Zealand/United Kingdom: Youth Mobility and Working Holiday Visa Programs

Effective June 29, 2023, New Zealanders participating in the UK-New Zealand Youth Mobility and Working Holiday visa schemes can now benefit from an increased age limit, raised from 30 to 35 years old. Furthermore, the maximum duration of stay has been extended to three years.

Starting from July 1, 2023, British nationals participating in the scheme and travelling to New Zealand will also benefit from the same changes.

South Korea: Updates to K-ETA Scheme

Commencing July 3, 2023, the Korean government has decided to extend the validity period of the Korea Electronic Travel Authorization (K-ETA) and introduce exemptions for specific age groups from the K-ETA requirement.

  • The validity period of the K-ETA will be extended from two years to three years, allowing travellers to benefit from a longer authorization period.
  • Additionally, individuals aged 17 and below, as well as those aged 65 and above, will no longer be obligated to obtain a K-ETA. However, individuals in these age groups who desire the benefits of having a K-ETA, such as exemption from submitting an arrival card upon entry, may still apply for one. In such cases, a K-ETA application fee of 10,000 KRW will be charged.

K-ETA-eligible nationals intending to enter South Korea without a visa must acquire K-ETA approval prior to boarding their flight or ship. The processing of K-ETA approval may take up to 72 hours. Holders of K-ETA are exempted from the requirement of submitting an arrival card upon entry.

Vietnam: Extension of E-Visa Validity

The National Assembly has recently approved an extension of the validity period for e-visas, increasing it from 30 days to 90 days. Furthermore, holders of e-visas will now be allowed to make multiple entries during the validity period.

The implementation of this new policy is set to take effect on August 15, 2023, as per the legal proceedings.

At present, Vietnam provides e-visas to residents of 80 countries and permits visa-free entry for individuals from 25 countries, typically for durations ranging from 15 to 30 days. However, with the implementation of the new law, nationals eligible for visa-free entry will be granted extended stays of up to 45 days.