Aug 26 2021

Weekly Immigration Update: August 20–26, 2021

Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, China, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Montenegro, Nepal , New Zealand, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia , Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam

In immigration news this week:

  • Worldwide: Jurisdictions around the world continue to adapt their coronavirus-related travel restrictions and health requirements based on several factors, including fluctuating infection rates and growing vaccination initiatives. Visit Fragomen’s COVID-19 website for the latest immigration updates.
  • United States: Effective October 1, green card applicants will be required to obtain full COVID-19 vaccination in order to clear their immigration medical exam and obtain permanent residence, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order. In connection with the COVID-19 emergency, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is extending through September 21 border restrictions that permit only essential travel across the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada land borders.
  • United Kingdom: The UK Home Office has further delayed the end date of the temporary right to work check measures to April 5, 2022, from August 31, 2021.
  • The Philippines: The Philippine government has issued new immigration guidelines that allow qualified foreign nationals to apply for their 9(g) work visa and Department of Justice-issued 47(a)2 work visa while they are abroad.

These items and other news from Asia Pacific, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Paraguay, and South Africa follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.


Important updates in immigration this week

United Kingdom, August 26, 2021

Temporary Right to Work Check Measures Extended

  • The UK’s Home Office has further delayed the end date for the temporary right to work check measures to April 5, 2022.
  • The Home Office intends to develop a new digital right to work check solution by April 2022, which will account for those who cannot currently use the online right to work checking system, including British and Irish nationals.
  • Starting April 6, 2022, it is expected that employers will need to either check the employee’s original documents, or check the employee’s right to work online or use this new digital solution.

To view entire article, click here.


United States, August 25, 2021

Starting October 1, CDC Requires COVID-19 Vaccination for Most Green Card Applicants

  • Starting October 1, 2021, green card applicants will be required to obtain full COVID-19 vaccination in order to clear their immigration medical exam and obtain permanent residence, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order.
  • The requirement will apply to both adjustment of status applicants in the United States and immigrant visa applicants applying for green cards abroad at U.S. embassies and consulates.
  • Only applicants who are age-eligible and deemed medically appropriate to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will be held to the new requirement.


To view entire article, click here.


United States, August 20, 2021

U.S. Land Border Restrictions on Travel From Canada and Mexico Extended Through September 21

  • CBP border restrictions permitting only essential travel to the United States across Canadian and Mexican land borders will be extended through September  21, 2021. The restrictions do not affect air travel.
  • Essential travel includes travel by U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and foreign nationals traveling to work in the United States, among others.  
  • Visa Waiver and other business travelers may face additional scrutiny at the border. 
  • “Non-essential travel” at land borders is not permitted, which includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.
  • The Canadian government is currently permitting non-essential travel from the United States to Canada for fully vaccinated U.S. nationals and permanent residents who reside in the United States.

To view entire article, click here.


Asia Pacific, August 20, 2021

Government Closures Causing Delays in Document Procurement and Legalization

  • Intermittent government and embassy closures across Asia Pacific are causing significant processing delays in document procurement and legalization applications.
  • Immigration applicants are experiencing widespread delays and extended document legalization processing times with little or no ability to expedite.
  • Applicants may also be required to produce additional documents and requirements, without prior notice, as part of governments’ tightening measures for business and work-related travels.


To view entire article, click here.


The Philippines, August 20, 2021

New Procedure Allows Filing of Work Visa While Abroad

  • The Philippine government has released new immigration guidelines that allow qualified foreign nationals to file their 9(g) work visa and DOJ-issued 47(a)(2) work visa applications while abroad.
  • The new procedure replaces the need for qualified foreign nationals to obtain a Travel Ban Exemption approval document prior to entering the Philippines.
  • The change marks the first time work visas can be filed while foreign nationals are abroad.
  • Foreign nationals will benefit from a new streamlined pathway to file their work visa while abroad and to obtain entry authorization upon approval, but will face a longer document preparation and processing time as any documents signed abroad must be legalized/apostilled at a Philippine consulate prior to submitting the work visa applications in the Philippines.


To view entire article, click here.


Other weekly news briefs

Kazakhstan: Deadline Extended for Quota Applications – The deadline for employers seeking to sponsor foreign workers in 2022 for work authorization quota spots was extended to October 1, 2021, from July 31, 2021. Sponsoring a foreign worker is generally more difficult, and for some regions impossible, if the employer has not filed a quota request in the previous year. Employers file quota applications with the regional Department of Labor Office where the foreign national will work. Applications demonstrate the need for foreign workers, specify the number of foreign workers sponsored throughout 2022 (including renewals) and detail foreign workers’ positions. The 2022 quota numbers will be determined in January 2022.

Mexico: Visa Exemption Temporarily Revoked for Nationals of Ecuador – Effective September 4, 2021, nationals of Ecuador will no longer be visa-exempt when entering Mexico for tourism and business, and must instead obtain a consular Visitor Visa for entry. The Visitor Visa can take from one to 20 days depending on the consular post, and typically allows a maximum stay of 180 days for each entry. Certain Ecuadorian nationals may still be visa exempt if they hold an eligible visa or immigration status from another country. The visa requirement will be in effect until at least March 4, 2022 (after which it will be reviewed and may be extended) and is being implemented in response to the increase in the number of Ecuadorian nationals who have entered Mexico and overstayed their allowed stay during the last few months.

Paraguay: Visa Waiver Forthcoming – Effective October 13, 2021, nationals of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States will no longer require a visa to enter Paraguay for tourism and business for up to 90 days (extendable once for an additional 90 days). The visa waiver law will have a duration of three years (after which it may be extended) and aims to reactivate the tourism, commercial and services sectors in Paraguay. Foreign nationals should be aware that the visa waiver is not for travelers who engage in activities that require work authorization; these foreign nationals will need to obtain a work permit for such purposes.

South Africa: Angolan Special Dispensation Permit Launched – The Department of Home Affairs has announced the opening of the application period for the Angola Special Dispensation Permit (ASDP) for eligible Angolan citizens living in South Africa. To be eligible for the permit, applicants must fall within one of the following categories: Angolan citizen issued an Angolan Cessation Permit (ACP) who did not apply for the Angolan Special permit (ASP); Angolan citizen issued an Angolan Special permit (ASP); or Angolan refugee or asylum seeker issued a Section 24 or Section 22 permit before August 31, 2013. ASDP applications must be made at a South African Visa Facilitation Services Centre. The permit processing time is expected to be approximately eight weeks. Spouses and children of affected Angolan citizens will be allowed to apply for other visas or permits after the principal applicant has obtained their permit. The permit allows Angolan nationals who were covered under an interim permit— which expired recently, to maintain legal immigration status in South Africa.


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