Virginia, US

Jun 12 2015

Fragomen Immigration Update: June 5 - 11, 2015

Algeria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States

This week in United States immigration news, the State Department’s July Visa Bulletin revealed that immigrant visa numbers for EB-3 Philippines will become unavailable next month. EB-3 India and EB-2 China will continue to advance. The EB-5 China cut-off date – which was imposed for the first time earlier this year – will advance by four months.

According to the latest statistics from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), L-1B denial rates remain high even though the proportion of denials in the first half of this fiscal year was slightly lower than FY 2014’s record denial rate.

USCIS reopened the FY 2015 H-2B cap, allowing employers to once again sponsor foreign nationals for temporary nonagricultural jobs with start dates through September 30.

In the United Kingdom, the monthly quota for non-EEA nationals sponsored under the Tier 2 (General) Visa category has been exceeded for the first time since its introduction in 2011. Applicants rejected for Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCOS) will be able to reapply next month if the advertising undertaken by their prospective employer is still valid.

According to an announcement by the Canadian Prime Minister, certain foreign nationals from non-visa exempt countries will be required to submit biometric information within 30 days of applying to visit, study or work in Canada. Stricter Canadian citizenship eligibility rules and a new citizenship application form became effective June 11, 2015.

A new law in Nigeria imposes stricter requirements and penalties for employers hiring foreign workers.

These items and other news from Belgium, Colombia, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Malaysia and Mexico follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, June 12, 2015

L-1B Denial Rates Remain High, According to New Agency Data

According to the latest statistics from USCIS, the denial rate for L-1B petitions was 27.9% in the first quarter of FY 2015 and 30.1% in the second quarter. Though the proportion of denials in the first half of this fiscal year was slightly lower than FY 2014’s record denial rate, it remains high.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, June 10, 2015

July 2015 Visa Bulletin: EB-3 Philippines Unavailable; Advancements for EB-2 and EB-5 China, EB-3 Worldwide and India

EB-3 Philippines will become unavailable next month. EB-3 India and EB-2 China will continue to advance, by one week and four months, respectively. There will be modest EB-3 advancement for India and most other countries, though EB-3 China will remain unchanged. The EB-5 China cut-off date will advance by four months, to September 1, 2013.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, June 8, 2015

USCIS Reopens FY 2015 H-2B Cap, Creating Another Opportunity for Sponsorship of Temporary Employment This Summer

The FY 2015 H-2B cap has been reopened, allowing employers to once again sponsor foreign nationals for temporary nonagricultural jobs with start dates through September 30, 2015. Employers with an immediate need for H-2B workers are encouraged to file as soon as possible as it is unclear as to how long visa numbers will remain available.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Colombia, June 11, 2015

Increased Denials for Venezuelan National Visa Applicants

Due to a recent increase in the number of Venezuelan nationals applying for Colombian visas, in the last two weeks, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has increased denials and declarations of inadmissibility for all Colombian visa applications submitted by Venezuelan nationals. Foreign nationals who have been denied a visa must wait six months before reapplying.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom, June 11, 2015

Tier 2 (General) Visa Quota Exceeded

For the first time since its introduction in 2011, the monthly quota for non-EEA nationals sponsored under the Tier 2 (General) Visa category has been exceeded. Applications submitted by June 5, 2015 for Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCOS) where applicants were to be paid under £46,000 have been refused unless they are PhD-level jobs or an occupation on the recognized shortage occupation list. Applicants whose applications are refused will be able to reapply for a RCOS next month provided the advertising undertaken by their prospective employer is still valid.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Malaysia, June 11, 2015

iKAD Identification Document to be Reissued

Following its discontinuance in September 2014, the Malaysian Immigration Department has announced the reissuance of the iKAD. The foreign national identification document is for those applying for Employment and Dependant’s Passes in Malaysia or who have held such passes since September 2014.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Worldwide, June 10, 2015

Government Closures and Immigration Processing Delays Expected During Ramadan

Foreign nationals and their employers can expect immigration processing delays in late June through the end of July in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and parts of Asia during observance of Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr. Many government offices worldwide reduce their hours during Ramadan and close for Eid-al-Fitr. Processing delays could continue in the weeks following Ramadan, due to application backlogs that accumulate during the closures.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Luxembourg, June 10, 2015

Lower Minimum Salary for Some EU Blue Card Holders

The Luxembourg immigration authorities have released a list of shortage occupations to which a lower annual minimum salary of €57,566.80 applies. The list includes software analysts, system developers, web and multimedia developers, mathematicians and statisticians, among other professionals in the information, communications and technology sectors.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Belgium, June 9, 2015

European Commission Urges Belgium to Adopt Single Permit System

As a result of noncompliance with an EU directive to adopt a combined work and residence permit system with a unified application process by December 2013, as well as a reasoned opinion and a warning that noncompliance with the directive would result in an action in the EU Court of Justice, Belgium is expected to implement a single permit system by November 2015.

To view entire article, click here.

 

France, June 8, 2015

New Recordkeeping Requirements for Employers with Employees on Foreign Payroll

Foreign employers sending employees on temporary assignment to France must now maintain several new documents on the worksite including timesheets, a copy of a letter appointing a French representative, the secondment declaration and documents describing activities abroad. Both the sending employer and host company may face fines if they do not abide by the new requirements.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, June 8, 2015

Biometric Screening Program to be Expanded

In an effort to improve national security, the Canadian government plans to expand biometric screening measures over the next five years. Foreign nationals from non-visa exempt countries between the ages 14 and 80 will be required to submit biometric information within 30 days of applying to visit, study or work in Canada.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Nigeria, June 8, 2015

New Law Imposes Stricter Requirements and Penalties for Employers

A new law creates a more structured legal framework for employers hiring foreign nationals. The law imposes harsher penalties and individual liability on employers who do not comply with the quota and reporting requirements. It is also likely that employers may be subject to bond payments in support of certain work or residence permit applicants. Before a residence permit is granted, employers must prove that they and their foreign workers have complied with the new law.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, June 8, 2015

Stricter Citizenship Eligibility Rules Forthcoming

New citizenship reforms effective June 11, 2015 include an increased physical presence requirement, a basic language and knowledge test for all applicants between the ages of 14 and 64 and proof of tax filings. Foreign nationals who may be affected by the more rigorous requirements should consider applying for citizenship before the new rules are in effect.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Immigration News This Week

Canada: Eligibility Opens for Canadian Electronic Travel Authorization Program – Mexico will be included in the Canadian Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) program, which is set to open March 15, 2016 and is expected to expedite travel for visa-exempt nationals. Mexican nationals who have held a Canadian visa during the last ten years or who hold a current non-immigrant U.S. visa may register for the program and travel to Canada without a visa. The application system will be available online on August 1, 2015. The implementation of this measure is a fundamental step toward allowing Mexican nationals visa-free travel to Canada.

Colombia: MERCOSUR Visa Holders Eligible for Residence Visa – Foreign nationals who hold a TP-15 MERCOSUR Visa for two uninterrupted years can apply for a Residence Visa (RE), valid for five years.  If the foreign national is absent from Colombia for two or more years, the RE Visa will be revoked.   Foreign nationals seeking an RE Visa must first obtain Colombian police clearance from the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police and Intelligence or Interpol. 

France: EU Blue Card Minimum Salary Increased – The EU Blue Card minimum salary threshold was increased to EUR 53,331 per year as of May 29, 2015, according to the publication of this information on June 7, 2015. An EU Blue Card holder must have a regular place of employment in France and be registered with French Social Security, must be placed on French payroll, and have a diploma of higher education from a program of at least three years in duration or five years of comparable professional experience.

Italy: Online System Implemented for Citizenship Applications – The Ministry of Internal Affairs has implemented a new online system that will be mandatory for many types of citizenship applications, including naturalization, application by marriage for Italian residents or for residents abroad and applications based on employment with the Italian government.  Applicants can file applications as soon as they register with the Ministry of Internal Affairs website and meet the eligibility and document requirements.  Applicants for citizenship via ancestry are not required to use the online system. Online applicants do not need to wait for a consular appointment to submit their applications.

 

Global Immigration News Links

Speaking at a news conference after the G-7 summit in Germany, President Obama renewed the call for Congress to act on immigration reform and predicted immigration to be a major issue in the 2016 election.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson pointed to the decline in the number of undocumented immigrants entering the country as a measure of the success of President Obama's immigration policies.

Restrictive U.S. immigration policies and new opportunities in India have led to tech sector reverse migration of Indian nationals.

The United Kingdom faces a shortage of 24,000 nursing staff this year, due in part to tougher immigration rules, the Financial Times reports.

Shifting from government bonds and residential property towards higher risk equity for Australia’s Significant Investor Visa scheme could significantly increase the nation’s venture capital pool, according to Business Insider Australia.

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