US

Apr 25 2019

Weekly Immigration Update: April 19-25, 2019

Albania, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Czech Republic, France, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lithuania, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates

In immigration news this week:

  • United States: A new presidential memorandum directs immigration agencies to tighten B-1 business visitor and B-2 tourist visa enforcement. Customs and Border Protection has expanded its recent practice of refusing L-1 renewal applications for Canadian nationals, now implementing the policy at nearly all U.S.-Canada ports of entry as well as all Canadian airport pre-flight inspection sites. California remains blocked from enforcing provisions of a state law that would penalize employers who allow immigration enforcement agents to access nonpublic areas of a worksite or employee records without a judicial warrant or subpoena.
  • Israel-United States: Reciprocal investor visa options will become available to Israeli and U.S. citizens and businesses for the first time on May 1.
  • Japan: The registration period for the Immigration Services Agency’s new online visa application system is now open. The system will be available for application submission starting July 25.
  • Czech Republic/Lithuania: The minimum monthly salary for EU Blue Card applicants in Lithuania has increased and will increase for those in Czech Republic effective May 1.
  • Worldwide: Foreign nationals and their employers can expect immigration processing delays from the beginning of May through the beginning of June in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, and parts of Asia during the observance of Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr.



In Brexit news this week:

  • France: Further plans have been published on the treatment of UK nationals in case of a no-deal Brexit.



These items and other news from Albania, Kazakhstan, Kenya and Lithuania follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, April 25, 2019

CBP Further Restricts Canadian L-1 Applications at the Border

  • Canadian L-1s seeking to renew their status at the border are likely to be refused by ports of entry and pre-flight inspection sites, due to a recent change in CBP practice.
  • Until further notice, Canadian nationals should be sponsored for renewal of their L-1 status through an extension of stay petition filed with USCIS.
  • Initial, intermittent, and commuter L-1 applications for Canadians are not affected by the change in policy, and continue to be adjudicated by CBP at U.S. ports.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Lithuania, April 25, 2019

EU Blue Card Salary Level Increased

Effective immediately, the minimum monthly gross salary for EU Blue Card applicants in Lithuania has increased to EUR 1,876.08, up 33 percent from the last available update. The significant increase is largely due to a major tax overhaul. Employers should budget for the increase when seeking to employ foreign workers under an EU Blue Card.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Albania, April 25, 2019

Streamlined D Visa Process, Among Other Changes

The Albanian government streamlined the D Visa process by adding visa-exempt nationalities and enabling online visa applications; broadened the scope of eligible dependents to spouses and partners cohabiting for one year, down from three; and allowed authorized representatives with a Power of Attorney to file residence permit renewal applications.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Lithuania, April 25, 2019

Removal of Qualifications Check Streamlines Immigration Processing

  • In a change of policy, foreign workers seeking work authorization in Lithuania are no longer required to complete diploma certification and an assessment of high qualification. The change removes a cumbersome administrative step from the application process and should expedite processing by approximately 30 days.
  • Separately, Lithuanian authorities plan to launch online filing of residence permit applications on July 1, 2019, which would streamline application processing for eligible applicants.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 23, 2019

White House Directs Agencies to Tighten B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa Enforcement

  • A new Presidential Memorandum orders immigration agencies to develop plans that would reduce B-1 business visitor and B-2 tourist overstays in the United States, including those under the Visa Waiver Program.
  • The Memorandum also orders the agencies to develop enforcement proposals focused on countries with nonimmigrant overstay rates over 10%.
  • The directive does not have an immediate impact on B-1/B-2 visas or the Visa Waiver Program, but could result in future restrictions.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 23, 2019

USCIS Reminds Foreign Nationals that Marijuana Violations May Prevent Eligibility for Naturalization

Despite legalization in several U.S. states and foreign countries, the possession, use, sale, distribution and production of marijuana remain illegal under U.S. federal law and could render a foreign national unable to demonstrate “good moral character,” a key requirement of naturalization to U.S. citizenship.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Worldwide, April 23, 2019

Immigration Processing Delays Expected During Ramadan

  • Foreign nationals and their employers can expect immigration processing delays from the beginning of May through the beginning of June in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and parts of Asia during the observance 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 / United States, April 23, 2019

Reciprocal Temporary Investor Visa to Take Effect

Effective May 1, 2019, reciprocal investor visa options will become available to Israeli and U.S. citizens and businesses for the first time. Eligible U.S. investors will be able to apply for a temporary Israeli B-5 Investor Visa, and eligible Israeli investors will be able to apply for a temporary U.S. E-2 Investor visa.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Czech Republic, April 23, 2019

EU Blue Card Salary Level to Increase

Effective May 1, 2019, the minimum monthly salary for EU Blue Card applicants in the Czech Republic will increase to CZK 47,828, up 8.1 percent from last year. Employers must increase salaries of current EU Blue Card holders, pending and new applications by May 1, 2019 if required.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Japan, April 22, 2019

Online Visa Application System Open for Registration

  • The Immigration Services Agency has opened the registration period for its new online visa application system. The system will be available for application submission starting July 25, 2019.
  • The system will be available for visa renewals for Business Manager visas, Intracompany Transfer visas, Engineer/Specialist/International Services visas, Highly-Skilled Professional visas and Skilled Labor visas; re-entry permits and part-time work permits (for Dependent visa holders) filed together with the renewal of the above visa types; and most Dependent visa renewal applications.
  • The online system is expected to streamline the visa application process since it will eliminate the need to wait at the Regional Immigration Services Bureau (local branch of the Immigration Services Agency) to submit supporting documents.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 19, 2019

State of California Remains Blocked from Enforcing Certain Provisions of AB 450

  • A federal appeals court has affirmed a lower court’s decision to block California from enforcing provisions of a state law that would penalize employers who allow immigration enforcement agents to access nonpublic areas of a worksite or employee records without a judicial warrant or subpoena.
  • The state can, however, continue to enforce the provisions that require employers to give notice to employees and their labor unions before and after a federal inspection of I-9 forms.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Brexit News and Related News Briefs This Week

France, April 22, 2019

Update on No-Deal Brexit Plans for UK Nationals

  • The French government has published another decree that would apply in case of a no-deal Brexit scenario.
  • The decree contains further instructions on the application deadline and document requirements for UK nationals and their family members seeking to continue to reside in France after Brexit day.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Many other EU countries have published contingency plans for UK nationals in case of a no-deal Brexit, with more expected soon. Fragomen will provide updates on the situation as they become available.

Please contact a Fragomen immigration professional for assistance in planning contingency arrangements in a single project. For more information, please visit Fragomen's dedicated Brexit site, which contains news, FAQs, and analysis/commentary in the form of blogs, videos, webcasts and events.

 

Other Weekly News Briefs

Kazakhstan: Invitation Letter Issuance to Branch / Representative Offices Resumes As an update, all regional Kazakh Migration Authorities are once again issuing invitation letters for business visas sponsored by branch and representative offices after restrictions were implemented on January 24. The Ministry of Internal Affairs provided interim permission to resume issuance of the invitation letters through an internal instruction until a formal legislative amendment is published. 

Kenya: Dependent Visa Applications Must Now be Submitted in Kenya – Due to an unpublished policy change, the dependents of Class D Work Permit holders can no longer apply for their Dependent Pass application before arrival in Kenya. Dependents must now apply online for an eVisa (for which nationals of most countries are eligible), and once the visa is processed after two business days, they can enter Kenya and apply for a Dependent Pass by showing their Kenya entry stamp. The Dependent Pass is the legal stay document for dependents of Class D Work permit holders. While the government has not made an official announcement, this has been confirmed to be in practice already.

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