Virginia, US

Jul 13 2017

Weekly Immigration Update: July 7 – 13, 2017

Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, European Union, India, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Slovak Republic, Spain, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States

In United States immigration news this week, the Department of Homeland Security delayed the effective date of a final rule that would offer qualifying international entrepreneurs permission to stay in the United States for up to five years and announced plans to rescind it.

Also in the United States, a new edition of Form I-9 will be released on July 17 and will become mandatory on September 18. The U.S. State Department’s final action cutoff dates for EB-2 will retrogress for most countries by over two years, according to the August Visa Bulletin.

In the European Union, several European Parliament leaders expressed their dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Theresa May's offer concerning the rights of EU nationals residing in the United Kingdom.  The Netherlands unveiled the International Trade Regulation, under which certain foreign nationals will be eligible for a Work Permit exemption if they perform specialized work on approved projects involving Dutch companies. The Slovak Republic has made the EU Intracompany Transfer (ICT) Permit available and applicable to non-EU qualified managers, specialists and graduate trainees.

In Australia, a number of key changes to the permanent employer sponsored categories took effect on July 1, 2017. Two new laws specify training benchmarks for the Subclass 457 and Subclass 186 visa programs.

These items and other news from Bahrain, Egypt, India, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the United Arab Emirates and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, July 13, 2017
DHS to Update Form I-9 and Related Regulations

A new edition of the I-9 employment eligibility verification form will be released on July 17, 2017, but employers can continue to use the November 14, 2016 edition of the form through September 17, 2017. Effective July 17, employers can accept State Department Form FS-240, the Consular Report of Birth Abroad, as a List C document for verification of employment authorization.

To view entire article, click here.

United States, July 11, 2017
August 2017 Visa Bulletin: EB-2 Retrogresses Worldwide; EB-3 Becomes Current For Many Countries and Advances for India

In the EB-2 category, final action cutoff dates will retrogress for most countries by over two years. EB-2 China will advance by a month and EB-2 India will remain unchanged. EB-3 cutoff dates will advance by five months for India, one year for the Philippines, and will become current for most other countries except China, which will remain unchanged. EB-1 India and China will remain retrogressed.

To view entire article, click here.

United States, July 11, 2017
DHS Delays International Entrepreneur Rule, Plans Rescission

A final rule that would offer qualifying international entrepreneurs permission to stay in the United States for up to five years will be postponed from July 17, 2017 to March 14, 2018, while the Department of Homeland Security takes steps to rescind it.

To view entire article, click here.

Saudi Arabia, July 13, 2017
Levy on Dependent Family Members Implemented

Saudi Arabian authorities have implemented a monthly fee for each dependent family member in country sponsored by a foreign national. The levy must be paid in addition to the standard visa processing fee.  It is expected that the levy will be increased annually until it reaches its maximum limit in 2020.

To view entire article, click here.

European Union, July 13, 2017
European Parliament Reacts to UK Offer for EU Nationals Residing in UK

Several political leaders of the European Parliament expressed their dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Theresa May's offer on the rights of EU nationals residing in the United Kingdom.  They consider that the UK offer proposes that EU nationals obtain the status of "third-country nationals" with fewer rights than what other EU Member States offer to UK nationals and highlight that the European Parliament would reject any agreement that would result in treating EU nationals less favorably than their current status.  There is no immediate impact on EU nationals residing in the United Kingdom, and these matters will likely be subject to further negotiation.

To view entire article, click here.

Egypt, July 13, 2017
Mandatory Registration for Certain Nationalities Within Seven Days of Entry

Effective immediately, nationals of Algeria, India, Lebanon, Pakistan, the Philippines, Syria and Tunisia must register with the Immigration Authority or to a respective police station with an Immigration Department desk, within seven days of each entry into Egypt, regardless of immigration status.

To view entire article, click here.

India, July 12, 2017
Residence Departure Formalities Now Mandatory In Chennai

Chennai authorities have introduced residence departure reporting formalities.  Hotels, guest houses, serviced apartments and landlords must now report departure or checkout of foreign national guests and tenants through an online portal previously launched for occupancy reporting purposes.  It is likely that this requirement will be made mandatory across all other locations in phases.

To view entire article, click here.

Slovak Republic, July 12, 2017
EU Intracompany Transfer Permit Implemented

The EU Intracompany Transfer (ICT) Permit became available in the Slovak Republic.  It applies to non-EU qualified managers, specialists and graduate trainees. The EU ICT Permit allows for a validity duration of up to three years, depending on circumstances; however, it has stricter previous experience requirements than the standard Work Permit category.

To view entire article, click here.

Australia, July 7, 2017
Changes to the Permanent Employer Sponsored Visa Categories Take Effect

A number of key changes to the permanent employer sponsored categories took effect on July 1, 2017. Changes to the Direct Entry Stream requirements include the reduction of a maximum age limit and an increased English language proficiency requirement. Changes to the Temporary Residences Transition Stream requirements state that employers must show a genuine need for employing foreign nationals.  Additional changes were also made to other categories including a reduction in the age limit for certain workers for the points-tested General Skilled Migration visas and an increase in the age limit for Working Holiday Makers.

To view entire article, click here.

The Netherlands, July 7, 2017
New Work Permit Exemptions for Certain Approved Projects

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment has announced a new program known as the International Trade Regulation under which certain foreign nationals will be eligible for a Work Permit exemption if they are performing specialized work on approved projects involving Dutch companies.

To view entire article, click here.

Australia, July 7, 2017
New Training Benchmark Requirements for Subclass 457 and Subclass 186 Visa Programs

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has registered two new laws specifying new training benchmarks that will apply to the Subclass 457 and Subclass 186 visa programs from July 1, 2017 with the intention of clarifying policy settings for the training benchmarks and other training requirements.

To view entire article, click here.

Australia, July 7, 2017
New Occupation Lists for Subclass 457 and Employer Nomination Scheme Take Effect

The Australian Government released new Medium- and Long-Term Strategic Skills List and the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List for the Subclass 457 Visa program and Direct Entry Nominations of the Employer Nomination Scheme.  Additionally, the Subclass 457 category now requires English language proficiency for applicants with salaries above AUD 96,400, whereas previously these applicants were exempt. The exemption from the English language proficiency requirement will remain for intracompany transfers.

To view entire article, click here.

Weekly News Briefs

United States: DHS Releases New Immigration and Adjustment of Status Report – The Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of Immigration Statistics released its first quarterly Legal Immigration and Adjustment of Status Report to comply with President Trump's "extreme vetting" directive to the immigration agencies.

The report indicates that in the first quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2017, 289,000 foreign nationals obtained lawful permanent residence (LPR) status, a one percent increase from the same quarter in FY 2016, and 270,000 foreign nationals obtained LPR status in the second quarter, a four percent decrease from the same period in FY 2016. Approximately 13 percent of LPRs obtained status under an employment-based preference category.   Nearly half of all LPRs in FY 2017 obtained status as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens and approximately two-thirds obtained status either as immediate relatives or under a family preference category.

Bahrain: Flexible Work Permit Program Launched for Foreign Nationals with Expired Residency Visas – The Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) has launched a flexible Work Permit program allowing foreign nationals  whose Residency Visas expired or were canceled on or before September 20, 2016, but who have not yet departed Bahrain, to obtain a flexible Work Permit with a validity for up to two years, with a possibility of extension.  Qualifying foreign nationals may work for more than one employer, full-time or part-time, provided they have an employment contract.  LMRA offers two types of flexible Work Permits under this program:  (1) Flexi Permit allowing work in any non-specialized occupation except jobs in restaurants, hotels and beauty salons; and (2) Flexi Hospitality Permit allowing work in any non-specialized occupation including jobs in restaurants, hotels and beauty salons.  The government processing fee for Flexi and Flexi Hospitality Permits is BHD 449. 

Saudi Arabia: Employers Urged to Comply with Summer Training Program Requirement – The Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MOLSD)  has urged employers in the private sector to comply with the requirement to provide training opportunities to Saudi students during the summer holiday.  Employers with more than 25 employees must offer students on-the-job training at their site or arrange a course through one of the approved institutes.  Employers are requested to disclose their training opportunities to students by July 17, 2017 in order to facilitate subscription.  MOLSD has also announced that it will conduct site inspections to control the implementation of the training programs.  However, it is not yet clear what the consequences of noncompliance are for employers. 

Spain: Increase In Government Processing Fees – Government processing fees for immigration procedures have been increased following a review of the national budget by the Spanish government. The increase in fees does not have any impact on the process, documentation or timing of applications.

United Arab Emirates: Ministry of Interior Online Portal Launched for Dependent Processes in Abu Dhabi – The Ministry of Interior has introduced a new electronic portal for individuals, companies and typing centers to simplify the application process for various categories of visas, including those for dependents. Foreign nationals sponsoring dependents in Abu Dhabi can now submit their applications at various typing centers, instead of visiting the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs office. The dependent services are currently addressed to residents in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (residents in the Emirate of Dubai continue to use e-Vision portal launched in 2016) and include processes to complete new, renewal and cancellation procedures for dependent Residency Permits as well as to pay fines. The online portal is in the initial phase of implementation, and some of its options are not yet available. Once the system is fully functional, manual submission will no longer be permitted.

Global Immigration News Links

Foreign students may be required to reapply for permission to stay in the United States every year, according to a Trump Administration proposal that is still in the preliminary stages, the Washington Post reports.

White House advisers are proposing to shift the visa approving authority from the State Department to the Department of Homeland Security.

Despite hosting the most migrants in the world and serving as the source of the largest remittances, the United States ranks number seven in the U.S. News ranking of the Best Countries to Be an Immigrant. Sweden, a strong social welfare state that has long been considered a haven for migrants, ranks number one, followed by Canada, Switzerland, Australia and Germany in the top five.

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