Virginia, US

Feb 10 2017

Fragomen Immigration Update: February 3 – 9, 2017

Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Indonesia, Ireland, Nicaragua, Oman, Russia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United States

In United States immigration news this week, a temporary restraining order against President Trump's entry ban executive order remains in place after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Administration's request to stay the TRO. Foreign nationals from the seven restricted countries should nevertheless continue to exercise caution. Though travel to the United States is possible at the present time, future court rulings could reinstate the ban while a federal district court challenge to the executive order continues.

Also in the United States, cutoff dates for final issuance of an immigrant visa will advance by one month for EB-2 China and six weeks for EB-2 India, according to the State Department's March Visa Bulletin. Final action dates for EB-3 will advance by five and a half months for China, and five months for the Philippines. There will be no movement for EB-3 India.

A new law in the Czech Republic will implement an entrance scheme for intracompany transferees (ICTs), investors and seasonal workers and will allow employers hiring employees under the Fast-Track, Welcome Package or Project Ukraine schemes to apply for Employee Cards, Blue Cards and ICT Cards on behalf of their future employees. The law is expected to be effective in June 2017.

In South Africa, any visas with an expiry date beyond that of a traveler's passport will be withdrawn and affected visa holders must submit an application for a new visa to ensure legal residence.

In Indonesia, pre-approval applications, including those required for the VITAS (Limited Stay Visa) and Multiple Entry Visit Visa applications (filed at Indonesian Consulates), must now be filed through a new online system.

In Ecuador, a new law requires foreign nationals to carry travel identification or a passport while in the country, registration at the Ecuadorian Civil Register, health insurance coverage for tourists and also creates new visa categories for temporary and permanent residents and tourists.

These items and other news from Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ireland, Nicaragua, Oman, Russia and the United Arab Emirates follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, February 9, 2017
Temporary Restraining Order Against Entry Ban Remains in Place

A temporary restraining order against President Trump's entry ban executive order remains in place after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Administration's request to stay the TRO. Foreign nationals from the seven restricted countries should nevertheless continue to exercise caution.  Though travel to the United States is possible at the present time, future court rulings could reinstate the ban while a federal district court challenge to the executive order continues.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, February 8, 2017
March 2017 Visa Bulletin: Some Advancement in Final Action Dates for EB-2 China and India and EB-3 China

In March, the cutoff dates for final action on an immigrant visa will advance by one month for EB-2 China and six weeks for EB-2 India. Final action dates for EB-3 will advance by five and a half months for China, and five months for the Philippines. There will be no movement for EB-3 India. Cutoff dates for filing eligibility will not advance for any backlogged category.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Ecuador, February 9, 2017
New Law Replaces Visa Categories; Imposes Identification and Registration Rules

A new law requires foreign nationals to carry travel identification or a passport while in Ecuador, registration at the Ecuadorian Civil Register and health insurance coverage for tourists. The law also creates new visa categories for temporary and permanent residents and tourists, though it does not specify whether tourists can perform business activities.

To view entire alert, click here.

 

Czech Republic, February 7, 2017
New Law to Amend Rules for Intracompany Transferees, Seasonal and Other Workers

A new law will implement a new entrance scheme for intracompany transferees (ICTs), investors and seasonal workers and will allow employers hiring employees under the Fast-Track, Welcome Package or Project Ukraine schemes to apply for Employee Cards, Blue Cards and ICT Cards on behalf of their future employees in the Czech Republic. The law is expected to be effective in June 2017.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Ecuador, February 7, 2017
Visa Application Review Temporarily Suspended in Quito

Authorities in Quito have temporarily suspended the review of visa applications until further notice, due to recent immigration law changes. As a result, visa appointments scheduled for this week in Quito are being cancelled.

To view entire article, click here.

 

South Africa, February 7, 2017
Visa Validity Rules Amended

The Department of Home Affairs has issued a guidance document stating that any visas with an expiry date beyond that of a traveler's passport are to be withdrawn and the holder must submit an application for a new visa to ensure legal residence in South Africa. This marks a change from previous policy where a visa could be transferred to a new passport if the visa was issued for a period exceeding the validity of the passport.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Indonesia, February 7, 2017
New Mandatory Online System for Visa Pre-Approval Applications

The Directorate General of Immigration has transitioned to an online system for visa pre-approval applications, including those required for the VITAS (Limited Stay Visa) and Multiple Entry Visit Visa applications (filed at Indonesian Consulates), among others. Such pre-approval applications must be filed through this new online system, effective immediately. The new system is expected to delay pre-approvals during the transition period but should eventually streamline the application process.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Immigration News This Week

Colombia: Reminder: Local Contracts Required for TP-4 Work Visas – Per a change announced in 2014, foreign nationals in Colombia seeking to obtain or renew a TP-4 work visa must execute an employment contract or a valid services contract (contrato de prestación de servicios) with a Colombian entity, and must present the contract as a supporting document in their application. While the contract is not listed with other document requirements in the relevant resolution, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has the discretion to request it and can reject TP-4 applications that do not include it but indicate that there is a contract with a foreign company in the contract summary form. Since a labor or services contract also implicates labor, tax and social security requirements, it should be reviewed with relevant experts.

Costa Rica: New Fines for Visa Overstayers Postponed Until December – Immigration authorities have delayed until December 2017 the enforcement and collection of fines from foreign nationals who have fallen out of lawful immigration status and who have not filed for change of status or started a renewal application.

Ireland: Immigrant Investor Programme Eligibility Criteria Restricted – The government has made several changes to the Immigrant Investor Programme, including increasing the minimum investment for the Enterprise Investment option and Investment Funds option from EUR 500,000 to EUR 1,000,000; increasing the application fee; suspending the Immigrant Investor Bond and the Mixed Investment option; and restricting the submission periods for applications. Affected applicants should contact their immigration professional to discuss the effects of the changes.

Nicaragua: New Yellow Fever Certification Requirement – Effective February 1, 2017, Nicaragua now requires a yellow fever vaccination certificate for all those entering Nicaragua who have traveled to an endemic country, defined as: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Panama, Venezuela, Paraguay and Peru; and all African countries, except the Democratic Republic of Congo, Príncipe, Tanzania, São Tomé and Somalia.  The previous requirement was only for nationals of endemic countries entering Nicaragua. Additionally, as a result of the same resolution, new rules apply to the yellow fever vaccination certificate, including that the certificate must be presented upon entry, that it will be considered valid even if it is more than 10 years old.  Travelers who have never held a yellow fever certificate should obtain theirs at least 10 days prior to entry.

Oman: New Regulations On Part-Time Employment – The Ministry of Manpower has implemented several changes to rules regarding part-time work, which is only allowed for Omani nationals. The key changes include an increased percentage of allowable part-time manpower (with certain exemptions), a new limit on working hours, a new minimum wage of OMR 3 per hour, a new requirement for employers to secure an employment contract and to provide health insurance, and a reduction in the minimum working age from 16 to 15 years old. Affected employers should contact their immigration professional to ensure they comply with the new rules.

Russia: Migration Department Fees Require More Bank Details – Foreign nationals applying for work permit, corporate work permit, letter of invitation or visa services at the Migration Departments of Moscow or the Moscow Region must now submit more bank information with their state fee payments. Affected foreign nationals should contact their immigration professional to obtain the new details, which are available from the Migration Department (in Russian). Orders processed prior to February 6, 2017 using old details will be accepted by the authorities.

United Arab Emirates: Visitor Visas-On-Arrival Now Available to Russian Nationals – The UAE Cabinet approved a new law making Russian passport holders eligible for a visa-on-arrival in the UAE, with an allowable stay of up to 30 days. Now, 49 nationalities are allowed to enter the UAE without applying for a visa before travelling. The visa is stamped at the entry port and is free of charge.

 

Global Immigration News Links

U.S. senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) have proposed steps to reduce the number of legal immigrants admitted into the United States by half.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said that U.S. President Donald Trump's order temporarily banning entry to people from seven Muslim-majority countries is wrong. Britain does not plan to adopt a similar policy, Reuters reports.

Australia announced its vision that by 2020, up to 90 percent of international arrivals will enter the country via a paperless biometric recognition system.

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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