Connecticut, US

Aug 27 2020

Weekly Immigration Update: August 21-27, 2020

Algeria, Angola, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, European Union, France, Germany, Guatemala, Guyana, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malta, Mauritania, Mozambique, Netherlands, Oman, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Romania, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, The Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States

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 coronavirus-related news page for the latest immigration updates.
  • United States: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will avert a much anticipated furlough of its workforce through September 30, but warned that agency spending cuts enabling this action will increase case processing backlogs and wait times. USCIS has also issued policy guidance outlining the standards for adjudicating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) requests and related applications for work or travel authorization, while the Department of Homeland Security reconsiders the program.
  • France: French authorities have implemented the Revised Posted Worker Directive, which reduces to 12 months the period during which a posted worker can remain under only the main French labor laws, while still applying some home country labor laws. After this period, the full French labor law applies to the posted worker, unless the home country employer requests an extension, which can be granted for up to six months.

 

These items and other news from Colombia, the European Union, the Netherlands, Poland, and Saudi Arabia follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, August 25, 2020

USCIS Averts Furloughs Through September 30, Warns of Increased Backlogs and Wait Times

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will avert furloughing 70% of its workforce through September 30, but warned that agency spending cuts will increase case processing backlogs and wait times.
  • Future furloughs cannot be ruled out after this fiscal year.
  • Employers and foreign nationals should expect a slowdown in some agency operations in the coming months and continue to plan accordingly with timely submissions.
  • Days ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an emergency stopgap bill that would expand USCIS premium processing and temporarily prevent the USCIS furlough, though chances of the bill becoming law are currently unknown.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, August 24, 2020

USCIS Implements DHS DACA Guidance While Agency Reconsiders the Program 

  • USCIS confirmed that it will not accept DACA and related work authorization requests from foreign nationals who have not previously received DACA protections, according to USCIS policy guidance.
  • Eligible DACA recipients may receive grants in one year increments, reduced from two years.
  • USCIS will deny DACA-based applications for advance parole except for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.
  • The new directives come as DHS reconsiders the fate of DACA in the wake of a Supreme Court decision striking down the Trump Administration’s 2017 decision to terminate the program. 

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, August 24, 2020

September Visa Bulletin Update: USCIS to Honor Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Categories Next Month

USCIS will accept employment-based adjustment applications in September from foreign nationals with a priority date that is earlier than the Final Action Dates listed in the State Department's September Visa Bulletin.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, August 24, 2020

House Passes Measure to Expand USCIS Premium Processing and Stave Off Agency Furloughs; Senate Path Unknown

  • The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a stopgap bill that expands the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) premium processing program in an attempt to prevent the agency from furloughing 70% of its workforce on August 30.
  • Chances of the bill passing through the full Congress are currently unknown, so furloughs on August 30 and a resulting USCIS processing slowdown remain a possibility.
  • Employers should continue to file timely petitions and be aware that a slowdown may affect employment authorization for foreign nationals with upcoming expirations.



To view entire article, click here.

 

France, August 21, 2020

Revised Posted Worker Directive Implemented

  • French authorities have implemented the Revised Posted Worker Directive through a decree and practical guidance documents, effective July 30, 2020.
  • The revised rules reduce to 12 months the period during which a posted worker can remain under only the main French labor laws, while still applying some home country labor laws. After this period, the full French labor law applies to the posted worker, unless the home country employer requests an extension, which can be granted for up to six months.
  • As a result, employers should review the length of employment terms of workers posted to France in order to timely apply for an extension, if required.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Weekly News Briefs

Colombia: Visa Renewal Notification Now Required – Employers must notify the Ministry of Labor through the RUTEC system when a foreign national hired in Colombia renews their visa and must register the new visa expiration date in the system. This is in addition to the requirement that employers register the foreign national's employment start and end dates through RUTEC. If this is not completed, the Ministry of Labor may close the foreign national's file upon expiration of their initial visa, even though their employment in Colombia has not ended; if a foreign national's file is closed, a new registration would need to be completed. Previously, a foreign national's file on the RUTEC system remained active until their employment ended in Colombia.

European Union: Update on Posted Worker Implementation – As an update, the following countries have now implemented the revised Posted Worker Directive: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Poland (effective September 3), Slovakia, and Sweden. Implementation remains pending in all other EU countries. As the implementation deadline was July 30, 2020, the European Commission may start an infringement process against countries that have not yet implemented the Directive, which includes notifications, warnings and potential judicial action that may lead to financial penalties.

Netherlands: Immigration Desks to Close – Due to the success of the Dutch expatcenters, where applicants can complete both municipal and immigration formalities, many immigration-only desks, which were previously used for some of these processes, are scheduled to close. The immigration desk in Eindhoven will close September 30, 2020; affected applicants can visit the expatcenter in Eindhoven, expatcenter or immigration service point in Maastricht or immigration desk in Den Bosch. The immigration desks in Rotterdam and Utrecht will close by 2022; affected applicants can visit the expatcenters in these locations. Immigration desks will continue to operate with regular hours and processes until their formal closures to prevent long lines and processing delays.

Netherlands: Courier Service to Expedite Brexit Permit Issuance – Effective immediately, UK national residents in the Netherlands will receive post-Brexit residence permits by courier where previously a collection appointment was required. The Dutch Immigration Authority (IND) implemented this process change to expedite permit delivery since the Brexit transition period will end December 31, 2020. The process for obtaining a post-Brexit residence permit remains the same, where immigration authorities first invite eligible UK national residents and their dependents to schedule an application appointment. UK nationals and residents must also submit a photograph and fingerprints at a second scheduled appointment. In order to accommodate the influx of applications, the IND opened a new Amsterdam immigration desk specifically for UK nationals to submit their photograph and fingerprints, which is open for evening and Sunday appointments unlike other immigration desks.

Poland: Revised Posted Worker Directive Implementation Date Postponed – Poland’s implementation of amended laws relating to the Revised Posted Worker Directive has been delayed until September 3, 2020, after it was set to be implemented on July 30, 2020. As a reminder, key changes include: a requirement for the sending company to notify the Polish government of changes about the assignment; a requirement for the sending employer of short-term posted workers to ensure that the employee receives the same salary components and travel allowances as a local Polish worker, if such terms are more beneficial than under the sending country’s employment laws; and a requirement for long-term posted workers to benefit from the same terms of Polish employment law where such terms are more beneficial to them than the terms of their sending country’s law.

Saudi Arabia: New Saudization Rules will Ban Foreign Nationals from Professions within the Engineering Sector – The Ministry of Human Resource and Social Development (MHRSD) announced that, effective January 2021, foreign nationals will be banned from working in 117 professions across the engineering sector in order to achieve a 20% Saudization rate in this industry. Affected employers will need to adjust their ratio of local to foreign hires by the end of 2020 or be subject to penalties, including having their access to online labor and immigration portals suspended. At this time, it is unclear if existing foreign employees in these banned positions will be able to keep their positions or if they will have to find other professions or job titles within their company. In order to achieve the Saudization goal, the MHRSD will offer support packages to employers who require assistance recruiting and training new Saudi engineers.

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