Preferential measures aimed at facilitating the stay in the national territory and improving access to health care
In COVID 19 circumstances, a number of OECD countries have offered certain categories of immigrants to benefit from general assistance measures or to remain in their territory. These include, under varying conditions, Germany, Chile, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, ‘Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Portugal, Czech Republic and United Kingdom. Other countries continue to require formal requests, but the option to stay is generally offered, especially to individuals who cannot return home (Korea, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden), and exceptional visa extensions are granted to certain categories of visa holders. We are providing future of investment migration programmes with safe lives in COVID 19 situation.
Employment restrictions have been relaxed some cases to cope with the changes induced by the pandemic. Among the concessions specially granted to holders of temporary visas are the abolition of the maximum number of working hours that students are authorized to perform (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland) or the possibility of teleworking (Austria, Belgium, Denmark). In our country, a zero-interest loan of EUR 650 paid monthly to university students until March 2021 is also available to international students. A few countries have also relaxed the rules for changing employers, reducing the number of hours worked, or working for reduced pay if changes in employment conditions are related to COVID (e.g. Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, and United Kingdom). In the USA,
Finally, in accordance with the WHO guidelines on preventing and combating the coronavirus disease among refugees and immigrants, all categories of immigrants have access, in most OECD countries, to a burden of COVID-19. Some countries such as France or Belgium already offered free universal access to health care. Others, like Portugal, have provisionally regularized all illegal immigrants in order to guarantee them full access to health. In most OECD countries, medical care cannot be denied to anyone, but treatment is sometimes chargeable.
- Adapt the service offer during the pandemic
Issuance of new visas
However, around half of OECD countries continue to process visa or permit applications abroad, especially for permanent / long-term residence permits or renewals, while others do not deal only exceptionally with requests. The United States decided at the end of April to suspend, until the end of June, the processing of pending immigration applications, and to examine by the end of May the conditions of issuance of new “non-immigrant” visas.
Even in countries that continue to process visa applications, immigration offices are closed or operate with restricted access to the public, resulting in delays. Meetings and face-to-face interviews, biometric data collection appointments and medical examinations are generally suspended. However, in a few countries, applications can now be submitted online or by post. Canada has decided that no pending applications will be closed or denied on the grounds of missing documents due to COVID-19. Only one country, Chile, has recently moved towards 100% digital visa issuance (this is already the case in Australia, for example), which promotes continuity of services.