Apr 22 2021

Weekly Immigration Update: April 16–22, 2021

Albania, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Curaçao, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Lebanon, Macau, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia

In immigration news this week:

  • Worldwide: Jurisdictions around the world continue to adapt their coronavirus-related travel restrictions and quarantine measures, and many have implemented extension policies and other concessions. Visit Fragomen’s COVID-19 website for the latest immigration updates.
  • United States: Employers will soon be able to petition for an additional 22,000 H-2B quota numbers for temporary non-agricultural employment in FY 2021. Six thousand of these H-2B visas will be reserved for nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. In connection with the COVID-19 emergency, CBP border restrictions permitting only essential travel across the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada land borders have been extended through May 21.
  • United Kingdom: Starting May 17, employers will once again be required to conduct standard Right to Work (RTW) checks as COVID-19-related concessions will end.
  • India: Most Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders are no longer required to have their OCI cards re-issued each time they obtain a new passport. However, those whose OCI cards were issued before turning 20 years old will be required to have their cards re-issued once they obtain a new passport following their 20th birthday.

 

These items and other news from Chile, Panama, and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important updates in immigration this week



United States, April 21, 2021

U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico Land Border Restrictions Extended Through May 21

  • CBP border restrictions permitting only essential travel across the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico land borders will be extended through May 21, 2021. The restrictions do not affect air travel.
  • Essential travel includes travel by U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and foreign nationals traveling to work in the United States, among others.  
  • Visa Waiver and other business travelers may face additional scrutiny at the border. 
  • “Non-essential travel” at land borders is not permitted, which includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom, April 21, 2021

Standard Right to Work Checks to Resume

  • Starting May 17, 2021, COVID-19 concessions related to right to work checks in the United Kingdom will cease and employers will once again be required to conduct standard Right to Work checks on their employees’ first working day and for any subsequent checks.
  • Retrospective checks will not be required for checks conducted under COVID-19 concessions until May 16, 2021.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 20, 2021

DHS Will Make Additional H-2B Visas Available for Employment in FY 2021

  • Employers will soon be able to petition for an additional 22,000 H-2B quota numbers for temporary non-agricultural employment in FY 2021. Six thousand of these visas will be reserved for nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
  • Petitioners will need to attest that their business is likely to suffer irreparable harm if they are unable to hire additional H-2B workers.
  • DHS is expected to issue petition filing instructions for the additional quota numbers in the coming months.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 20, 2021

May 2021 Visa Bulletin Update: USCIS to Honor Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Categories

Next month, USCIS will accept employment-based adjustment of status applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is earlier than the Final Action Dates listed in the State Department’s May 2021 Visa Bulletin.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 20, 2021

May 2021 Visa Bulletin: Continued Strong Movement Across Employment-Based Categories

  • EB-1 China and EB-1 India will remain current. 
  • EB-2 China and EB-2 India will each advance by three months, to December 1, 2016, and August 1, 2010, respectively.
  • EB-3 China will advance by two months to May 15, 2018, and EB-3 India will advance by five months to February 1, 2011.
  • EB-5 China will remain at August 15, 2015, and EB-5 Vietnam will advance by two months to February 15, 2018.



To view entire article, click here.

 

India, April 16, 2021

Overseas Citizen of India Cardholders Processes Streamlined

  • Most Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders are no longer required to have their OCI cards re-issued each time they obtain a new passport.
  • Exceptionally, those with OCI cards issued before the cardholder turned 20 years old only need to obtain a re-issued OCI card once when they obtain a new passport after reaching 20 years of age.
  • There are new requirements for OCI cardholders to notify the government when they obtain a new passport up to 20 years of age, after reaching 50 years of age, and for OCI cardholders married to Indian citizens or other OCI cardholders.
  • The relaxed OCI card re-issuance rules reduce the administrative burden of having to apply for a new OCI card and indicate the government’s relaxed approach following recent restrictions for OCI card holders.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other weekly news briefs



Chile: New Immigration Law Published; Regularization Process Begins – As an update to the progress of a new immigration law in Chile that will restructure the immigration system, the government has published the law in the official gazette, leaving the Ministry of Interior to publish implementing regulations in the next 12 months. The publication of the law has triggered the start of a new regularization process that allows foreign nationals who entered Chile legally before March 18, 2020 but who are currently in an irregular immigration status to regularize their status and obtain work authorization by October 17, 2021. Those who entered Chile unlawfully have until October 17, 2021 to depart Chile without facing penalties. Eligible foreign nationals must submit their regularization application online and must submit an apostilled/legalized police clearance from their country of origin in support of their application. Due to the potentially high number of regularization applications that could be received by the Immigration Department, processing times for other types of immigration applications may increase during the next few months. Other reforms included in the new immigration law will take effect once the related regulations are published; until then, the existing residence and work permit types and processes remain unchanged. Fragomen will report on the implementation of other changes.

Panama: Immigration and Other Benefits Forthcoming for Sports Academies – A proposed law approved by the Panama Assembly (and expected to be signed into law by the president within the next few weeks) is expected to create a special regime that will offer accreditation for eligible multinational professional sports academies established and operating in Panama. Favorable terms are expected to include new visa categories for their executives (for a renewable period of two years), coaching staff (for a renewable period of one year) and athletes (for a renewable period of one year); a streamlined work authorization process that involves applying directly at a special desk within the Ministry of Commerce with shorter processing times and without the need for a separate work permit; and tax and labor benefits. The regime is also expected to create a Short-Stay Special Immigration Program to facilitate regional events with the participation of foreign athletes, coaches and technical staff. Through this law, the Panamanian government is seeking to establish Panama as a sports hub to attract foreign investment to the country.

United States: DHS Suspends Requirements Governing Employment for Certain Syrian and Venezuelan F-1 Students – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is suspending certain regulatory requirements for F-1 students whose country of citizenship is Syria and Venezuela (regardless of country of birth) and who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the civil unrest in Syria since March 2011 or the current humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. This type of relief had previously been available to certain Syrian students through September 2019. Specifically, DHS is taking action to provide relief to Syrian and Venezuelan citizens who are physically present in the United States in lawful F-1 nonimmigrant status on April 22, 2021, the effective date of the new policy. Eligible students may request employment authorization, work an increased number of hours while school is in session, and reduce their course load while continuing to maintain F-1 status. DHS will deem an F-1 nonimmigrant student who receives employment authorization by means of this notice to be engaged in a “full course of study” for the duration of the employment authorization, if the nonimmigrant student satisfies the minimum course load requirement described in the relevant F-1 notice. The F-1 notices are effective through September 30, 2022 for Syria and through September 9, 2022 for Venezuela.

 

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.