Apr 29 2021

Weekly Immigration Update: April 23–29, 2021

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, Burkina Faso, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Madagascar, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal , New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Guinea, Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, The Bahamas, Togo, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay

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: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reinstated principles from its 2004 adjudication policy, permitting USCIS officers to defer to prior nonimmigrant petition approvals when adjudicating petition extension requests, if the facts and parties remain the same. The State Department has expanded eligibility for national interest exceptions to the regional COVID-19 travel bans in place for Brazil, China, Iran, and South Africa, bringing them in line with existing criteria for travel from Ireland, the Schengen Area, and the United Kingdom. Federal agencies and airlines will continue to accept non-REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards for admission to federal facilities and domestic air travel and until May 3, 2023.
  • Philippines: Starting May 5, employers will be subject to new advertising requirements as part of a labor market test for Alien Employment Permit (AEP) applications. Employees and employers will also be subject to additional new rules for the AEP permit process.
  • Minimum salary requirements: The Czech Republic updated its minimum salary requirements. Check this consolidated information page for more details.



These items and other news from Azerbaijan, Egypt, Russia, and Turkey follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important updates in immigration this week



United States, April 27, 2021

State Department Expands Exceptions to Regional COVID Travel Bans, But Consular Challenges Remain

  • The State Department has expanded eligibility for national interest exceptions (NIE) to the regional COVID-19 travel bans in place for Brazil, China, Iran, and South Africa, bringing them in line with existing criteria for travel from Ireland, the Schengen Area, and the United Kingdom. 
  • NIE eligibility now exists under all of the regional bans for F and M students, certain academics covered by exchange visitor programs, journalists, and those seeking to provide vital support for critical infrastructure. Existing policy already covered several other exchange visitor categories.
  • The new NIE policy became effective on April 26, 2021. However, many consulates worldwide are still operating at reduced capacity and facing steep application backlogs. Continued appointment delays and cancellations are to be expected in many areas.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Philippines, April 28, 2021

New Job Posting Advertising Requirements Forthcoming

  • Starting May 5, 2021, employers in the Philippines will need to publish job vacancies in a newspaper at least 15 days before an application for an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) is submitted.
  • Additionally, employers will need to submit a notarized affidavit certifying that no applications were received or no Filipino applicant was suitable for the position.
  • Foreign nationals with valid AEPs who change positions or employers will be required to surrender their AEP and apply for a new one under the new position or employer.
  • Foreign nationals working without a valid AEP and employers failing to follow the new rules will be barred from filing AEP applications for five years and will face fines.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 27, 2021

DHS Postpones REAL ID Deadline until May 2023

  • Individuals will have an additional 19 months - until May 3, 2023 - to obtain U.S. state driver’s licenses or identification cards that comply with the REAL ID Act security standards.
  • The Department of Homeland Security has extended the full enforcement deadline to May 3, 2023, from October 1, 2021, due to the impact of the COVID pandemic on states’ ability to issue REAL-ID compliant documents.
  • Airlines and federal agencies will continue to accept non-REAL ID compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards for domestic air travel and admission to federal facilities until May 3, 2023.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 27, 2021

USCIS Reinstates Deference to Prior Nonimmigrant Petition Adjudications

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has rescinded a 2017 Trump-era policy memo that prohibited USCIS officers from deferring to prior petition approvals, even where there was no change in facts or indication of error.
  • The agency has reinstated principles from its 2004 adjudication policy, permitting USCIS officers to defer to prior approvals when adjudicating petition extensions as long as the parties and facts remain the same, with no material changes or errors.
  • The policy reversal could reduce the number of petition-based RFEs and decrease processing times of extension requests. However, it remains to be seen how the agency will implement the new policy.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Other weekly news briefs



Azerbaijan/Turkey: Use of Biometric Identification Cards Permitted for Entry – Nationals of Azerbaijan and Turkey can now use their biometric identification cards during direct travel between the two countries for stays of up to 90 days without a visa. Previously, they were required to use their passports. The biometric identity card must be valid for at least 30 days from the date of entry to the other country. Turkish nationals seeking to stay in Azerbaijan for longer than 90 days must apply for a residence permit with a passport that is valid for at least 60 days beyond the period for which they are seeking to enter. Turkish nationals entering Azerbaijan based on these new rules must also register their residence within 15 days of arrival and must register on the migration registration system. Although the protocol is in effect, the Turkish Ministry has not yet published it.

Egypt: State of Emergency May Delay Residence Permit Processing – The government of Egypt will implement a state of emergency for three months, effective 01:00 local time on May 2, 2021. As a result, foreign nationals seeking employment and residency in Egypt should expect arrival and immigration process delays due to the extensive security screening. This security clearance is the first stage of the application process for work and residence permits.

Russia: Upcoming Government Closures – Government offices, including immigration departments and related processing, will be closed on May 3 and 10 for national holidays. Government offices may additionally be closed May 4-7, pending government confirmation of official government non-working days. Applicants may be able to submit some immigration applications at certain government departments during this time. There may be delays in processing past standard government processing times due to these closures.

 

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