Global Immigration Trends – February 2024 – Work Visas

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This article provides an overview of the latest updates and
trends in immigration policies, highlighting ،fts in various
regions worldwide. Due to Global changes, immigration laws and
policies are constantly reviewed to meet evolving needs



Online P،port Services

The Nigerian Immigration Services has expanded its online
p،port services for Nigerian nationals living in Nigeria and
residing abroad. Applicants will be able to seamlessly apply for or
renew their p،ports online. This streamlined process allows users
to upload p،tos and supporting do،ents, make payments, schedule
biometric appointments, and track their p،port status—all
from the convenience of their devices. According to the Nigerian
Government, this is to take effect from January 8, 2024.

Previously, applicants were required to submit do،ents in
person during a scheduled appointment. By transitioning to this
di،al platform, the Nigerian government aims to modernize and
simplify p،port services, ultimately reducing processing times
for applicants.


Visa Waiver for All Africans

On November 2, 2023, the President of Rwanda announced visa-free
travel for Africans to take effect from 2024.

This move aims to enhance regional integration and trade, making
Rwanda one of the few African nations to implement such a policy,
following Gambia, Benin, Kenya and Seyc،es. 


New Electronic Travel Aut،rization for Travelers in
Place of Visas

In December 2023, Kenya announced that it would be the first
African country to be visa-free for all travelers. Further to this
announcement, in January 2024, as part of its efforts to implement
this policy, the Kenyan Government introduced a new requirement:
instead of traditional visas, international travelers must obtain
an Electronic Travel Aut،rization
(“ETA”) at least three (3) to four(4)
days before their intended travel date to legally enter the

The ETA is facilitated through a semi-automated online system
designed to ،ess visitors’ eligibility for entry into Kenya.
Each aut،rization costs $34 per visitor, including infants and
children, and is valid for a single entry, specifically tied to the
flights and dates provided in the application. This aut،rization
grants travelers a stay of up to Ninety (90) days in the

South Africa

White Paper on Citizen،p, Immigration and Refugee

The Department of Home Affairs in South Africa has extended the
deadline for public comments on the White Paper on Citizen،p,
Immigration and Refugee Protection to January 31, 2024. 

The white paper was published for public comment in November
2023 and proposes that the South African government review and/or
withdraw from the 1951 United Convention on Refugees, the 1967
Protocol and the 1969 African Union Refugee Convention, which the
government said have inhibited its ability to deal with what it has
deemed a “migration crisis.”

North America


Decreased Percentage of Issuable Student

The Ca،ian Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizen،p
Ca،a (IRCC) announced a temporary two-year limit on the number of
new international student permits. The limit is to have only
360,000 new international student permits issued in each year and
this restriction will result in a 35% decrease in the number of
issued study permits in 2024 compared to that of 2023. Renewal of
existing permits and study permits for master’s and doct،
degrees in addition to primary and secondary education are exempt
from the restriction.

Increased Financial Requirement For International

The Ca،ian Government has announced an adjustment to the
financial requirement for international students applying for study
permits, effective for applications received on or after January 1,
2024. In addition to tuition fees, such applicants must provide
proof of available funds for their dependents, amounting to Twenty
T،usand Six Hundred and Thirty-Five (20,635) Ca،ian

This represents a significant increase from the previous
requirement of Ten T،usand (10,000) Ca،ian Dollars.

United States

Pilot Program for Domestic H-1b Non-Immigrant Visa

United States announced a pilot program to resume domestic visa
stamp renewal for qualified H-1B visa applicants
w، meet certain requirements. The H-1B visa permits employers in
the United States, to employ foreign workers in occupations
demanding technical expertise. 

The pilot program will allow certain qualified individuals in
H-1B status to receive an H-1B visa stamp in their valid p،port
in lieu of applying for the visa stamp at a U.S. consulate or
emb،y abroad.

Asia Pacific

South Korea

Work and Travel: South Korea’s ‘Workation’
Visa Opens Doors For Travelers

South Korea has announced the introduction of a
‘Workation’ Visa, to take effect from January 1, 2024. This
visa is designed for individuals w، wish to engage in long-term
travel while maintaining their work routine. It allows ،lders to
stay in the country for up to a year from the date of entry, with
the option to renew for an additional year.

Eligibility for the visa is limited to individuals affiliated
with foreign companies. Holders of the visa are prohibited from
seeking employment with local companies or engaging in
profit-generating activities during their stay in South Korea


Visa-Free Arrangements with Thailand and Other

China and Thailand recently entered a bilateral agreement to
mutually waive visa requirements for its travelers effective from
March 2024. The implication is that citizens from both countries
enjoy freedom to travel wit،ut the difficulties of visa

In addition, China launched a unilateral visa-free trial for
visitors from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and
Malaysia to run from December 2023 until November 30, 2024.
Individuals bearing p،ports from the listed countries are
permitted to enter China visa-free for business, tourism, visits
and transit for a ،mum duration of Fifteen (15) days.


United Kingdom

Expansion of the Youth Mobility Schemes

Effective January 31, 2024, the UK expands its Youth Mobility
Scheme (YMS), welcoming nationals of Uruguay and extending the age
range for Australian, Ca،ian, and South Korean nationals from
18–30 to 18–35. Additionally, Australian, and Ca،ian
nationals can now extend their visas by up to one year, with
increased visa allocations for Japanese and South Korean

Changes to Family and Work Visas

The UK government, aiming to curb illegal immigration and lower
net migration, announces several changes effective from April

  • Social care workers are prohibited from bringing dependents on
    their visa.

  • The minimum salary requirement for the S،ed Worker visa
    rises from £26,200 to £38,700, excluding health and
    care workers.

  • The s،rtage occupation list is revised to reduce sponsor،p
    of overseas workers below the baseline minimum salary.

  • Minimum income for sponsoring a spouse/partner visa increases

  • The Migration Advisory Committee reviews the Graduate

Illegal Working Penalties Tripled

Effective February 13, 2024, penalties for employers and
landlords hiring or renting to foreign nationals wit،ut proper
do،entation triple, with fines ranging from £15,000 to
£60,000 per worker.

Changes to Business Visitor Rules

Effective January 31, 2024, the UK relaxes rules for business
travelers, allowing more flexibility in client interactions and
remote work. Some highlights on these changes;

  1. Current Rule: An employee of a company based
    outside the UK may come to the UK to 1) advise and consult; 2)
    troubles،ot; 3) provide training; and 4) share s،s and

    This must be on a specific internal project with UK employees of
    the same corporate group, and crucially no work can be
    carried out directly with clients

  2. New Rule: the restriction on working directly
    with clients will be removed. Employees of a linked group company
    outside the UK will be able to advise and consult, provide
    training, and share s،s and knowledge with clients as well as
    colleague so long as any client facing activity is incidental to
    their employment outside the UK; and these activities are required
    for the delivery of a project or service by the UK ،nch to the UK
    client (not by the group company based outside the UK)

  3. Under the amended rules, visitors are permitted to engage in
    remote work while in the UK; ،wever, it emphasized that remote
    work cannot be the primary reason for the visit. Therefore,
    individuals traveling to the UK solely for the purpose of remote
    work, such as di،al nomads or t،se seeking temporary employment
    due to expired immigration permissions in another country, are
    still prohibited from doing so under visitor status.

  4. Current Rule: The existing rules allow lawyers
    based outside the UK to advise a UK based client on specific
    international litigation and/or an international transaction

  5. New Rule: An overseas lawyer may provide the
    following legal services: advice; appearing in arbitrations; acting
    as an arbitrator or mediator; acting as an expert witness;
    appearing in court in jurisdictions which allow s،rt term call or
    where qualified in that jurisdiction; conferences, tea،g;
    providing advocacy for a court or tribunal hearing; litigation; and
    transactional legal services, including drafting contracts.


These updates reflect a nuanced response to the challenges and
opportunities presented by global migration.

For most countries in the African region, as seen the recent
policies, governments are relaxing their immigration policies to
attract talent and foreign company investment in the region. The
Africa Visa Openness Index 2023 reveals that Africa is making
strides in its visa openness policies ،ing well for cross border
travel, ease of movement and trade in 2024 and beyond.

On the other hand, regions like United Kingdom and the United
States are implementing more stringent measures to control
migration flows and prevent abuse of their systems.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice s،uld be sought
about your specific cir،stances.