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Pearl Global Immigration NewsFlash
February 2012


Canada

Following the termination of the Facilitated Process of Information Technology Workers Program (Labor Market Exemption) in British Columbia in December of 2011 and in all other provinces in September of 2010, Quebec authorities have also announced the end of the program for the seven different types of IT occupations. The Program expedited the admission of foreign workers in certain IT occupations, mainly those in software development.

As a result, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will require Labor Market Opinions (LMO) for those temporary foreign IT workers who previously qualified for the exemption. The process will be much lengthier and will require a job posting of at least fourteen days, followed by an application for the LMO work permit.


Japan

Effective July 9, 2012, there will be a new Residency Management System for all foreign nationals residing in Japan. Consequently, the existing Alien Registration Card (ARC) will be replaced by a new Resident Card, which will serve as a form of identification for those foreigners working and living in Japan for more than 90 days. The Resident Card will be issued upon arrival at the four major international airports in Japan: Chubu, Haneda, Kansai and Narita. Those travellers entering through other airports will receive their Resident Card in the mail after they arrive in Japan.

The new program will reduce the minimum period of stay from one year to three months and extend the maximum period of stay from three years to five years. Those Resident Card holders travelling abroad while in Japan will no longer need to obtain a re-entry permit as long as they return within one year. Currently, a re-entry permit is required for any travel outside of Japan.

Foreign nationals currently holding valid ARCs that expire on or after July 8, 2015 must obtain the new Resident Card, but can do so anytime before that date. All others can continue using their current ARCs until expiration and obtain the Resident Card at the time of renewal.


Russia

The Russian government has announced the work permit quota for 2012, as well as the list of forty-one positions that are quota exempt. The quota number has not changed significantly since last year and will continue to be distributed amongst the various regions in the country. Companies looking to sponsor foreign workers in Russia in 2013 must submit their forecasts to the local labour authorities before May 1st, 2012.

Six new positions have been added to the quota exempt position list since last year, including design engineers, electrical engineers and technicians. Please contact your immigration team for the full list of exempt positions. Work permits for highly skilled professionals continue to be quota exempt but they must meet strict salary requirements.


United Kingdom

The UK Government is urging all those who plan to come to the UK during the Olympic Games to plan ahead and begin making travel arrangements, including securing any necessary visas. The London 2012 Games will be the biggest event that the UK has hosted and the government expects many extra visitors during the already busy summer season.

The UK Government has also announced the creation of a new agency, the UK Border Force, which will take over border control and inspection procedures at the UK ports of entry starting March 1, 2012. The UK Home Secretary said that after it was revealed that thousands of people were let into the country without proper immigration checks, that the UK Border Agency (UKBA) would be split into two separate bodies. The Border Force will "become a separate operational command, with its own ethos of law enforcement, led by its own Director General, and accountable directly to ministers." The UK Border Agency (UKBA) will continue to manage immigration administrative functions such as processing work and residence permit applications.



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Disclaimer/Reminder


The Pearl Global Immigration NewsFlash provides periodic alerts about noteworthy developments in business and corporate immigration and related topics. It is provided as information only and is not a substitute for legal counsel. If you have questions about the NewsFlash, please contact your Pearl attorney or write pearlglobal@immigrationlaw.com.

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