US

Sep 03 2020

Weekly Immigration Update: August 28-September 3, 2020

Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, European Union, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritania, Namibia, Nepal , Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of the Philippines, Romania, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, The Bahamas, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam

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 implement a new fee regulation for immigration benefit filings postmarked on or after October 2, with higher fees for many employment-based applications and petitions. The agency is also expected to issue mandatory new forms for H-1B, L-1, and other nonimmigrant petitions to coincide with the new fee structure.
  • Australia: The Australian government has released a new Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) to allow expedited processing of Temporary Skill Shortage visa applications for certain critical employees. Effective October 1, additional labor market testing requirements will be required for certain visa types.
  • Singapore: On September 1, the minimum qualifying monthly salary for Employment Passes increased to SGD 4,500, up 15.4% from the last increase in May. Beginning October 1, employers with foreign workers will be subject to stricter job posting and advertising requirements during the labor market testing process.

 

These items and other news from Croatia, the European Union, Greece, Israel, Qatar, and Thailand follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

Australia, September 3, 2020

New Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List and Additional Labour Market Testing Requirements Released

  • The Australian government has released a new Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) which provides for priority processing of Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa applications for certain critical workers in the health care, construction, and information technology sectors.
  • Visa applications sponsored for PMSOL occupations will be processed ahead of all other TSS, Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (subclass 494), Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186), and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa applications.
  • Additionally, effective October 1, 2020, additional Labour Market Testing requirements will apply to TSS or subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) nominations, and employers will also be required to advertise their vacancy on a government website in addition to the existing advertising requirements.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, September 2, 2020

What Employers Need to Know About the Forthcoming USCIS Fee Changes

  • USCIS will implement a new fee regulation for immigration benefit filings postmarked on or after October 2, 2020, with higher fees for many employment-based applications and petitions. Filings postmarked October 1 or earlier will remain subject to the current fee schedule.
  • The new fee regulation lengthens the premium processing timeline to nearly three weeks, from 15 calendar days.
  • The agency is expected to issue mandatory new forms for H-1B, L-1, and other nonimmigrant petitions to coincide with the new fee structure.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Singapore, August 31, 2020

New Job Posting Advertising Requirements Forthcoming

  • Starting October 1, 2020, advertisements posted during the labor market testing period must remain up for 28 days, up from the current 14-day requirement.
  • Additionally, employers of S Pass applicants will be required to fulfill the advertising requirement, where they are currently not required to undergo labor market testing. This will create more of an administratively burdensome S Pass application process since the labor market testing process can take up to a month.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Singapore, August 31, 2020

Increased Minimum Salary Levels for Employment Passes and S Passes

  • Effective September 1, 2020, the minimum monthly salary for Employment Passes in Singapore will increase to SGD 4,500, up 15.4% from the current amount.
  • Additionally, effective December 1, 2020, the Ministry of Manpower will implement a second increase in the minimum monthly salary for Employment Passes in the financial services sector to SGD 5,000; this salary will be 11.1% higher than the minimum monthly salary for other Employment Passes after their increase in September.
  • Effective October 1, 2020, the minimum monthly salary for S Passes in Singapore will increase to SGD 2,500, up 4.2% from the current amount.
  • Renewals for Employment Pass and S Pass will not be subject to the new minimum qualifying salary criteria until May 1, 2021.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Weekly News Briefs

Croatia: Digital Nomad Permit Forthcoming – The Croatian parliament is currently reviewing legislation that would introduce a one-year Digital Nomad Permit for non-EU nationals working remotely for a foreign company. Self-employed individuals would also be eligible for a Digital Nomad Permit, provided their business is not registered in Croatia. Permit holders may not provide services or perform work activities for Croatian clients. Applicants must have sufficient financial means, health insurance and no criminal record to be eligible. The legislation is expected to be adopted without significant changes by November 2020. A ministerial ordinance defining detailed eligibility criteria and document requirements would also be required for the new permit type to take effect. Such an ordinance could take another few weeks to publish after November.

European Union: Update on Posted Worker ImplementationAs an update, Lithuania and Romania have now implemented the revised Posted Worker Directive. Denmark aims to implement the Directive by January 1, 2021. 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.

Greece: Spouses Automatically Work Authorized – Following a May legislative change, spouses of Work/Residence Permit for Senior-Level Employees holders in Greece are automatically work authorized upon obtaining their dependent residence permit. Previously, spouses received work authorization as of the first permit renewal and required independent work authorization if seeking to work sooner. Other key immigration options do not permit foreign workers to sponsor dependents.

Israel: Public Office Closures Forthcoming – Public offices in Israel will be closed September 18-20 and September 27-October 10 due to public holidays. Applicants should anticipate processing delays after each holiday period. Applications should be filed before the holidays as no applications can be submitted and no appointments will be available during the closures.

Qatar: Minimum Wage to Increase – The Qatar Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) increased the minimum wage salary requirements to QAR 1,000 per month for the basic salary, QAR 500 per month for accommodation expenses and QAR 300 per month for food. Employers do not need to provide financial allocations for accommodation and food expenses if these entitlements are already provided by the employer as part of the employment contract. This new regulation applies to all foreign nationals in the private sector, including domestic workers. The regulation is expected to take effect within six months after being published in the Official Gazette; the publication date is yet to be announced. Employers who fail to follow the new minimum wage salary requirements when the new wage is in effect will be subject to penalties.

Qatar: Non-Objection Certificate Requirement to be Eliminated – A new regulation will allow foreign national workers to transfer their employment sponsorship to another employer without having to obtain written consent from their current employer. Currently, foreign national workers who wish to change employers must obtain a Non-Objection Certificate (NOC) from their current employer before they may transfer their sponsorship to a new employer. The government has not yet published the implementation date of this regulation.

Thailand: No Expiry Date to Pre-Work Permit Approval at the One Stop Service Center – Effective August 28, 2020, the Employment Department at the One Stop Service Center in Thailand has revised its policy toward the rules for Pre-Work Permit Approval letter (PWPA) validity. Under the new rule, PWPAs issued and approved after August 28, 2020 will not have an expiry date. PWPA letters issued before August 28, 2020 will still be eligible for an extension with no limitation on validity.

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