Virginia, US

Apr 14 2017

Weekly Immigration Update: April 7 – 13, 2017

Colombia, India, Italy, Malaysia, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States

In United States immigration news this week, the FY 2018 H-1B cap was reached during the first five business days of the filing period, which ended on April 7, 2017.  USCIS is expected to conduct a computerized lottery to choose enough H-1B petitions to result in enough approvals to meet the annual limit of 85,000. As a reminder, F-1 students who have applied for or are working on optional practical training or who are seeking a change of status to H-1B should be aware that traveling abroad could impact their F-1 status, ability to change status and ability to reenter the United States.

Also in the United States, cutoff dates for final issuance of an immigrant visa will advance by three weeks for EB-2 China, according to the State Department’s May Visa Bulletin. Final action dates for EB-3 will advance by six weeks for China, one day for India, three and a half months for the Philippines, and one month for most other countries.

UK Visa and Immigration can now conduct an audit at any UK address where sponsored workers carry out their work, including a third party's premises, such as a client site where work is conducted under a contract for services.

Non-EU companies seconding workers to Italy to provide services are no longer subject to the notification requirement.

In India, effective July 1, 2017, the Aadhaar Card will be mandatory for all foreign nationals who have resided in the country for 182 days or more in the preceding year.

On September 1, 2017, Malaysia’s Ministry of Home Affairs will reclassify Category I, II and III Employment Pass applications submitted via the Expatriate Services Division portal.

These items and other news from Colombia, Malaysia, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, April 11, 2017
May 2017 Visa Bulletin: Final Action Dates Advance for EB-2 China and All Countries in EB-3; EB-1 and EB-2 Retrogression Expected in the Coming Months

In May, the cutoff dates for final action on an immigrant visa will advance by three weeks for EB-2 China. Final action dates for EB-3 will advance by six weeks for China, one day for India, three and a half months for the Philippines, and one month for most other countries.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 10, 2017
Travel Tips for F-1 Students on OPT or Planning a Change of Status to H-1B

If you are an F-1 student who has applied for or is working on optional practical training (OPT) or who is seeking a change of status to H-1B in this year's H-1B cap lottery, be aware that traveling abroad could affect your F-1 status, your ability to change status and your ability to reenter the United States. Before you travel internationally, make sure you understand the risks and requirements.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 7, 2017
The FY 2018 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 2018. 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.

 

Sweden, April 13, 2017
Significant Work and Residence Permit Application Processing Delays

The Swedish Migration Agency has reported that initial work and residence permit applications are taking one to two months to process and extension applications are taking seven months to process. Foreign nationals with work permit history in Sweden in the past seven years filing initial applications should expect a seven-month backlog.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Italy, April 13, 2017
Employers No Longer Subject to Notification Requirement for Many Foreign Workers

Non-EU companies seconding workers to Italy to provide services, who were previously subject to certain notification requirements per an EU Directive, are no longer subject to the notification requirement. Secondment notifications already sent and which are no longer needed per the decree may need to be cancelled/annulled.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Malaysia, April 13, 2017
Employment Pass Reclassification Takes Effect September 1, 2017

The Ministry of Home Affairs will reclassify Category I, II and III Employment Pass applications submitted via the Expatriate Services Division portal on September 1, 2017. The new classification system will be based on the foreign national's monthly base salary and duration of employment, and will require higher monthly salaries on or after September 1.

To view entire article, click here.

 

India, April 13, 2017
Identification Card to be Mandatory for Foreign Nationals Who Resided in India for at Least 182 Days

Effective July 1, 2017, the Aadhaar Card will be mandatory for all foreign nationals who have resided in India for 182 days or more in the preceding year. Previously, foreign nationals only needed a Permanent Account Number (PAN) to file their income tax returns. Effective July 1, foreign nationals without an Aadhaar Card will have their PAN cancelled, and therefore will not be able to file their income tax returns.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom, April 7, 2017
Third Party Sites May Now Be Visited During Compliance Audits

According to a new UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) policy, the UKVI can now conduct an audit at any UK address where sponsored workers carry out their work, including a third party's premises, such as a client site where work is conducted under a contract for services.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Weekly News Briefs

United States: Lee Francis Cissna Tapped for USCIS Director – President Donald Trump has announced his intention to nominate Lee Francis Cissna for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) director. Cissna is currently director of immigration policy at the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Policy. Previously, he worked in the USCIS's Office of Chief Counsel, served as a foreign service officer with the State Department and practiced as an attorney in the private sector. Cissna is known to have spoken favorably about the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act – legislation introduced in multiple sessions of Congress by Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Richard Durbin (D-IL).

United States: Latest PERM and PWD Processing Times – As of March 31, 2017, the Department of Labor (DOL) was conducting analyst review for PERM applications filed in January 2017 or earlier, and processing audited cases filed in August 2016 or earlier. There is no update on the government error queue. DOL is working on standard reconsideration requests submitted in February 2017 or earlier.

DOL is issuing prevailing wage determinations (PWD) for PERM and H-1B requests filed in January 2017. The agency has been processing PERM and H-1B redeterminations requested in January 2017, and PERM and H-1B center director reviews requested in February 2017.

PERM and PWD processing times are available on the iCERT home page.

Colombia: New Online Registration Process to Cause Slight Processing DelayMigracion Colombia is now requiring all foreign nationals who register their visas in Colombia to complete their forms and submit a copy of their visa online.  Hard copy forms will no longer be accepted. The online process occurs after foreign nationals procure their visas at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and before going to Migracion Colombia to process their registration and file their local identification card application. Since Fragomen must complete the online registration process before submitting the application at Migracion Colombia, this may slightly delay the registration process.

Malaysia: New Processing Time for Professional Visit Pass Applications – Effective immediately, Professional Visit Pass (PVP) applications will be processed through the MYXpats Centre, where processing takes approximately seven business days. Until further notice, the PVP endorsement process must still be completed either at the Immigration of Malaysia Headquarters in Putrajaya or at select State Immigration Offices.

Peru: MERCOSUR Appointments Delayed – Foreign nationals are currently experiencing delays in the scheduling of MERCOSUR visa appointments due to an increase in the number of applications and a decrease in the number of work hours at the in-country immigration office. The earliest available appointments are for the end of May. Foreign nationals should therefore schedule their appointment prior to traveling to Peru. Those who fail to attend their scheduled appointment may face an additional government fee.

Saudi Arabia: Amnesty Program Introduced for Out-of-Status Foreign Residents – Effective March 29, 2017, foreign nationals without a valid visa and outstanding legal actions can benefit from an amnesty program, which provides a travel permit that allows them to depart the country without being fined for overstaying. The amnesty will last for 90 days. Those who do not participate in the amnesty program will be required to visit the nearest Ministry of Interior’s office and register their personal information. 

Sweden: New Documentary Requirements for Dependents – Due to a change in practice, the Swedish Migration Agency now requires dependents seeking a Work Permit to leave Sweden during the processing of the application, after which they must provide a copy of their passport with their exit stamp.  Additionally, the Migration Agency now requires dependents of permanent residence permit holders to provide proof of cohabitation and proof of financial means to live in Sweden. Affected applicants should contact their immigration professional for further advice.

 

Global Immigration News Links

In a letter to President Trump and top Congressional leaders, nearly 1,500 economists, including six Nobel laureates, exalted the economic benefits immigrants bring to the U.S. and urged Congress to modernize the country’s immigration system, CNN reports.

The Trump Administration's immigration policies are boosting Canada's bid to become the Silicon Valley of the North, according to BusinessInsider. Canada's startups are seeing an uptick in job applications, especially from U.S. workers.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions urged federal prosecutors to pursue harsher charges against undocumented immigrants who commit crimes, or repeatedly cross into the U.S. illegally.

The Trump Administration has temporarily suspended the publication of weekly reports identifying ‘sanctuary cities’ – cities and counties that refuse to honor federal immigration detainers – over concerns about the accuracy of those lists, The Washington Post reports.

The latest forecasts for the decline in Japan’s population are likely to bring forward the debate on immigration, despite the government’s refusal to use the word “immigration” to describe its policies, Japan Times 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.

© 2017 Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates. All Rights Reserved.