Virginia, US

Mar 25 2016

Fragomen Immigration Update: March 18 - 24, 2016

Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela
In United States immigration news this week, new job portability guidance from USCIS recognizes that applicants for employment-based adjustment of status should be able to advance in their careers or move to a new position in the same or a related field without the need for a new labor certification or immigrant petition.  
 
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's selection process for the Express Entry draw continues to indicate flexibility following the thirtieth draw.
 
Following the terror attacks in Brussels, foreign employees and travelers through Belgium must make sure to carry required travel documents and should expect closer scrutiny at ports of entry. 
 
A new law will consolidate the Schengen Borders Code, which regulates the entry conditions and border controls in the Schengen area. 
 
In the United Kingdom, the Home Office has approved several policy changes recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee with the aim of substantially reducing the numbers of skilled sponsored workers, including eliminating the Short-Term Tier 2 (Intra Company Transferee) category in April 2017 and increasing the minimum salary for Tier 2 (General) applicants. 
 
Azerbaijan has implemented an annual quota system for work permits.
 
These items and other news from Colombia, India, Latin America and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.
 
 
Important Updates in Immigration This Week
 
United States, March 24, 2016
H-2B Cap Reached for First Half of FY 2016
 
The H-2B cap for the first half of FY 2016 was reached on March 15. USCIS is accepting applications for employment in the second half of FY 2016.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
United States, March 22, 2016
USCIS Finalizes Guidance on Job Changes by Employment-Based Adjustment Applicants
 
USCIS will compare the Standard Occupational Codes of an adjustment applicant’s initial and new jobs, as well as job duties, skills and other requirements, to determine whether the two positions are in the same or a similar occupation for purposes of job portability. The guidance recognizes that adjustment applicants should be able to advance in their careers and move to related jobs without the need for a new labor certification or immigrant petition.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
United Kingdom, March 24, 2016
Response to Advisory Committee Recommendations Announced
 
The Home Office has approved several policy changes recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee with the aim of substantially reducing skilled sponsored workers entering the United Kingdom. The most notable changes include the elimination of the Short-Term Tier 2 (Intra Company Transferee) category in April 2017 and a minimum salary increase for Tier 2 (General) applicants.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Schengen Area, March 23, 2016
New Law Consolidates Border Controls in Schengen Area
 
A new law consolidates the Schengen Borders Code, which regulates the conditions of entry and border controls to the Schengen area. The law will be implemented within the next 20 days.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Canada, March 23, 2016
Latest Express Entry Selection Shows Ongoing Flexibility
 
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will invite 1,014 candidates to apply for permanent residence in its most recent Express Entry draw, which ends tomorrow. The selection process continues to indicate flexibility since IRCC is selecting candidates who do not have a valid Labour Market Impact Assessment or Provincial Nomination approval at the time their profile is selected.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Belgium, March 22, 2016
Important Information for Employers Following Brussels Terror Attack
 
Following today's terror attacks in Brussels, foreign employees and travelers through Belgium should expect delays and closer scrutiny at ports of entry.  The suspension of Belgian postal services could delay the delivery of both Belgian and Dutch immigration documents.  
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
United Kingdom, March 22, 2016
Skills Charge Details Announced
 
The Home Office has announced details regarding the Immigration Skills Charge, which will be set at GBP 1,000 or GBP 364 for small businesses.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
India, March 22, 2016
Appointment Unavailability in Gurgaon Causes Delays
 
The Foreigners' Registration Office in Gurgaon has drastically cut down the number of available immigration appointments per day, resulting in a wait time of at least seven to ten business days.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Azerbaijan, March 21, 2016
Quota System Implemented for Work Permits
 
A work permit quota system has been implemented in Azerbaijan. Prior to the start of each new year, the Cabinet of Ministers will announce the quota for foreign workers for the following year.  To comply with the new law, employers that intend to hire foreign nationals in Azerbaijan must submit an estimate of its foreign workers to the State Migration Service by May 1st of each year.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Latin America, March 18, 2016
Holy Week Closures to Cause Delays
 
Public offices in the Latin American region will be closed parts of next week due to the observance of Easter and Holy Week, which is likely to cause application delays for affected offices.
 
To view entire article, click here.
 
 
Other Immigration News This Week
 
United States: DHS Extends Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone TPS – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has extended the designation of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for an additional six months, from May 22, 2016 through November 21, 2016.
 
Current Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone TPS registrants will have from March 22, 2016 to May 23, 2016 to re-register. USCIS will issue new EADs with a November 21, 2016 expiration date to eligible Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone TPS beneficiaries who timely re-register and apply for EADs under this extension. DHS recognizes that not all re-registrants will receive new EADs before their current EADS expire. Accordingly, DHS will automatically extend the validity of EADs issued under the TPS designation of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone for six months, through November 21, 2016. For Form I-9 employment eligibility verification purposes, through November 21, 2016, employers may accept a TPS-related EAD with a May 21, 2016 expiration date, along with a copy of the most recent Federal Register notice extending Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone TPS. 
 
Certain nationals of Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone (or those having no nationality who last habitually resided in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone) who have not previously applied for TPS may be eligible to apply under the late initial registration provisions if they meet at least one of the late initial filing criteria, and all TPS eligibility criteria (including continuous residence and physical presence in the United States since November 20, 2014).
 
Colombia: Venezuelan Nationals Subject to Stricter Entry Requirements – Venezuelan nationals seeking to enter Colombia now face the following stricter entry requirements:
 
  • Tourists/PIP-6 holders/business travelers: Valid passport, proof of sufficient funds (at least USD 40 per day) and proof of accommodation or invitation letter from the host specifying the accommodator's address and contact phone number.
  • Workers/spouses of main applicant: Above documents plus valid visa granted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or foreign Identification Card issued by Migración Colombia.
  • Travelers transferring flights in Colombia: Valid passport and ongoing destination ticket.
 
Previously, tourists only needed to present a valid passport and business visitors only had to present a valid passport and letter of invitation from the Colombian host company. Note that the above list of requirements is subject to change as immigration authorities have not issued an official announcement on this matter.
 
 
Global Immigration News Links
 
The GOP-led House approved the move to file an amicus brief to the Supreme Court opposing President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. 
 
Immigrants have founded more than half of America’s startup companies valued at $1 billion dollars or more, according to research by the National Foundation for American Policy. 
 
Several Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives reintroduced a bill that would expand immigration eligibility for immediate family members of U.S. citizens and allow same-sex married couples to join spouses in the United States.
 
Germany’s Federal Statistics Office recorded the highest number of immigrants in post-war history; net immigration increased by 49 percent in 2015 and for the first time, most of the arrivals were not from Europe.
 
This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.