Please note: while we address some country-specific updates related to the COVID-19 outbreak, the below contains information regarding global restrictions and closures as they stand today. Given the constantly changing nature of this situation, we highly recommend reviewing any global mobility inquiries on a case-by-case basis, including any consulate-specific or immigration authority resources, in “real-time” before traveling internationally. Please reach out to our Global Mobility Team in advance of any international travel.
Hong Kong – Quarantine Requirement Lifted
The compulsory quarantine requirement for travelers from overseas, or from Taiwan, was lifted, effective September 26, 2022. Please see further details here, especially regarding the need to take a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) within 24 hours of departure to Hong Kong, replacing the previous requirement of a nucleic acid test (PCR).
Japan – Ease of Entry Requirements
Japan is also easing its entry requirements. All visa restrictions were lifted as of October 11, 2022, and visa exemption regimes are implemented again. Please see further details here. It is still necessary to provide either a valid COVID-19 vaccination certificate (noting 3 doses of vaccines noted on the Emergency Use List of the World Health Organization) or a certificate of negative result of pre-departure COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to departing from the original country or region. Please also see details published by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.
Malaysia – Digital Nomad Pass, Short-Term Pass with Work Authorization and New Obligations for Sponsoring Companies
Malaysia has been accruing online applications for the newly-introduced “Digital Nomad Pass” under the DE Rantau Nomad Pass Program as of October 1, 2022. For more, please see here. Applicants are required to earn more than US$ 24,000 annually. They will be able to live and work in Malaysia for up to three to twelve months with the option to file an extension each up to twelve months.
In October Malaysia also introduced a new short-term Social Visit Pass program called [email protected] It allows foreign nationals to work in Malaysia for up to 30 days. Foreign nationals must work in the government sector, or a government link company (GLC) (companies in which the Malaysian government has a direct controlling stake), or in the private sector within industries such as security and defense, manufacturing, construction, health and medical, oil, gas and energy, finance and banking, electrical and electronics, wholesale and retail, tourism, business services, commodities, education, agriculture, aviation and information, technology, or infrastructure. The sponsoring company must provide evidence that purpose of stay is to perform critical work (such as emergency work, repair work, installations, recovery/reinstallation, maintenance, among other work).
The [email protected] applications can be submitted through the online immigration system here. Processing times are about three to five working days.
Foreign nationals who require a visa to enter Malaysia will also need to apply for a Malaysian Visa online through the e-Visa system.
New Obligations for Companies in Connection with PVP and EP
Companies in Malaysia registered with the Expatriate Services Division (ESD) and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Sdn. Bhd. (MDEC) who plan to submit Professional Visit Pass (PVP) and Employment Pass applications in 2023 are required to submit projections for the number of foreign nationals they wish to sponsor for the PVP as soon as possible. The ESD has started accepting projection applications and the MDEC us accepting projection applications as of November 1, 2022.
The projection requires approval before companies will be able to file work pass applications or renewals. It is important to note that foreign nationals need to ensure that they have a renewal in place prior to expiration of the current pass as they otherwise would be required to leave the country.
Singapore – Introduction of ONE Pass
Singapore will introduce a new pass, the Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass (ONE Pass). It is a personalized pass for top talent in business, arts and culture, sports, science and technology, and academia and research. The ONE Pass provides employment flexibility by allowing eligible applicants to concurrently star, operate and work for multiple companies in Singapore at any one time.
General requirements are:
- Fixed monthly salary of at least S$30,000, or its equivalent in foreign currency, within the last 1 year.
- Fixed monthly salary of at least S$30,000 under their future employer based in Singapore.
In addition to meeting the salary criteria above, the applicant will also need to demonstrate that he/she has been working for an established company overseas for at least 1 year, or will be working for an established company in Singapore. For a company to be considered established, it must have a market capitalization of at least US$ 500 million or an annual revenue of at least US$ 200 million.
Further details can be found here.
Sweden – Probation Period Important Trigger, Presentation of Original Passport Required
As of June 2022 the Swedish Migration Agency has been requesting receipt of an employment contract signed by both parties. In the case of a first-time application, change of role, or change of employer, the probation period in the employment contract will affect the validity of the work permit.
Starting November 1, 2022, foreign nationals applying for residence permits in Sweden will need to present their original passport in person before an approval can be granted. As of now it was possible that visa-exempt applicants could submit biometrics in Sweden once the application had been approved.
This means that an application cannot be filed by the employer alone. If the Migration Agency requests receipt of the applicant’s passport it will be necessary to request an appointment to present the original passport.
Visa nationals filing the initial application are not impacted by this change as they present their passport when submitting biometric data (a photograph and fingerprints) as part of their visa or residence permit application. For renewal applicants, the new requirement only applies to individuals who obtained a new passport during their stay in Sweden; this does not affect those who already presented their passport in person previously.