Virginia, US

May 29 2015

Fragomen Immigration Update: May 22 - 28, 2015

Algeria, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, European Union, Finland, Kazakhstan, Uruguay

In United States immigration news this week, USCIS issued new guidance on an employer’s obligations when an H-1B employee is moved to a new worksite location. Employers who moved H-1B employees to locations outside the geographic area of a labor condition application and H-1B petition already on file with USCIS have until August 19 to file amended petitions.

USCIS has clarified its temporary suspension of premium processing service for H-1B extensions. Premium service will remain available for consular notification petitions and amendments, as well as H-1B cap cases, certain cap-exempt H-1B petitions and petitions for other nonimmigrant classifications filed on Form I-129, such as L-1 and O-1 cases.

In Canada, the Labour Market Impact Assessment-exempt work permit category for emergency repair personnel, C13, has been expanded to include personnel repairing industrial or commercial equipment that is no longer under warranty or that is not covered by an after-sales or lease agreement. Also, the Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program has been extended through December 30, 2015. Citizenship and Immigration Canada will process the first 60 complete applications received and will place up to 60 more applications on a waiting list.

In Colombia, employers of foreign nationals in any work visa or permit category are obligated to notify the Immigration authority within 15 calendar days of their employment start and end dates.

In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Cameron outlined the Conservative Party’s plans to implement stricter immigration policies.

These items and other news from Algeria, Australia, Ecuador, European Union, Finland, Kazakhstan and Uruguay follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, May 22, 2015

USCIS Issues Guidance on Changes in H-1B Work Locations, Sets August 19 Deadline for Pre-May 21 Relocations

Employers have until August 19 to file amended petitions for H-1B employees who moved to worksite locations outside the geographic area of a labor condition application and petition already on file with USCIS. An amended petition is not required when an H-1B employee moves to a new worksite – including an end-client site – within the geographic area of an LCA already submitted to USCIS, as long as there are no material changes to the H-1B’s employment.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, May 19, 2015 (Updated May 27, 2015)

Premium Processing for H-1B Extensions to Be Suspended Until July 27

USCIS will not honor premium processing requests for H-1B extensions filed between May 26 and July 27, but will accept them for consular notification cases and petition amendments. The suspension means that some H-1B employees may be unable to travel internationally or renew a U.S. driver’s license for several months, and some H-4 spouses may wait longer for employment authorization under a new program.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Colombia, May 28, 2015

Employers Subject to Online Notification Requirements for All Foreign Nationals

Effective immediately, employers of foreign nationals under any visa or permit must notify the Immigration authority within 15 calendar days of their employment start and end dates using the online system implemented last year. Prior to this change, notification was only required for foreign nationals under TP-4, MERCOSUR, Resident (RE) and TP-10 status.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom, May 27, 2015

Stricter Immigration Policies Forthcoming

Prime Minister Cameron outlined the Conservative Party’s plans to manage immigration, including limiting immigration from outside Europe to positions with genuine skills shortages or in situations that require highly-specialized experts, implementing a mandatory licensing regime for landlords who house migrants and criminalizing work without an appropriate work permit. These and other control measures stem from a 50% increase in immigration to the UK last year.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, May 26, 2015

Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program Extended

The Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Pilot Program has been extended through December 30, 2015, past the original closure date of February 11, 2015. Citizenship and Immigration Canada will process the first 60 complete applications received and will place up to 60 more applications on a waiting list.

To view entire article, click here.


Canada, May 22, 2015

Labour Market Impact Assessment- Exempt Category of Emergency Repair Workers Expanded

Effective immediately, the Labour Market Impact Assessment-exempt work permit category for emergency repair personnel, C13, has been expanded to include personnel repairing industrial or commercial equipment that is no longer under warranty or that is not covered by an after-sales or lease agreement.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Immigration News This Week

Algeria: Increased Enforcement of Business Visitor Activities – The Algerian Ministry of Employment is more strictly enforcing the limitations on activities appropriate for business visits In particular, the agency has taken the position that activities including advising, supervising or providing direction (either on client sites or project sites of the business visitor's employer) are work activities and thus inappropriate for business visits. Therefore, foreign nationals, especially those who have been issued a 'Not Authorized to Work' endorsement on their business visa, should limit their business activities to attending meetings, unless exceptional circumstances apply. This endorsement - which has been issued since 2011 at Algerian consulates - is intended to provide the Ministry of Employment the right to take action against employers and employees for abuses of work permit requirements. Business visitors are advised to limit their requested period of stay to 15 days and to carry a letter issued by the sending entity stating the purpose of their visit.

Australia: Visa Fees to Increase – Some visa application charges (VACs) paid in country and overseas will be increased on July 1, 2015 following the announcement of the 2015-2016 Federal Budget. Fees for Subclass 457 Visas will increase from A$1,035 to A$1,060. Fees for the Permanent Migration Skill Stream, Skilled Graduate, Visitor and Student visa streams will increase by 2.3%, while Significant Investor Visa fees will increase by 50%, from A$4,675 to A$7,010. Electronic Travel Authorities (ETA), eVisitors and Refugee and Humanitarian visas will not be affected. A complete list of the increases can be found on the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

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Ecuador: Indefinite Term Contracts Required for 12-VI Work Contract Visa Applicants – As of April 20, employers sponsoring foreign nationals on a 12-VI Visa with Work Contract must enter into an indefinite-term contract with the foreign national. Employers may submit a Fixed Purpose Work Contract (Contrato por Obra), meant for jobs involving physical labor, or a Fixed Service Work Contract (Contrato por Servicio), for all other types of work, including specialized knowledge positions. Applicants for renewal should attach a copy of a new, indefinite-term contract if the original visa was based on a fixed-term contract. Foreign workers submitting contracts with definite terms may face rejections since contracts with definite terms are no longer valid. This change will not affect the 12-VI Visa with Sponsorship Letter, which does not require a local employment contract.

European Union: Reciprocal Short-Stay Visa Agreement Signed – Foreign nationals traveling from an EU member state to Dominica, East Timor, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago and Vanuatu, and vice versa, are now eligible for visa-free stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period. The visa waiver does not apply to the United Kingdom and Ireland, which are not part of the Schengen area. Eligible foreign nationals should contact their immigration professional to confirm travel plans pursuant to this new exemption.

Finland: Delays Expected at Finnish Immigration Service – Due to a higher volume of applications during the summer months, foreign nationals should expect delays in the processing of any in-country immigration applications. Foreign nationals with questions about processing times should check the Finnish Immigration Service website.

Kazakhstan: Visa Exemption Implemented for OECD Member States – As of May 19, 2015, nationals of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member states, as well as Malaysia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, will be exempt from visa requirements for stays up to 30 calendar days. The OECD member states are Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea (Republic of), Luxembourg, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. Since the exemption is just starting to be implemented, eligible foreign nationals should confirm their eligibility with their local consular post.

Uruguay: New Identification Card Implemented – Foreign nationals and local employees must obtain a new identification card containing personal information in electronic chips and a machine readable code similar to the one in passports. This card has been developed to comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s requirements for all travel documents. Until old identification cards are fully replaced, both cards will be accepted at entry and exit ports. Foreign nationals applying for initial immigration status and renewals will now be issued the new identification card.

 

Global Immigration News Links

Austin Fragomen and Careen Shannon discuss USCIS's interim guidance on when employers must file amended petitions for relocated H-1B employees.

After the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit this week upheld an injunction against the Obama Administration’s planned expansion of deferred action for undocumented foreign nationals, officials and legal experts predict that the President’s immigration reform objectives may be stalled until the final months of his presidency.

To protect Switzerland’s trade relationship with the European Union, its citizens could be asked to vote again on limits to immigration, just over a year after a slim majority voted to impose quotas on the number of foreign workers.

CNN Money explores the rise in investor immigration worldwide.

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