Dec 28 2018

Weekly Immigration Update: December 21 - 27, 2018

Argentina, Czech Republic, Egypt, Ireland, Lithuania, Russia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States

In United States immigration news this week, a partial federal government shutdown went into effect, though immigration processing largely continues.

In Lithuania, effective January 1, 2019, the minimum monthly salary for foreign workers seeking a Labor Exchange Decision, a main type of work authorization, will increase by 7.5 percent.

These items and other news from Argentina, Czech Republic, Egypt, Ireland, Russia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, December 21, 2018

Partial Federal Shutdown Imminent; Immigration Benefits Processing Largely Continues

  • E-Verify, the EB-5 Regional Center program and two other immigration programs are set to expire after midnight tonight as a result of the impasse over the FY 2019 federal budget. 
  • Immigration benefit processing at USCIS and U.S. consulates will continue because those functions are supported by application fees, but delays are possible.
  • Labor certification and labor condition application functions will not be affected because the Department of Labor has been fully funded for FY 2019.
  • Budget negotiations are expected to continue this weekend.

To view entire article, click here.

Ireland, December 21, 2018

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation Sends Email Alert, Leads to Questions From Foreign Nationals

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation broadly distributed an email alert on December 21 directly to foreign nationals who have previously filed immigration-related applications, including individuals who do not currently have an employment permit application pending. Please be advised that this was a generic email distribution, and it does not pertain directly to one's application. Individuals who have received this email should not be alarmed, and if recipients have queries about a particular application or permit, they should contact their Immigration Consultant directly for advice.

To view entire article, click here.

Lithuania, December 21, 2018

Minimum Salary Level to Increase

  • Effective January 1, 2019, the minimum monthly salary for foreign workers seeking a Labor Exchange Decision - the main work authorization type in Lithuania - will increase to EUR 430, up 7.5 percent from last year.
  • Effective immediately, foreign workers seeking an EU Blue Card in Lithuania must earn at least EUR 1,403.55 per month, up approximately 40% percent from the last available update.

To view entire article, click here.


Weekly News Briefs

Argentina: Preparations for Electronic Visa Applications Ongoing - The Argentine Immigration Authority, Dirección Nacional de Migraciones, announced that it has opened a government office to process electronic visa applications. This is an important step in the government's implementation of the electronic visa service. This new office is expected to receive and analyze electronic visa applications, verify applicants' information, accept or reject applications and handle consultations. Additionally, the Authority announced that the government may expand the eligibility for electronic visas to all the subcategories of Transitory Visitors. Fragomen will report on the progress of further related developments.

Czech Republic/Egypt: Czech Embassy in Cairo Facing Delays - The Czech Embassy in Cairo is currently facing delays in scheduling visa appointments ranging between one and three months. Fragomen reports that Czech consular posts across Asia and Africa are facing increased appointment waiting times, which appears to reflect an increased volume of applications to the Czech Republic combined with capacity issues at the consular posts.

Russia: Fourth Quarter Salary Notifications for Highly Qualified Specialists Due January 31, 2019 - Employers have until January 31, 2019 to file fourth quarter notifications for salaries paid to highly-qualified specialists (HQS). The notification must state the salary paid to HQS from October 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018. The reported HQS salary should be no less than RUB 167,000 per calendar month or RUB 501,000 per quarter (if there was a break in work during the reported period). Violations of the established notification procedures, including failure to notify, will result in administrative fines for the employer.

United Kingdom/Switzerland: Separation Agreement Would Protect Citizen's Rights After Brexit - The United Kingdom and Switzerland have reached political agreement on a Separation Agreement to protect the rights of Swiss nationals living the United Kingdom and vice versa after Brexit. The agreement is not yet formally concluded, but is scheduled to be concluded before March 29, 2019. Once concluded, the agreement would also need to be ratified by the Swiss Federal Council and the UK parliament. However, Fragomen does not expect any changes to the provisions of the agreement to be made during the conclusion and ratification process. The draft agreement would ensure that nationals generally continue to benefit from the same rights as they currently do, and would also apply in a no-deal scenario, but only to protect rights of those resident by March 29, 2019. The draft agreement covers residence rights; access to healthcare, pensions and education; social security coordination and mutual recognition of professional qualifications. In the meantime, the current rules governing the relationship between the United Kingdom and Switzerland will continue to apply. Once formalized, Swiss nationals residing in the United Kingdom will be able to register under the EU Settlement Scheme in the same way as EU citizens.

United Kingdom: Immigration Health Surcharge to Double on January 8, 2019 - The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS), the fee for foreign nationals staying in the United Kingdom for over six months, will double on January 8, 2019 to GBP 400 for each year granted on the traveler's visa. The new rate for students or Youth Mobility Scheme applicants will be GBP 300. The fee increase was announced in February 2018 but the date of change was only formalized on December 18, 2018. Sponsors face a significant increase in sponsorship costs, as the United Kingdom already has high government filing fees and skills charges that must be paid on an annual basis.

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