Authors

Julie Filliard

Counsel

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Bart Hunnekens

Partner

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Sean Nesbitt

Partner

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Charlie Pring

Senior Counsel

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Walter Pöschl

Partner

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Vikki Wiberg

Senior Counsel

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Juultje van der Zanden

Counsel

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Jonas Warnken

Partner

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Authors

Julie Filliard

Counsel

Read More

Bart Hunnekens

Partner

Read More

Sean Nesbitt

Partner

Read More

Charlie Pring

Senior Counsel

Read More

Walter Pöschl

Partner

Read More

Vikki Wiberg

Senior Counsel

Read More

Juultje van der Zanden

Counsel

Read More

Jonas Warnken

Partner

Read More

22 February 2024

Frontiers - immigration update – 2 of 3 Insights

Frontiers - immigration update

In the second edition of our immigration focused newsletter we give a snapshot of the latest immigration law developments below.

Please get in touch with your usual Taylor Wessing contact if you would like to discuss anything you have seen in the newsletter.

UK

UK government dramatically increases salary thresholds for foreign workers

Facing a general election, on 4 December 2023 the Home Secretary James Clevery announced his five-step plan to cut net migration. The UK government will increase the salary threshold for skilled worker visas by almost 50% from £26,000 up to £38,700. While the increase is large, in their recently published factsheet ‘Reducing Net Migration’, the Home Office stated that the latest official estimates reflect a 672,000 increase in net migration from the beginning to the middle of 2023, up significantly on pre-pandemic volumes. The Home Office expect their new package to reduce inflows by up to 300,000, the largest reduction ever. 

But after adverse reaction, the government agreed, less than three weeks later, to increase the threshold incrementally, starting at £29,000 in Spring 2024. Health and Social Care workers will be exempt from the raised salary requirements, as well as education workers on national pay scales. Minister for Legal Migration Tom Pursglove has clarified that those already in the Skilled work route, and applications made before the rules change, ‘will not be subject to the new £38,700 salary threshold when they change employment, extend, or settle.’ 

When? 

The threshold will first increase to £29,000 in April 2024 then to £38,700 in 2025.

So what?

Employers aiming to secure visas for their staff should note that if they apply before Spring 2024, they will still be eligible under the existing salary threshold of £26,000 so it is crucial to apply early.

The increase will intensify challenges for employers in sectors heavily reliant on skilled international workers, potentially making it more difficult to fill roles.

Authorities must now reject applications if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the salary threshold does not adhere to the National Minimum Wage Regulations or Working Time Regulations. Currently, only 15% of 250 job categories have a going rate salary above £38,700, so it is expected that some employers will not be able to increase salaries to meet the new immigration requirements.

Further changes to UK immigration law in 2024

Minimum income requirement increases for partner and family visas

The minimum income required to sponsor someone for a spouse or family visa will rise in stages from £18,600 to £29,000 and ultimately to £38,700. The government states this is to ensure migrants only bring dependents who they can financially support. The increased threshold will only apply to first time applicants, not those who already have a family visa within the five-year partner route or those who apply before the minimum income threshold is raised in springtime.

Those applying for permanent residence after being on a spouse/partner visa are also required to meet the minimum income rule however details are yet to be provided. For initial applications, only the sponsored income contributes to meeting the minimum income threshold. However, for extensions and permanent residency, both incomes are considered. 

When?

The threshold will first increase to £29,000 in April 2024 then to around £34,500 in late 2024 and finally to £38,700 in early 2025.

So what?

This will significantly impact couples hoping to relocate to the UK, potentially disqualifying many of them. Under specific circumstances, individuals may receive slightly less than the baseline minimum salary and still be eligible for sponsorship under a Skilled Worker visa. This provision applies to "new entrants" in the labour market, including individuals under 26 and post-doctoral researchers.

While there have been substantial revisions to the shortage occupation list, there is no indication that this particular provision will change. Furthermore, those who do not meet the minimum income requirement still have alternatives to qualify for the visa, such as utilising savings exceeding a certain threshold or under exceptional circumstances. The Home Office has affirmed that this option will remain available even with the threshold increase.

Replacing the shortage occupation list

The government also announced its plan to replace the shortage occupation list with an 'Immigration Salary List’ which will significantly reduce the number of jobs where sponsors can employ a worker below the baseline minimum salary threshold (essentially shortening the list).

When?

The change is expected in April 2024.

So what?

This development will impact the eligibility of certain roles for sponsorship and may affect hiring practices for businesses relying on migrant workers. Companies will have to raise salary offerings to meet the new requirements or seek alternative staffing solutions.

Immigration Health Surcharge increase

A substantial increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) took effect on 6 February 2024. The IHS fee increased to £1,035 (up from £624) for adults, and £776 (up from £477) for students and under 18s. This followed closely on the heels of a recent surge in most UK visa and nationality application fees, with an increment of 15-20 percent implemented in October 2023.

When?

The IHS fee increase came into effect on 6 February 2024.

So what?

Individuals contemplating a UK visa application should plan for these fee increases.

Social care workers will have their dependants capped and a review of the graduate visa route

Health and social care workers will have their dependents capped at one dependant and the Migration Advisory Committee will review the Graduate visa route in order to prevent alleged ‘abuse’ of the system.

When?

Health and Social Care workers cannot bring more than one dependent with immediate effect and the Graduate visa review began in January 2024 and may run on for many months.

So what?

Applicants should plan and keep an eye out for changes to their specific route to avoid any unexpected issues.

Introduction of the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme

This scheme requires visitors and transit passengers from various countries, including those in the EU, US, Canada, and Australia, to obtain an ETA before traveling to the UK for business or tourism. The ETA, which is not a visa, grants permission to travel but not to enter, reside or work in the UK.

Applicants can apply through the UK ETA app or online, with a decision typically received within three working days. The ETA lasts for two years or until the passport expires, allowing multiple visits to the UK within this period. However, certain criteria, such as criminal history or previous immigration violations, may lead to refusal or cancellation of an ETA.

Not everyone needs an ETA before coming to the UK. For example, travellers will not need an ETA if they are a British or Irish citizen, already have a UK visa, entry clearance or permission to enter or stay in the UK.

When?

Currently open to nationals of Qatar, the scheme will gradually expand to include travellers from other countries by the end of 2024.

So what?

It's essential for affected individuals and businesses to familiarize themselves with these new requirements and plan accordingly for future travel to the UK.

Find out more about the changes here and here.

Find out more about the ETA scheme here.

Portugal

Key amendments to Portuguese nationality law: Changes in residence criteria and Sephardic Jews eligibility

On 5 January 2024, the Portuguese Parliament voted on and approved the proposal for the tenth amendment to the Portuguese Nationality Law currently in force. This amendment includes several measures, notably a significant change in the way time is counted for nationality applications based on the period of residence in Portugal. After thorough examination of the proposal, we will highlight the most important changes contained in this new legal text.

Nationality by naturalisation granted for the period of residence in Portugal

Under the terms of the current law, and for the purposes of granting Portuguese nationality by naturalisation, it is understood that it can be granted to foreigners who have legally resided in Portuguese territory for a minimum period of 5 years and whose situation is in order with the Portuguese authorities, under the terms of any legally established visa or residence permit.

According to the changes that have now been approved, for the purposes of counting the period of residence mentioned above, the time that has passed since the temporary residence permit was applied for will also be taken into account, and not just the period of validity of the respective permit.

Although the draft law does not expressly define the application date for temporary residence permits in each immigration process, when the date on which the temporary residence permit was applied for, we believe that the following deadlines should be considered:

  • a) For Residence Permit for Investment Activity (Golden Visa) processes, the date of processing the payment of the analysis fee on the SEF/AIMA Online Portal should be taken into account
  • b) For other immigration processes, the date of appearance at SEF/AIMA to collect biometric data and submit documents should be taken into account.

There is significant delay currently in the application process for pending visas/residence permits. We believe that this measure will substantially speed up access by foreign citizens to the Portuguese Nationality process by naturalisation.

Nationality by naturalisation granted to descendants of Sephardic Jews

Under the terms of the amendments now approved, the Government may grant nationality by naturalisation to descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews who cumulatively meet the following requirements:

  • a) demonstrate a tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin, based on objective requirements proving a link to Portugal, namely surnames, family language, direct or collateral descent; and
  • b) have legally resided in Portuguese territory for a period of at least three years, consecutive or interpolated.

The demonstration of belonging will be subject to final approval by an evaluation committee appointed by the member of the government responsible for the area of justice. It will include representatives of the relevant departments, researchers, or lecturers at higher education institutions in Sephardic studies and representatives of Jewish communities with the status of religious legal persons based in Portugal.

In relation to applications submitted before these amendments, the Government may grant nationality by naturalisation to descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews, by demonstrating a tradition of belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin, based on objective requirements proving a link to Portugal, namely surnames, family language, direct or collateral descent, as well as:

  • ownership of rights over real estate located in Portugal, other personal rights of enjoyment or shareholdings in commercial or cooperative companies based in Portugal, or
  • regular trips to Portugal throughout the applicant's life, attesting an effective and lasting connection to Portugal, or
  • holding a residence permit for more than one year.

When?

Portugal's parliament approved the changes on 5 January 2024. Although the tenth amendment to the Portuguese Nationality Law is due to come into force the day after it is published (in the Diário da República), it still must be approved by the President of the Republic, who has not yet received the Diploma to that effect. We therefore anticipate a continuation of the legislative process, which may still take a few weeks to complete, and therefore its date of entry into force and effect is still uncertain.

 So what?

Antas da Cunha at ECIJA is available to initiate and monitor all processes covered by the current and new Nationality Law and start the necessary procedures in order to have the documentation prepared as soon as the Law comes into force.

Spain

Spain approves extension of Beckham Law

Royal Decree 687/2005 or Beckham's Law gained its nickname during David Beckham's time playing for Real Madrid Football Club. Beckham's high-profile move to the Spanish team in 2003 coincided with the implementation of the tax law reform in Spain, which significantly reduced the tax burden for foreign workers, including athletes. The law aimed to attract highly skilled foreign professionals by treating them as non-resident taxpayers, and while living in Spain, Beckham was said to have been one of the first foreigners to benefit that benefited from this reduced tax regime.

On 6 December 2023, Royal Decree 1008/2023 was published, introducing significant tax revisions, including amendments to the Personal Income Tax and Corporation Tax Regulations. These changes impact the special regime applicable to workers, professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors posted to Spanish territory.

When?

Effective since 1 January 2024

So what?

Employees who travel to Spanish territory to work remotely, exclusively using IT means and resources (including telematic and telecommunication), and company directors, regardless of their percentage of shares in the company's share capital, may opt to pay non-resident income tax, subject to its special rules.

Likewise, this scope of application is extended to those who move to develop an entrepreneurial activity under the terms of Law 14/2013 in support of entrepreneurs and their internationalisation, to highly qualified professionals and to those who carry out training, research, development, and innovation activities, and who meet certain requirements.

In addition, the possibility of opting for non-resident income taxation is established for the taxpayer's children under the age of 25 (or whatever their age in the case of disability) and their spouse or, in the case of a non-marital relationship, the parent of the children, provided that they meet certain conditions (hereinafter, associated taxpayers).

In short, this is a very favourable tax measure that aims to encourage this type of residence or residence and work authorisation, provided that the purpose of the trip is work-related.

Belgium

Belgium updates minimum salary requirements for non-EEA workers

The Brussels-Capital, Flemish and Walloon Regions of Belgium have announced their updated minimum salary requirements for non-EEA foreign workers. Various thresholds apply based on the specific region and employee category. In all regions, thresholds will increase for Highly Skilled permits, EU Blue Cards and EU Intra-Company Transfers. In Flanders, the annual income for Highly Skilled Permits must exceed €46,632, (up from €45,984) and the EU Blue Card requires a salary of €55,958 (up from €55,181). For the EU Intra-Company Transfer Permit, specialists and trainees must now receive €46,632, up from the previous amount of €45,984.

In Brussels and Wallonia, the minimum threshold for the Highly Skilled Permit is now €50,310 (up from €47,175), and the EU Blue Card has increased to €65,053 (up from €60,998). For specialists on the EU Intra-Company Transfer Permit, the minimum salary requirement is now €52,042 (up from €48,798). For trainees in Brussels, the minimum salary has increased to €32,526, up from €30,499 and in Wallonia trainees must now receive €32,327, up from €30,499. Employers should adjust current salaries for new hires or renewals in order to comply with these new minimums. 

When? 

Effective since 1 January 2024

So what?

The revised thresholds apply to applications initiated on or after 1 January 2024 (including renewals and pending applications) and employers are responsible for adjusting the salaries to the appropriate level. Compliance with minimum salary requirements is crucial for employers seeking permits to hire foreign nationals otherwise they face automatic application refusal. Employing workers without an authorised permit can result in administrative fines ranging from EUR 300 to EUR 3,000 and criminal fines ranging from EUR 600 to EUR 6,000 per worker. Employers should budget for these increases and assess their ability to financially support their existing workforce.

Hungary

Hungary’s latest immigration act introduces new residence permits including a ‘Golden Visa’ guest investor permit 

In Hungary, a new act will reform the regime on third-country nationals, redefining residence permit categories, their names, and new eligibility criteria. The act creates one unified legal act for the entry and residence of third-country nationals which used to be dispersed in several acts. It will tighten immigration regulations.

Two categories of employment permits are expected: skilled worker and guest worker permits. One of the key objectives of the new act is to facilitate the employment of guest workers in several respects. Normally, permits can take up to 90 days to be approved by the immigration authority. The guest worker permit will be fast-tracked and will not require an official opinion from the labour authority. The permit will be valid for two years with a one-year extension and will not result in the right to apply for permanent residency which may normally be gained after three years in Hungary. Applicants will not be able to bring their relatives to Hungary through family unification. Only people from certain countries may apply for this permit type, some of which include Vietnam, Ukraine, Russia, and Indonesia.

Under the act, third-country nationals will be able to reside in Hungary for business or investment purposes as well. A residence permit for visiting investors may be granted to third-country nationals whose stay is considered to be in the “national economic interest”, ie, who undertake one of the investments specified in the act, including the purchase of a residential real estate for at least EUR 500,000.

When?

The act entered into force on 1 January 2024. 

So what?

It will be easier to bring blue collar foreign workers to Hungary, and wealthy foreigners may also gain residence based on their investments.

As a result of these changes, residence permit application procedures are currently on hold until 29 February 2024 and no new applications may be submitted until 1 March 2024. Residency permits that would expire by the end of February 2024 are automatically prolonged until the end of April 2024. Those wishing to hire foreign workers should consider the impact of these delays on workforce planning.

Slovakia

New short-term work visas for foreigners in Slovak industry

To address long-term labour shortages, predominantly in the automotive sector and its related supply chains, on 3 October 2023, the Slovak government introduced a new law to broaden the eligibility criteria for a short-term work visa for certain foreigners. As part of this initiative, the Slovak Republic will annually allocate a total of 2,000 national visas to foreigners from Central Asia, the Caucasus Region, selected countries of the Balkans, Ukraine, Philippines, Indonesia, Moldova, and Nepal.

These visas are designated for those third-country individuals who would work in one of the eleven listed professions in the said industry, such as an assembler, metal welder, or maintenance worker for the employer, being the company operating in Slovakia for at least four years. The visa will be valid for a maximum of one year.

When?

The law came into force on 3 October 2023. 

So what?

Obtaining a residence permit for employment purposes for third-country nationals (being a standard process for third-country nationals) is a time-consuming and administratively challenging process. A newly introduced short-term visa represents the quicker and easier way to legally get a job in the territory of the Slovak Republic, as the whole process of obtaining a visa takes only a few days from the submission of the application.

Netherlands

Netherlands enacts new salary criteria and changes in the 30% ruling

As of 1 January 2024, the Netherlands has introduced new salary criteria for highly skilled migrants and EU Blue Card holders. The salary of highly skilled migrants and EU Blue Card holders should at least be equal to the required amount for the residence permit you are applying for, and the gross monthly salary has to be fixed, guaranteed and must be paid directly into the employee’s bank account.

The salary criteria for highly skilled migrants:

  • EUR 5,331 gross per month excluding 8% holiday allowance, if the highly skilled migrant is 30 years or older 
  • EUR 3,909 gross per month excluding 8% holiday allowance if the highly skilled migrant is younger than 30
  • EUR 2,801 gross per month excluding 8% holiday allowance is the lower salary criterion if the search year criteria are applicable

 The salary criteria for EU Blue Card holders:

  • EUR 6,245 gross per month excluding 8% holiday allowance salary criterion 2024

Change in 30% ruling 

Previously, the 30% preferential tax treatment rule allowed eligible foreign nationals to enjoy an income tax exemption on up to 30% of their income for five years, however these timeframes and percentages are to gradually decrease. As per 1 January 2024 an employer in the Netherlands may apply the 30% ruling over a maximum of the salary of the Standards for Remuneration Act (Wet Normering Topinkomens). The amount is set every year, so unlimited tax-free reimbursement is not possible anymore. Workers who received compensation in the last quarter of 2023 under the 30% rule will be subject to transitional arrangements.

 The percentage of the 30% facility will be reduced step by step over five years:

  • For the first 20 months, 30% of the salary is tax-free.
  • For the 20 months after that, 20% of the salary is tax-free.
  • For the 20 months after that, 10% of the salary is tax-free.

Government fees 

The government fees that the IND charges for the application for residence permits and the recognition as a sponsor at the IND are indexed as per 1 January 2024 as well. The new fees are:

  • EUR 380 per application for an employee, family member and/or extension of the residence permit
  • EUR 76 per application for a Turkish national
  • EUR 4,560 for an application as recognised sponsor
  • EUR 2,279 for an application as recognised sponsor for small companies.

Concerns that these changes will discourage highly skilled workers have prompted the Dutch Upper House to request alternative solutions, but these alternatives will not be explored until the newly formed government reviews them.

When?

The new salary thresholds apply to all applications filed from 1 January 2024. 

So what?

Current employers of foreign workers or those seeking new foreign hires must plan ahead and budget in case their employees’ salaries will fall below the new threshold. The modifications in the 30% ruling will impact tax-free reimbursements over a period of five years, affecting both employers and highly skilled migrants. Stay informed to navigate these changes effectively. 

Germany

Germany's immigration evolution: Access to passports, ID cards, and permits through streamlined processes

Germany’s federal government has simplified the process for obtaining passports, ID cards, and residence and work permits. Applicants can now use automated machines to collect their ID cards, passports, or resident and work permits instead of going to an immigration office. PIN confirmations and deactivation information receipt can be sent via text message, eliminating the need for an in-person visit. More changes are expected on 1 November 2024, allowing document delivery by mail (with a fee) and providing PIN and deactivation information during the initial application appointment. From 1 May 2025, all IDs, passports, and permits issues will include a biometric photo.

When?

The rollout of the updated procedures began in November 2023 and is set to unfold gradually until May 2025.

So what?

These changes bring more convenience and efficiency to the immigration process. Applicants can now use automated processes reducing the need for in-person visits.

France

Constitutional Council strikes down France’s controversial new immigration reform bill

On 19 December 2023, France passed its contentious new immigration bill which, following several revisions, was set to implement stricter measures. On 25 January, the Constitutional Council, one of France’s highest courts ruled that 35 out of the 86 articles in the bill are unconstitutional, with 32 of those not being sufficiently related to the bill. The Council reviewed the legislation after accusations that it violated the French constitution. The chair of the French parliament's Law Commission, Sacha Houlié had previously stated that around 30 provisions could potentially be censured. 

The new bill included provisions like imposing a €3,750 fine on undocumented workers which has been rejected, and mandated higher education fees for non-EU students (which French universities had been able to opt out of so far) which has also been rejected by the Council. Several organisations including The Conference of Deans of French Schools of Engineering (CDEFI), France Universités and L'Union étudiant released a joint statement criticising this provision. They expressed concern that these new measures would undermine France's attractiveness as a destination for international students, especially as the country aims to attract 500,000 international higher education students by 2027.

The bill was to introduce challenges for non-EU residents wishing to bring family members but many measures on family reunification have been struck out. One enacted measure stipulates that children born in France to foreign parents normally gain French nationality automatically at age 18, but now they must apply for citizenship within a two-year window between ages 16 and 18. This route to citizenship is now also closed off for anyone with a criminal record.

Prospective international students seeking residence permits would have been required to annually demonstrate the 'authentic and serious nature' of their studies, but this has been rejected. Additionally, a refundable ‘return deposit’ fee was set to be introduced, which would have been reimbursed upon visa expiration or successful visa category transition. Failure to switch visas and overstaying would result in the retention of the deposit which would then be used to cover ‘removal costs' but this was also struck out.

When?

The bill was passed on 19 December 2023 and the Constitutional Council reviewed its legitimacy on 25 January 2024. The final law was enacted on 26 January 2024 and published the day after. While certain elements were rejected, others were amended with specific conditions attached. Some of the rejected provisions could, however, be accepted later as part of different legislation.

So what?

In light of the new immigration bill, it is crucial for affected individuals to stay informed and engaged. Those impacted by the potential changes, including fines and stricter citizenship requirements, should actively follow developments. Prospective students need to consider potential conditions and strategically plan the transition to a different visa category once their student visa expires, ensuring they avoid overstaying.

The full legislation can be read here.

Austria

Reform of the Red-White-Red Card in Austria

Companies wishing to employ third-country nationals require an official permit unless there is an exception to the Act Governing the Employment of Foreign Nationals (AuslBG). The “Red-White-Red” Card is one of the most important permits in practice. It allows third-country nationals, ie nationals who do not hold an EU/EEA or Swiss citizenship, to settle and work in Austria. It is based on a criteria-based immigration model (points system).

The Red-White-Red Card primarily covers highly qualified workers, skilled workers in shortage occupations, other key workers, and university graduates.

The main measures implemented with the legal changes are as follows: 

  • faster processing of procedures
  • easier requirements for obtaining the Red-White-Red Card: changes in the awarding of points for qualifications, professional experience, and language skills; age-independent minimum wage for other key workers; elimination of the minimum wage for university graduates; extended awarding of points for the "age" criterion for skilled workers in shortage occupations
  • introduction of an employment permit for specialists within the scope of projects
  • inclusion of permanent employees in the Red-White-Red Card system
  • extension of the regular seasonal worker regulation
  • implementation of the new EU Blue Card Directive: facilitating the change of employer and improving the mobility of EU Blue Card holders and lowering salary requirements
  • establishment of ABA WORK in AUSTRIA as an advice centre for companies and skilled workers.

The federal government also aims to issue a Red-White-Red Card to at least 15,000 people per year by 2027 in order to counteract the shortage of skilled workers. In order to ensure the best possible integration of these skilled workers, a new contact point has been created with the so-called Integration Service. The aim is to provide skilled workers who already have an education and a job offer with online advice on living and working in Austria and opportunities to learn German before they arrive, as well as support for their families.

When?

Effective since October 2022.

So what?

To counter the increasing shortage of skilled workers in Austria, access to the Austrian labour market is being facilitated by means of the Red-White-Red Card. On 1 January 2024, the minimum salary for the card increased from €2,925 to €3,030 per month. Companies and foreign employees can contact ABA WORK in AUSTRIA and receive support and guidance in the Red-White-Red Card process.

Austria/Ukraine

Easier access to employment for displaced persons from Ukraine

Displaced persons from Ukraine who have an ID card for displaced persons are excluded from the Act Governing the Employment of Foreign Nationals (AuslBG) and can take up any employment without a permit.

When?

Effective since 21 April 2023.

So what?

Displaced persons from Ukraine who have an ID card for displaced persons will not be subject to regulations outlined in the AusIBG therefore can be employed by an Austrian employer without further action; in particular, the employer no longer has to apply for an employment permit for them. This provision offers flexibility for Ukrainian citizens who are affected by the war and facilitates easier access to the job market in Austria.

Poland

The Polish cash-for-visa scandal still proving detrimental to Polish business

In 2023, employers seeking overseas employees noticed abnormalities with the visa system at certain Polish consulates and affiliated outsourcing agencies which supported visa procedures. Suspicions of potential illicit activities emerged soon after. Polish employers often had to wait for months for visas for their employees as the system was dominated by companies that booked appointments in bulk then most likely traded them to the foreigners applying for visas. Conversely, some newly established companies in Poland were somehow able to obtain work permits much faster than other companies with a long presence in the Polish market. Certain media outlets reported that migrants paid up to $5,000 (£4,000) each in bribes to expedite their work visa applications. Poland’s governing party’s opposition MPs suggest that 250,000 visas were irregularly issued to migrants from Asia and Africa while the government argues this figure to be only several hundred.

After the “cash-for-visa” scandal erupted, the state prosecution confirmed the allegations, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced its decision to terminate all its contracts with outsourcing companies responsible for applications dating back to 2011. Poland plans to create a new visa system based on its own resources.

When?

The “cash-for-visa” scandal is a current issue.

So what?

As a consequence of these developments, many visa procedures were stopped, resulting in rejections for applicants who had previously scheduled appointments. Both foreigners awaiting visa appointments and Polish employers seeking employees from abroad have encountered disruptions. The cash-for-visa scandal has been detrimental to Polish businesses who have seen a scarcity of workers particularly in sectors such as construction, transportation, and the food industry. This shortage primarily affects workers from Asian countries, like India, Philippines, Bangladesh and Nepal and businesses have begun looking for workers in alternative countries such as Columbia, Kyrgyzstan or Tajikistan. The scandal has also affected students who have struggled to obtain visas to study in Poland. The fallout is ongoing, and employers are advised to anticipate and take into account prolonged waiting times when their foreign employees apply for a Polish visa.

This article was contributed to by Ignacio Peyró, senior associate at our strategic alliance partner, ECIJA.

In this series

Immigration & mobility

Frontiers - immigration update

23 May 2024

by Multiple authors

Immigration & mobility

Frontiers - immigration update

22 February 2024

by Multiple authors

Immigration & mobility

Frontiers - October

19 October 2023

by Multiple authors

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