Connecticut, US

Oct 07 2016

Fragomen Immigration Update: September 30 - October 6, 2016

Australia, European Union, Luxembourg, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, United States

In United States immigration news this week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has determined, in the wake of the EB-5 Regional Center Program extension, that it will now accept employment-based adjustments under the EB-5 Regional and Non-Regional Center Programs from applicants with a priority date that is current for final action under the State Department’s October Visa Bulletin. For all other employment-based immigrant categories, the agency will accept adjustments from applicants that are current for filing.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will soon require certain nonimmigrant visa holders to update their biographic information prior to U.S. entry; Chinese nationals holding a 10-year business/visitor visa will be the first group required to enroll before traveling to the United States on or after November 29, 2016. Also in the United States, Diversity Visa lottery entrants have until Monday, November 7, 2016 at noon EST to register online at the State Department's official lottery website. Lottery applications must conform to the State Department's strict requirements.

In Tanzania, work permit holders and their children over the age of 18 whose stay in the country will be more than six months must register for an identification card by November 2, 2016.

These items and other news from Australia, the European Union, Luxembourg, Thailand,  and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, October 6, 2016
CBP to Launch Electronic Visa Update System for Nonimmigrants; Chinese Nationals Holding 10-Year Visitor Visas Are the First Group Affected

The forthcoming Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) will require specific categories of nonimmigrant visa holders to update their biographic information before traveling to the United States. Chinese nationals holding a 10-year B-1/B-2, B-1 or B-2  visitor visa will be the first group required to enroll before traveling to the United States on or after November 29.  EVUS is not yet operational, but early enrollment is anticipated to begin in mid-October.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, October 4, 2016
Reminder: FY 2018 Diversity Visa Lottery Registration Opens Today

Entrants have until Monday, November 7, 2016 at noon EST to register online at the State Department's official lottery website. Lottery applications must conform to the State Department's strict requirements.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, October 3, 2016
USCIS Updates Its October Visa Bulletin In Wake of EB-5 Regional Center Program Extension

In October, USCIS will accept employment-based adjustments under the EB-5 Regional and Non-Regional Center Programs from applicants with a priority date that is current for final action.  Though EB-5 final action cutoff dates are current for most countries, they remain backlogged for China, having only advanced by one week, to February 22, 2014.  For all other employment-based immigrant categories, the agency will accept adjustments from applicants that are current for filing.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Tanzania, September 30, 2016
Long-Term Residents Must Register by November 2

Work permit holders and their children over the age of 18 whose stay in Tanzania will be more than six months must register for an identification card.  Residents currently in Tanzania must register by November 2, 2016, and those entering after that date will be required to register as part of the Long-Term Work Permit application process. Those that fail to register may face a fine and/or imprisonment.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Immigration News This Week

United States: Latest PERM Processing Times – As of October 1, 2016, the Department of Labor was conducting analyst reviews for PERM applications filed in July 2016 or earlier and processing audited cases filed in February 2016 or earlier. The government error queue is current. DOL is working on standard reconsideration requests submitted in August 2016 or earlier.

With regard to prevailing wage determinations (PWDs), DOL has yet to update its processing times for October.  As of September 1, 2016, DOL has been issuing determinations for PERM and H-1B requests filed in May 2016, and H-2B requests filed in August 2016. The agency has been processing PERM and H-1B redeterminations requested in May 2016, and PERM and H-1B center director reviews requested in May 2016.

PERM processing times are available on the iCERT home page.

United States: Nine Additional U.S. Airports Join Global Entry – Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the addition of nine airports to the Global Entry program, which brings the number of Global Entry-designated airports to forty-eight.  Global Entry will become operational at all nine airports on or before April 3, 2017. CBP will announce the exact starting date for each airport location on its Global Entry website.

The nine additional airports include: Fairbanks International Airports (Fairbanks, Alaska); Oakland International Airport (Oakland, California); Sacramento International Airport (Sacramento, California); Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (San Jose, California); Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (New Orleans, Louisiana); Kansas City International Airport (Kansas City, Missouri); Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (St. Louis, Missouri); William P. Hobby International Airport (Houston, Texas); and Burlington International Airport (Burlington, Vermont).

Global Entry is a trusted traveler program that allows pre-approved travelers to benefit from expedited U.S. customs and immigration inspection using automated kiosks located at designated airports.

United States: Online I-94 Payment Available to Foreign Nationals Arriving at Land Ports of Entry – Customs and Border Protection (CBP) unveiled an updated I-94 website and announced that foreign nationals entering the United States at a land port of entry (POE) can now apply and pay their I-94 fee online prior to entry.

Foreign nationals can provide their biographic and travel information and pay the $6 I-94 application fee online with a credit card, debit card, direct debit, or through PayPal, up to seven days prior to their entry. CBP will then issue a provisional I-94. The I-94 application will collect information that is otherwise collected in-person at the land POE, including biographic information (name, date of birth, country of citizenship), passport details, visa details (if applicable), and petition or Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS) number (if applicable).

In order to finalize the I-94 issuance process, the foreign national must present themselves at a land POE within seven days of their application and submit biometrics, if applicable, and be interviewed by a CBP officer. Foreign nationals should be prepared to show evidence of their residence, employment, and/or travel plans, if requested by the CBP officer. If the foreign national does not complete the I-94 issuance process within seven days of the application, the provisional I-94 will expire and the application and fee must be resubmitted. CBP will not refund the fee if the I-94 is not issued within the seven day period or if the foreign national is denied entry to the United States.

United States: Deferred Enforced Departure and Employment Authorization for Certain Liberians Extended – In a September 28, 2016 Presidential Memorandum, President Obama announced an 18-month extension of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) and employment authorization of certain Liberian nationals, from October 1, 2016 through March 31, 2018. Accordingly, DHS has published instructions for eligible Liberians on how to apply for the full 18-month extension of employment authorization and for DED-eligible Liberians on how to apply for permission to travel outside the United States during the 18-month DED period.

The DED and employment authorization extension applies to Liberian nationals (and eligible persons without nationality who last resided in Liberia) who are physically present in the United States, have continuously resided in the United States since October 1, 2002, and who remain eligible for DED through September 30, 2016.  Note that only individuals who held Temporary Protected Status (TPS) on September 30, 2007, the date that a former TPS designation of Liberia terminated, are eligible for DED, provided they have continued to meet all other eligibility criteria established by the President.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will issue new employment authorization documents (EADs) with a March 31, 2018 expiration date to Liberians whose DED has been extended under the Presidential Memorandum, and who apply for EADs under this extension. Given the timeframes involved with processing EAD applications, DHS recognizes that not all DED-eligible Liberians will receive new EADs before their current EADs expire on September 30, 2016. Accordingly, through the published notice, DHS also automatically extends the validity of DED related EADs for six months, through March 31, 2017. However, for continued employment authorization through March 31, 2018, all DED-eligible Liberians must file an Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) as soon as possible to avoid gaps in work authorization. Additionally, individuals covered under DED who would like to travel outside of the United States must apply for and receive advance parole by filing an Application for Travel Document (Form I-131) with required fee before departing from the United States.

Australia/Luxembourg: Work and Holiday Agreement Signed with Luxembourg – Australian and Luxembourgish nationals under the age of 31 will be able to reside in each others' countries for short-term work and study under a new Work and Holiday agreement. Applicants will need to have the support of their government, have been or are studying toward an undergraduate degree and must speak English. Details on the new visa program, including the implementation date, will be available on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection's website.

European Union: Overview: EU Directives on Posted Workers and Intracompany Transferees Bring Updated Policies – Many EU Member States are amending their policies related to the posting of workers. These amendments concern new notifications required by EU-based employers who post non-EU or EU employees to provide services to another EU Member State. Although the exact requirements may differ from country to country, they may include a statement to government authorities upon the posted worker's start date and a notification to government authorities regarding any changes to a posted worker's status.  EU Member States had until June 18, 2016 to implement this Directive into their national legislation, but many Member States have delayed adopting the new rules. For example, in Hungary, an online notification is now required prior to a posted worker's start date. In Poland, employers must now submit a new employer statement no later than the employee’s start date and must notify the authorities within seven business days of any changes to such a statement.

Additionally, EU Member States, particularly Romania, have been implementing and clarifying rules regarding intracompany transferees. This is related to a 2014 EU Directive aimed at harmonizing immigration rules for intracompany transferees. The European Union required EU Member States to transpose this Directive into their national legislation by November 29, 2016.

Further updates on both policies will be issued as they become available.

Thailand: Restrictions on Tax Forms and Signature of Foreign Company Directors on Corporate Documents Foreign nationals applying for initial or renewed long-stay visas through the Immigration Department can no longer use the Self-paid Income Tax Form (PND 93) to support their application, and must instead submit the Monthly Salary Withholding Tax Form (PND 1) and proof of monthly social security contribution. Applicants submitting work permit applications through the Board of Investments still have the option to submit the PND 93 form.

Additionally, foreign company directors for companies in Thailand who are based overseas can no longer sign contracts and corporate documents on behalf of a Thai company if they do not have a work permit. The Employment Department has deemed this type of activity as productive work which can only be done under a work permit. However, exceptions include a director that signs a contract on behalf of a company that is being set up in Thailand, since this is considered part of a business meeting; and a director that signs on behalf of an overseas company that is concluding a contract with a local company. Foreign company directors and their employers who violate this rule may be subject to fines and/or imprisonment. Additionally, work permit applications may be declined if they are supported by corporate documents signed by a foreign company director who does not have a work permit. Employers should update their internal processes accordingly to avoid delays.

 

Global Immigration News Links

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request to reconsider President Obama's proposed overhaul of the nation's immigration system following a tie vote in June that blocked its implementation.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced her plans for a Brexit deal that grants “maximum freedom” in the EU market while still controlling immigration; German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the United Kingdom cannot have both.

The number of applications for Irish passports from people living in Great Britain has almost doubled since the UK voted to leave the European Union, BBC 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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