Virginia, US

Apr 07 2017

Weekly Immigration Update: March 31 – April 6, 2017

Canada, Ethiopia, European Union, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Panama, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Slovak Republic, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela

In United States immigration news this week, the Departments of Labor, Homeland Security and Justice unveiled coordinated initiatives to increase scrutiny of the H-1B program and toughen employment-based immigration enforcement.  Employers can expect more frequent worksite audits and investigations, and greater scrutiny of discrimination claims from U.S. workers.

Also in the United States, a new USCIS guidance restricts H-1B eligibility for computer programmers. The Department of Homeland Security also plans to review and reconsider a regulation that permits certain spouses of H-1B workers to apply for employment authorization documents over the next six months.

In Canada, changes will be implemented to the Express Entry system effective June 6, 2017. Additional points will be awarded to candidates with strong French language skills, candidates who also have English language skills and those with siblings in Canada.

Germany approved the implementation of the EU Intracompany Transferee (ICT) Directive, which introduces two new work permit categories - the ICT Permit and the Mobile ICT Permit. Germany also approved the implementation of the EU Directive on Students and Researchers, which will introduce new regulations for students, trainees and scientists.

South Korea issued formal guidelines that limit permissible business activities under a C-3-4 Short-Term Business Visa to business meetings and other not-for-profit activities.

These items and other news from Ethiopia, Ireland, Netherlands, Panama, Slovak Republic and Venezuela follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, April 6, 2017
Trump Administration Announces H-1B Compliance and Enforcement Measures

This week, the Departments of Labor, Homeland Security and Justice unveiled coordinated initiatives to increase scrutiny of the H-1B program and toughen employment-based immigration enforcement.  Employers can expect more frequent worksite audits and investigations, and greater scrutiny of discrimination claims from U.S. workers.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 3, 2017
New USCIS Guidance Restricts H-1B Eligibility for Computer Programmers

Computer programmer positions are not presumed to be eligible for the H-1B program, USCIS has announced.  Employers seeking H-1B status for computer programmers may need to demonstrate that offered positions are complex, specialized or unique.  The new guidance may also result in increased scrutiny of H-1B filings for entry-level positions in other occupations. 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 3, 2017
DHS to Reconsider H-4 Employment Authorization Rule

The Department of Homeland Security plans to review and reconsider the H-4 employment authorization document (EAD) program over the next six months.  Though eligible H-4 spouses can still apply for EADs, the government review could lead to modification or termination of the program in the future.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 3, 2017
FY 2018 H-1B Cap Season Begins: What Employers and Foreign Nationals Can Expect

USCIS is expected to receive a very large number of H-1B cap cases between April 3 and April 7, the opening days of the FY 2018 filing season.  The agency will use a computerized lottery to select the petitions that will be processed to completion.   Because of the operational challenges of high filing volume and the suspension of premium processing for H-1B cases, employers and foreign nationals should expect to wait several weeks or more to learn whether their cap petitions were selected for processing.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Ireland, April 6, 2017
Authorities Seeking Input from Employers on Occupations Lists Factors

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation (DJEI) is seeking input from stakeholder employers for a review of job categories listed on the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List and Ineligible Categories of Employment List as they relate to Employment Permits.  Submissions should be made by April 27.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Ireland, April 6, 2017
Atypical Working Scheme Applications Subject to Longer Processing Times

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service has announced that the new estimated processing time for Atypical Working Scheme (AWS) applications is a minimum of 20 business days, instead of the previous estimated processing time of one to two weeks.  This change was made due to a significant increase in AWS applications.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Slovak Republic, April 6, 2017
Foreign Police Delays Impacting Wait Times

Understaffing at the Foreign Police is causing delays that are impacting  immigration appointment queuing times.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Netherlands, April 5, 2017
Many Foreign Worker Categories Can Now Benefit from Relaxed Entrepreneur Rules

Holders of the Knowledge Migrant Permit, EU Blue Card, Student Permit and the Permit for Scientific Research can now perform work activities as self-employed entrepreneurs in the Netherlands, as long as their primary work activity remains what is indicated on their work permit.  Current holders of these permits are not required to update or renew their existing work authorization documents. In addition, scientific researchers are now exempt from a work permit. 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United Arab Emirates, April 4, 2017
Visitor Visas-On-Arrival to be Extended to Indian Nationals

The United Arab Emirates Cabinet approved a decree granting Indian passports holders eligibility for a United Arab Emirates visitor visa-on-arrival, if they have a valid United States visa or  Green Card. The first day of the program is yet to be announced.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, April 3, 2017
More Changes to Express Entry Forthcoming

New changes will be implemented to Canada's Express Entry system on or after June 6, 2017. Additional points will be awarded to candidates with strong French language skills, candidates who also have English language skills and those with siblings in Canada. Voluntary registration will be available on the national Job Bank, facilitating candidates' eligibility for an invitation round.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Germany, April 3, 2017
Federal Council Approves EU Directive on Students and Researchers

The German Federal Council approved the implementation of the EU Directive on Students and Researchers, which will introduce new regulations regarding students, trainees and scientists. The new regulations will provide more lenient rules for foreign nationals seeking to continue their studies, gain work experience through training programs or perform research and development activities in Germany. The new law is expected to become effective in July or August.

To view entire article, click here.

 

South Korea, April 3, 2017
Permissible Business Visitor Activities Limited

The South Korean Immigration Service has issued formal guidelines that limit permissible business visitor activities under a C-3-4 Short-Term Business Visa to business meetings and other not-for-profit activities for up to 90 days. Previously-allowed activities such as installation, repair, inspection and transfer of knowledge on operation of machinery are now considered work activities that require a C-4 Short-Term Employment Visa.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Germany, March 31, 2017
Federal Council Approves EU Intracompany Transferee Directive

The German Federal Council approved the implementation of the EU Intracompany Transferee (ICT) Directive. The new law will introduce two new work permit categories - the ICT Permit and the Mobile ICT Permit. The ICT Permit  will apply to non-EU/European Economic Area qualified managers, specialists and graduate trainees temporarily assigned from an entity outside the European Union to an entity in the same corporate group in Germany for a period of over 90 days. The Mobile ICT Permit will apply to those who  have an ICT permit issued by another EU country. The law will also introduce more lenient rules for the previous experience requirement and a cooling-off period between assignments. The new law is expected to become effective in July or August.

To view entire article, click here.

 

European Union/United Kingdom, March 31, 2017
European Council Presents Draft Brexit Negotiation Guidelines

As a preliminary response to the United Kingdom's notification of its exit from the European Union, the President of the European Council presented draft negotiation guidelines for the exit plan. Similar to the United Kingdom's approach, the European Council's main objective is to minimize the uncertainty created by Brexit for EU/UK citizens and businesses in the United Kingdom and the European Union. Stricter immigration controls are likely once the United Kingdom is no longer an EU country, but that will be decided at a later stage.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Weekly News Briefs

Ethiopia: Allowable Validity for U.S. Nationals’ Business Visas Increased to Two Years –Effective immediately, U.S. nationals are eligible for Ethiopian business visas valid for up to two years, instead of the typical 30 day validity period for other nationals. U.S. nationals are still only eligible to perform business visitor activities for up to 30 days, as all other nationals, but they can re-enter without a cooling-off period within the validity of their two-year visa.  Employers should consult their immigration professional for application assistance.

Panama: Regularization Process Created – A new decree establishes a multi-step regularization process for foreign nationals. The previous regularization process (referred to as the humanitarian visa) was not formalized.  Applicants who are at least 18 years old who have been in Panama for at least a year (and who not have left the country for more than 30 cumulative days) and who do not have a pending immigration process with the National Migration Service can file a regularization application with the National Migration Service in person.  Foreign nationals should contact their immigration professional for more information on the process.

Venezuela: Labor and Immigration Authorities Closed Next Week – The Ministry of Labor, which issues work permits, Servicio Administrativo de Identificación, Migración y Extranjería (SAIME), which issues visas, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is responsible for legalization processes, will be closed next week due to the Easter holiday.  Employers and foreign nationals should consider potential delays resulting from the closures in setting start dates.

 

Global Immigration News Links

Reforming immigration, and not curtailing immigration, fuels American greatness, according to VOX.

Prime Minister Theresa May has suggested that the free movement of people from the European Union to the United Kingdom could be extended after Brexit, according to BBC.

Germany’s Green party has outlined a “talent card” immigration plan, Deutsche Well 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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