Naturalisation, immigration fees, extension of Sponsor Licences... Find out the latest news on immigration around the world.
GERMANY Relaxation of naturalisation rules
On 19 January, the German parliament passed a bill aimed at relaxing the rules for obtaining German nationality. The law is due to come into force in May 2024.
Under this law, applications for naturalisation will now be possible after having resided in Germany for 5 years, compared with 8 years at present. In certain exceptional cases, the period of residence may be reduced to 3 years.
Also, children with at least one parent who has been resident in Germany for 5 years and has permanent residency will automatically obtain German citizenship at birth. Before this law came into force, German citizenship was only granted to children if one of the parents could demonstrate 8 years' residence on German soil.
Finally, it will be possible for German citizens to hold several nationalities.
UNITED KINGDOM Extension of Sponsor Licences’s validity
The Home Office has announced the introduction of an automatic 10-year extension to Sponsor Licences expiring on or after 6 April 2024.
Currently, companies must renew their Sponsor Licence every 4 years if they wish to continue employing foreign workers.
With the automatic extension, there will be no need to apply for renewal or pay additional fees, allowing companies to reduce their immigration costs.
For Sponsor Licences expiring before 6 April 2024, a standard renewal application will be required.
Increase in minimum wage requirements
The UK government is aiming to significantly reduce the number of workers and their dependents entering the country by tightening the eligibility requirements for Skilled Worker Visas and Family Visas.
From 4th April 2024, the minimum wage required to obtain a Skilled Worker Visa will be £38,700, compared with £26,200 at present. This new threshold will be phased in over the course of 2024.
Also, the minimum income requirement for workers wishing to travel to the UK with their family will increase on 11th April 2024, from £18,600 to £29,000.
Applications submitted before these date will not be affected by these changes.
UNITED STATES Increase in immigration fees from 1 April 2024
The government has announced a significant increase in immigration fees from 1st April 2024.
The fee for applying for L status will rise considerably, from $460 to $1,385, and the fee for H-1B status will be $780, compared with the current $460.
The authorities have also announced the introduction of an additional fee of $600 for all employment-based applications (form I-129 and form I-140) under the Asylum Program Fee.
ASIA Lunar New Year
On 10th February, Lunar New Year celebrations will begin across Asia for one week.
Longer processing times are expected for current procedures due to the closure of local authorities during this period.