Connecticut, US

Apr 27 2018

Weekly Immigration Update: April 20 – 26, 2018

Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Estonia, Kenya, Netherlands, Oman, Poland, Russia, Senegal, Thailand, Turkey, United States

In United States immigration news this week, a federal court has ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program but stayed its decision for 90 days to allow DHS to submit further evidence justifying the DACA rescission.

Also in the United States, DHS announced that it will terminate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nepal on June 24, 2019.

In the Schengen area, an agreement was reached between the Council of the European Union and European Parliament representatives on the proposal for a European travel information and authorization system (ETIAS), which is expected to be operational in January 2020.

Russia is restricting address registration rules from May 25 through July 25 while it hosts the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Australia has introduced concessions to the Labour Market Testing requirement of the recently- introduced Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa.

In Senegal, employment contracts for foreign workers can no longer have a start date that takes effect prior to the issuance of the work permit.

These items and other news from Austria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Estonia, Kenya, Netherlands, Oman, Poland, Thailand, Turkey and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.


Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, April 26, 2018

DHS to Terminate TPS for Nepal with 12-Month Delay

Temporary Protected Status for Nepal will be terminated effective June 24, 2019. Nepali TPS beneficiaries will be required to re-register to extend their benefits through the expiration date. 

To view entire article, click here.


United States, April 25, 2018

Court Orders Full Reinstatement of DACA, Stays Ruling 90 Days

A federal court order would require the Department of Homeland Security to reinstate DACA in full, but the order will not take effect for 90 days, during which time DHS may provide evidence justifying the DACA rescission.

To view entire article, click here.

United States, April 20, 2018

May Visa Bulletin Update: USCIS to Honor Employment-Based Final Action Dates Only Next Month

In May, USCIS will only accept employment-based adjustment applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is current for final action under the State Department's May Visa Bulletin.

To view entire article, click here.


Russia, April 26, 2018

Address Registration Rules Restricted During FIFA World Cup

From May 25, 2018 through July 25, 2018, Russia is restricting address registration rules while the country hosts the 2018 FIFA World Cup, according to a presidential decree. All foreign and Russian nationals arriving from abroad or from other Russian regions to Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, Yekaterinburg, Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod, Kaliningad, Rostov-na-Donu, Saransk and Samara will need to submit documents to local migration authorities at their place of stay in Russia. The deadlines are within 24 hours of arrival for foreign nationals and within three business days of arrival for Russian nationals.

To view entire article, click here.


Schengen Area, April 25, 2018

Agreement Reached on European Travel Information and Authorisation System

On April 25, 2018, an agreement was reached between the Council of the European Union and European Parliament representatives on the proposal for a European travel information and authorization system (ETIAS). ETIAS is meant to protect the European Union's external borders by allowing for advance checks, and, if necessary for security, the denial of travel authorisation to visa-exempt third-country nationals travelling to the Schengen area. ETIAS is expected to be operational as early as January 2020.

To view entire article, click here.


China, April 25, 2018

Online Pre-Assessment for Residence Permits Introduced in Shanghai

A service that allows foreign nationals in Shanghai to submit pre-assessments of their work-type Residence Permits via an online system was recently introduced by the Shanghai Public Security Bureau. The service is expected to reduce the overall processing time of Work-type Residence Permit applications.

To view entire article, click here.


Kenya, April 24, 2018

Possible Work Permit Rejections and Application Processing Delays Expected

The Kenyan government has issued a directive for foreign nationals to ensure they have the correct work authorization within 60 days. The directive also calls for increased scrutiny of work permit applications, which may lead to work permit application rejections and delayed work permit processing. Lastly, the Kenyan government has announced plans to issue electronic work permits, which may eventually streamline the work permit issuance process.

To view entire article, click here.


Australia, April 24, 2018

Concessions Introduced During Transition to Temporary Skills Shortage Visa

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has introduced the following concessions to the Labour Market Testing (LMT) requirement of the recently introduced Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa:

  • Intracompany transferees are exempt from LMT; and
  • Until the new LMT policy settings become law, DHA will exercise some flexibility in accepting LMT that does not strictly meet the policy requirements. 

Additionally, sponsors with 'Accredited' status can now provide character references instead of applicants submitting police clearance certificates with their applications.

To view entire article, click here.


Senegal, April 23, 2018

Foreign Nationals Now Require Work Permit Approval Before Commencing Work

Effective immediately, employment contracts for foreign workers in Senegal can no longer have a start date that takes effect prior to the issuance of the work permit. The biggest impact of this change is that foreign nationals in Senegal, who enter under a business visa as part of the work authorization process, can no longer conduct work activities until their work permit is issued, which takes up to four weeks.

To view entire article, click here.


Weekly News Briefs

Austria: Police Clearance Requirements Reduced – Effective immediately, police clearance certificates are required only from the country of birth and last country of stay immediately before travel to Austria, if the applicant stayed there more than six months. Previously, police clearance certificates were required from each country where the applicant stayed over six months during their entire life. The change applies to Blue Card, Red-White-Red Card, Intra Company Transfer Card and long-term assignments. If the foreign national holds a Schengen residence permit, a police clearance certificate is only required from the Schengen sending country.

Azerbaijan: Companies to Submit Quota Reports by May 1 – As a reminder, companies intending to hire foreign workers in Azerbaijan are required to submit quota reports to the State Migration Service by May 1, 2018. Fragomen can assist with quota report drafting and submission.

Bulgaria: Labor Market Testing to be Abolished for Blue Card, Ratio Increased – Effective May 23, 2018, the requirement for employers to search for local qualified staff before filing an EU Blue Card application will be abolished.

Additionally, the ratio of foreign nationals in comparison to local staff will increase from 10% to 20%; for small- and medium-sized companies, the ratio will increase to 35%. The ratio does not apply to EU Blue Card applications. Employers will consequently be able to attract more foreign workers.

Colombia: Reminder: Minors Should Carry Their Birth Certificate When Traveling – Due to an expected increase in scrutiny starting April 26 for foreign minor Resident Visa holders leaving Colombia, as a reminder, foreign national children with Resident Visa status require departure authorization if leaving Colombia without their parents or with only one parent. Travel authorization includes a duly notarized authorization letter as well as the duly apostilled (and translated, if required) original birth certificate. Specific instructions can be found on the Migracion Colombia website. Airlines may request non-resident minor visa holders (for example, dependents of TP-4, TP-10, Mercosur, Migrant or Visitor Visas) to present the aforementioned documents (authorization and/or original birth certificates) in order to board domestic and international flights into and out of Colombia. Parents of travelling children, particularly those between 0-7 years of age, should check with their airline prior to travel for any special requirements.

Costa Rica: Penalties and Bans for Overstayers Postponed – The penalties that were set to go into effect on April 20, 2018 for foreign nationals leaving Costa Rica after their authorized period of stay has been postponed for one year, according to a decree issued by the Costa Rican President. 

Denmark: Potential Strike May Affect Immigration Processing – Public officials in Denmark may strike on May 8, 2018 and employers may ‘lock out’ employees involved in the strike between May 12-14, 2018. Immigration officials will not be involved in the strike but immigration processing may be affected by the lock out. The strike will proceed if ongoing negotiations between unions and employers on employment and salary conditions are unsuccessful by May 8. Employers and foreign nationals should submit necessary applications early to prepare for potential delays.

Estonia: 2018 Quota Exhausted – The 2018 quota of 1,315 residence permit applications has been exhausted. The quota does not apply to:

  • Japanese nationals;
  • U.S. citizens;
  • Residence permits for science or research assignments;
  • Short-term applications (up to nine months per year);
  • Information technology and communications industries;
  • Study visa and family reunification initial or extension visa applications.

Netherlands: Tax Exemption Time Limit May Decrease – Under the so-called "30% Ruling", some expat workers in the Netherlands are exempt from Dutch income taxes for up to 30% of their salary for eight years of work in the Netherlands. Due to a study that found that 80% of foreign workers only use the tax cut for five years, the Dutch government plans to reduce the exemption time period to five years. The conditions for the tax cut will remain unchanged. The proposal is part of a number of tax measures which will be submitted to parliament for approval on September 18, 2018.

Oman: Mandatory Drug and Alcohol Tests for Certain Industries – Employees in the oil and gas sector, and the water and electricity sector as well as those working in seaports and airports will now be subject to periodic random medical checks to ensure they are not under influence of alcohol, narcotics or psychotropic substances, according to decision of the Ministry of Manpower. Employers must also ensure that their worksites are free of any of such substances. This decision amending occupational safety and health regulations was issued by the Ministry of Manpower with immediate effect. No details regarding frequency of the tests were provided.

Poland: Upcoming Government Offices Closures – All government offices in Poland will be closed May 1, 3 and 4 due to the public holidays of May Day and Constitution Day. Work and residence permit processing will be suspended and appointments will be unavailable on those days.

Thailand: Foreign National Record Form No Longer Required – Effective immediately, the Foreign National Record Form, used in long-term visas, 90-day reports and re-entry permit applications since 2016, is no longer required. Foreign nationals should find it easier to apply for these visas and permits since the detailed form – which included information such as lists of social media, places or premises often visited and banking details – is no longer required.

Turkey: Free Trade Zone Visa Applications Face Delay – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is temporarily refusing to issue Work Visas for Free Trade Zone (FTZ) work permit approvals. Previously, Turkish consular posts were issuing FTZ visas upon presentation of an approved work permit card. The MFA is no longer accepting the card as evidence of approval until an internal online approval notification system is developed. Since no due date for the development of this notification system is known, FTZ visa applications currently face a delay of unknown duration. Fragomen is petitioning the Ministry of Labor to find a solution for each affected applicant.


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