Virginia, US

Oct 14 2016

Fragomen Immigration Update: October 7 - 13, 2016

Canada, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, European Union, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United States

In United States immigration news this week, cutoff dates for final issuance of an immigrant visa will advance by over nine months for EB-2 India and by five months for EB-2 China, according to the State Department’s November Visa Bulletin. Final action cutoff dates for EB-3 professionals and skilled workers will advance moderately for all countries. Both regional center and non-regional center EB-5 China will advance by two weeks.

In Canada, 1,518 candidates were invited to apply for permanent residence in the 44th Express Entry draw. The minimum qualifying score for the draw was 484.

Switzerland’s 2017 work permit quotas will increase for foreign nationals from non-EU/European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries and will remain the same for EU/EFTA nationals on assignment.

In Cyprus, foreign entrepreneurs, investors and their families will be subject to more flexible citizenship eligibility criteria on or after October 31, 2016, including a lower minimum investment amount and more investment options.

These items and other news from Czech Republic, Costa Rica, the European Union, Germany, New Zealand, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, October 12, 2016
November 2016 Visa Bulletin: Modest Advancements for EB-2 India and China and EB-3 All Countries; Slight Advancement for EB-5 China 

In November, the cutoff dates for final issuance of an immigrant visa will advance by over nine months for EB-2 India and by five months for EB-2 China. Final action cutoff dates for EB-3 professionals and skilled workers China will advance by three months, India by one week, Philippines by four months, and all other countries by one month. Both regional center and non-regional center EB-5 China will advance by two weeks.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Costa Rica, October 13, 2016
Accredited Companies Facing Application Delays

Due to a lack of personnel and a case backlog, accredited companies that have filed or will file an initial Temporary Residence Permit, a change of employer or a change of condition application should expect processing times of approximately 70 business days, instead of the usual 45 business days.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Czech Republic, October 13, 2016
Employee Card Application Processing Delayed

Despite the legal processing requirement of 60 days for Employee Cards (90 days for complex cases), due to a high workload at the Ministry of Interior, processing times are now 90 days for regular applications, and longer for complex cases.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Switzerland, October 13, 2016
Work Permit Quotas Set for 2017

The B- and L-Permit quota numbers will increase in 2017 for foreign nationals from non-EU/European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries and will remain the same for EU/EFTA nationals on assignment.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, October 12, 2016
More Invitations Issued in Latest Express Entry Draw

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will invite 1,518 candidates to apply for permanent residence in its most recent Express Entry draw. The minimum qualifying score for this draw is 484.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Thailand, October 10, 2016
Marriage and Birth Certificates From 21 Countries Now Require Legalization

Foreign nationals from 21 countries applying for long-term dependent visas at the One Stop Service Center must legalize their marriage and birth certificates at their home country's Embassy in Thailand and then must have the document authenticated by the Thai Embassy in that country. This requirement does not apply to applications submitted to the Board of Investments.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Germany, October 10, 2016
Work Permit Application Processing Significantly Delayed

Work and residence permit applicants and those seeking related appointments are experiencing delays of up to several weeks due to a case backlog at the immigration authority.  Employers should contact their immigration professional to start the work permit application process early to avoid unnecessary delays.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Cyprus, October 7, 2016
Eligibility Criteria Relaxed for Citizenship by Investment Program

Foreign entrepreneurs and investors and their families will be subject to more flexible citizenship eligibility criteria on or after October 31, 2016, including a lower minimum investment amount and more investment options. New restrictions will also apply, such as a ban on investment in bank deposits and a cap on the purchase of government bonds in Cyprus.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Immigration News This Week

European Union: Border and Coast Guard Launched October 6 – The European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) - which was developed to reinforce the management of the European Union's external borders - officially launched on October 6. The EBCG is an extension of the existing European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex), but it has a wider scope and more resources. Some of the key goals of the EBCG are to monitor migration and carry out risk analysis, to provide operational and technical assistance to EU Member States experiencing high levels of migration and to support search and rescue operations.

New Zealand: Visa Waiver Changes for South African, Mauritius and Seychelles Nationals – South African nationals will no longer be visa-exempt in New Zealand on or after November 21, 2016. South African nationals travelling before then can obtain a visa at the airport and must meet other entry requirements, including health and character requirements. The cost of a visitor visa will increase to NZ 184 (from NZ 165) for hard-copy visa applications on or after November 21, 2016, and will remain NZ 165 for online applications. South African nationals should contact their immigration professional to apply for a visa at least six weeks prior to travel.

On or after November 21, nationals of Mauritius and Seychelles will be eligible for a visa waiver for tourist and business visits up to 30 days.  Health and character requirements will no longer apply to these nationals but they will still be required to present onward or return travel tickets and evidence of financial support in New Zealand upon entry. More information is available on the Immigration New Zealand website.

Taiwan: Electronic Visa Application System Changes – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has expanded the electronic visa application program originally launched January 12, 2016.  Nationals of the following nine countries are now also eligible for eVisas: Bahrain, Dominica, Kuwait, Montenegro, Oman, the Philippines (on a one-year trial basis), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. However, Brunei nationals are no longer eligible for eVisas.  For more information and to apply for an eVisa, please visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs' website.

Turkey: Notification Now Required Upon Commencement of Assignment – Employers of foreign workers must now notify the Ministry of Labor within 15 days of a foreign employee's start date. The rule regarding notifying the Ministry of Labor within 15 days of the conclusion of an assignment (unless conclusion is the same as expiry) remains the same.  Employers who will be hiring foreign workers in Turkey should contact their immigration professional for assistance with filing the notification. Fragomen worked closely with the Bener Law Office of Istanbul to prepare this update.

 

Global Immigration News Links

Immigration is one of the topics of the third U.S. presidential debate, Time reports.

The Supreme Court will soon decide whether Muslims, Arabs and other immigrants rounded up immediately after the 9/11 attacks can sue former Attorney General John Ashcroft and other officials for violating their civil rights.

The United Kingdom may still need to make big contributions to the EU to secure preferential trading terms after Brexit, the BBC reports.

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

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