On October 1, 2014, the Minister of Home Affairs revealed the new Draft Work Permit Policy which offers new categories of work permits. The goal of the new work permit policy is to restore economic health to Bermuda and create job opportunities for local Bermudians. Minister of Home Affairs intends the new policy to come into effect on December 1, 2014, and in the meantime, is open to receiving feedback regarding the new policy before it is finalized.
Continue Reading Bermuda Reveals New Draft Work Permit Policy

The number of visitors obtaining visas when they arrive at Yangon International Airport in Myanmar has increased significantly.  In the first eight months of 2014, 74,503 individuals entered the country without first getting a visa at a Myanmar Consulate abroad; instead opting to obtain tourist or business visitor visas when arriving at Yangon International Airport.  According to Myanmar immigration authorities, Chinese and Japanese nationals top the list of individuals using Myanmar’s visa-on-admission process.  Travelers should be warned that even though this process was enacted more than two years ago, the majority of airlines still do not let passengers to fly to Yangon pursuant to this process for fear of paying return transportation costs if a passenger is denied admission.  As such, travelers should check airline visa requirements prior to purchasing a ticket to Yangon.
Continue Reading Myanmar Alert – Securing Visas Upon Arriving in the Country on the Increase

Visas and Work Permits

In contrast to Mexico’s relatively flexible immigration laws that we discussed last month, Brazil’s immigration laws are much more complicated and so require more advance planning from HR and Global Mobility Managers. Most importantly – in terms of timing – the majority of people require visas before traveling to Brazil. Citizens of nearly two-thirds of the countries in the world, including the United States, require visas to enter Brazil, whether for business or work. Because of the World Cup, Brazilian Consulates have been focused on issuing World Cup and tourist visas to ensure soccer fans can make it to the games. Increased visa applications combined with intermittent labor strikes have considerably slowed visa processing times. For example, the Brazilian Consulate in Miami is taking 45 days to issue a business visa. Work permit applications, which are processed by the Ministry of Labor, are taking at least 12 weeks.

The first step in planning an employee’s business trip to Brazil is to determine whether the employee’s activities qualify as business or work. In recent years, Brazilian authorities have sought to clarify the difference between business and work. Unfortunately, Brazilian legislation does not give a definition of “business” and so employers should contact immigration counsel before deciding whether to apply for a business or work visa. Based on past practices of Brazilian authorities, the following activities generally qualify for a temporary business visa: making business contacts, holding interviews, negotiating sales and deals, and attending or speaking at seminars. It is important to note that an employee working in a technical area likely will not be permitted to enter Brazil on a business visa for training or knowledge sharing purposes. These activities are more appropriate for a work visa. In addition, temporary business visitors may not receive remuneration while in Brazil.Continue Reading Global Immigration Series – Doing Business in Brazil: Navigating Complex Immigration Laws

Over the last several years, the Canadian government has increased scrutiny on the activities of employers and foreign workers to ensure compliance with Canadian local and federal agreements regarding the hiring of temporary foreign workers. Instructions and amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations were announced recently by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and Service Canada. These regulations further the goals of compliance requiring employers of foreign workers to provide evidence that they have complied with the terms and conditions of the positions offered to the foreign workers. These terms and conditions include abiding by the information provided regarding job title, job responsibilities, wages, job locations and working conditions.

The increased scrutiny and protectionist stance on the part of the Canadian government is similar to practices employed by both the United States and the United Kingdom, among others. Indeed, with increased activity involving companies transferring employees to the country under the improper visa classifications and/or without proper work authorization, it is no surprise that more countries are increasing scrutiny and enforcement to ensure compliance with local immigration laws. In particular, Canada has faced increased scrutiny within the restaurant industry. (For examples of recent immigration enforcement see the following: U.S., UK.)Continue Reading Global Immigration Series – Canada/U.S.: The World’s Longest Border is Creating Challenges for Business Travel