Global Immigration Updates: Singapore, Argentina, Malaysia, Israel, United States, and European Union

January 24, 2019

Recent immigration updates include new requirements for dependant’s pass holders in Singapore, an increase in the prevailing wage for foreign experts in Israel, and increased wait times for airport security checkpoints in the United States, among other developments.


New Requirements for Dependant’s Pass Holders in Singapore

In Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) recently issued new requirements for S Pass and Dependant’s Pass applicants and revised the work pass administrative fees.

1.    Minimum qualifying salary for S Pass applicants increased

As of January 1, 2019, the minimum qualifying salary for S Pass holders increased from $2,200 to $2,300. This applies to new S Pass applications.

Existing S Passes that will expire between January 1, 2019, and June 30, 2019, can be renewed for up to one year based on the pre-2019 salary requirement. Existing S Passes that will expire from July 1, 2019, will need to meet the minimum qualifying $2,300 salary in order to be renewed.

2.    Verification of vaccination requirement for Dependant’s Pass applicants

Effective February 1, 2019, foreign-born children ages 12 years and under who are applying for the Dependant’s Pass or Long-Term Visit Pass issued by the MOM, or the Student's Pass issued by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), are required to submit documented proof of vaccination or evidence of immunity for diphtheria and measles to the Health Promotion Board (HPB) for verification. They will have to do so before they proceed with their applications to MOM or ICA for a long-term stay in Singapore. Existing pass holders will not be subject to the requirements when renewing their passes or applying for new passes.

HPB requires the following documents to be submitted:

  • Immunization registration form certified by a medical doctor
  • Copy of the child’s vaccination records
  • Copy of the child’s birth certificate
  • Copy of the child’s travel documents
  • Copy of the parent’s Singapore National Registration Identity Card (if applicable) or passport

There is an application fee of $35 and the processing time for verification is around 10 working days. After the documents are verified, the applicant will receive a “Verification of Vaccination Requirements (VR) (for entry to Singapore)” document, which is valid for a specified period of time (depending on the age of the applicant). This document will be required when applying for a new long-term immigration pass with MOM or ICA.

3.    Work pass administrative fees adjustments

From April 1, 2019, the application and issuance/renewal fees will increase for the Employment Pass, S Pass, work permit, and other passes administered by the MOM.


New Office Created to Handle Expedited Requests for Criminal Records Certificates

In an effort to expedite the processing of requests for criminal records certificates, Argentina has established a new National Register of Recidivism, which will reduce the time it takes to issue such documents to one hour. This office will be open from Monday to Friday, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm.


Immigration Regulation on Processing of Professional Visit Pass Applications

As of January 15, 2019, an applicant is only allowed to possess a Professional Visit Pass with a maximum duration of 12 months. If an extension is required after 12 months, the company will be required to apply for an Employment Pass at that time.


Increase in Prevailing Wage for Foreign Experts

The minimum prevailing wage for foreign experts has been increased from NIS 19,604 (approximately estimated to be $5,336) per month in 2018 to NIS 20,278 (approximately estimated to be $5,520) per month. The following sources and benefits may be included in this calculation so long as they are detailed on the foreign worker’s pay slip:

  • Gross salary
  • Unconditional per diem payments
  • Unconditional monthly relocation compensation
  • Unconditional monthly international travel allowances (for home visits)
  • Unconditional monthly bonus
  • Any other unconditional monthly payment made to the employee

Note: Foreign nationals under Short Employment Authorization visas or three-month work (STEP) visas are not affected by this increase.

Increase in Filing Fees for Business Visa and Work Permit Applications

The government filing fee for a B-1 work visa with a duration of more than 6 months is now NIS 9,795 (approximately estimated to be $2,666). The fee for submitting a work permit application have increased this year to NIS 1,210 (approximately estimated to be $329).

Recent Rise in Denial of Entries

As a result of the increased coordination between Israeli governing bodies, there has been a significant increase in the number of denials of entries into Israel over the last several years. In 2018 alone, 19,000 foreign nationals were denied entry into Israel, for reasons including suspicion of dual intent and suspicion of immigrant intent.

The Ministry of Interior, Border Control, and inspection units now exercise a complete sharing of information among their authorities, as well as cross-sharing of information with immigration authorities of other countries. In cases where a denial occurs, the foreign national is returned to his/her home country, as quickly as possible, often with no opportunity to appeal the decision. Border Control has the ultimate discretion to deny entry to a foreign national.

United States

Delays Expected at Travel Security Checkpoints During Partial Government Shutdown

Due to the ongoing partial US government shutdown, which began December 22, 2018, travelers are advised to expect increased wait times on Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport security lines. To avoid any potential disruption of travel plans, the TSA recommends that travelers arrive at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights to provide sufficient time to get though security lines.

European Union

No-Deal Brexit Plans for UK Nationals Published

A number of EU member states, including Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Sweden, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, and Switzerland, have published plans for the treatment of UK nationals residing overseas after March 29, 2019, in case of a no-deal Brexit. If you require further details on the requirements for any of these countries, please reach out to a member of our global immigration team.


If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this LawFlash, please contact the following Morgan Lewis lawyer:

Jennifer Connolly