Virginia, US

May 18 2017

Weekly Immigration Update: May 12 – 18, 2017

Algeria, Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, European Union, Ghana, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Lesotho, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Venezuela

In United States immigration news this week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has determined that it will only accept employment-based adjustment applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is current for final action under the State Department's June Visa Bulletin.

Effective June 1, 2017, Switzerland will subject Bulgarian and Romanian nationals applying for Category B EU/EFTA Work and Residence Permits to a yearly quota, to be allocated on a quarterly basis and issued in the order of request.

In Australia, the Skilling Australians Fund levy has been established to support the new Temporary Skill Shortage Visa and the training and development of Australian workers.

Israel has clarified that one-year B-1 Work Permits not activated by a visa application within 90 days of issuance will be automatically cancelled and that violations of Work Permit obligations are a criminal offense.

Foreign nationals travelling to Lesotho are now required to apply for their Entry Visas online using the new E-Visa system.

In the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and parts of Asia, foreign nationals and their employers can expect immigration processing delays from the end of May through the end of June during the observance of Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr. 

These items and other news from Bahrain, European Union/Ukraine, Ghana, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden and Venezuela follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, May 17, 2017

June Visa Bulletin Update: USCIS to Honor Employment-Based Final Action Dates Only Next Month

In June, USCIS will only accept employment-based adjustment applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is current for final action under the State Department's June Visa Bulletin.

To view the entire article, click here.

 

Ghana, May 18, 2017

Annual Report or Audited Accounts Required for Work and Residence Permits

Effective immediately, the Ghana Immigration Services will begin enforcing the requirement to submit an annual report or audited accounts of the previous year for Work and Residence Permit applications.  This is part of the effort by immigration authorities to promote compliance with all statutory requirements.

To view the entire article, click here.

 

Lesotho, May 18, 2017

Online Visa Application System Introduced

The Lesotho immigration authorities have introduced the new E-Visa system in an effort to increase access to potential visitors and to improve the visa processing time.  Effective immediately, visa nationals will now be required to apply for their Entry Visas online.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Russia, May 18, 2017

Changes to Address Registration Requirements Due to FIFA Confederations Cup

Foreign nationals travelling to the regions of Kazan, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi between June 1 and July 12, 2017 must register their place of stay or residence within one day of arrival. This change in address registration requirement is being implemented due to the enhanced security measures during the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Worldwide, May 17, 2017

Immigration Processing Delays Expected During Ramadan

Foreign nationals and their employers can expect immigration processing delays from the end of May through the end of June in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and parts of Asia during the observance of the month of Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr. Many government offices worldwide reduce their hours and/or close during Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr. Processing delays could continue in the weeks following Ramadan, due to application backlogs that accumulate during the closures.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Israel, May 17, 2017

Activation Requirement Clarified for One-Year B-1 Work Permits

The Ministry of Interior has clarified that one-year B-1 Work Permits not activated by a visa application within 90 days of issuance will be automatically cancelled and that violations of Work Permit obligations are a criminal offense. Increased inspections by immigration authorities are likely in the coming months.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Australia, May 16, 2017

Federal Budget Introduces New Skilling Australians Fund Tax

The Australian Treasurer has announced the establishment of the Skilling Australians Fund levy to support the new Temporary Skill Shortage Visa and the training and development of Australian workers.  A new Temporary Parent Visa is expected to be introduced in November 2017, with a maximum validity period of 10 years. Effective July 1, 2017, there will be an annual increase to the visa application charges in accordance with the forecast Consumer Price Index.  Stricter requirements for foreign investors and access to pensions are expected to be introduced in 2018.

To view the entire article, click here.

 

Ghana, May 15, 2017

Increased Processing Time for Emergency Entry Visa

Effective immediately, the Ghana Immigration Services will be strictly enforcing the requirements for Emergency Entry Visa applications and increasing the processing time to seven business days.  Upon approval, foreign nationals will be issued a letter of authority to travel to Ghana, and Emergency Entry Visas will be endorsed in their passports on arrival.

To view the entire article, click here.

 

Sweden, May 15, 2017

Shorter Processing Times Introduced for Work and Residence Permit Applications

The Swedish Migration Agency has implemented a new process for companies registered with the Fast Track Certificate to improve processing times for Work and Residence Permit applications submitted after May 1, 2017. Initial Work and Residence Permit applications will now be processed within 10 business days, while renewal applications and new applications by foreign nationals with previous work authorization history in Sweden will be processed within 20 business days. The previous processing times apply for all applications submitted before May 1, 2017.

To view the entire article, click here.

 

Switzerland, May 12, 2017

Work and Residence Permit Quota Introduced for Bulgarian and Romanian Nationals

Effective June 1, 2017, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals applying for Category B EU/EFTA Work and Residence Permits will be subject to a yearly quota of 996, to be released on a quarterly basis and issued in the order of request. This measure will remain in force for one year initially, and the Federal Council will decide whether to extend it for another year in May 2018. This change does not affect pending applications by Bulgarian and Romanian nationals.

To view the entire article, click here.

 

Weekly News Briefs

Bahrain: Visit Visa Fees Waived for Turkish Nationals – Turkish passport holders are no longer required to pay government fees for Visit Visas when traveling to Bahrain for tourism, business or an official visit.  Depending on their purpose of travel, Turkish passport holders can obtain visas upon arrival in Bahrain, receive pre-approvals through the Ministry of Interior’s website or collect a visa issued by Bahraini consulates or embassy in Turkey.

European Union/Ukraine: Reciprocal Visa-Free Agreement Approved – The Council of the European Union has approved a short-stay visa waiver agreement between the European Union and Ukraine.  This means that Ukrainian nationals in possession of a biometric passport will no longer need a visa to travel to the Schengen Area for business, tourism or family reasons for 90 days in a 180-day period, and vice versa.  This exemption will be effective 20 days after publication in the EU Official Journal, following the European Parliament and Council's formal signature. The visa exemption for Ukrainian nationals will not apply in the United Kingdom and Ireland, as they are not part of the Schengen Area.

Saudi Arabia: Four-Year Multiple-Entry Visit Visa Introduced for French Nationals – The Embassy of Saudi Arabia in France has announced that, effective immediately, French passports holders travelling to Saudi Arabia are eligible for multiple-entry Visit Visas valid for up to four years.  The government fee for this new category of Visit Visa has not yet been confirmed. 

Spain: Exemption to Residence Requirement for Company Signatories Clarified – Spanish authorities have clarified the residence requirement for company signatories, which went into effect in February 2017.  The requirement had stipulated that company signatories of contracts related to Residence Permit applications for Highly Qualified Professionals under the Entrepreneurs Act needed to be legal residents in Spain.  Authorities, however, have now clarified that this requirement does not apply if the signatory of the employment contract is an EU, EEA, or Swiss national.

Venezuela: Protests Continue To Delay Document Requests and Collection – As the political crisis in Venezuela continues, processing times at government offices (in and outside of Caracas) continue to increase.  Frequent protests significantly limit the local advisors’ ability to visit government offices to submit or collect documents.  Foreign nationals with pending applications that require document collection in Venezuela should expect delays and should contact their immigration professional for further information.

 

Global Immigration News Links

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer triggered a 90-day consultation period toward a mid-August start of renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, Reuters reports.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly earlier this week discussed with several Haitian officials a possible extension of Temporary Protected Status for Haitian immigrants, Politico reports.  Haiti TPS is set to expire on July 22, 2017.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned the UK that it would face the consequences if it moves to restrict EU immigration after Brexit.

The British government has been threatened with legal action if it presses ahead with the introduction of “right to rent” immigration checks in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland without a full evaluation of their impact, the Guardian reports.

Dutch lawmakers will have to restart coalition talks after disagreements on immigration, Bloomberg 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.