Virginia, US

Sep 08 2017

Weekly Immigration Update: September 1 – 7, 2017

China, Ireland, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Slovak Republic, United Kingdom, United States

In United States immigration news this week, the Trump Administration will terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on March 5, 2018. The Department of Homeland Security will no longer accept new applications for initial DACA benefits but will continue to process pending applications. Certain DACA beneficiaries with an expiring employment authorization document have until October 5, 2017 to file a renewal application.

Also in the United States, stringent new government policies have translated into greater scrutiny of H-1B petitions, a higher rate of requests for evidence (RFEs) and longer processing times for employers in nearly all industries.

In Panama, companies applying for a Multinational Company (SEM) License are now subject to relaxed eligibility rules but stricter documentary requirements.

All government entities in the People's Republic of China will be closed during the upcoming Chinese Golden Week national holiday from October 1-7. 

These items and other news from Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia and the United Kingdom follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, September 7, 2017
H-1B Processing Update: Employers and Foreign Nationals Face Tougher Scrutiny, Adjudication Delays

Stringent new government policies could result in H-1B employment delays and disruptions.

To view entire article, click here.

United States, September 5, 2017
Trump Administration Announces Phase-Out of DACA Program

The Department of Homeland Security will cease accepting new applications for initial DACA benefits but will continue to process pending applications.  DACA beneficiaries with an expiring employment authorization document have until October 5, 2017 to file a renewal application.

To view entire article, click here.

Panama, September 7, 2017
New Requirements for Multinational Company Visa

Companies applying for a Multinational Company (SEM) License – a prerequisite to the SEM visa for multinational company hires –  are now subject to relaxed eligibility rules but stricter documentary requirements.

To view entire article, click here.

China, September 7, 2017
Government Office Closures October 1-7

All government entities as well as the Fragomen offices in the People's Republic of China will be closed during the upcoming Chinese Golden Week national holiday from October 1-7.  Longer processing times for various immigration applications should be expected.

To view entire article, click here.

Weekly News Briefs

Ireland: Cohabitation Rules for Foreign Unmarried Partners Restricted – The cohabitation requirement has changed for unmarried partners who are citizens of a non-European Economic Area (EEA) country and wish to live in Ireland on the basis of their relationship to an Irish citizen or to the holder of a Garda National Immigration Bureau card bearing Stamp 1, 4 or 5. (This is known as "De Facto Partnership Immigration Permission").  Earlier this year, the cohabitation requirement was reduced from two years to one year. However, it has now reverted to the previous two-year requirement. This change brings the de facto immigration status in line with two-year cohabitation requirement already in place for unmarried partners of citizens of an EEA country.

Saudi Arabia: New Requirements Announced for Employment of Domestic Workers– The Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MLSD) has issued new sponsorship conditions for Saudi citizens seeking to hire domestic workers. Saudi citizens can sponsor up to three employment visas in the following categories:

  • House worker (male or female);

  • Cook (male or female);

  • Nurse (male or female);

  • Private driver;

  • Baby sitter; and

  • Waiter.

To be eligible, the sponsor must be married, must have a minimum balance of SAR 35,000 in their bank account and must pay a security deposit of SAR 5,000 for each application.

Foreign residents, including males and married females, can sponsor up to two work visas for domestic workers in certain categories if the duration of the employment contract with the domestic worker is 18 months or more.  The approved categories for foreign residents are: female house worker, private driver and babysitter. To be eligible, the foreign resident must earn a minimum salary of SAR 10,000 per month and pay a security deposit of SAR 5,000 for each application. Unmarried foreign resident males can recruit only one domestic worker.

Slovakia: Update on Mobility with EU ICT Permit – Slovak authorities have clarified the options for mobility into Slovakia for foreign nationals in possession of a valid EU ICT Permit obtained in another EU Member State. For these foreign nationals, the host company in the EU Member State where the EU ICT Permit was obtained must notify the Slovak Ministry of Interior of the intent to transfer the employee. If the government does not raise any objections within 20 days, the foreign national can be transferred for a maximum of 49% of the whole assignment duration issued by the EU country where the EU ICT Permit was initially obtained.

United Kingdom: Leaked Home Office Paper on Brexit – A document drafted by the UK Home Office on a potential approach to EU migration after Brexit was leaked on Tuesday. The document explores a number of options to achieve three broad goals via a phased introduction of new immigration rules. The first goal is encouraging use of UK labour via e.g., labour market testing, requiring a job offer for EU nationals prior to entry, setting a salary threshold, or a quota. The second goal is reducing access for low-skilled EU nationals and restricting the amount of time they can stay in the United Kingdom or by setting a salary threshold. The third goal is increasing border controls by allowing access with a passport only (rather than an EU identification card), by introducing a vetting process to refuse entry for EU nationals with a criminal record, and/or by introducing an online screening procedure (Electronic Travel Authorisation).

The document does not have any official status and indicates that various options are being explored. Fragomen will advise as soon as it is known whether some or all of the recommendations form the basis of official policy.

Global Immigration News Links

The second round of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiation in Mexico City concluded with no major announcements but trade negotiators from the three countries remained confident they could reach a deal by the end of the year, the New York Times reports. 

A group of attorneys general from 15 states and the District of Columbia have filed a lawsuit to block President Trump’s plan to end protection against deportation of DREAMers under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

In addition to rescinding protections for DREAMers, the Trump Administration is also scrutinizing several other Obama-era rules that authorize foreign workers to live and work in the United States.

About 700,000 fewer international tourists arrived in the U.S. during the first three months of the year compared to last year, according to Commerce Department figures, USA Today reports.

Britain will end the free movement of labor immediately after Brexit and introduce measures to drive down the number of lower-skilled EU migrants, Reuters 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.