Virginia, US

Sep 07 2018

Weekly Immigration Update: August 31 - September 6, 2018

Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Germany, Ghana, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Serbia, South Africa, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela

In United States immigration news this week, a federal judge has denied the State of Texas’s request to halt the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program while a lawsuit challenging the program goes forward.  In the meantime, DACA beneficiaries can continue to apply to renew their benefits.

In 2019, the United Kingdom plans to introduce a two-year Seasonal Worker Permit pilot, under which seasonal agricultural workers from outside the EU will be able to work for up to six months on UK farms. 

Israel has clarified that only Israeli-registered companies can apply for expedited Hi-Tech (HIT) Visas for their employees, excluding international companies and local branches of international companies.

Employers in Ghana must now notify the government when foreign nationals entering under a business visa perform certain activities in the oil and gas sector.

China has launched a Mainland Resident Card for residents of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, which offers benefits previously only available to mainland residents. Japan is planning to introduce a new work visa status as well as a new immigration agency in April 2019 to handle an anticipated influx of foreign workers. Exact details have not yet been released and these plans are subject to change pending Congressional approval.

These items and other news from Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, India, Israel, Latin America, Qatar, Serbia, South Africa, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, August 31, 2018
Federal Court Denies Preliminary Injunction Against DACA Program

  • A federal judge has denied the State of Texas’s request to halt the DACA program while a lawsuit challenging the program goes forward.
  • DACA beneficiaries can continue to apply to renew their benefits, pursuant to prior orders from federal courts in California and New York.
  • A District of Columbia federal judge’s August 3 court order requiring the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to fully reinstate DACA – including new applications and requests for advance parole – remains stayed to allow DHS time to appeal.


To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom, September 6, 2018
Seasonal Worker Permit to be Piloted in 2019

The UK government plans to introduce a Seasonal Worker Permit in 2019 for a two-year pilot. Under the pilot program, up to 2,500 seasonal agricultural workers from outside the European Union can apply for a permit through an authorised agency to work for up to six months on UK farms.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Japan, September 5, 2018
New Immigration Agency and Work Visa Status Forthcoming

Japan's Ministry of Justice is planning to introduce a new work visa status and a new immigration agency in April 2019 to handle an anticipated influx of foreign workers. The new work visa status should allow foreign nationals to work in industries such as agriculture, construction, hospitality, nursing, shipbuilding, and may be expanded to other sectors. Exact details have not been released yet and these plans are still subject to change pending Congressional approval.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Brazil, September 4, 2018
Additional Guidance Issued Regarding Residence Authorization Renewal Eligibility

The Brazilian Ministry of Labor has clarified the residence authorization renewal process for foreign nationals who obtained their work or residence authorization both before and after November 21, 2017.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Israel, September 4, 2018
Company Eligibility for Hi-Tech (HIT) Visas Clarified

Effective immediately, the Ministry of Interior has clarified that only Israeli-registered companies can apply for expedited Hi-Tech (HIT) Visas for their employees, excluding international companies and local branches of international companies. Separately, the Israeli Innovation Authority introduced a new procedure to verify a company's eligibility to sponsor HIT Visas. 

To view entire article, click here.

 

China, September 4, 2018
Mainland Residence Card Available for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan Residents as of September 1

China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security officially stopped accepting Work Permit applications from residents of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan on August 23, 2018.  The State Council launched a new optional identity document for these residents, called the Mainland Residence Card, on September 1, 2018, that offers several benefits such as access to many public services previously only available for residents. Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan residents can still use their Mainland Travel Permits to work and stay in China until December 31, 2018.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Israel, September 2, 2018
Consulates Worldwide Closed During Strike

Administrative staff members of all Israeli consular posts worldwide unexpectedly declared a strike, resulting in the suspension of operations during the strike. The duration of the strike has not been announced. Since the strike was announced shortly before the start of the Israeli holiday season in most of September, this effectively leaves only a few business days during which Israeli consulates will be open in September.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Ghana, August 31, 2018
Employers Must Notify Government of New Business Visa Holders in Oil and Gas Sector

Authorities in Ghana have issued a notice requiring companies to report any foreign nationals entering under a business visa to perform certain activities in the oil and gas sector to the Western Regional Command. This is based on the increase of enforcement of the rule prohibiting workers from entering under a business visa. This initiative is likely to be expanded to other regions in Ghana. 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Weekly News Briefs

United States: Former Senator Jon Kyl to Complete Senator John McCain's Term – Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has appointed former Senator Jon Kyl to replace the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ). Senator Kyl has committed to serving at least until the end of the year. It is unclear whether he plans to run in a special election for the seat slated for 2020, or in the regularly planned election at the end of Senator McCain's term in 2022.

Senator Kyl represented Arizona in the Senate for nearly two decades before retiring in 2013. While in office, Senator Kyl, along with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), introduced legislation to terminate the Visa Waiver Program. He supported mandatory E-Verify; elimination of the diversity visa lottery; and the creation of a new nonimmigrant category for temporary unskilled workers. He also supported fully funding Operation Streamline at the southern border -- a joint initiative of the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice that adopted a zero-tolerance approach to unauthorized border-crossing by engaging in criminal prosecution of those engaging in it. Senator Kyl has also been a lobbyist at the firm Covington & Burling, where he most often represented the pharmaceutical industry.

Most recently, Senator Kyl has been shepherding Brett M. Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court appointee, through the Senate confirmation process. With a vote on Kavanaugh looming, Senator Kyl will restore the GOP's 51-49 seat majority in the Senate.

Canada: Quebec Immigrant Investor Program to Reopen – The Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP) which provides a route to permanent residence will reopen on September 10, 2018 and remain open until March 15, 2019 or until 1,900 applications are received. The eligibility requirements for foreign nationals seeking to apply will include: net assets of at least CAD 2 million (previously CAD 1.6 million); and an investment of CAD 1.2 million (previously CAD 800,000). A financing option will be available for investors to assist foreign nationals in meeting the investment requirements. This is the only program which allows qualifying investors to seek permanent residence in Canada through passive investment in the country and as a result, the quota is generally met quickly.

Czech Republic/India: Czech Consular Delays in India Persist – Delays in booking consular appointments at the Embassy for the Czech Republic in New Delhi persist, with the available monthly appointment quota being filled immediately upon opening. As a reminder, any changes to the appointment data, such as a change of date or visa type, requires a new appointment.

Estonia: Van der Elst Exemption in Effect – Estonia offers the Van der Elst work permit exemption for services provided by a non-EU citizen who holds a residence permit issued from a Schengen area country as of August 15, 2018. To qualify, foreign workers must have an employment contract, valid work and residence authorization in a Schengen area country, and must be sent to Estonia by the company registered in another Schengen area member state to temporarily provide services. Eligible applicants must complete work registration before starting services. Interested clients and employers are advised to contact their Fragomen representative.

Germany: German Consular Delays in India Persist – Further to ongoing delays at German consular posts in India, delays in appointment booking ranging from two to five months persist at the consular posts in New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai. Appointments are available at short notice at the Consulate General in Kolkata only. Fragomen is monitoring the situation and will keep affected applicants informed.

Latin America: Venezuelan Nationals Now Require Passport to Enter Some Latin American Countries; International Meeting May Bring Rule Changes  Due to the escalating political situation in Venezuela and the mass migration of Venezuelan nationals into other Latin American countries, Venezuelan nationals should carry their passports when traveling in Latin America, especially to Peru and Colombia. Prior to the mass migration out of Venezuela, Venezuelan nationals were allowed in some cases to enter some Latin American countries without their passports.

Additionally, a meeting this week with 11 Latin American countries' representatives may result in amended policies for Venezuelan nationals' entry into the countries that participated in the agreement. The countries that participated in the meeting include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. The changes in entry and other immigration rules have not yet been finalized and will require additional country-by-country approval prior to their implementation.

Venezuelan nationals should work closely with their immigration provider to determine current applicable rules and the appropriate strategy for their stay in Latin America. Fragomen is researching other issues concerning travel rules for Venezuelan nationals in Latin America and plans to issue an alert shortly.

Qatar: Exit Permits for Departure to be Waived – Foreign workers in Qatar will no longer require exit permits or their sponsor’s permission to obtain these exit permits in order to depart Qatar during the validity of their employment contracts, according to a new law approved this week. The effective date of the law has not yet been announced. The law allows employers to request that the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs require select employees to obtain their sponsor’s pre-approval before exiting Qatar.  However, this determination will be based on the nature of the employees’ work and is limited to five percent of the total headcount of the company. Foreign nationals who do not fall under the Qatari labor law, including domestic workers and dependents, will not benefit from the new rule and are still required to obtain an exit permit and their sponsor’s permission in order to leave Qatar.

Serbia: More Documents Required for Work and Residence Permits Due to Policy Change – Over the last month, local police in Serbia have frequently requested additional documents on short notice for pending and new Work and Residence Permit applications. Documents requested include notarized passport copies, company support letters and powers of attorney, among others. The new document requirements are the result of a new immigration policy being developed by the new head officer of the Foreigners Department of the Ministry of Interior, the lead department responsible for immigration matters. Fragomen expects document requirements to continue to change over the coming months and will work with affected applicants to minimize inconvenience. Processing times are not affected.

South Africa: Police Clearance Certificate Process Clarified – The South African Police Service has restricted the procedure for obtaining a police clearance certificate in South Africa due to fraud that was occurring at the application center. This restriction will result in more administrative work for applicants and in some cases, delays.

South African and foreign nationals in South Africa applying for immigration status in another country will now need to submit their police clearance application materials in person at a local police station. Previously, these applicants could utilize a third-party representative to submit the documents on their behalf and to track the progress of the issuance of the document. Applicants will also need to complete an application form and submit biometrics at the station. The police will then send the documents to the application center, which may delay the application processing time by days or weeks.

Overseas foreign nationals seeking to re-enter South Africa will now need to courier their application materials directly to the application center. Previously, these applicants could utilize a third-party representative to courier their application materials to the application center. Fragomen will not be able to review the application before sending. Overseas applicants will also be required to courier the documents directly to the application center.

Sweden: Proposal to Limit Work Authorization to Shortage Occupations – In the runup to the Swedish elections on September 9, 2018, the Social Democrat governing party has submitted a draft law proposing to limit labor migration to sectors with labor shortage. The law must be approved by parliament to take effect. If adopted, Fragomen expects the changes to mostly affect low-skilled professions. During the past mandate, the government reintroduced border controls, reduced the initial validity period for temporary residence permits, and added additional eligibility criteria for permanent residence permits. Immigration has been a central topic in the election debate.

United Arab Emirates: Visa-Free Entry for El Salvador Nationals – Effective immediately, nationals of El Salvador are eligible for visa-free entry for business and tourism into the United Arab Emirates for stays of up to 90 days. Travelers from El Salvador will now receive an entry stamp upon arrival, whereas previously they were required to apply for a UAE visa prior to travel.

 

Global Immigration News Links


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