Virginia, US

May 02 2019

Weekly Immigration Update: April 26-May 2, 2019

Argentina, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Netherlands, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, United States
In immigration news this week:

  • United States: A pilot program the requires Canadian citizens seeking L-1 admission at Blaine, Washington ports of entry to first file their petitions with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been extended through April 30, 2020.
  • Australia: The Opposition Leader has announced  plans to overhaul  the temporary sponsored work visa program should the Labor Party win the federal election on May 18.
  • Canada: The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program has closed the Masters Graduate Stream for 2019 and temporarily paused the Employer Job Offer Streams for International Students and Foreign Workers.

These items and other news from Argentina, Denmark, Egypt, Oman, Qatar, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

Canada, May 2, 2019

Multiple Permanent Residence Streams in Ontario Closed or Paused

  • The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program has closed the Masters Graduate Stream for 2019 because the stream has reached its registration limits and temporarily paused the Employer Job Offer Streams for International Students and Foreign Workers due to an influx of applications. These streams are used by foreign nationals to apply for permanent residence in Ontario.
  • Since no additional registrations for these streams will be accepted until further notice, foreign nationals applying for permanent residence in Ontario have limited options until the streams reopen, which is expected to happen later in the year.

To view entire article, click here.

United States, May 2, 2019

Summer Travel Planning for Foreign Nationals

  • If you are a foreign national planning to travel internationally this summer, make sure that you have all the necessary documents, including a passport with sufficient remaining validity, a valid U.S. visa in the appropriate classification, and advance permission to travel if necessary. 
  • If you will need to apply for a visa while you are abroad, be prepared for possible delays in visa issuance. 
  • On reentry to the United States, expect thorough screening at the port of entry.


To view entire article, click here

United States, April 29, 2019

CBP and USCIS Further Extend Canadian L-1 Pilot Program at Blaine, WA

  • The Blaine, WA pilot program – under which USCIS adjudicates Canadian L-1 border applications, instead of CBP, at the Blaine port of entry – will be extended through April 30, 2020.
  • The program is optional; Canadian citizens seeking initial or intermittent/commuter L status may continue to make border L-1 applications with CBP at other northern ports of entry.
  • CBP has recently begun refusing to adjudicate any renewals of Canadian L status, so L renewals may be submitted to USCIS through the Blaine, WA pilot program, or should be submitted to a USCIS Service Center in the U.S. under standard USCIS L-1 procedures.

To view entire article, click here

Australia, April 29, 2019

Opposition Leader Announces Overhaul of Temporary Sponsored Work Visa Program if Labor Party Wins

The Opposition Leader in Australia has announced that should the Labor Party win the federal election on May 18, 2019, the new government would overhaul Australia’s temporary sponsored work visa program, and would implement measures to significantly increase minimum salary requirements and levies for the Skilling Australians Fund. This alert analyses the proposed measures.

To view entire article, click here.

Brexit News and Related News Briefs This Week

Netherlands: Update on No-Deal Contingency Planning As an update, Dutch authorities have published new legislation confirming a work authorization waiver for UK nationals and their family members already residing or working in the Netherlands at least two months prior to Brexit day and/or in possession of a temporary residence permit for UK nationals. The previous legislation did not state how long UK nationals would need to reside in the Netherlands prior to Brexit to be eligible for this waiver.

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

Argentina: Deadline Extension no Longer Allowed for Some ReNURE Registrations - The ReNURE (Registro Nacional Único de Requirentes de Extranjeros) has announced it will no longer grant deadline extensions for limited liability companies to update their company registration. These companies must complete their annual registration update prior to the expiration date, or their ReNURE registration will be cancelled and the company will not be able to sponsor visa applications until the registration is up to date. Currently the measure only applies to limited liability companies and not to corporations.
Denmark: Relaxed Fast Track Sponsorship Criteria, Among Other Changes – Danish authorities have relaxed criteria which would render Danish sponsor companies ineligible for streamlined ‘Fast Track’ processing. Under the new rules, companies fined over DKK 60,000 (or DKK 100,000 for companies with over 250 staff) more than twice in the past year will be ineligible to register for Fast Track. Previously, companies fined over DKK 20,000 once in the past two years were ineligible. As a reminder, after completing Fast Track certification, sponsoring companies benefit from seven to 30-day government processing times for eligible Danish work authorization applications, compared to 28-42 calendar days for non-certified companies. Separately, Pay Limit Scheme applicants – the main work authorization type in Denmark – are now required to work at least 30 hours a week, down from 37. Applicants with reduced work hours must however continue to meet the standard salary threshold. These changes will take effect June 1, 2019. 

Egypt: Extended State of Emergency May Delay Residence Permit Processing – A state of emergency, which has been in place in Egypt since June 2018, was recently extended for an additional three months, through July 25, 2019. As a result, foreign nationals seeking employment and residency in Egypt should expect extensive security screening that may delay their immigration process. The security clearance is the first stage of the application process for work and residence permits.
Oman: Suspension Extended and Exemptions Added for Recruitment of Foreign Nationals  – The Ministry of Manpower has again extended the suspension on the issuance of new work visas for workers in the construction and cleaning industries for another six months, effective April 25, 2019. Employees in the affected industries will still be able to renew their existing visas upon expiry. However, the Ministry has expanded the list of companies exempt from the suspension, which now includes employers in free zones.  As background, the suspension on the recruitment of foreign workers in these categories has been in place since 2014, along with a suspension on the hiring of other professions that is in place until July 1, 2019. 
Qatar: Exit Permits to be Entirely Eliminated by End of Year - The exit permit system in Qatar will be abolished for all categories of foreign nationals by the end of the year, according to the head of the International Labour Organization’s Project Office in Doha, Qatar. This follows the implementation of a policy in October 2018 which waived the exit permit requirement for the majority of foreign nationals who fall under Qatari labour law. However, individuals who are not subject to the labour law, including those with work residence permits sponsored by employers in the Qatar Financial Centre and Qatar Science and Technology Park, domestic workers and dependents of Qatari nationals, still need to obtain an exit permit to leave Qatar (which requires the sponsor’s permission) until the exit permit is entirely abolished. The elimination of the exit permit will provide greater flexibility for foreign nationals wishing to leave Qatar, alleviate further bureaucracy for sponsors and reduce the advance planning time associated with travel outside the country. 
United Arab Emirates: Labor Awareness Training Introduced for Emirati Employees in the Mainland – The UAE government has in practice started requiring Emirati nationals applying for jobs in the mainland to attend a training session on labour regulations before their employment contract is approved by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization. The training involves attending a 30-minute classroom session at a Tawteen service center in the UAE where attendees will watch an informational video on UAE employment regulations. The session is free of charge and advance booking is not required. Upon completion, attendees will be issued their labour contract and a training booklet. While all Emirati applicants intending to work in the mainland are required to attend a session, Emirati nationals employed by companies in the free zones are exempt from this new requirement. Employers should factor in the time that it will take to complete this new step when determining start dates for their Emirati employees. The new requirement is meant to ensure that private sector employees understand their labour rights and to increase transparency of the labour market. This practice follows the previously-implemented training session on Emirati labour law for select foreign nationals in the mainland at Tajeeh service centers.  
This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.