Virginia, US

Jun 26 2015

Fragomen Immigration Update: June 19 - 25, 2015

Afghanistan, Australia, China, Ecuador, India, Kenya, Norway, United States

In United States immigration news this week, the State Department has reconnected most consular posts to the worldwide visa system following persistent technical problems that rendered U.S. consular posts unable to process or issue visas. Posts have begun to issue visas, but it could take several weeks or more for the visa application backlog to be resolved.

Starting July 1, Taiwanese residents will be eligible for visa-free travel to mainland China using a Compatriot Travel Certificate only.

Indian nationals who hold a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card may apply for an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) document at an Indian Mission abroad or local registration office in India based on the jurisdiction of residence. They will no longer need to travel back to the place of issuance of the PIO card.

In Kenya, eVisa, an online platform for visa applicants will be launched on July 1, 2015. Following submission of the online application, visa nationals will be able to print an eVisa document and present it upon arrival.

In Norway, Residence and Work Permit applicants are subject to higher minimum salary requirements as of June 1.

These items and other news from Afghanistan, Australia, Ecuador and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, June 24, 2015
State Department Makes Progress With System Repairs, But Visa Delays Persist

The State Department has reconnected many consular posts to the worldwide visa system and some have begun to issue visas, but because biometrics processing has not yet been fully restored, many visa applications remain stalled.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Kenya, June 25, 2015
Online Visa Application System Introduced

An online platform for visa applicants - called eVisa – will be launched in Kenya on July 1, 2015. Following submission on the online application, visa nationals will be able to print out an eVisa document and present it upon arrival. Visa-exempt foreign nationals will be exempt from the eVisa requirement.

To view entire article, click here.

 

China, June 24, 2015
Visa Exemption for Taiwanese Residents Forthcoming

Starting July 1, Taiwanese residents will be eligible for visa-free travel to mainland China. They will instead be able to travel to mainland China using a Compatriot Travel Certificate, valid for either three months (for single entry) or five years (for multiple entries).

To view entire article, click here.

 

Ecuador, June 23, 2015
12-VI Work Contract Visa Holders Require Social Security Registration

Foreign nationals applying for 12-VI Work Contract Visas must submit proof of Social Security registration, which requires various corporate documentation and may delay the visa application if the documents are not timely prepared. Applicants can apply at the Ecuadorian Social Security Institute in person or through a duly-authorized representative.

To view entire article, click here.

 

India, June 23, 2015
OCI in Lieu of PIO Card Applications Now Accepted Locally or Abroad

Foreign nationals who hold PIO cards may apply for an OCI in lieu of PIO card at an Indian Mission abroad or local registration office in India based on the jurisdiction of residence. They will no longer need to travel back to the place of issuance of the PIO card, as was announced in April. Those who have held a valid PIO card as of January 9, 2015 can apply for the OCI in lieu of PIO card by September 30, 2015.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Norway, June 23, 2015
Minimum Salary Increased for Non-EU Workers

New and renewal Residence and Work Permit applicants must earn a minimum annual salary of NOK 381,000 (approximately USD 49,894) if they hold a bachelor’s degree (up from NOK 380,300) or NOK 410,500 (approximately USD 53,727) if they hold a master’s degree (up from NOK 409,700).

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Immigration News This Week

United States: DHS Designates Nepal for TPS – In the aftermath of severe earthquakes in the region, Nepal has been designated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for a period of eighteen months, from June 24, 2015 through December 24, 2016.

Eligible Nepalese nationals (and foreign nationals having no nationality who last habitually resided in Nepal) who have been both continuously residing and continuously physically present in the United States since June 24, 2015 may apply for TPS and work authorization (EAD) within the 180-day registration period that runs from June 24, 2015 through December 21, 2015.

Nepalese nationals can register for TPS by submitting an Application for Temporary Protected Status (Form I-821) with the form fee and an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765), even if no EAD is requested. Initial TPS applicants are exempt from the EAD filing fee. Both completed applications have to be submitted together. A waiver can be requested if an applicant is unable to pay the required fees.

United States: DHS Extends Initial Registration Period for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone for TPS – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended the initial Temporary Protected Status (TPS) registration period for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone for an additional 90 days, from May 21, 2015 through August 18, 2015. The extension of the initial registration period does not extend the period of the TPS designation.

On November 21, 2014, DHS published three notices in the Federal Register designating Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone for TPS, each for a period of 18 months, effective from November 21, 2014 through May 21, 2016. The original initial registration period, originally set to expire on May 20, 2015, has been extended with a new filing deadline of August 18, 2015, for all three countries.

To be eligible for TPS under the Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone designations, applicants must demonstrate that they have been continuously physically present in the United States since November 21, 2014, and have continuously resided in the United States since November 20, 2014. Additionally, those who previously submitted an application for TPS under the Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone designations and to whom USCIS previously returned the application based on the prior May 20, 2015 filing deadline may resubmit their complete application by August 18, 2015.

Afghanistan: Corporate Registration and Visa Deadline Extended for U.S. Contractors – The deadline for U.S. contractors in Afghanistan to obtain corporate registration and work authorization has been extended until September 1, 2015. Those present in Afghanistan after the deadline without a valid visa or business license may be subject to fines or judicial prosecution. In-country visa applications will not be allowed unless the contractor presents an entry stamp demonstrating arrival in the past 15 days. Contractors in some industries who have completed the registration process and obtained an Afghanistan Investment Support Agency license may be exempt from the registration requirement.

Australia: Strike Causes Immigration Clearance and Visa Processing Delays – Due to a strike of employees at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Australian Customs and Border Protection Services, travelers and visa applicants may experience delays at service centers at airports. Airports are expected to be affected on the following dates: Brisbane and Gold Coast: June 24; Melbourne: June 25; Adelaide and Cairns: June 26. Regular updates on impacted services will be available on the Australian Customs website and the Department website, as well as their official Facebook pages.

MARN: 0849574

 

Global Immigration News Links

U.S. Homeland Security officials announced plans to end the long-term detention of undocumented mothers with children caught crossing the border and to reduce wait times for initial interviews in the asylum process.

According to most economists, highly-skilled immigrants bring economic benefits to the U.S. and tend to complement the skills of U.S. workers.

Australia's Migration Trends 2013-2014 Report indicates that India remained the main source country for migrants with almost 40,000 Indian nationals migrating to Australia.

India has seen an influx in tourism since the implementation of its new electronic visa facility, which is currently available for use by citizens of 77 countries.

New Zealand figures show a record net gain of 57,800 permanent and long-term migrants, with the highest increase of migrants coming from India, China, the UK and the Philippines.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.

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