Virginia, US

Mar 17 2017

Fragomen Immigration Update: March 10 – 17, 2017

Angola, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Canada, Greece, Israel, Lithuania, Nigeria, Singapore, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States

In United States immigration news this week, a federal district judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide temporary restraining order that prohibits the U.S. government from enforcing an executive order that sought to suspend the entry of many nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and refugees from all countries.  A federal judge in Maryland issued a similar order.  The entry suspensions were set to be implemented at 12:01am EDT on Thursday, March 16, but are now on hold. The Trump Administration has said it will appeal the rulings.

Also in the United States, immigrant visa availability dates for final action will advance by one month for EB-2 China and by three weeks for EB-2 India, according to the State Department’s April Visa Bulletin. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has determined that it 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 April Visa Bulletin.

In the United Kingdom, new rules effective April 6, 2017 will include the closure of the Tier 2 ICT (Short Term Staff) category, changes to salary thresholds and relaxed graduate recruitment provisions. As expected, the Immigration Health Levy will be extended across all Tier 2 ICT categories and an Immigration Skills Charge is to be introduced for most new Tier 2 applications.

Canada has announced plans for a new Global Talent Stream, a streamlined temporary worker program expected to be rolled out in June 2017.

Nigeria has implemented a new visa-on-arrival for business executives from countries without a Nigerian consular post and an expanded list of business visitor activities allowed under the traditional business visa and visa-on-arrival.  In Angola, two new statutes define the minimum content in employment contracts and regulate general rules on local labor and the hiring of foreign employees.

These items and other news from Azerbaijan, Brazil, Greece, Israel, Lithuania, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, March 16, 2017
April Visa Bulletin Update: USCIS to Honor Employment-Based Final Action Dates Only Next Month

In April, 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 April Visa Bulletin.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, March 15, 2017
Federal District Judges Block Travel Executive Order Nationwide

A federal judge in Hawaii has issued a nationwide temporary restraining order that prohibits the U.S. government from enforcing an executive order that sought to suspend the entry of nationals of six restricted countries and all refugees. A Maryland federal judge issued a similar order.  The Trump Administration has said it will appeal the rulings.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom, March 17, 2017
Closure of Tier 2 Intra-Company Transferee (Short Term) Category, Minimum Salary Modifications Among April 6 Changes

New rules effective April 6, 2017 will include the closure of the Tier 2 Intra-Company Transferee (Short Term Staff) category, changes to salary thresholds and relaxed graduate recruitment provisions. As expected, the Immigration Health Levy will be extended across all Tier 2 ICT categories and an Immigration Skills Charge is to be introduced for most new Tier 2 applications.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Singapore, March 15, 2017
Processing Times Increased for Employment Pass, S Pass, Work Permit and Other Related Pass Applications

Effective immediately, standard government processing of Employment Pass, S Pass, Dependant's Pass and Long Term Visit Pass applications will now take up to three weeks for online submissions.  Additionally, the processing time for Work Permit applications has been extended by one week. These extended processing times apply to both new and renewal applications.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Nigeria, March 15, 2017
Program Creates New Visa-On-Arrival and Expands List of Business Visitor Activities

A new visa-on-arrival for business executives from countries without a Nigerian consular post and an expanded list of business visitor activities allowed under the traditional business visa and visa-on-arrival have been implemented as part of a national action plan aimed at improving the business environment in Nigeria.  Further developments are expected to be announced over the next 60 days.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Brazil, March 13, 2017
Nationals of French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela Eligible for Nationality-Based Residence

Nationals of French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela who enter Brazil by land may now apply for a nationality-based residence visa similar to the MERCOSUR  visa at their local Federal Police branch.  The two-year residence permit does not require employer sponsorship.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Angola, March 13, 2017
New Labor Laws Affect Employers of Foreign Workers

Two new statutes define the minimum content in employment contracts and regulate general rules on local labor and the hiring of foreign employees. Both statutes repeal previous related rules. Violators are subject to fines.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Thailand, March 12, 2017
Increased Capital Requirement for Some Employers Filing Long-Term Visa Applications at the One Stop Service Center

Employers must now prove that they have a registered capital of THB 30 million or provide Audited Financial Statements showing net assets of THB 30 million before they can a file long-term visa application with the One Stop Service Center. Companies registered with the Board of Investments are exempt from this requirement.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, March 10, 2017
Plans Announced for Streamlined Work Permit Program for Highly-Skilled Workers

Canada has announced plans for a new streamlined temporary worker program called the Global Talent Stream, with initial rollout expected June 2017. For eligible high-demand occupations, the new program will feature shorter processing times for work permit applications, and possible work permit exemptions for short-term (less than 30 days per year) highly-skilled workers and those on brief academic stays.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Greece, March 10, 2017
Non-EU Temporary Permit Applicants Must Appear for Biometrics Appointment

Non-EU nationals filing temporary permit applications must appear at the Ministry of Interior to submit biometrics. The Ministry will contact those with pending temporary permit applications to schedule an appointment.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Immigration News This Week

United States: FY 2017 H-2B Cap Is Reached – The FY 2017 quota for H-2B nonimmigrants was reached on March 13, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced. USCIS will reject any new H-2B petitions that request any employment start date before October 1, 2017 and were received after March 13, 2017, but will continue to accept H-2B petitions that are exempt from the cap. The agency will also continue to accept petitions for H-2B employment in FY 2018, which begins on October 1, 2017.

The H-2B cap for each fiscal year is 66,000, though USCIS accepts filings in excess of this amount to account for petition withdrawals, revocations and denials, as well as cases in which employers ultimately employ fewer H-2B workers than requested in their petitions.

Azerbaijan:  Government Offices Closed March 20 through 24 in Observation of National Holiday – Government offices in Azerbaijan will be closed March 20 through March 24 in observation of a five-day national holiday. Operations are expected to resume on Monday, March 27, 2017. Foreign nationals should expect processing delays following the closures.

Lithuania: EU Blue Card Holders' Minimum Salary Rules Amended – EU Blue Card holders in Lithuania must now earn at least 1.5 times the amount of the average Lithuanian salary (currently approximately EUR 1,190).  The previous requirement to earn at least two times that amount, has been eliminated.  EU Blue Card holders already in Lithuania and those with pending applications are not impacted by this change and must continue to meet the previous standard until they renew their EU Blue Card.

Israel: Government Closures Due to Upcoming Holidays – Due to the upcoming holidays, Israeli government offices will be closed the following times:

  • Passover: April 10-18, 2017;
  • Israeli Independence Day: May 1-2, 2017.

Foreign nationals should plan accordingly, call Israeli consulates to determine open hours and expect delays after the closures.

Fragomen worked closely with Kan-Tor & Acco Law Firm (Israel) to prepare this update.

 

Global Immigration News Links

The Trump Administration’s first budget provides more than $4.5 billion in new spending to fight undocumented immigration, which includes funding for building a wall along the southern border and adding more than 1,700 border officers, prosecutors and judges, USA Today reports.

While Europe and the United States tighten border controls, former Soviet states are encouraged by Moscow to send their workers, Bloomberg reports.

The UK Parliament has passed legislation to provide Prime Minister Theresa May the power to start the EU exit process.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.

© 2017 Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates. All Rights Reserved.