Virginia, US

Feb 05 2016

Fragomen Immigration Update: January 29 - February 4, 2016

Canada, China, Germany, Republic of Guinea, Romania, United Kingdom, United States
 
In immigration news this week, United Kingdom's Registered Traveller service has been expanded to eligible foreign nationals from Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Australian and New Zealand nationals seeking to stay in the United Kingdom for more than six months or renewing their visa in country will no longer be exempt from the immigration health surcharge starting April 6. 
 
In Canada, foreign nationals in the television and film industry will be eligible for an exemption from the Labour Market Impact Assessment requirement under the International Mobility Program starting February 17.
 
Employers in the Republic of Guinea who seek to hire non-Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) workers must comply with a localization plan requirement. Those who already employ non-ECOWAS foreign workers have 90 days to provide their Africanization plan. 
 
In Germany, processing times for employment visa applicants and their dependents with a previous long-term stay should decrease by several weeks due to amended rules that became effective December 29, 2015.
 
These items and other news from China, Romania and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.
 
 
Important Updates in Immigration This Week
 
United Kingdom, February 4, 2016
Health Surcharge Exemption Eliminated for Australian and New Zealand Nationals
 
On or after April 6, 2016, Australian and New Zealand nationals seeking to stay in the United Kingdom for more than six months or renewing their visa in country will no longer be exempt from the immigration health surcharge.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Canada, February 4, 2016
Labour Market Impact Assessment Exemption Created for Television and Film Production Workers
 
On or after February 17, 2016, foreign nationals in the television and film industry will be eligible for an exemption from the Labour Market Impact Assessment requirement under the International Mobility Program.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Republic of Guinea, February 4, 2016
New Localization Requirement for Employers Hiring Foreign Workers
 
Guinean employers must comply with a localization plan requirement for non-Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) workers.  Employers who already employ non-ECOWAS foreign workers have 90 days to provide their Africanization plan. The review of the Africanization plan may delay work permit approvals.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
United Kingdom, February 2, 2016
Registered Traveller Service Expanded
 
The Registered Traveller service has been expanded to eligible foreign nationals from Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Additionally, Bristol and Cardiff Airports will be added to the list of participating airports. 
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Germany, February 2, 2016
Application Process Streamlined for Employment and Family Reunion Visas
 
Processing times for employment visa applicants and their dependents with a previous long-term stay in Germany should decrease by several weeks due to amended rules that became effective December 29, 2015.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Other Immigration News This Week
 
United States: Latest PERM Processing Times – As of February 1, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) was conducting analyst reviews for PERM applications filed in August 2015 or earlier and processing audited cases filed in January 2015 or earlier. The government error queue is current. DOL is working on standard reconsideration requests submitted in September 2015 or earlier.
 
PERM processing times are available on the iCERT home page.
 
China: Shanghai's Relaxed Immigration Rules Now Effective – The immigration policy changes that were piloted starting in July 2015 became effective January 30, 2016, according to a recent government announcement.  The changes include relaxed eligibility criteria for Permanent Residence and R (Talent) Visa status and the extension of the visa-free policy from 72 hours to 144 hours.  
 
Specifically, the 144-hour visa-free policy is effective in the Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces, and applies to business travelers and tourists from 51 countries. Foreign travelers entering under the visa-free policy can now enter by ship and rail as well as through select airports. The policy also eliminates the limit for visitors to travel to one city, and instead allows travel all over the Yangtze River Delta under the administered zone in the Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces.
 
Romania: Looming Quota Announcement May Cause Work Permit Delays – Because the Romanian government has not yet announced the 2016 quota numbers for foreign workers, pending work authorization applications will not be approved for at least 30 business days, or until the numbers are announced. Generally, caseworkers will file requests for 15-day extensions or may re-file applications when the new quotas are announced. The announcement is expected within the next few weeks. Affected travelers should contact their immigration professional to discuss their application status.
 
 
Global Immigration News Links
 
Two recent surveys of key issues for voters in the United States and Britain noted a marked rise in concerns about immigration
 
Australia’s highest court has backed the government’s hard line on detention of asylum seekers in poor Pacific nations, in a ruling likely to be watched globally as Europe battles its own migrant crisis, the Wall Street Journal 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.