Virginia, US

Apr 28 2017

Weekly Immigration Update: April 21 – 27, 2017

Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Israel, Mozambique, South Africa, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Venezuela

In United States immigration news this week, the Trump Administration is reportedly seeking to swiftly renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), its trade pact with Canada and Mexico. Renegotiations are not expected to have an immediate impact on U.S. NAFTA-related immigration programs, but could lead to changes in the immigration provisions of the trade agreement in the future. 

To keep track of the immigration reforms in Australia, visit Fragomen's dedicated microsite for up-to-date information.

In China, foreign workers who seek to change employers in Shanghai are now required to submit additional documents such as legalized diplomas with their applications.

In Mozambique, labour authorities published new increased statutory minimum salary levels for 2017 for several economic sectors.

In Colombia, nationals of Angola, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, as well as nationals of other countries who are traveling from these countries, must now present an International Certificate of Yellow Fever Vaccination before entering the country, due to a recent international outbreak of yellow fever.

These items and other news from Canada, China, France, Israel, Mozambique, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.


Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, April 27, 2017

Trump Administration Seeks Renegotiation of NAFTA

Renegotiations would not have an immediate impact on the TN program or other U.S. immigration programs under NAFTA, but could lead to changes in the future.

To view article, click here.


Australia, April 24, 2017

Microsite Launched Regarding 2017 Immigration Reforms

To keep track of the immigration reforms in Australia, visit our dedicated microsite for up-to-date information.

To view entire article, click here.


Colombia, April 24, 2017

Yellow Fever Certificates Now Required for Some Travelers

Effective immediately, nationals of Angola, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, as well as nationals of other countries who are traveling from any of these four countries, must present an International Certificate of Yellow Fever Vaccination to enter Colombia.  Nationals of other countries entering the risk regions are advised to also obtain a vaccination, however this remains optional. Travelers are advised to be vaccinated at least 10 days prior to entering Colombia.

To view entire article, click here.


Ukraine, April 24, 2017

Timeframe to Renew Work Permits Restricted; Deadlines Imposed for Several Application Processes

New immigration rules require foreign nationals seeking to renew their residence permit to be present in Ukraine approximately 30 days before their residence permit expiration date since the work permit renewal timeframe has changed and since residence permit renewal applications can only be filed in Ukraine. Other changes from the new rules include new deadlines to collect issued work permits, sign labor agreements and file appeals of refused work permits, among other changes. The amendments do not affect Ukraine-based representative offices of foreign companies.

To view entire article, click here.


Mozambique, April 21, 2017

2017 Minimum Salary Levels Announced

Labour authorities published yesterday new statutory minimum salary levels for 2017 for several economic sectors. The new statutory minimum wages increased from 5.5 to 21 percent, depending on sector, and are effective as of April 1, 2017. Employers must meet the new salary levels for foreign workers whose work permit applications are pending as of April 1, 2017.

To view entire article, click here.


China, April 21, 2017

Additional Documentary Requirement for Change of Employer Applications to Prolong Application Processing

Foreign workers who seek to change employers in Shanghai are now required to submit additional documents such as legalized diplomas with their applications, which will significantly prolong the processing time for this application. Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen are not requiring additional documents yet. However, these and other cities in China are expected to start implementing the new requirement in the near future.  Some Chinese cities may require an original diploma for a change of employer application.

To view entire article, click here.


Australia, April 21, 2017

Citizenship Requirement Reforms Proposed

The Australian government has proposed reforms restricting requirements for Australian citizenship, including extending the requirement of permanent residency to four years from the current requirement of 12 months, adding new questions to the citizenship test and introducing an English language proficiency test to encompass reading, writing, listening and speaking evaluations.  The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has indicated that these amendments should be introduced by the end of 2017.

To view entire article, click here.


Weekly News Briefs

United States: DHS's Trusted Traveler Program Comparison Tool – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched a new Trusted Traveler comparison tool. The tool helps prospective applicants find the Trusted Traveler Program that best matches their citizenship and travel preferences. The Trusted Traveler Program includes Global Entry, SENTRI, NEXUS, TSA PreCheck, or FAST and provides members with expedited clearance for up to five years.

United States: USCIS Recommends Termination of TPS Designation for Haiti – In a memorandum to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) notes that conditions in Haiti no longer support its designation for temporary protected status (TPS), which was originally made in January 2010 and expires on July 22, 2017. USCIS recommends that DHS terminate the designation but delay the effective date until January 22, 2018. There are reportedly 58,700 Haitian TPS beneficiaries.

Canada: Bulgarian, Romanian and Brazilian Nationals to be Eligible for Entry by Air with eTA – On or after May 1, 2017, eligible nationals of Brazil, Bulgaria and Romania who are flying to Canada will be able to enter Canada with an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), provided that they:

·         previously held a Canadian visa within 10 years preceding the date of entry; or

·         hold a current U.S. non-immigrant visa.

On December 1, 2017, the Government of Canada intends to lift the visa requirements for all Romanian and Bulgarian nationals. Further information will be available closer to that date.

China: Companies Must Register Online to Access Upgraded Work Authorization Online System – Companies seeking to sponsor work authorization applications for foreign employees must register online to access the upgraded unified work authorization online application system, the “Service System for Foreigners Working in China.” Those that registered under the previous trial version of this system will have their logins transferred to the upgraded system. Going forward, all work authorization applications (including amendments, renewals, cancellations, etc.) will be processed under the upgraded system, so registration should be completed as soon as possible. Users should expect delays during the initial phase of the system. Fragomen China will continue to monitor this change and its impact.

France: Presidential Election Narrows to Two Candidates – Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen have both advanced to the final round of the French presidential election, which will be held on May 7, 2017. In the last round of voting, Mr. Macron obtained 24% of the vote, with Ms. Le Pen obtaining 21.3%. Ms. Le Pen’s campaign has focused heavily on nationalism, protection of the local work force, separation from the EU and a near total ban on legal immigration, with a goal to reduce immigration by 95%. Mr. Macron's campaign aims at maintaining the current immigration trends — refugees will still be allowed to come to France with a reduced processing time of six months, legal resident foreign nationals will have access to language training and mastering the French language will be one of the main criteria to obtaining French citizenship.

Israel: Israeli Government Offices to Close May 1 and 2 – Israeli government offices will be closed on May 1 and 2, 2017 for Israeli Soldiers Memorial Day and Independence Day, respectively.  Work permits and visa applications will not be adjudicated and Israeli consular posts abroad will suspend their operations or conduct limited processing during this period. Visa applicants may experience slight processing and issuance delays and should check with their local consular post for specific information on holiday operations. We worked closely with Kan-Tor & Acco Law Firm (Israel) to prepare this news brief.

Mozambique/South Africa: Visa Waiver Duration Extended to 90 Days – Effective immediately, nationals of Mozambique are eligible to visit South Africa visa-free for 90 days, and visa versa, instead of the previous 30-day visa waiver duration. Visitors under the visa waiver agreement, which was implemented in 2005, can participate in business meetings, conferences, seminars, workshops, family visits, medical consultations and tourism. Travelers with questions about the visa waiver program should contact their immigration professional.

United Arab Emirates: Effective Date for Visas-on-Arrival for Indian Nationals Announced – UAE Immigration authorities have confirmed that starting May 1, 2017, Indian passport holders with a valid U.S. work visa or Green Card will be eligible for a single-entry visa-on-arrival in the UAE. Eligible Indian nationals must hold a passport valid for at least six months from the day of intended entry. The maximum allowable stay for eligible travelers will be 14 days, with a one-time extension for the same period of time. There will be no cooling-off period for obtaining a consecutive visa. It is yet to be confirmed whether a change of status will be permissible under this visa category. Travellers will be required to pay a government fee of AED 100, and an extension will cost AED 250. It is expected that a pre-approval before entering the UAE will not be required. Holders of U.S. visas for tourism will not be eligible for a UAE visa-on-arrival.

Venezuela: Document Requests and Collection to be Delayed due to Protests – Due to ongoing protests in Venezuela, there have been delays at registry offices and government offices in and outside of Caracas. Foreign nationals with pending cases that require document collection in Venezuela should expect delays and should contact their immigration professional for further information.


Global Immigration News Links

Fragomen looks back at its 2016 Pro Bono Practice.

The Migration Policy Institute released a factsheet of major immigration actions taken by the Trump Administration during the first 100 days.

Bloomberg argues that the Trump administration has yet to meaningfully examine immigration policies that affect employment – policies that account for the U.S.'s role in the future global workforce and the next wave of innovation, quoting Stewart Verdery, a partner at Monument Policy Group and former Department of Homeland Security official.

According to a recent study from Glassdoor, across the 10 cities and roughly 100 jobs examined, foreign H-1B workers actually made about 2.8% more than their U.S. peers. The study found no evidence in the data that H-1B workers today represent a source of cheap labor paid any lower than comparable U.S. workers.

While President Donald Trump's travel ban on citizens of six Muslim-majority nations faces its second challenge at a U.S. appeals court next month, more states are backing the revised executive order, Reuters reports.

A San Francisco federal judge has blocked the enforcement of President Trump’s executive order barring federal funds from sanctuary cities.

Swiss voters look set to decide for a second time whether to impose curbs on immigration from the European Union.

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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