Virginia, US

Dec 08 2017

Weekly Immigration Update: December 1 – 7, 2017

Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Iraq, Ireland, Ivory Coast, Kazakhstan, Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Tanzania, Turkey, United States

In United States immigration news this week, the Trump Administration’s third travel ban took effect today, December 8, 2017. The travel restrictions, which vary by country, affect certain nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, unless they are exempt or are granted a waiver. Restrictions against nationals of North Korea and Venezuela are already in effect. Implementation comes days after the Supreme Court gave the Administration permission to implement the ban while lower courts consider challenges to it.

The U.S. Congress has passed a measure to fund federal government operations, including immigration functions, through December 22 while Congress continues to debate the FY 2018 budget.

System problems at the U.S. State Department are causing visa issuance delays for some applicants. U.S. consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok will resume limited nonimmigrant visa services beginning December 11.

In Canada, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals no longer require a visa to enter as business visitors or tourists for short-term stays up to six months. They must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization to travel to Canada by air. 

The Philippines is implementing stricter rules on the issuance of Alien Employment Permits.

Kazakhstan has relaxed the immigration process for intracompany transfers by allowing host employers to choose their own hiring and training methods for local employees, among other changes.

All travelers entering Tanzania must now present a yellow fever certificate.

These items and other news from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Iraq, Ireland, Ivory Coast, Russia, Turkey and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, December 7, 2017
Federal Shutdown Averted for Now

A budget stopgap passed by Congress on Thursday will fund the federal government - including immigration operations - through December 22. E-Verify, the EB-5 Regional Center program and other expiring immigration programs have been extended through the same date.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, December 7, 2017
Trump Administration to Implement Travel Ban Beginning December 8

The restrictions will affect certain nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, unless they are exempt or are granted a waiver. Restrictions against nationals of North Korea and Venezuela are already in effect. Implementation comes days after the Supreme Court gave the Administration permission to implement the ban while lower courts consider challenges to it.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, December 7, 2017
Visa Processing Update: Technical Issues May Delay Visa Issuance for Some; U.S. Consulates in Russia Resume Limited Nonimmigrant Visa Services

State Department system problems are causing visa issuance delays for some applicants. U.S. consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok will resume limited nonimmigrant visa services.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, December 4, 2017
Supreme Court Allows Trump to Enforce Travel Ban Until Lower Courts Rule on Challenges

The Supreme Court issued an order allowing the Trump Administration to implement its newest travel ban while lower courts continue to consider challenges to it. Restrictions, which vary by country, will affect certain nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen, unless exempt or granted a waiver.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Iraq, December 7, 2017
Deadline Extended and Noncompliance Penalties Amended for Multi-Entry-Exit Visa Formalities

Effective immediately, foreign nationals who obtain an employment entry visa upon arrival based on an approved Letter of Invitation in Iraq on or after November 27, 2017 are subject to certain changes. They now have 15 business days after arrival to complete immigration formalities and obtain a multi-entry-exit visa; and they are subject to a revised penalty schedule if they do not complete this formality within 15 business days.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Argentina, December 7, 2017
Restrictions Implemented for Some Chinese Nationals Seeking to Enter under Electronic Travel Authorization

Effective immediately, Chinese nationals who qualify for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) who seek to work in Argentina can no longer enter under their eTA. Instead, they must now obtain a visa at an Argentinian consular post prior to entry, which is a significantly longer process than obtaining an eTA. 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Tanzania, December 6, 2017
Yellow Fever Certificate Now Required for all Entrants

Immigration authorities in Tanzania have confirmed that all travelers entering Tanzania must now present a yellow fever certificate. This requires travelers to be vaccinated at least 10 days prior to entry.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Kazakhstan, December 5, 2017
Intracompany Transfer Process Requirements Relaxed

Kazakhstan has relaxed the immigration process for intracompany transfers, including: eliminating the requirement for diplomas and work experience for specific job titles to match; and allowing host employers to choose their own hiring and training methods for local employees instead of following authorities' standard requirements.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Costa Rica, December 1, 2017
Holiday Travel Recommendations

Foreign nationals and Costa Rican nationals traveling to or from Costa Rica for the holidays should comply with the following travel guidance, as applicable: ensure their passport is valid for the proper amount of time past their entry date; ensure they obtain a yellow fever vaccination certificate, if applicable; and ensure their minor children obtain a travel permit prior to exit, if applicable.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Brazil, December 1, 2017
Most Immigration Processes Suspended Following Implementation of New Law

Due to the implementation of a new immigration law on November 21, 2017, the Ministry of Labor is not accepting work authorization applications. A small number of tourist, business and work visas with Ministry of Labor approvals issued prior to November 21 are being issued by Brazilian consulates at their discretion.  Federal Police Registrations for work visa holders are being processed only in certain cities. Following meetings at the Ministry of Labor during the first weeks of December and the subsequent publication of related guidelines, Brazilian government entities should have the necessary legal regulations to process applications accordingly; however, delays should be expected.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, December 1, 2017
Visa Requirements Lifted for Bulgarian and Romanian Nationals

Effective December 1, 2017, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals no longer require a visa to enter Canada as business visitors or tourists for short-term stays up to six months. As visa-exempt nationals, they instead require an Electronic Travel Authorization to travel to Canada by air. 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Philippines, December 1, 2017
Stricter Alien Employment Permit Rules

The Department of Labor and Employment recently revised the rules on the issuance of Alien Employment Permits to foreign nationals in the Philippines. Key changes include: new documentary requirements; revised grounds for denial; revised exemption eligibility; and new penalties for foreign nationals and employers violating related rules. The changes will take effect on December 9, 2017. Employers impacted by these changes should expect longer processing times for their employees' AEPs.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Weekly News Briefs

United States: Delays in EAD and AP Adjudication – Immigration practitioners have reported delayed adjudication of Forms I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (EAD) and Forms I-131, Application for Advance Parole (AP), according to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is taking approximately four and a half to over five months to process EAD applications, although some are taking up to seven months. The agency is taking as long as five months to process advance parole applications.

United States: Latest PERM and PWD Processing Times – As of November 30, 2017, the Department of Labor (DOL) was conducting analyst review for PERM applications filed in July 2017 or earlier, and processing audited cases filed in April 2017 or earlier. DOL is working on standard reconsideration requests submitted in November 2017 or earlier. There is no update on the government error queue, though these appear to be current.

DOL is issuing prevailing wage determinations for PERM and H-1B requests filed in September 2017. The agency has been processing PERM and H-1B redeterminations requested in November 2017, and PERM and H-1B center director reviews requested in October 2017.   

These reports are available on the iCERT home page.

United States: Kirstjen M. Nielsen Sworn In as DHS Secretary – On December 6, 2017, Kirstjen M. Nielsen was sworn in as the sixth Secretary of Homeland Security, after the Senate confirmed her nomination with a 62-37 vote. She was previously a deputy to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and served as Kelly’s chief of staff during his tenure as Secretary of Homeland Security.

United States/Turkey: Certain Consular Posts Issuing Turkish Visas – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed by electronic query that all Turkish consular posts in the United States are now issuing business and tourist visas to U.S. citizens. Those who qualify under the “limited circumstances” as outlined in the last update can walk in without an appointment to apply for a visa. All others must use the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA's) online visa appointment system. Note the backlogs for appointments are anticipated to increase.

Additionally, the Turkish consulates in Vancouver and Ottawa are issuing visas to U.S. citizens without requiring proof of residence in Canada.

Colombia: As New Law Is Implemented, Processing Delays Are Likely – Foreign nationals and employers should be prepared for processing delays once the new immigration law goes into effect on December 15 and should continue to be aware of the planned suspension of the visa online platform on December 13 to 14. Foreign nationals should also expect increased scrutiny and the use of discretional authority by immigration officials while adjudicating applications under the new law.

Hungary: Significant Delay in Filing Single Permit Applications in India – Visa nationals in India cannot start their Single Permit process for Hungary due to lack of D visa appointments until March 2018 in Mumbai and Delhi.

Visa nationals seeking a Single Permit in Hungary must start the process by personally filing a D visa application at a consular post in their home country/country of residence. The consular post will forward the application to the immigration office in Hungary for processing. Depending on the destination city, applicants may obtain a C visa as an alternative and file their Single Permit applications in country. Prospective applicants should contact their immigration professional to discuss options.

Ireland: e-Gates Expected to Streamline Travel – Irish immigration authorities have opened five  e-Gates at each of the two terminals at Dublin Airport, which are open to Irish and EU e-passport holders over the age of 18. These gates will streamline entry for eligible travelers by using facial recognition technology to match passengers' photos with their scanned passports. Irish and EU e-passport holders can expect shorter queuing times. Following the first phase of implementation, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service has announced that it will consider extending e-Gates to non-EU passport holders as well.

Ivory Coast: Relaxed Travel Rules for Residence Permit Applicants – Foreign nationals with pending biometric residence permit applications can now obtain a receipt that allows them to re-enter the country without an entry visa pending the issuance of their residence permit, which can take up to one month. Affected foreign nationals can contact their Fragomen professional for more information on this option.

Russia: Foreign Nationals May Have Option to Provide Host Company Address for Registration – According to a court decision, foreign nationals may now be able to use the address of their host company (the company that has invited the foreign national) to complete their in-country registration as long as there is a ‘legal connection’ between the foreign national and the host company for the duration of the foreign national’s stay in Russia. Legal connection is understood to mean that the foreign national will be participating in activities with the host company in a way that requires their presence at the host company’s address. This change adds a third address option for foreign nationals completing the registration process, in addition to the address of their actual residence or the address of their employer.

Prior to using this host company registration option, foreign nationals should check with the particular local authority where they plan to register to determine whether this option is available, since some local authorities may not apply this new ruling.

 

Global Immigration News Links

  • The Trump Administration ended the United States’ participation in the United Nation's Global Compact on Migration, citing incompatibility with U.S. sovereignty, the New York Times reports.
  • Singapore’s aging population may mean changes in immigration rules and social services, Bloomberg reports.
  • The Brexit Steering Group of the European Parliament stressed that further progress needs to be made before proceeding to the next phase of negotiations.
  • The EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier pushed for a deal on the Irish border by December 8, 2017.


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