Virginia, US

Oct 24 2014

Fragomen Immigration Update: October 17 - 24, 2014

Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Panama, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States

In immigration news this week, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned the denial of an L-1B visa petition, criticizing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' inconsistent adjudication of L-1B cases. The Court reaffirmed longstanding policy guidelines and refused to give deference to the agency's regulatory definition of specialized knowledge. Fragomen Partner Carl Hampe was lead counsel in the appeal.

The Australian government announced an expansion of the Significant Investor Visa program and the introduction of the Premium Investor Visa for applicants who make an investment of AU$15 million, to be implemented in the next year. The Australian government also plans to streamline the subclass 457 visa application process and reduce administrative burdens on sponsoring businesses, in response to an independent review of the program that took place in September.

In Canada, a faster permanent residence application system will replace the current system for certain foreign nationals. The Express Entry program will allow qualifying foreign nationals to be invited to apply for permanent residence after they are ranked based on certain factors.

Effective November 6, 2014 in the United Kingdom, Tier 1 Investor visa applicants will be subject to higher minimum investments and will no longer be able to source the investment as a loan. Also in the United Kingdom, certain Tier 2 visa applications will be subject to a test to determine whether a vacancy in the employer’s workforce is genuine. Employers will no longer be able to reduce operating costs by decreasing the hours or salaries of sponsored workers.

The United Kingdom and Ireland signed a visa agreement that will allow foreign nationals to travel to both countries with a single visa from either country. Chinese and Indian nationals will be the first to benefit from the program. 

In Brazil, the federal police have announced a nationwide strike, which will cause delays in mandatory registration and visa extensions for foreign nationals, and possible monetary penalties for those who are unable to register within the required time frame. Mexico has implemented broad amendments to certain visa issuance rules, with the most notable changes affecting foreign nationals scheduling post-work permit approval consular interviews, and foreign nationals who are subject to international agreements related to global mobility.

Non-EU foreign workers in Cyprus are now eligible for a new combined work and residence permit. In Italy, non-EU intracompany transferees are eligible for expedited two to three-week work permit processing, subject to the same documentary requirements as with the standard process.

These items and other news from Australia, Israel, Panama, Turkey and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

Remember that the Immigration Update is available through both e-mail and Web version by clicking on "View as Web Page" above.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, October 23, 2014

Federal Court Criticizes USCIS’s Narrow Interpretation of L-1B Visa Eligibility

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned the denial of an L-1B visa petition, criticizing USCIS's inconsistent adjudication of L-1B cases, reaffirming longstanding policy guidelines and refusing to give deference to the agency's regulatory definition of specialized knowledge.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, October 23, 2014

Streamlined Permanent Residency Application System to be Implemented January 1, 2015

A faster Canadian permanent residence application system will replace the current system for certain foreign nationals. The Express Entry program will allow qualifying foreign nationals to be invited to apply for permanent residence after they are ranked based on certain factors. Certain permanent residence applicants will be required to use the system. Foreign nationals who apply for permanent residence before December 31, 2014 will be subject to the current system.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Italy, October 23, 2014

Expedited Work Permit Process Introduced for Intracompany Transferees

Non-EU intracompany transferees in Italy are now eligible for expedited two to three-week work permit processing, pursuant to a fast track program implemented by the Ministry of Interior. Foreign nationals utilizing the fast track program are subject to the same documentary requirements as with the standard process.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom, October 23, 2014

Tier 2 Visa Applications Now Subject to Genuineness Test

Certain Tier 2 visa applications in the UK will now be subject to a test to determine whether a vacancy in the employer’s workforce is genuine, according to new rules introduced by the Home Office. Employers will also no longer be able to reduce operating costs by decreasing the hours or salaries of sponsored workers.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom, October 23, 2014

Stricter Rules Implemented for Investor Visas

Tier 1 Investor visa applicants will be subject to higher minimum investments and will no longer be able to source the investment as a loan, among other changes announced by the UK Home Office. The new rules will take effect November 6, 2014.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Australia, October 22, 2014

Significant Investor Visa Program Expanded, Premium Investor Visa Introduced

The Australian government has announced an expansion of the Significant Investor Visa program and the introduction of the Premium Investor Visa for applicants who make an investment of AU$15 million. The changes will be implemented over the next year.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Brazil, October 22, 2014

Registration Delays Ahead Due to Federal Police Strike, Staff Shortages in São Paulo

The federal police have announced a nationwide strike, which will cause delays in Federal Police procedures such as mandatory registration and visa extensions. Unavailability of registration appointments until November may mean monetary penalties for foreign nationals who are unable to register within the required time frame.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Cyprus, October 21, 2014

New Biometric Residence Card Requires In-Person Registration

Non-EU foreign workers in Cyprus will be eligible for a new combined work and residence permit, which will require fingerprinting and registration.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Mexico, October 20, 2014

Flexibility Introduced for Certain Visa Guidelines

Mexico has implemented broad amendments to certain visa issuance rules, with the most notable changes affecting foreign nationals scheduling post-work permit approval consular interviews, and foreign nationals who are subject to international agreements related to global mobility.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Australia, October 17, 2014

Improvements to Subclass 457 Program Announced

The Australian government plans to streamline the subclass 457 visa application process and reduce administrative burdens on sponsoring businesses, in response to an independent review of the program that took place in September.

To view entire article, click here.

 

UK/Ireland, October 17, 2014

British - Irish Visa Scheme Introduced for Chinese and Indian Nationals

The UK and Ireland have signed a visa agreement that will allow foreign nationals to travel to both countries with a single visa from either country. Chinese and Indian nationals will be the first to benefit from the program.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Immigration News This Week

United States: DHS To Implement Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that, beginning in early 2015, it will implement the Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program to expedite family reunification for certain eligible Haitian family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of the U.S. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will offer eligible Haitian beneficiaries of already approved family-based immigrant visa petitions an opportunity to come to the United States up to approximately two years before their immigrant visa priority dates become current. They will be able to apply for work authorization but will not receive permanent resident status until their priority date becomes current. The agency is expected to provide full program details before the end of this calendar year. 

United States: CBP Enhances Ebola Screening Protocols at Five U.S. Airports – Effective October 21, 2014, the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is directing all flights to the U.S. carrying persons who have recently traveled to, from, or through Ebola-stricken countries - Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone - to land at one of the five U.S. airports where CBP is implementing enhanced screening procedures: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York; Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey; Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia; Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois; and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia. The CBP rule is available here

CBP will work with air carriers to identify potential travelers from the affected countries prior to boarding, and ensure compliance with the requirements of the notice. The list of affected countries and airports may be modified in the future. 

United States: USCIS Updates H-2B Cap Count – USCIS reports that as of October 17, 2014, it had received filings on behalf of 9,816 H-2B beneficiaries for the first half of FY 2015. Of these, 8,670 had been approved and 1,146 remained pending. The cap for each half-year is 33,000, but USCIS accepts filings in excess of the cap because some cases will be denied or withdrawn and because employers may ultimately employ fewer H-2B beneficiaries than reflected in their petitions. 

Australia/Israel: Israel is Newest Signatory to Australian Work and Holiday Visa Program – Israel has recently been added as a signatory to an Australian visa program that allows eligible individuals between the ages of 18 and 31 to study and work in Australia for up to 12 months, with reciprocal benefits for qualifying Australian nationals. Participants can work for up to six months with one employer, and study or train for up to four months, and can leave and re-enter Australia while their visa remains valid. Applicants are required to satisfy certain health, character, educational and English language requirements to qualify for the program. Other participating countries include Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Poland, Thailand, Turkey, United States, and Uruguay. Greece, Portugal and Spain are also signatories, although the agreements have not yet been implemented. 

Panama: Travel Bans Introduced for Visitors of Ebola-Affected Countries – Effective October 22, 2014, Panama has restricted entry at all ports to any foreign national who has visited Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone within the past 21 days. Officials will confirm if the traveler has visited one of the affected countries by checking passport stamps and conducting passenger interviews. The restriction will remain in place until the World Health Organization declares the affected countries free from Ebola. 

Turkey: Time Restriction Re-imposed for Social Security Registration – Foreign employees are exempt from Turkish social security registration for work assignments of no more than three months, according to an amendment to a 2011 Turkish social security law. Although the time restriction was once removed, it has been re-implemented. Foreign workers in Turkey for more than three months who are not registered with a social security institution in a country which executed an international social security agreement with Turkey are subject to Turkish social security registration.

 

Global Immigration News Links 

 

© 2009 - 2015 © Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates. All Rights Reserved.