Connecticut, US

Dec 26 2019

Weekly Immigration Update: December 20-26, 2019

Canada, China, Colombia, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Serbia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam

In immigration news this week:

  • Canada: Ontario will introduce a new permanent residence pilot program, entitled the Regional Immigration Pilot, in early 2020, which will set aside 150 nominations under the Employer Job Offer Stream for foreign nationals intending to settle in select small and rural communities.
  • China: Highly-skilled foreign nationals who seek to work for qualifying companies in Shanghai can apply for and obtain a work permit and residence permit simultaneously under a new system which will allow for faster processing times.
  • Netherlands: Posted worker notifications will be mandatory starting March 1, 2020 which will require employers outside of the Netherlands to file an online notification before a posted worker commences work in the Netherlands.
  • Vietnam: New immigration laws are expected to go into effect on July 1, 2020 which will ease immigration requirements in Vietnam. Additionally, a new Labor Code will go into effect on January 1, 2021.
  • United States: USCIS announced that in January it will accept employment-based adjustment applications in most instances from foreign nationals with a priority date that is earlier than the Dates for Filing listed in the State Department’s January Visa Bulletin. For EB-3 Worldwide (except India, China and the Philippines), the agency will accept applications according to the Dates for Final Action chart.

 

In Brexit news this week:

  • United Kingdom: The new UK Parliament passed the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, paving the way for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union on January 31, 2020.

 

These items and other news from Canada, Colombia, France, Ireland, Nigeria, Norway, Serbia, and the United Arab Emirates follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

Canada, December 24, 2019

Ontario to Introduce New Permanent Residence Pilot Program to Attract Foreign Workers to Small and Rural Communities

  • Ontario will introduce a new permanent residence pilot program, entitled the Regional Immigration Pilot, in early 2020, which will set aside 150 nominations under the Employer Job Offer Stream for foreign nationals intending to settle in select small and rural communities.
  • The pilot program will give foreign nationals who have a job offer from an employer in a small or rural community an additional route to apply for permanent residence.



To view entire article, click here.





China, December 24, 2019

Simultaneous Application Process for Work Permits and Residence Permits Available in Shanghai

  • Highly-skilled foreign nationals who seek to work for qualifying companies in Shanghai can now apply for and obtain a work permit and residence permit simultaneously under the recently-introduced ‘Single Window’ system.
  • Both permits will be processed in seven business days, instead of the five business days it took to obtain a work permit plus the seven additional business days it took to obtain a residence permit under the previous system.



​To view entire article, click here.





France, December 23, 2019

Minimum Wage to Increase

  • Effective January 1, 2020, the minimum wage in France will increase to EUR 10.15 per hour (EUR 1,539.42 per month or EUR 18,473.04 per year), a .91 percent increase from last year’s minimum wage.
  • The increase in the minimum wage does not directly affect most French work authorization types, but does impact some Talent Passport categories, as the minimum salary requirements for those categories are linked to the minimum wage.



​To view entire article, click here.





Ireland, December 23, 2019

Minimum Wage to Increase

  • Effective February 1, 2020, the national minimum hourly salary will increase to EUR 10.10, up 3.06 percent from last year. For a 40-hour work week, this equals approximately EUR 404 per week / EUR 21,008 per year.
  • Employers of foreign nationals currently on their payroll, and of those seeking to obtain or renew a work permit on or after February 1, 2020 must increase their foreign nationals' minimum salaries, if necessary, to comply with the new rule.



To view entire article, click here.





United States, December 20, 2019

January Visa Bulletin Update: USCIS to Honor Dates for Filing in Most Instances Next Month

  • USCIS has announced that in January, it will accept employment-based adjustment applications in most instances from foreign nationals with a priority date that is earlier than the Dates for Filing listed in the State Department's January Visa Bulletin.
  • For EB-3 Worldwide (all countries except India, China and the Philippines), the agency will accept applications according to the Dates for Final Action chart, which lists these countries as Current. 



​To view entire article, click here.





Vietnam, December 20, 2019

Amendments to Immigration Law and Labor Code Forthcoming

  • Changes to both the immigration laws and, separately, the Labor Code are expected in Vietnam.
  • The proposed amendments to Vietnam’s Immigration laws aim to ease the immigration requirements in Vietnam and are likely to become effective on July 1, 2020. Key benefits will include the ability for e-Visa holders to change their visa category in country, the elimination of the 30-day cooling-off period for visa-exempt foreign nationals, and a longer visa validity for investors, among other changes.
  • Separately, a new Labor Code will become effective on January 1, 2021 and will replace the current Labor Code which was implemented in 2013. Key changes in the Labor Code include a new minimum contribution amount for foreign owners or members of a limited liability company and a limit on Work Permit extensions, among other changes.

     

​To view entire article, click here.





Netherlands, December 20, 2019

Posted Worker Online Notification Required Starting March 1, 2020

  • The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment announced that posted worker notifications will be required starting March 1, 2020.
  • As a result, the employer outside the Netherlands will need to file an online notification before a posted worker commences work in the Netherlands.
  • The online notification system will open February 1, 2020 and employers can begin using it on that date.
  • Workers performing incidental work, including transport personnel, guest lecturers and attendees of academic conferences, will be exempt from the posted worker online notification requirement.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Brexit News and Related News Briefs This Week

United Kingdom, December 20, 2019

EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill Passed by UK Parliament

  • The new UK Parliament has passed the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, which paves the way for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union on January 31, 2020, by a vote of 358 to 234.
  • The bill will now be subjected to further scrutiny in Parliament; however, the government is intent on the bill being put into law in time for the Brexit deadline of January 31, 2020.
  • This ultimately means that there will be a "transition period," and free movement will continue until December 31, 2020. EU nationals residing in the United Kingdom by December 31, 2020 will have until June 21, 2021 to apply to remain in the United Kingdom under the EU Settlement Scheme.



To view entire article, click here.

Many other EU countries have published contingency plans for UK nationals in case of a no-deal Brexit, with more expected soon. Fragomen will provide updates on the situation as they become available.

Please contact a Fragomen immigration professional for assistance in planning contingency arrangements in a single project. For more information, please visit Fragomen's dedicated Brexit site, which contains news, FAQs, and analysis/commentary in the form of blogs, videos, webcasts and events.



Weekly News Briefs



Canada:
Operational Guidelines Released for the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program -Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) released the operational guidelines for the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program (RNIP), which includes the application process, adjudicating criteria and other important information. This program features a five-year pilot program for 11 rural communities and is meant to help smaller rural and northern communities to attract, integrate and retain foreign skilled workers to meet that area’s labour market needs. Candidates recommended under the program can submit applications for permanent residence under this pilot to IRCC.



Colombia: Minimum Wage Increase May Affect Sponsoring Employers - Effective January 1, 2020, the minimum wage in Colombia will increase to COP 877,855 per month (approximately USD 255), a 6% percent increase from the 2019 minimum wage. The increase does not directly affect the hiring of foreign nationals from an immigration perspective; however, employers should ensure that even with the increase in minimum wage, their financial statements still show a six-month average balance of at least 100 times the minimum wage.  For labor purposes, a foreign national's salary may not be less than the monthly minimum wage. ​



Nigeria: Deadline for Biometric Registration Extended – According to previous government announcements, foreign nationals residing in Nigeria for over 90 days were required to appear at the Nigerian Immigration Services (NIS) center to register their biometrics by December 31, 2019. The NIS has extended the deadline to January 11, 2020 in order to grant foreign nationals more time to comply with the requirement.



Norway: Work Authorization Fees to Increase by 16.7 Percent - Effective January 1, 2020, fees for residence and work permits for service providers and skilled workers - the main Norwegian work authorization types - will increase by 16.7 percent to NOK 6,300. The same fee increase will apply to renewal applications. Student and researcher fees will decrease by 7.6 percent to NOK 4,900.



Serbia: Update on Changes Related to Residence and Work Application Process – Although the Serbian government previously announced its intention to streamline several immigration processes, Serbian immigration authorities have not yet issued practical instructions on the launch of online applications for temporary residence and work permits which will allow foreign nationals to file applications from abroad. Fragomen expects applications under the new online system to face delays of several weeks during a transition period, due to a lack of information or training, public holidays, and reduced staff during the year-end period.



United Arab Emirates: New Employment Regulations Forthcoming in Dubai Multi Commodities Center Free Zone – New employment regulations for the Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC) free zone are expected to come into effect on January 2, 2020, according to an announcement by the Free Zone Authority. The regulations align with the Federal Labor Law of the United Arab Emirates and aim to provide rules on key aspects of work relations in the Free Zone, including sponsorship of employment visas, employment contracts, leave entitlement, employment termination and visa cancellation, among other issues. Although some of the provisions referred to were not previously covered by the DMCC employment regulations, such as harassment in the workplace, leave entitlement, flexible work arrangements and internships, there are no significant changes in the regulations from an immigration perspective. Employers in the DMCC, however, should work with their human resources department to ensure compliance with the new regulations.



United Arab Emirates: Online Portal Launched for Entrepreneurs Seeking to Obtain Long-Term Residence Permit – The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) launched Business Visa, a website where foreign entrepreneurs can apply for nomination for a five-year residence permit in the United Arab Emirates. Eligible foreign nationals must have entrepreneurial experience and be the majority shareholder of a startup or a member of its senior leadership and be willing to establish a business in the United Arab Emirates. The main applicant can also nominate up to three executives working for the qualifying entrepreneur to obtain the long-term residence permit. Both the main applicant and the executive staff members can sponsor residence permits for their dependents. All applicants must meet other standard eligibility requirements for UAE residence, including medical fitness. The application processing time is approximately 30 days. If the foreign national is applying from outside the country, they are eligible for a six-month multiple-entry visa that will allow them to assess how their business project or investment will operate from within the United Arab Emirates; the visa can be converted into a five-year residence permit, renewable upon entry. Foreign nationals who already have a UAE residence permit are given one month to convert their current visa into the long-term resident permit.

 

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