Virginia, US

Jan 22 2016

Fragomen Immigration Update: January 15 - 21, 2016

China, Guatemala, Netherlands, Taiwan, Tanzania, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States
 
In United States immigration news this week, DHS has announced the immediate implementation of Visa Waiver Program travel restrictions. 
 
New immigration policies in China should make it easier for highly-skilled foreign nationals, foreign students, investors and certain others to obtain Permanent Residence status in Beijing under a pilot program that starts March 1. 
 
Taiwan has launched an electronic visa application system for business visitors and tourists, allowing nationals of 27 countries to apply for visas online. Taiwan’s Ministry of Labor proposes to ease the qualifications and criteria for hiring skilled foreign nationals.
 
Turkey has increased the 2016 minimum salary level for foreign workers. 
 
In an effort to limit foreign workers in the country, the United Kingdom’s Migration Advisory Committee has proposed Tier 2 restrictions, including a higher minimum salary level and an extended labor market test requirement for in-country status transfers, among other recommendations.  
 
Entry rules for the Netherlands’ Foreign Investors Scheme will be relaxed in July 2016 to attract more applicants.  
 
These items and other news from Guatemala and Tanzania follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.
 
 
Important Updates in Immigration This Week
 
United States, January 21, 2016
U.S. Government Implements New Visa Waiver Program Restrictions 
 
Travelers who are dual nationals of a Visa Waiver Program country and Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria are prohibited from using the Visa Waiver Program for business or tourism effective immediately.  Nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria since March 1, 2011 may no longer use the program unless they qualify for an exemption or obtain a waiver.  Individuals subject to the VWP travel restrictions must obtain a B-1/B-2 visa from a U.S. consulate to visit the United States for business or tourism.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Netherlands, January 20, 2016
Investment Visa Rules to be Eased
 
Foreign Investors scheme entry rules will be relaxed in July 2016 to attract more applicants. Key changes will include a longer visa duration, a revised assessment framework, and the elimination of an accountant report requirement. 
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
United Kingdom, January 19, 2016
English Language Test Proposed for Spousal Visa Applicants
 
Spousal visa holders would be required to prove English language knowledge at a higher threshold when they apply for visa renewal after two and a half years, if a proposed policy change is approved by Parliament. If approved, the changes would likely take effect October 2016.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Turkey, January 19, 2016
Minimum Salary Significantly Increased
 
The 2016 minimum salary level for foreign workers has increased to TRY 1,647 per month (approximately USD 542.55). 
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
United Kingdom, January 19, 2016
Tier 2 Restrictions Proposed
 
The Migration Advisory Committee has proposed Tier 2 restrictions including a higher minimum salary level, an Immigration Skills Charge, an extended labor market test requirement for in-country status transfers and a greater work experience requirement, among other recommendations aimed at limiting foreign workers in the United Kingdom.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Taiwan, January 18, 2016
Eased Qualifications and Criteria Proposed for Skilled Foreign Workers
 
The Ministry of Labor has proposed to ease the qualifications and criteria for hiring foreign nationals, including a new points system that would offer a sponsorship option for foreign workers who are not qualified under the current eligibility requirements.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Taiwan, January 15, 2016
Electronic Visa Application System Launched
 
Taiwan has launched an electronic visa application system for business visitors and tourists, allowing nationals of 27 countries to apply for visas online. Eligible visiting relatives and international conference or sporting event attendees can also utilize the eVisa system. 
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
China, January 15, 2016
Relaxed Immigration Rules and Procedures Forthcoming for Foreign Nationals in Beijing
 
New immigration policies should make it easier for four main categories of foreign nationals to obtain Permanent Residence status in Beijing, including highly-skilled foreign nationals, overseas Chinese, foreign students and investors or those starting businesses in Beijing Zhongguancun Science Park. The changes will be piloted starting March 1, 2016. There are also plans to extend the visa-free policy from 72 hour-stays to 144 hour-stays for some nationals. 
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Other Immigration News This Week
 
Guatemala: New Endorsement Process; Personal Appearance Now Required – Effective January 11, 2016, visas are no longer stamped but instead are endorsed as a sticker in the foreign national's passport. As a result, foreign nationals now must appear at the General Immigration Directorate for endorsement of the Residence Permit, Student Visa and Business Visa; and transfer of endorsement to a new passport. Starting January 18, foreign nationals will need to be present to renew Permanent Residence and to transfer endorsement of Permanent Residence to a new passport, if the residence was granted before July 15, 2014.
 
Tanzania:  Residence Permit Required for Foreign Workers – The Tanzanian immigration authorities have issued a formal reminder that foreign nationals under Long-Term and Short-Term Work Permits must apply for a residence permit to work and reside in the country, according to the Tanzania Immigration Act. Failure to comply with this law may result in arrest, a fine and/or imprisonment. Employers with foreign workers who refuse to comply with the law must contact the immigration authorities.
 
 
Global Immigration News Links
 
The U.S. Supreme Court will consider a legal challenge to President Obama’s executive action providing relief to undocumented immigrants; the Court is expected to rule on the issue by late June, the Washington Post reports.
 
The Senate has blocked a bill that would have tightened screening procedures on refugees from Syria and Iraq, according to the New York Times. The bill, known as the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015 (H.R. 4038), was passed overwhelmingly in the House late last year. 
 
 
The population of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. has fallen below 11 million, continuing a nearly decade-long decline, the Washington Post reports.
 
This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.