Virginia, US

Apr 13 2018

Weekly Immigration Update: April 6 – 12, 2018

Argentina, Canada, China, European Union, Finland, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malta, Oman, Panama, Slovenia, United States

In United States immigration news this week, the fiscal year 2019 H-1B cap was reached on April 6. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it received 190,098 cap petitions for FY 2019, a 4.5 percent decrease over last year's total.

Also in the United States, a cutoff date has been imposed for EB-5 Vietnam, while cutoff dates for EB-1 China and India remain stagnant, according to the State Department's May Visa Bulletin.

Canada has proposed expanding biometrics collection for foreign nationals applying for most permits and visas.

India has released updated policy guidelines for the Intern Visa, the Residential Permit rules for those with immediate travel plans following entry, and the status of previously-issued visas.

A new regulation in Indonesia streamlines the work permit process. China has created a new government agency that will oversee immigration policies, the entry and exit of foreign nationals, border control, nationality issues, refugees and other immigration-related matters.

Finland and Slovenia have created two new work and residence permits and a new government notification process to implement the EU Intracompany Transferee Directive.

These items and other news from Argentina, European Union, Germany, Ghana, Malta, Oman and Panama follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, April 12, 2018
USCIS Receives 190,098 FY 2019 H-1B Cap Cases, Runs Selection Lotteries

USCIS received 8,902 fewer H-1B cap filings than last year. The overall chance of selection in the cap lotteries for this year is approximately 45 percent.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 11, 2018
May 2018 Visa Bulletin - No Movement for EB-1 China and India; Cutoff Date Imposed for EB-5 Vietnam

  • Due to very high demand, a cutoff date of July 22, 2014 will be imposed for EB-5 Vietnam.
  • The cutoff date for EB-1 China and India will remain at January 1, 2012.
  • EB-2 China will advance by one month, to September 1, 2014.
  • EB-3 India will advance by three months, to May 1, 2008.


To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 6, 2018
The FY 2019 H-1B Cap Has Been Reached

  • The annual quota of 85,000 new H-1B petitions was exceeded in the first five business days of the filing period for employment in FY 2019.
  • In the coming days, USCIS will conduct a computerized lottery to choose enough H-1B petitions to result in 85,000 approvals.


To view entire article, click here.

 

India, April 12, 2018
Updated Immigration Policy Guidelines Released

The Ministry of Home Affairs has released updated guidelines relating to all visa categories and rules regarding foreign nationals. Key changes and clarifications involve the following topics, among others:

  • Intern Visa;
  • Residential Permit rules for those with immediate travel plans following entry to India; and
  • Status of previously-issued Indian visas.


To view entire article, click here.

 

Indonesia, April 12, 2018
New Regulation to Streamline Work Permit Process

A new Presidential regulation creates more flexible rules for employers submitting Foreign Manpower Utilization Plans (RPTKA), including a shorter processing time, potential exemptions, more flexible rules for urgent and emergency work, and other work permit-related changes. Implementing regulations are expected to be issued within the next few months.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, April 11, 2018
Expanded Biometrics Collection Regulations Proposed

The Canadian government has proposed regulations which would:

  • Expand the collection of biometrics for foreign nationals applying for most permits and visas;
  • Introduce a biometric verification system at Canadian borders; and
  • Increase information sharing with key partner countries' governments.


If approved, the proposed amendments are expected to go into effect in two phases based on region - for all applicants from Europe, the Middle East and Africa by July 31, 2018, and for all applicants from Asia, Asia Pacific and the Americas by December 31, 2018.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Finland, April 11, 2018
Intracompany Transferee Directive Implemented

Finland created two new work and residence permits and a new government notification process to implement the EU Intracompany Transferee Directive.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Slovenia, April 10, 2018
Intracompany Transferee Directive Implemented

Slovenia created two new work and residence permits and a new government notification process to implement the EU Intracompany Transferee Directive.

To view entire article, click here.

 

China, April 10, 2018
State Immigration Administration Created

China's Ministry of Public Security has announced the creation of the State Immigration Administration, a new government agency that will oversee the entry and exit of foreign nationals, immigration policies, border control, nationality issues, refugees and other immigration-related matters.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Ghana, April 9, 2018
Local-Worker-Focused Oil and Gas Industry Guidelines to be Implemented

The Ghana Petroleum Commission will implement the following new rules to promote the hiring and training of local workers in the oil and gas industry:

  • Stricter labor market testing procedures that will prolong the work permit process;
  • A bar on foreign workers from applying for certain junior and mid-level positions in the oil and gas industry. 


The effective date of the guidelines is June 2, 2018.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Weekly News Briefs

United States: DHS Lifts Travel Ban Restrictions for Chadian Nationals Effective April 13, 2018, nationals of Chad will no longer be subject to applicable travel restrictions the Trump Administration imposed in its third travel ban, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced earlier this week. Since its implementation on December 8, 2017, the ban has barred Chadian nationals from entry into the United States as immigrants or as nonimmigrants on B-1, B-2, or B-1/B-2 visas unless certain exemptions or waivers apply. DHS states that Chad has raised its security standards to meet U.S. national security requirements, and that Chadian nationals may therefore be granted visas to enter the United States. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in Trump v. Hawaii, the challenge to the third travel ban, on April 25, 2018.

Argentina: Expedited Appointments Reinstated But Continue to Be Backlogged – The temporary suspension of expedited appointments to file for Temporary Residence or Transitory Authorization (24-h) has been lifted and foreign nationals can again use the system to apply for expedited appointments. However, due to a significant backlog, the first available expedited appointments for Mercosur and non-Mercosur temporary residence applications and Transitory Authorizations (24-h) are not until mid-June of this year. Non-Mercosur nationals who wish to apply for a Temporary Residence or Transitory Authorization (24-h) prior to mid-June can make a standard (non-expedited) appointment, as these are available in mid-April. Mercosur nationals can still make standard appointments, which are available in early November, but if they require a Temporary Residence or Transitory Authorization (24-h) quickly, making an expedited appointment for mid-June is the fastest option available.

European Union: Council Formally Approves Posted Worker Revision – As an update to the progress of the Posted Worker amendments, the Council of Ministers of the European Union has formally approved the revisions of the Posted Worker Directive. The Directive aims to ensure equal pay for equal work and better working conditions for employees temporarily working in another EU country. The revisions must still be formally approved by the full European Parliament. This is expected to happen by June 2018. EU countries would then have another two years to convert the rules into national legislation.

Germany: Consular Delays in Bangalore – Due to increased workload, visa appointments at the German consulate in Bangalore are booked through June. This delay is expected to increase as the June-August summer rush approaches. Foreign nationals and their employers should anticipate delays and contact their Fragomen professional to discuss alternatives.

Malta: Immigration Authority Now Prefers Out-of-country Applications – Identity Malta (the Maltese Immigration Authority) has recently stated in informal correspondence that it now prefers Single Permit applications to be filed while the foreign national is still abroad, rather than its previous preference for in-country applications. Out-of-country applications were already legally possible, but were not popular. Under the out-of-country application process, foreign nationals do not have to await processing while in Malta, which involves approximately four months of travel restrictions. Instead, foreign nationals can travel to Malta once Identity Malta preliminarily approves the application. After travel to Malta, finalizing the approval in country takes another one to two weeks.

Oman: Omanization Ratios Announced for Companies in Insurance Sector – Effective immediately, the Ministry of Manpower has set minimum ratios of Omani workers working at different professional levels for companies in the insurance industry. The ratio requirement will apply annually until 2020. The below are the ratios per year:

  • Top management: 40% in 2018; 45% in 2019; 50% in 2020;
  • Middle management: 65% in 2018; 75% in 2019; 75% in 2020; and
  • Specialized supporting and operational professionals: 90% in 2018, 2019 and 2020.


Apart from the above mandatory ratios, the Omani government aims to achieve the following ratios of Omani workers in the entire insurance sector: 70% in 2018, and 75% in 2019 and 2020.

Panama: Immigration Benefits Forthcoming for Indian Nationals – Effective June 1, 2018, Indian nationals will be able to take advantage of the following immigration benefits in Panama:

  • Entrance to Panama with a consular stamped visa; meaning Indian nationals will no longer require an authorized visa. Indian nationals can expect faster processing times, as consular visas are generally adjudicated within one week, whereas authorized visas may take up to 60 days to process and are subject to more scrutiny by immigration authorities.
  • Indian nationals can continue to qualify for a visa waiver if they hold a multiple-entry visa from Australia, Canada or the United States, which has been used at least once to enter that country and with at least one year validity remaining.
  • Indian nationals who have entered Panama under the visa waiver program and who wish to apply for a residence permit no longer need to obtain a VTR certificate – a clearance document foreign nationals must obtain from Servicio Nacional de Migración (the Panamanian immigration authority) prior to submitting a residence permit application, which can be time consuming.


Panama: New Visa Exemptions for Schengen Visa Holders – Effective immediately, visa nationals currently holding a residence permit in a Schengen country or a valid multiple-entry visa to a Schengen country, which still has at least one year of validity and has been used at least once to enter the issuing Schengen country, can enter Panama as a tourist without a visa. Previously, only visa nationals with valid visas Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States were eligible for a visa waiver. Eligible foreign nationals can now enter Panama quicker as they will not have to go through the visa application process.

 

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