Aug 13 2020

Weekly Immigration Update: August 7-13, 2020

Angola, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Estonia, Greece, Iceland, India, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Republic of the Philippines, Slovak Republic, Spain, Switzerland, The Bahamas, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela

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: New State Department guidelines broaden national interest exceptions to the nonimmigrant entry ban for H-1B and L-1 employees. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be permitted to implement its public charge rule in all U.S. states except for Vermont, Connecticut, and New York, following a Second Circuit Court of Appeals order. The Second Circuit has limited the nationwide injunction issued by a lower court on July 29 to these three states only.
  • United Kingdom: The Home Office is resuming on-site audits for prospective and existing UK sponsors after these were paused in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Sweden: Sweden has amended its posted worker rules to implement the EU Posted Workers Directive, effective July 30.


These items and other news from Bahrain, the European Union, Turkey, and the United Kingdom follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.


Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United Kingdom, August 13, 2020

Compliance Audits to Resume Shortly

  • The Home Office is resuming on-site audits for prospective and existing UK sponsors after these were halted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Prospective and existing UK sponsors should be ready in the event they are subject to a compliance audit. Visits can be announced or unannounced.


To view entire article, click here.


United States, August 12, 2020

Second Circuit Allows DHS to Implement Public Charge Rule in All States Except Vermont, Connecticut, and New York

  • The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has limited a lower court nationwide injunction on the DHS public charge rule; the rule is now barred only in Vermont, Connecticut, and New York.
  • While the limited injunction is in effect, DHS may implement its public charge rule in all other U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
  • The agency has not yet issued guidance on how it will implement differing public charge standards across U.S. states.
  • Today’s decision does not affect the court order barring implementation of the Department of State public charge rule, which is enjoined in a separate lawsuit.

To view entire article, click here.


United States, August 12, 2020

State Department Broadens National Interest Exceptions to Nonimmigrant Entry Ban for H-1B and L-1 Employees

  • New State Department guidelines permit foreign nationals to seek an H-1B or L-1 visa to return to the United States to resume previously approved employment that has not changed.
  • Applicants for H-1B, L-1A and L-1B visas may be eligible for a national interest exception if their U.S. employer is fulfilling a critical infrastructure need in a designated industry and the visa applicant meets certain additional eligibility criteria.

To view entire article, click here.


Sweden, August 7, 2020

EU Posted Workers Directive Implemented

Sweden has amended its posted worker rules to implement the EU Posted Workers Directive, effective July 30. Key changes include:

  • Employers must notify the government of all postings, including those up to five days, which are currently exempt;
  • Employers must send a copy of the posting notification to the client site (if applicable); and
  • Employers must notify workers on consecutive postings of the total posting duration.


To view entire article, click here.


Other Weekly News Briefs

Bahrain: Details Released on Mandatory Labor Market Testing for Initial Out-of-Country Work Permit Applications – The Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) announced new details of the labor market testing process that employers in Bahrain must conduct before they obtain approval for initial out-of-country work permit applications. Employers in Bahrain must select a government-approved local newspaper to advertise available job vacancies and notify the LMRA of their preferred choice within one hour of submitting the initial work permit application. The LMRA will publish the advertisement on behalf of the employer for a fee of BHD 30 for each job posting. The employer must post the advertisement for seven business days. The submitted work permit application will be put on hold for a minimum of 14 days (or less if a qualified Bahraini national or resident has been identified among the existing pool of job seekers in Bahrain). If no alternative candidate has been found, the work permit application submitted on behalf of the foreign national candidate will move forward in the adjudication process.

European Union: Greenlist Updated with Removal of Morocco – The European Council has updated its guidance for EU countries whose residents should be allowed or denied entry into EU Member States, and has removed Morocco from the greenlist. The last update from July 30 removed Algeria from the greenlist. The current greenlist includes Australia, Canada, China, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay, provided these countries reciprocally permit entry for EU nationals. The greenlisted countries are in addition to Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City. Many EU and Schengen Area countries now permit travel for select greenlisted countries (with some exceptions), and allow entry for essential travellers from non-greenlisted countries (including foreign residents and visa holders, or approved highly-skilled migrants, in some cases). Refer to Fragomen’s COVID-19 website for updated information.

Turkey: Significant Residence Permit Processing Delays Continue – The Migration Directorate in Istanbul is experiencing significant delays in processing residence permit applications following the move to mailed applications from in-person applications during COVID-19. The text message system that the Migration Directorate uses is currently the only way for applicants and their representatives to be informed on the status of an application. If no text message is received, applicants and their representatives are not able to obtain the processing status of their application. Due to this issue as well as a heavy backlog due to COVID-19 resource issues at the Migration Directorate, residence permit applicants in Istanbul should expect approximately six-week processing delays in addition to the normal processing time of five to eight weeks.

United Kingdom: Sponsor Licence Renewal Window for Upcoming Expiries Extended – The Home Office previously permitted sponsoring employers to renew their sponsor licence up to 90 days prior to its expiry date. Due to a rule change, likely as a result of an anticipated surge in renewal applications, and new sponsor licence applications due to Brexit, licences expiring between November 27, 2020 and March 31, 2021 are being extended so that the renewal window will open between August 17 and September 28, 2020 (this is being staggered among sponsors at the discretion of the Home Office). The Home Office is emailing sponsors directly to inform them of the date(s) they can file their sponsor licence renewal. Authorising Officers and Key Contacts should monitor emails that are received from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to determine if they can file their renewals earlier than listed on the sponsor management system. The Licence Summary on a sponsor’s Sponsor Management System should update with the new date, though at this time some Licence Summaries continue to list the licence renewal opening date as 90 days prior to expiry.

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