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Major Updates in Asia Pacific Immigration Rules

Several important immigration policy changes recently announced across the Asia Pacific region that global mobility professionals need to be aware of.

Singapore Employment Pass Salary Increases

One of the biggest updates is a significant increase of over 10% to the qualifying salary levels for Employment Passes in Singapore. This impacts all new hires starting after January 1, 2024, and renewal applications for existing employees whose passes expire after January 1, 2026.

With these increased salary requirements, companies with a Singapore workforce need to carefully review their population to determine who will be impacted by the renewal salary increases in 2026. When hiring for Singapore roles, companies should leverage tools like the mandatory job advertising requirement to assist with hiring local candidates and improving their workforce ratios.

China Expands Visa-Free Entry

To boost tourism and business travel, China has made a series of visa policy liberalizations. Notable changes include:

  • 15-day visa-free entry for business/tourism from several European nations
  • 30-day visa-exempt work allowed for Thailand nationals
  • Singapore nationals can use a visa waiver for most travel to China
  • 30-day visa exemption for 59 nationalities visiting Hainan province
  • 10-year validity for tourist/business visas for Brazilians

These visa reforms open up streamlined travel routes to China for many nationalities and could provide significant cost and time savings for companies moving employees there.

Japan's Digital Nomad Scheme Disappoints

Despite much fanfare about introducing a new digital nomad visa, the final policy in Japan is being criticized as overly restrictive and complex. Key limitations include high salary requirements, only allowing 6-month stays renewable annually, and a lack of meaningful reform.

Vietnam Degree 70 Causes Confusion

Vietnam's new Decree 70 around labor market testing has created widespread confusion and extra compliance burdens, despite being intended to simplify regulations. Companies are providing substantial feedback and advocating for clarifications.

Overall, this wide array of immigration policy moves across the Asia Pacific illustrates the need for companies to closely monitor regulation changes that could substantially impact their mobile workforce. Working with expert immigration providers is critical to staying compliant while taking advantage of potential opportunities presented by liberalized rules in certain markets.

Thank you to Fragomen's Julia Onslow-Cole for this week's immigration update as featured on The View From The Top. You can access the complete show recording here.


Michelle Curran
Created on 21-3-2024