Virginia, US

Nov 20 2015

Fragomen Immigration Update: November 13 - 19, 2015

Australia, Canada, Dominican Republic, European Union, France, Malta, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Switzerland, United States

In United States immigration news this week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services confirmed that it will only accept employment-based adjustment applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is current for final action under the December Visa Bulletin. Foreign nationals with a priority date that makes them eligible to file have until November 30 to submit an employment-based adjustment application to USCIS.

Due to the recent terror attacks and related state of emergency, France has implemented strict border controls at least until December 13, at train stations, air and seaports. Travelers should expect increased security at entry checkpoints.  Issuance of visas and other immigration documents could be delayed or suspended at the discretion of the French government. 

Foreign nationals in Australia submitting visa applications and those with pending applications where medical examinations have not been undertaken will be subject to new medical examination standards on or after November 20, 2015, which will likely delay visa processing times.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) conducted the twentieth Express Entry draw. The selection process continues to indicate flexibility since selected candidates included those who did not have a valid Labour Market Impact Assessment/Labour Market Opinion or a Provincial Nomination certificate at the time their profile was set up. Also in Canada, the quota for the regular stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program has been exhausted for 2015.

In Switzerland, the fourth quarter quota for L-Permits for EU nationals on assignments lasting more than four months has been exhausted. The Swiss Federal Council also announced the B- and L-Permit quota numbers will remain the same in 2016 for foreign nationals from non-EU/ European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries or Croatia and for EU/EFTA nationals on assignment.

These items and other news from Colombia, Dominican Republic, the European Union, Malta, Papua New Guinea, Peru and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, November 13, 2015 (Updated November 16, 2015)

December Visa Bulletin Update: USCIS to Honor Employment-Based Final Action Dates Only Next Month

In December, USCIS will only accept employment-based adjustment applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is current for final action under the December Visa Bulletin.  Foreign nationals whose priority date makes them eligible for filing but not final action have until November 30 to submit an adjustment; USCIS will not accept employment-based adjustments from this group next month.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Papua New Guinea, November 18, 2015

Holiday Closures at Labor Department Require Early Work Permit Application Submission

As Papua New Guinea’s labor department prepares to close for the holiday season, initial work permit applications must be submitted by November 27, 2015 and renewals must be submitted by December 18, 2015. The Department will close for the holiday season on December 19, 2015, and will resume accepting applications on January 6, 2016.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Switzerland, November 17, 2015

Work Permit Quotas Remain Unchanged for 2016

The B- and L-Permit quota numbers will remain the same in 2016 for foreign nationals from non-EU/ European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries or Croatia and for EU/EFTA nationals on assignment. The quota for non-EU/EFTA citizens is expected to be exhausted by the end of the third or beginning of the fourth quarter of 2016.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Switzerland, November 17, 2015

Fourth Quarter Quota Exhausted

The fourth quarter quota for L-Permits for EU nationals on assignments lasting more than four months has been exhausted. Employers must wait until January 1, 2016 to send EU nationals on assignment to Switzerland.

To view entire article, click here.

 

France, November 17, 2015

Restrictive Border Controls Implemented

Due to the recent terror attacks and related state of emergency, France has implemented strict border controls until at least December 13, 2015, at train stations, air and seaports.  Travelers should expect increased security at entry checkpoints.  Issuance of visas and other immigration documents could be delayed or suspended at the discretion of the French government.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, November 16, 2015

Ontario Regular Immigrant Nominee Program Quota Exhausted

The quota for the regular stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (which includes applicants with Master's degrees and PhDs) has been exhausted for 2015. New applications and employer pre-screen applications under this stream and will not be accepted until January 1, 2016.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Australia, November 16, 2015

New Medical Exam Standards to Delay Visa Processing Times

Foreign nationals submitting Australian visa applications and those with pending applications where medical examinations have not been undertaken will be subject to new medical examination standards on or after November 20, 2015, which will likely delay visa processing times. Additionally, subclass 457 visa applicants eligible for a streamlined health examination procedure will be subject to a full health examination.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, November 13, 2015

Latest Express Entry Selections Show Ongoing Flexibility

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will be conducting the twentieth Express Entry draw from November 13 through November 14, and 1,506 candidates will be invited to apply for permanent residence. The selection process continues to indicate flexibility since CIC selected candidates who did not have a valid Labour Market Impact Assessment/Labour Market Opinion or a Provincial Nomination certificate at the time their profile was set up.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Immigration News This Week

United States: DHS Announces 16 Additional Countries Eligible for H-2A and H-2B Programs in 2016 – The Department of Homeland Security announced that effective January 18, 2016, citizens of Andorra, Belgium, Brunei, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, Singapore, Taiwan, and Timor-Leste are eligible for H-2A and H-2B visas, as are citizens of the 68 countries named in December 2014, with the exception of Moldova*, which remains on the list of eligible countries for the H–2A program, but has been removed from the H–2B program.  Each country’s designation is effective for one year.

Nationals of countries that are not on the list can participate in the H-2A or H-2B program, but the petitioning employer must demonstrate that it is in the U.S. national interest for the foreign national to be the beneficiary of an H-2A or H-2B petition. The H-2A and H-2B visa programs allow U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, respectively.

As of January 18, 2016, nationals of the following countries will be eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malta, Mexico, Moldova*, Monaco, Montenegro, Nauru, The Netherlands, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, The Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Vanuatu. The new list does not immediately affect the status of beneficiaries who are currently in the United States in H-2A or H-2B status, unless they apply to change or extend their status.

Colombia/Peru/European Union: Reciprocal Visa Exemption Forthcoming – Colombian nationals will soon be eligible for visa-free travel to member states of the European Union (excluding Ireland and the United Kingdom).  EU nationals are already eligible for visa-free travel to Colombia. Additionally, Peruvian nationals will soon be eligible for visa-free travel to member states of the European Union (excluding Ireland and the United Kingdom) and EU nationals will reciprocally be eligible for visa-free travel to Peru for up to 90 days in a 180-day period.

In Peru, the exemption will extend to EU business visitors, students and journalists, in addition to tourists, who are already visa exempt. Visa-exempt foreign nationals cannot conduct work without a work permit.

Since the effective date of the agreement is not yet clear, affected travelers should confirm with their consular post about whether they qualify for the exemption prior to traveling.

Dominican Republic: Social Security System Enrollment Requirement Broadened – A recent resolution requires employers to enroll all foreign workers and their direct dependents in the Dominican Republic Social Security System, including permanent residents and those with provisional residence permits or passports stamped with a valid work visa. Previously, employers were only required to enroll foreign workers or dependents with cedulas (identification cards). Valid identification documents needed to enroll in the system include an immigration identification card and Ministry of Interior and Police document. Foreign nationals on diplomatic missions and those making social security contributions abroad are exempt from the new requirement, but must provide proof of contributions. Employers who have questions about enrollment should contact their immigration professional.

Malta: Schengen Rules Suspended During Summit – From November 21-29, 2015, Malta will suspend its participation in the Schengen agreement in order to institute border controls during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Schengen country nationals entering and leaving Malta through the Malta International Airport and the Valletta port will be required to present valid identification cards, and third-country nationals will be required to produce their passports. Border controls will be imposed at the departure area, boarding gates and upon arrival, irrespective of the destination and/or country of origin. Affected travelers should account for potential delays at security checkpoints during this time.

 

Global Immigration News Links

In a 289-137 vote, the House approved legislation that requires new screening requirements on refugees from Syria and Iraq before they can enter the United States, The Hill reports.

In light of recent attacks in Paris, the worldwide debate on immigration as an aspect of national security continues. Integration, not immigration, is an issue, according to the Telegraph.

House Speaker Paul Ryan supports allowing undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States without gaining citizenship, and does not believe that mass deportation is feasible, BloombergPolitics reports.

More Mexican immigrants have returned to Mexico from the U.S. than have migrated here since the end of the Great Recession, according to a new Pew Research Center report.

Israel approved the entry of some 9,000 Ethiopians known as Falash Mura who claim Jewish lineage, ending decades of debate whether to allow their immigration despite uncertainty over their right to settle in the Jewish State.

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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