VISA & IMMIGRATION ARTICLE BY RELOC8 ASIA PACIFIC GROUP

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Ensuring immigration and visa compliance is one of the key aspects of an assignee's move to their host location, be it a short-term project or a multi-year attachment. This article focuses on the requirements for the countries below and pools the experience and advice from the RELOC8 Asia Pacific Group.

 
* Australia            * China                * Japan                 * Malaysia          * New Zealand
* Philippines        * Singapore         * South Korea       * Taiwan             * Thailand

 

A concern that many assignees have is whether their spouse or partner can work in the host country; this aspect is also covered in this article.

 

Types of Visa and Requirements


The type of visa required depends on the scope and length of time the assignee and his/her family, if applicable, will be in the host country. It also depends on the relevant immigration department’s latest requirements. These change so it’s always best to check with a
knowledgeable Destination Service Provider (DSP) or at your local host country embassy/consulate.

The table below gives a summary of the various types of visa that are available and/or a requirement of the host country.

 

Host Country 
Tourist Visa
Available
Short Stay
Business Visa
Work Visa
Unmarried
Partner Visa
Dependant's
Visa
Can spouse
work on a Dependent's
Visa
Approval for
study visa
required for Assignee's Children
Australia
 Yes
 Yes
Yes
 Yes (1)
 N/A (2)
 Yes (5)
 N/A (8)
 China
 Yes
 Yes
 Yes
 No
 Yes (3)
 No (6)
 N/A (3)
 Japan
 Yes
 Yes
 Yes
 No
 Yes
 Yes
 N/A (8)
 Malaysia
 Yes
 Yes
 Yes
 Yes
 Yes
 Yes
 Yes
 New Zealand
 Yes
 Yes
 Yes
 Yes
 Yes (4)
 Yes (7)
 Yes (4)
 Philippines
 Yes
 Yes
 Yes
 No
 Yes
 No
 N/A (8)
 Singapore
 Yes
 No
 Yes
 Yes
 Yes
 Yes
 N/A (8)
 South Korea
 Yes
 Yes
 Yes
 No
 Yes
 No
 N/A (8)
 Taiwan
 Yes
 Yes
 Yes
 No
 Yes
 No
 N/A (8)
 Thailand
 Yes
 Yes
 Yes
 No
 Yes
 No
 N/A (9)

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 (1) In Australia there is no distinction in the definition of an unmarried partner between same-sex or heterosexual couples.
(2) A dependants visa is not required
(3) A child under 18 years of age can have a dependant’s visa provided the principal visa holder has a Resident Permit (i.e. Long term Z visa)
(4) Dependants (up to 19 years of age) will either obtain a visitor or student visa depending on the type of visa the principal applicant holds.
(5) The spouse does not require a separate visa from the principal visa holder.
(6) While a spouse cannot work on a dependant’s visa it is known that some do either part time, in the grey economy or set up their own small business, all at their own risk and without the assistance of an ethical DSP.
(7) Spouse will either obtain a visitor or work visa depending on the type of visa the principal applicant holds.
(8) Not required. Covered by dependant visa or principal applicant’s visa, as applicable.
(9) Below the age of 20 years the dependant’s pass is used. Above 20 years of age a Non-Immigrant ED visa is required.

 

The terminology, type and duration of visas vary but as the table above clearly shows, visas are not something to overlook in the Asia Pacific region. Tourist visa is included to show that some type of visa is a requirement even if the visit is only to be a non-working look-see visit. Some tourist visas are granted on arrival and others need to be applied for in advance. Again it’s best to ask the DSP handling the relocation or the local host country embassy or consulate in advance of the planned visit.


Should the purpose of the visit to the home country be for attending a conference, exploratory business meetings and commissioning of plant, for example, then it’s typical that a Short Stay Business Visa will be required. For Australia it’s limited to six weeks. For China a 6-month Business F Visa is available whereas for Japan a 90-day tourist visa will suffice. For Malaysia a Professional Visit Pass is a requirement for short tern assignments from 1 to 12 months in duration. If the stay in New Zealand is up to 3 months a Business Visitor Visa is required and if the work is being paid for by a New Zealand company then a full work visa will be required. For a short business visit to the Philippines of a couple of weeks a 9A visa is appropriate, however for a longer stay up to 6 months a Special Work Permit is required. There is no Short Stay Business Visa in Singapore so for short business visits a tourist, or Social Visit Pass, is sufficient. Certain nationalities can visit South Korea visa-free for up to 90 days and other nationalities do require a visa but it’s also granted for the same 90-day period. In Taiwan the Visitor Visa entitles ordinary passport holders to conduct business meetings, inspection tours and the like for up to six months, although some countries, for example the US and Canada, can enter visa-free for up to 90 days. If a business visit to Thailand is to be arranged that will be for a couple of weeks duration most people will arrange a tourist visa, although a Non-Immigrant B Visa is available for a visit up to three months in duration.

 

Above the visit durations mentioned in the previous section the business person will move into the area of Short Term Assignments and multiyear Assignments. These may include the assignee’s spouse and children, if applicable, also moving to the host country. The specific requirements for each of the host countries mentioned in this article are not mentioned in depth due to space requirements but should you require more information you can certainly contact a host country DSP. The typical time requirement for arranging Work Visas is between one to two months, although the implementation of electronic submissions is helping to speed up the process. As the table above shows the opportunities for the spouse to gain employment in the Asia Pacific region is not cut and dried, and may be the deciding factor if the assignment in taken. However, immigration and visa requirements change and sometimes they actually relax. For, example in Malaysia it has been recently announced that spouses on dependant’s passes may seek work if they can find a local company who will apply for a work permit.

 

The eligibility of partners to obtain a dependant’s visa is also an area that has differing interpretations in countries within Asia Pacific. Unmarried couples can face difficulties being granted a dependant’s visa In Japan, for example, although unmarried partners are not recognised as legal dependants, if there are children, separate visa arrangements may be possible. In Malaysia it is possible to obtain a long term social pass for a non-married partner but it does depend on the nationality of the applicants. Same-sex partnerships also has differing eligibility for visas, ranging from Australia where no distinction is made to others, for example in Thailand, where a multiple entry tourist visa is the only alternative, even for unmarried heterosexual partners In the majority of the Asia Pacific countries mentioned in this article there is little difficulty in obtaining a student visa, if one is required, so long as the principal visa applicant is granted their visa. There are many resources to obtain information regarding immigration and visa issues, from the trade department of host country embassies/consulates, chambers of commerce and host country business groups. RELOC8, for example, give practical advise and updates on key assignment news and issues at: www.reloc8asia.com

  Article created: December 2012.

Pacific Orientation Immigration | Tel. +66 (0)2 653 0805 | Email: info@pacificorientationimmigration.com | Pacific Orientation Relocation Services Co.,Ltd. Suite 1101, 11th floor, Two Pacific Place, 142 Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110 THAILAND
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