Virginia, US

Nov 11 2016

Fragomen Immigration Update: November 4 - 10, 2016

Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Russia, Tanzania, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States

In United States immigration news this week, immigration is expected to be a key issue in President-Elect Donald Trump's administration. Though he has indicated some support for skilled immigration, he has also championed more stringent screening of foreign nationals and curbs on admission of foreign workers.

Employers in the United States may continue to use the current I-9 employment eligibility verification form through January 21, 2017; a new edition is expected in mid-November. Also in the United States, cutoff dates for final issuance of an immigrant visa will advance by three months for EB-2 India and just over two months for EB-2 China, according to the State Department’s December Visa Bulletin.

Qualifying Indian nationals will soon be able to register for the UK Registered Traveller Scheme to access expedited entry e-passport gates at the UK border, and for the Great Club, which allows select businesses to benefit from a dedicated UK Visas and Immigration account manager who can facilitate visa applications and migrants' entry into the country.

In Australia, children age 23 and over will no longer be included as dependents on a parent’s visa application unless physically incapacitated for work. Other family members, including parents, will no longer qualify as dependents on a principal applicant's visa application.

In Indonesia, third-party representatives are no longer allowed to conduct transactions with the Directorate General of Immigration. Also, foreign nationals renewing their Work Permit (IMTA) can now apply for a new Temporary Limited Stay Permit (KITAS) that will allow a stay in the country for up to three months while their IMTA renewal is processing.

These items and other news from Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Ghana, Ireland, Russia, Tanzania, Thailand and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, November 9, 2016
The Impact of the U.S. Elections on Business Immigration

President-Elect Trump has indicated some support for skilled immigration, but has also championed more stringent screening of foreign nationals and curbs on admission of foreign workers.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, November 9, 2016
December 2016 Visa Bulletin: Modest Advancements in EB-2 and EB-3 India and China Final Action Dates Next Month

In December, the cutoff dates for final issuance of an immigrant visa will advance by three months for EB-2 India and just over two months for EB-2 China.  Final action cutoff dates for EB-3 professionals and skilled workers China will advance by over two months, India by one week, and the Philippines by two months.  Both regional center and non-regional center EB-5 China will advance by two weeks. Cutoff dates for filing eligibility will not advance for any backlogged category.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, November 7, 2016
Current I-9 Form Will Remain In Use Through January 21, 2017; Revised Form Forthcoming

Employers may continue to use the March 8, 2013 version of Form I-9 through January 21, 2017, USCIS has announced. A new edition of the form is expected later this month and will become mandatory on January 22, 2017.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, November 7, 2016
Holiday Travel Planning for Foreign Nationals

If you will be traveling internationally during the upcoming holiday season, make sure that you have all the necessary documents, including a passport with sufficient remaining validity, a valid U.S. visa in the appropriate classification, and advance permission to travel if necessary. If you will need to apply for a visa while you are abroad, be prepared for possible delays in visa issuance. On reentry to the United States, expect thorough screening at the port of entry.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Indonesia, November 10, 2016
Third-Party Representatives No Longer Allowed for Transactions With Directorate General of Immigration

A new regulation requires sponsoring companies to transact directly with the Directorate General of Immigration and the local Immigration offices to submit applications on behalf of their foreign employees. Processes likely affected by this change include the Telex-VITAS (pre-approval letter for entry visa), Stay Permit (KITAS) and Cancellation (EPO) of KITAS, which historically have been permitted to be processed entirely by third-party agents. The regulation is expected to be challenged given the lack of notice and discussion prior to issuance.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, November 9, 2016
Reminder - Electronic Travel Authorization Required on or After November 10

As a reminder, on or after November 10, 2016, visa-exempt nationals who enter or exit and re-enter Canada by air must apply for Electronic Travel Authorization prior to boarding a flight to Canada.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Thailand, November 8, 2016
Stricter In-Person Requirements for Long-Term Visa Applicants at One Stop Service Center

Effective immediately, Long-Term Visa applicants and their dependents filing new and renewal visa applications at the One Stop Service Center must appear personally during two new points of the visa application process, which can take up to four hours per visit.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom/India, November 7, 2016
Qualifying Indian Nationals Soon to be Eligible for Registered Traveller Scheme and Great Club

Qualifying Indian nationals will be able to register for the UK Registered Traveller Scheme, which allows certain frequent travellers to the United Kingdom to utilize expedited entry e-passport gates at the UK border, and the Great Club, which allows select businesses to benefit from a dedicated UK Visas and Immigration account manager who can facilitate visa applications and migrants' entry into the United Kingdom.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Ghana, November 8, 2016
Online Review Process Introduced for Oil and Gas Sector Work Permit Applicants

Due to a new online system for receiving and reviewing work permit applications, all visa applications sent to the Ghana Petroleum Commission must be emailed to humanresourcecommittee@petrocom.gov.gh. Following online review, the Work Permit Committee will notify the applicant to submit an original paper application.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Germany, November 7, 2016
EU Blue Card Minimum Salary to Increase on January 1

On or after January 1, 2017, the minimum salary for non-European Economic Area nationals applying for work authorization under the European Blue Card program will increase to EUR 50,800 per year or to EUR 39,624 per year if the applicant will work in a shortage occupation.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Indonesia, November 7, 2016
New Temporary Stay Permit and Standardized Expiry Date Counting Method

Foreign nationals renewing their Work Permit (IMTA) can now apply for a Temporary Limited Stay Permit (KITAS) that will allow a stay in Indonesia for up to three months while the IMTA renewal is processing. With the Temporary KITAS, foreign nationals can avoid having to leave Indonesia if their IMTA is not renewed prior to the expiry of their current KITAS. However, the process will require an extra personal appearance to submit biometrics, and foreign nationals will not be able to work until the IMTA renewal is approved. Due to an additional change, the KITAS expiry date will now be counted starting from the approval date of the IMTA. Therefore, foreign nationals should enter Indonesia as quickly as possible in order to maximize their IMTA and KITAS validity period.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Ireland, November 4, 2016
Residence Card Appointment Delays Require Advance Scheduling

Non-European Economic Area nationals who are required to register at the Burgh Quay Registration Office in Dublin are experiencing delays of up to eight weeks in scheduling Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) residence card appointments. Impacted employees should schedule their GNIB residence card appointment up to 10 weeks in advance of the expiration of their current residence card.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Germany, November 4, 2016
Minimum Wage to Increase on January 1

On or after January 1, 2017, employers in Germany will have to pay foreign and local workers a minimum wage of EUR 8.84 per hour. Other visa-specific minimum salary rules, such as that the salary has to be comparable to the salary of a German national working in the same position with the same qualifications and experience, will still apply.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Australia, November 4, 2016
Dependent Rules Restricted

On or after November 19, 2016, children age 23 and over will no longer be included as a dependent on their parent's visa application unless the child is physically incapacitated for work.  Additionally, other family members, such as parents, will no longer qualify as dependents on the main applicant's visa application.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Immigration News This Week

United States: DHS Announces Eligibility of St. Vincent and the Grenadines Nationals to Participate in H-2A & H-2B Visa Programs – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that, effective January 18, 2017, citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines are eligible for H-2A and H-2B visas, as are citizens of the 84 other countries.  Moldova remains on the list of eligible countries for the H-2A program, but has been removed from the H-2B program. The notice was published in the Federal Register on October 26.

DHS names the participating H-2A and H-2B countries every year, after concurrence with DOS. USCIS may, however, permit a citizen of a country that is not on the list be named as an H-2A or H-2B beneficiary, based on a determination that such participation is in the U.S. interest.

The full list of countries is: 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, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Vanuatu.

Australia: Grace Period for Subclass 457 Visa Holders to Remain to be Reduced – On or after November 19, 2016, the grace period for subclass 457 visa holders to be able to remain in Australia following the end of their employment will be reduced from 90 to 60 days. If the visa holder has not been sponsored by a new employer or applied for a different type of visa within the 60-day period, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (the Department) may cancel the subclass 457 visa. Importantly, the Department will still be able to cancel a subclass 457 visa if a foreign national has left Australia before the end of their employment period.

Australia: New Work and Holiday Visa Extension Policy– On or after November 19, 2016, certain holders (or former holders) of a Work and Holiday (Subclass 462) visa will be able to apply for a second 12-month Subclass 462 visa if they have worked in the agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism and hospitality industries for at least three months under a 462 visa in the Northern Territory or northern parts of Western Australia and Queensland.

Chile: Legalization and Tax Identification Card Issuance Halted Due to Strikes – The Internal Revenue Service, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Justice have been on strike since last week. As such, provisional RUT identification cards, which are necessary for enrollment in local payroll and registration with the Social Security System, and local transactions related to bank accounts and mobile phones, are not being issued, and Chilean documents cannot be legalized for use abroad. Additionally, because of an intermittent Civil Registry that began October 28, local police clearances are suspended until further notice.  It is not clear how long the strikes will last, but foreign nationals should expect RUT issuance and legalization delays once the strikes end, and should contact their immigration professional to determine whether there are alternative legalization methods.

Russia: Government Expands List of Companies Allowed to Hire Turkish Nationals – The Russian government has expanded the list of employers that can hire Turkish nationals, following the country-wide ban on hiring Turkish nationals effective January 1, 2016. The government will still closely monitor Turkish nationals' work permit rights in Russia. Turkish nationals seeking to enter Russia to work should contact their immigration professional to discuss visa requirements. 

Tanzania: Reduced Fees for East African Nationals' Residence Permits – A new regulation reduces fees by 50% for East African Community (EAC) nationals applying for residence permits or passes.  The new fees are USD 1,500 for a residence permit class A, down from USD 3,000, and USD 250 for a dependent pass, down from USD 250. Affected nationals should contact their immigration professional with any questions about the amended fees or the application process.

Tanzania: New Residence Permit  Categories Introduced – A new regulation introduces new categories of residence permits for former Tanzanian nationals seeking to invest in Tanzania, East African Community (EAC) employers sending workers to Tanzania and parties or witnesses in court or tribunals. Additionally, new categories for passes for dependents, students and migrants of African descent from bordering countries have been introduced. Interested applicants should contact their immigration professional for further details.

Thailand: Deferred Filing of Work Permit Applications Following Previous Cancellation – Applicants with cancelled Work Permit or Pre-Work Permit Approval (PWPA) applications must now wait 15 calendar days before applying for a new Work Permit with the Employment Department. The 15-day cooling-off period will be counted from the time the application to cancel the previous Work Permit or PWPA was filed. This rule does not apply in cases where there is a change in employer or sponsor, nor to applications filed before the Board of Investment. A cancellation application is a prerequisite to filing a new Work Permit application. Currently, foreign nationals can apply for a new Work Permit the same day their work permit is cancelled. Foreign nationals should expect a longer processing time for new Work Permit applications if they have submitted a cancelled Work Permit or Pre-Work Permit Approval application. We worked closely with Dej-Udom & Associates Ltd. to prepare this update.

 

Global Immigration News Links

The New York Times and Forbes look at what the Trump presidency could mean for undocumented immigrants and immigration to the United States.

An EU citizenship proposal could guarantee rights in Europe post-Brexit.  

Switzerland seeks to avoid a clash with the EU over immigration, according to Reuters.

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

© 2016 Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates. All Rights Reserved.