Connecticut, US

Aug 18 2017

Weekly Immigration Update: August 11 – 17, 2017

Canada, Cyprus, Israel, Italy, Kenya, New Zealand, Peru, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay

In immigration news this week, effective August 28 in Canada, advertising and recruitment requirements for employers filing Labour Market Impact Assessment applications will be extended to all Canadian provinces and territories.

In Saudi Arabia, significant changes to the Saudization scheme are expected to go into effect on September 3. Among its provisions, the new scheme raises Saudization ratios and requires the employer to be rated a higher tier than is currently required to qualify for Block Visa approval.

In Cyprus, the 2014 EU Directive on posting workers has been implemented.  Employers sponsoring posted workers for new assignments must now notify the Ministry of Labor and provide detailed information on the posting.

These items and other news from Israel, Italy, Kenya, New Zealand, Peru, Qatar, Sierra Leone, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

Qatar, August 17, 2017
Visitor Visa-on-Arrival Program Expanded

Qatari immigration authorities have expanded the list of nationalities eligible for a visitor visa-on-arrival for tourism, and have introduced new visa-on-arrival categories (short- and long-term). The visa-on-arrival does not allow foreign nationals to conduct business or work activities.

To view entire article, click here.

Cyprus, August 17, 2017
EU Posted Workers Directive Implemented

Employers sponsoring posted workers for new assignments in Cyprus must now notify the Ministry of Labor and provide detailed information on the posting, according to the rules outlined in the EU Posted Workers Directive.

To view entire article, click here.

Israel, August 16, 2017
Employers May Face Increased Audits

The Enforcement Unit of the Immigration Authority has recently increased its employer audits, which may be performed without prior notice. Employers should work with their administrative departments to ensure proper immigration paperwork is maintained for all foreign nationals, so as to avoid fines or other penalties.

To view entire article, click here.

Saudi Arabia, August 15, 2017
Saudization Scheme Restrictions Forthcoming

The Ministry of Labour and Social Development has announced significant changes to the Saudization scheme, known as Nitaqat Program.  The new regulations are expected to go into effect on September 3, 2017. The most significant changes include the raised Saudization ratios and the requirement for an employer to be rated a higher tier than is currently required to qualify for Block Visa approval.

To view entire article, click here.

Canada, August 14, 2017
Labour Market Impact Assessment Applications to be Subject to Expanded Advertising Requirements

Effective August 28, 2017, the requirement for employers filing Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications to a) advertise on Canada's Job Bank; b) conduct at least two additional methods of recruitment; and c) use the Job Match service prior to filing an LMIA application will be extended to all Canadian  provinces and territories.

To view entire article, click here.

Kenya, August 14, 2017
Kenya Immigration Service Delays Following Elections

Following the recently concluded Kenya general elections held on August 8, 2017, operations at the Department of Immigration have remained very slow. Other government offices are also operating on a limited capacity.

To view entire article, click here.

Weekly News Briefs

Israel: Academic Staff Category Eligibility Expanded – The Israeli Ministry of Interior recently expanded the Expert Visa subcategory of Academic Staff to include assignees with post-high school education of at least two years. Previously, this subcategory required a Bachelor’s degree. Due to the change, employers of such assignees no longer have to provide a bank deposit and contract of employment and no longer have to open a bank account on behalf of the assignee.  Despite the change, the Work Permit Unit in the Israeli Ministry of Interior still retains the discretion to classify such assignees under the subcategory of "Non-Academic Staff." Fragomen worked closely with Kan-Tor & Acco Law Firm (Israel) to prepare this update.

Israel: Government Office Closures During Holidays – Israeli government offices will be closed during the Jewish holidays on the following dates: Rosh Hashanah, September 20 – September 23; and Sukkoth, October 4 – October 14.  Work permits and visa applications will not be adjudicated during these closure periods. Israeli consular posts abroad will also suspend their operations or conduct limited processing. Visa applicants may experience processing and issuance delays following the closures. Employers should take the processing and issuance delays into consideration when setting start dates. Visa applicants should check with their local consulate for specific information on holiday operations. Fragomen worked closely with Kan-Tor & Acco Law Firm (Israel) to prepare this update.

Italy: Clarification of Renewal Limitations for Holders of 27(g) Work Permits – Italian authorities have clarified that holders of category 27(g) work permits may only be eligible for renewals if their applications meet the requirements for the specialist category, as outlined under the recently implemented EU ICT regulations. Requirements include possessing specialized knowledge, techniques, and/or management qualifications essential to the Italian entity. Category 27(g) work permit holders can only remain in Italy under this status for up to three years.

Italy: Family Reunion Processing Times Reduced and Document Requirements Unified – Foreign nationals applying for a family reunion clearance, which allows dependents to join a foreign employee during their assignment, will now benefit from a 90-day processing time, as opposed to the previous 180-day processing time. Additionally, the same documentary requirements for family reunion clearance applications will now apply throughout Italy. Immigration departments should no longer require documents that are not on the prescribed documents list.

New Zealand: Employer Accreditation Will Be Issued for Longer Periods – Starting August 28, 2017, Employer Accreditation, which is required to sponsor a Talent (Accredited Employer) Work visa application, will be granted for longer validity periods – from one year to two or five years – depending on the employer's record of compliance. The change is a result of feedback from accredited employers and the low level of risk associated with applications for accreditation. Accredited employers benefit from faster processing times and fewer documentation requirements when applying for work visas. LIA 201500192

Peru: Registration Process Continues To be Delayed – Due to the large number of Venezuelan nationals still entering Peru and requesting temporary permanence permits (PTP), the registration process at Interpol (the office that issues the report needed for the immigration process) is delayed, causing lines to form as early as the night before an appointment. Client teams will coordinate with those seeking the Interpol report in Peru for the applicant to arrive at Interpol while a representative waits on line. Interpol registration is required only for Resident Worker Visa applicants and extension of Appointed Worker visa applications.

Sierra Leone: Registration With Home-Country Consular Post Encouraged for Foreign Nationals – Due to the flooding in Sierra Leone, the country's helplines may not be helpful in case of emergency.  Therefore, all foreign nationals in the country are encouraged to register with their country's embassies or consulates in Sierra Leone in case they need to be contacted.

Trinidad and Tobago: Additional Reporting Required for Energy Industry Employers – Employers in the energy industry, including oil and gas companies, that apply for work permits issued for more than one year must now provide a biannual progress report on the understudy or knowledge transfer program to the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries. Previously, employers had to submit the report annually. Employers should contact their immigration professional for a report template.

Uruguay: Police Clearance Documents Required Upon Filing Temporary Residence Applications – Following the directive requiring Temporary Residence applicants to provide a legalized police clearance from their country of origin upon filing, a further verbal directive now states that police clearances from the applicant's countries of residence in the past five years must also be provided upon filing. The previous directive stated that they could be submitted within 10 business days of filing the application. This directive applies to all Temporary Residence applications, including the MERCOSUR category for nationals of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. Police clearances must be issued at the federal level in the country of issuance, legalized for use in Uruguay and translated by a certified translator in Uruguay (if issued in a language other than Spanish).

Global Immigration News Links

Talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are underway with general consensus among the three nations that NAFTA needs to be modernized.

As India's economy booms and the U.S. continues to tighten its immigration policies, many young Indian IT professionals are returning home to find success, a phenomenon knows as "reverse brain drain," CNN Money reports.

The Migration Policy Institute examines the educational attainment and occupational distribution of the 1.2 million Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) population.

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