Virginia, US

Jun 17 2016

Fragomen Immigration Update: June 10 - 16, 2016

Australia, Azerbaijan, Botswana, Canada, India, Mozambique, Qatar, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, United States
In United States immigration news this week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has determined that it will only accept employment-based adjustment applications next month from foreign nationals with a priority date that is current for final action under the State Department's July Visa Bulletin.  The State of Colorado has repealed a law requiring employers to prepare and retain a written affirmation that they verified the work authorization status of new employees, effective August 20, 2016.
 
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada conducted its 36th Express Entry draw; the number of invitations remained low as in recent draws.
 
On July 1, the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection will implement new qualifying criteria for Accredited Sponsors and introduce a streamlined processing program for eligible subclass 457 Accredited Sponsors.
 
Following the announcement that foreign nationals in India must file South African visa applications at a VFS center, VFS is now requiring additional supporting documents for Intra-company Transfer Work Visa Permit applications.
 
The labor authorities in Mozambique have set the minimum wages for several economic sectors with a retroactive effective date of April 1, 2016.  Foreign nationals seeking to visit Botswana for short-term work can again apply for short-term work permits, following the temporary moratorium of the program last December.  
 
These items and other news from Azerbaijan, Canada, Qatar, Sweden, Turkey and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.
 
 
Important Updates in Immigration This Week
 
United States, June 10, 2016
July Visa Bulletin Update: USCIS to Honor Employment-Based Final Action Dates Only Next Month
 
In July, USCIS will only accept employment-based adjustment applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is current for final action under the State Department’s July Visa Bulletin.  
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Sweden, June 16, 2016
Employers Must Include Insurance Certificates in Some Work Permit Applications
 
The Migration Board is enforcing the rule that employers must provide certain types of insurance coverage to all employees. Therefore, employers must include insurance certificates for mandatory coverage in renewal work permit applications and new work permit applications for applicants who have worked in Sweden in the seven years. 
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Canada, June 15, 2016
Latest Express Entry Draw Remains Low
 
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will invite 752 candidates to apply for permanent residence in this Express Entry draw. The number of invitations remains low, as in recent draws.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Australia, June 14, 2016
New Criteria for Subclass 457 Visa Sponsors and Streamlined Processing Program Forthcoming
 
On July 1, 2016, the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection will implement new qualifying criteria for Accredited Sponsors and will reduce the requisite volume of applications that a sponsor must file to qualify for Accredited Sponsor status.  Additionally, a streamlined processing program for eligible subclass 457 Accredited Sponsors will become available on that date.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Mozambique, June 13, 2016
Minimum Wages Announced
 
Labor authorities have set new minimum wages for several economic sectors. The minimum wages are in effect retroactively from April 1, 2016. Sectors such as production and distribution of electricity, gas, water and the mining industry were increased by 12.5%, 11.75% and 10.11%, respectively.  
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
South Africa/India, June 10, 2016
Additional Documentation Required for Visa Applications Submitted to VFS in India
 
Intra-company Transfer Work Visa Permit applicants in India must now include additional supporting documentation with their skills transfer plan, including the national identification, educational qualifications and resume of the local worker included in the skills transfer plan.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Botswana, June 10, 2016
Short-Term Work Permit Program Moratorium Ends
 
Foreign nationals seeking to visit Botswana for short-term work can now again apply for a short-term work permit, following the temporary moratorium of the program last December.  The application steps have changed for the program.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Other Immigration News This Week
 
United States: Colorado Repeals Employment Verification Attestation Law – The state of Colorado—an early forerunner among states seeking to regulate immigration at the local level—has repealed a 2006 law requiring employers to prepare and retain a written affirmation that they have examined each new employee's work authorization status and to retain copies of documents the employee presents in conjunction with completing an I-9 federal employment eligibility verification form. The repeal takes effect on August 20, 2016.
 
In passing the new law (H.B. 16-1114), the Colorado General Assembly declared that "the employment verification affirmation does nothing to prevent individuals who are ineligible for employment from entering the workforce and places additional requirements on businesses that are unnecessary and redundant." The Colorado Division of Labor and Employment will, however, still have the right to request documentation from employers showing compliance with I-9 requirements, and the agency's Director may still conduct random audits of employers to ensure I-9 compliance.
 
This new law does not repeal a separate Colorado law that requires state contractors to certify that they participate either in E-Verify or in the state-administered alternative. However, given that the state program will no longer exist as of August 20, 2016, the default requirement for state contractors in Colorado will be to participate in E-Verify.
 
Azerbaijan: Work Permit Exemption Expanded – Foreign heads and deputy heads of legal entities established in Azerbaijan and specialists conducting shipbuilding activities contracted by Garadagh Industrial Park residents are now eligible for a work permit exemption, according to amendments to the Migration Code.  Shipbuilding specialists must have a university or professional degree and at least one year experience in shipbuilding to qualify for the exemption. Eligible foreign nationals should contact their immigration professional for more information on the exemptions. 
 
Azerbaijan: Online E-Visa Portal Forthcoming – An online e-visa issuing system, called ASAN Visa, will be established that should streamline the visa application process. Eligible foreign nationals will be able to obtain supporting documents, submit their visa applications and receive an e-visa within three days of submission through the portal. The list of eligible nationals is expected to be available soon on the Foreign Ministry website.
 
Canada: Dependents Category Quota Increased – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has increased its originally projected quota for spouses, partners and dependent children of Canadian citizens and permanent residents by 14,000 spaces. This should reduce the application backlog and speed up processing times for overseas applications received through the family class and the spouse or common-law partner in Canada class (in-country processing). Interested applicants can contact their immigration professional for application assistance.
 
Canada: Technology Firms Likely to See Faster Processing – The Immigration Minister held a consultation that identified areas where it will seek public input this summer to make it easier for technology companies to hire skilled foreign workers. The Immigration Minister mentioned that the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is considering options such as faster visa processing and a potential exemption from the Labour Market Impact Assessment process for technology firms.  More information will be provided when developments occur.
 
Qatar/Turkey: Short-Term Visa Waiver Agreement Signed – Effective immediately, Qatari nationals can travel to Turkey for up to 90 days and holders of Turkish passports are eligible for a 30-day visa-on-arrival in Qatar for tourism purposes only. Turkish nationals will require a pre-arranged visa for work or business activities. Qatari nationals can conduct business in Turkey under the visa waiver program for up to 90 days, but those seeking employment must secure a work permit in advance.
 
 
Global Immigration News Links
 
Ahead of the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of President Obama's executive actions on immigration, activists are shining a light on the undocumented immigrants who will be excluded from deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) and potentially parents of Americans (DAPA), no matter the outcome of the hearing. 
 
A report by the Migration Policy Institute explores the evolution of Canada’s immigration policies.
 
A widely held perception that migrants are usurping resources and depressing wages is swaying the vote on ‘Brexit,’ US News reports.  CNN looks at what immigration will look like if Britain leaves the EU.
 
This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.