WR Immigration’s November global immigration updates include the latest developments in China issuing visas on a walk-in basis, India resuming issuance of some visas to Canadians, South Africa’s launch of a pilot program for a Trusted Employer Scheme, and much more!
Chinese Consulates have begun issuing visas on a walk-in basis without requiring advance appointments. This has resulted in a surge of applications in some locations, extending usual processing times. Consulates in some locations have also eliminated the need for biometrics in some circumstances, including for applications for single our double entry M (business) visas as opposed to multiple entry visas. Further changes are expected based on pressure from Beijing for consulates to streamline the visa application process.
The EU has again delayed the launch of its much-anticipated European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) for the pre-clearance of visa waiver travelers entering EU countries. It is expected that the launch of the system will be delayed until Spring 2025.
Indian Consulates have started issuing business, entry, medical and conference visas to Canadian nationals again after they were initially suspended following the diplomatic row between the countries. As of this date, issuance of other visa types remain suspended.
In a significant development for employers and foreign workers in South Africa, the government announced the introduction of the pilot program of the Trusted Employer Scheme (TES) in October 2023. This scheme aims to streamline and expedite the visa application process for foreign employees who will work for trusted and compliant employers in the country. By promoting efficiency and transparency, the TES is set to create a more favorable environment for businesses seeking to attract international talent and boost economic growth in South Africa. Employers interested in participating in the scheme are required to apply for the TES pilot program before November 20, 2023.
As previously announced, the UK government is set to significantly increase the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) fee, which must be paid as a part of the visa process for foreign workers seeking to enter the UK. The government has now announced that the fee increase will not take place any earlier than January 16, 2024. Employers planning to hire or transfer foreign workers in the UK should aim to file applications before that date to avoid increased cost.