Virginia, US

Dec 09 2016

Fragomen Immigration Update: December 1-8, 2016

Costa Rica, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Israel, Romania, Thailand, United States

In United States immigration news this week, nonimmigrant visa appointments at the U.S. Consulate in Chennai were temporarily suspended from December 5-7, 2016.  Visa applicants affected by the suspension must reschedule their appointments through the Consulate's online system.

In Costa Rica, new government rules will reduce nationality groups from four to two, among other changes to visa requirements. Notably, visa nationals will no longer be able to use a valid multiple-entry visa from Japan, the European Union and/or the Schengen countries as an exemption to the visa requirement. 

In India, the annual salary threshold for foreign nationals to be eligible for the employment visa category will be changed to INR 1,625,000 from USD 25,000. In Indonesia, Dependents' Telex VITAS (Limited Stay Visa Pre-Approval) applications can no longer be filed simultaneously with the primary visa applicant's Telex VITAS application and Telex VITAS sponsor letters must now be signed by a company director.

In Romania, foreign nationals and employers should expect a delayed 2017 work permit quota announcement and therefore, delayed work authorization approvals for applications still pending in the beginning of 2017. In Denmark, work and residence permit applications submitted on or after January 1, 2017 will be subject to a new minimum salary level of DKK 408,000 per year.

These items and other news from Israel, Denmark and Thailand follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, December 6, 2016
U.S. Consulate in Chennai Cancels Nonimmigrant Visa Appointments Through December 7

Nonimmigrant visa applicants with appointments scheduled for December 5-7, 2016 must reschedule through the Consulate's online appointment system.  The Consulate expects to resume visa appointments on December 8.

To view entire article, click here.

Denmark, December 8, 2016
Pay Limit Scheme Minimum Salary Level to be Increased

Foreign nationals must earn at least DKK 408,000 per year to qualify for a residence and work permit under the Pay Limit scheme if the work and residence permit application is submitted on or after January 1, 2017. Applications submitted prior to January 1, 2017 will be subject to the current DKK 400,000 threshold.

To view entire article, click here.

Canada, December 7, 2016
Streamlined Process Forthcoming for Spousal Visa Applications

On or after December 15, 2016, most spousal visa applications submitted in and outside Canada will be processed within 12 months, and the application process will be streamlined and simplified. Additionally, IRCC is extending the pilot program which allows eligible spouses or partners to work while their permanent residence applications are pending from December 22, 2016 until December 21, 2017.

To view entire article, click here.

Costa Rica, December 6, 2016
New Visa Rules to Consolidate Visa Categories and Change Certain Visa Exemptions

Effective December 14, new government rules will reduce nationality groups from four to two. Notably, visa nationals will no longer be able to use a valid multiple-entry visa from Japan, the European Union and/or the Schengen countries as an exemption to the visa requirement.  New visa exemptions will apply for nationals of Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Peru, Qatar, Taiwan, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates.

To view entire article, click here.

Indonesia, December 6, 2016
Changes to Telex VITAS Process for Dependents and Sponsor Letter Signatories

Dependents' Telex VITAS (Limited Stay Visa Pre-Approval) applications can no longer be filed simultaneously with the primary visa applicant's Telex VITAS application, which will prolong the overall processing time for dependent visa applications. Additionally, Telex VITAS sponsor letters must now be signed by a company director.

To view entire article, click here.

India, December 2, 2016
Minimum Salary Threshold to be Simplified

As part of the Indian government's efforts to simplify the Indian visa system, the annual salary threshold for foreign nationals to be eligible for the employment visa category will be changed to INR 1,625,000 from USD 25,000. The reason for the change from USD to an amount in INR is primarily to protect employers and foreign employees from falling below the threshold due to foreign exchange fluctuation.

To view entire article, click here.

Romania, December 2, 2016
Work Authorization Quota Announcement Likely to be Delayed

Due to typical delays associated with the announcement of work authorization quota levels for the year and the upcoming elections in Romania, foreign nationals and employers should expect a delayed 2017 work permit quota announcement and therefore, delayed work authorization approvals for applications still pending in the beginning of 2017.

To view entire article, click here.

Other Immigration News This Week

Denmark: Appointments Will Be Required for Biometrics Registration in Copenhagen - On or after January 23, 2017, foreign nationals will need to schedule an appointment to register their biometrics at the Danish Agency of Recruitment and Integration (SIRI) in Copenhagen. Appointments can be scheduled starting January 16, 2017, but will be mandatory on or after January 23.  To schedule an appointment, applicants should use the link provided by Fragomen once the application has been submitted, which will direct the applicant to the authorities' scheduling system. Other cities' biometrics processes will remain unchanged.

Israel: Clarification for Business Travelers - Despite recently published articles in Israeli newspapers suggesting that business visitors should obtain a work visa prior to entry to Israel, there have not been any new rules issued regarding this matter.  Business visitors participating in business meetings, negotiations, passive training and other activities that are not considered productive can continue to enter under a visitor visa.  Those who seek to conduct hands-on, installation or repair work, to name a few activities, regardless of the duration of stay or source of payroll, require a work visa prior to entry.  Business travelers should contact their immigration professional with any questions. We worked closely with Kan-Tor & Acco Law Firm (Israel) to prepare this update.

Thailand: Visa-on-Arrival Fees Temporarily Reduced - Thailand's Ministry of Interior has announced a temporary reduction of visa-on-arrival (VOA) fees as of December 1, 2016 through February 28, 2017. During this period, travelers eligible to apply for a VOA will only need to pay THB 1,000 (approximately USD 28), half of the required fee of THB 2,000 (approximately USD 54). Nationals of the following countries are eligible to apply for a VOA: Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. A VOA may be obtained at designated immigration checkpoints throughout Thailand. Business activities are allowed under VOA status, although business visitors who enter under a VOA are generally not allowed to apply for extensions of stay beyond the 15-day period granted upon entry, except in special cases such as serious illness that prevents travel.

Global Immigration News Links

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.


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