California, US

Dec 29 2017

Weekly Immigration Update: December 22 – 28, 2017

Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Nepal , Oman, Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States

In United States immigration news this week, Congress averted a government shutdown by passing a spending measure to fund the federal government – including immigration operations -- through January 19, 2018.

Foreign nationals in the Philippines holding valid Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Cards must file their Annual Reports in person by March 3, 2018. The Nepalese government has introduced a new labour law that codifies rules previously governed by various agencies.

The Department of Home Affairs was established in Australia, which will encompass multiple agencies and will oversee all immigration and citizenship functions.

In Brazil, the Ministry of Labor released guidelines providing more detailed information concerning the new immigration law.

These items and other news from Austria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Oman, Russia, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.


Important Updates in Immigration This Week 

United States, December 22, 2017

Congress Passes Spending Measure to Fund Federal Government Through January 19

Immigration functions and other federal operations will be funded through January 19, 2018 while FY 2018 budget negotiations continue. E-Verify and the EB-5 Regional Center program will be extended through the same date.

To view entire article, click here.


United Kingdom, December 28, 2017

Tier 2 General Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship Allocation Cap Reached

The monthly quota for non-European Economic Area nationals sponsored under the Tier 2 (General) Visa category has been exceeded. Applications submitted by December 5, 2017 for Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCOS) where applicants were to be paid under GBP 55,000 have been refused unless they are Ph-D level jobs, a role listed on the recognised shortage occupation list, or were prioritised for other reasons

To view entire article, click here.


Philippines, December 27, 2017

Foreign Nationals Holding ACR-I Cards Must Appear at Bureau of Immigration by March 3, 2018

Foreign nationals holding a valid Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card in the Philippines must file their Annual Report in person at a Bureau of Immigration main or satellite office from January 3, 2018 through March 3, 2018.

To view entire article, click here.


Austria, December 22, 2017

Stricter Police Certificate Requirement for Residence Permit Applications in Vienna

Residence permit applicants in Vienna must now submit a police clearance certificate from every country in which they have lived for more than six months during their entire life. This will significantly prolong the residence permit application process, which previously required a police clearance certificate only from the foreign national's home country. Pending applications are also subject to this rule.

To view entire article, click here.


Australia, December 22, 2017

Department of Home Affairs Established

The Australian Prime Minister announced that a new Department of Home Affairs was officially established that combines Australia’s federal law enforcement, national and transport security, criminal justice, emergency management, multicultural affairs and immigration and border-related agencies. The Department of Home Affairs will oversee all immigration and citizenship functions.

To view entire article, click here.


Kazakhstan, December 22, 2017

Bans on Sponsorship Now Common for Passport Registration Violations

The Migration Police have recently been increasingly enforcing the penalty of banning employers from sponsoring foreign workers if a foreign employee fails to register his or her passport with the Migration Police within five days of entry. Employers should ensure their employees strictly abide by the passport registration deadline.

To view entire article, click here.


Nepal, December 22, 2017

New Labour Law Implemented

The Nepalese government has introduced a new labour law that codifies rules previously governed by various agencies; relaxes eligibility rules for hiring foreign workers; and requires an employer of a foreign worker to contribute 8.33 percent of the employee’s monthly income to the employee’s pension fund, among other changes. The revised provisions are effective immediately.

To view entire article, click here.


Brazil, December 22, 2017

More Guidelines Regulating New Immigration Law Published

The Ministry of Labor has released the second set of guidelines providing detailed information regarding the new immigration law that was implemented on November 21.

To view entire article, click here.


Weekly News Briefs

United States: Appeals Court Rules Against Third Travel Ban – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld a district court’s preliminary injunction barring the Trump Administration from enforcing the third travel ban against certain nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya,  Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.  The Ninth Circuit determined that President Trump exceeded his authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act and had no other constitutional basis for the ban.

The decision has no immediate impact on travelers because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling allowing the Administration to fully implement the ban while appeals continue.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is expected to issue its own ruling on the ban in the coming weeks.

United States: USCIS Releases H-1B Trend Data for 2007-2017 – A new data collection from USCIS tracks a decade of H-1B petition trends, including the number of receipts and approvals, petitioner industries, average annual H-1B compensation and education level of H-1B beneficiaries.

United States: Trump Administration Asks Court to Hold H-4 EAD Appeal in Further Abeyance – In a federal lawsuit challenging the H-4 employment authorization program, the Trump Administration has asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to hold proceedings in abeyance until July 1, 2018, while the Administration pursues its plan to propose a regulation to rescind the program.  The case is Save Jobs USA v. Department of Homeland Security.  The lawsuit was dismissed by a federal district court in 2016, but the plaintiffs are appealing that ruling.  The Administration has made two previous requests for time to review and reconsider the H-4 employment authorization program.

Georgia: Visa Exemption for Jordanian Nationals - Jordanian business visitors are now eligible for a visa exemption for stays up to 90 days in Georgia. This will allow Jordanian travelers to participate in business meetings, conferences and other activities that do not require a work permit.  

Oman: Employment Sponsorship Transfer Now Subject to Faster, Online Process -  Employers can now initiate the process to transfer sponsorship of a foreign worker from one employer to another through the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) electronic portal.  It is expected that the new procedure will expedite the employment sponsorship transfer process in Oman.

  • Previous process. Previously, employers had to prepare a manual application for the MOM to pre-approve the request.
  • New process. Once the sponsorship transfer is approved, the new employer will receive a notification and the foreign national will be able to complete a blood test and obtain a Resident Card issued by the Directorate General of Civil Status.
  • Transfer conditions. The following existing conditions for employment transfer remain the same:
  • Both employers must have on-line access to the MOM’s electronic portal;
  • The new employer must have an approved labour clearance (quota) for recruitment of foreign national workers;
  • The current sponsor must pay any financial dues before the MOM processes the sponsorship transfer; and
  • The employer must apply for a Resident Card must within 30 days of sponsorship transfer approval, otherwise the application will be cancelled.

​Russia: Fourth Quarter Notifications for Highly Qualified Specialists Due January 31, 2018 – Employers should be aware that they are responsible for filing fourth quarter notifications for salaries paid out to highly qualified specialists (HQS) by January 31, 2018.

  • Required information. The notification must state the salaries paid to HQS from October 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017.
  • Required salary. The reported salary amount should be no less than the minimum for HQS of:
    •  167,000 RUB per calendar month; or
    •  501,000 RUB per quarter (if there was a break in work during the reported period).
  • Penalty. Violations of the established notification procedures, including failure to notify, will result in administrative fines for the employer of:
    • From 35,000 RUB to 70,000 RUB for officials; and
    • From 400,000 RUB to 1,000,000 RUB for legal entities.

Thailand: Tourist Visa-on-Arrival Delays - Tourists applying for a visa-on-arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Thailand are likely to face up to a four-hour wait leading up to and immediately after January 1, 2018, due to a restrictive screening process during the New Year period. Usually, obtaining a visa-on-arrival at the airport takes a few minutes.

  • Background. A visa-on-arrival allows passport holders of 18 nationalities to enter Thailand for tourism for up to 15 days. Popular among Indian and Chinese tourists, it is issued mostly at Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports.
  • Looking ahead. The Immigration Bureau is considering opening more lanes for visa processing to reduce the lengthy queues, however it is not clear when or whether this will occur.

United Arab Emirates: Expedited Process for Collection of Original Documents in Dubai - The Dubai Creative Clusters Authority (DCCA) has announced that effective January 1, 2018, applicants processing new employment residence permits and renewing their existing permits in the DCCA will be required to present their original application documents during the medical examination appointment instead of through an extra step involving a courier service collecting the original documents.

  • New process. Once the new regulation has been implemented, the sponsoring entity will submit copies of the applicant's documents through the DCCA electronic portal. The DCCA will then send an email with information on the appointment. The applicant will be required to hand over the original documents to the DCCA’s representative at the respective medical center.  The dedicated courier service for documents collection will be discontinued. 
  • Background. Currently the applicant can deliver their documents to the DCCA through a courier service. Following receipt of the documents, the DCCA would contact the applicant to schedule the medical test and Emirates ID registration appointment.
  • Impact. It is expected that these new measures will expedite the application process for new employment residence permits and visa renewals.

​Fragomen will continue monitoring the situation and will report additional information as developments occur.


Global Immigration News Links

  • The Department of Homeland Security is considering a plan to deter illegal immigration by separating immigrant parents from their children when they are caught crossing the border illegally, Business Insider reports.
  • Expert expats with high salaries will be able to apply for four-year professional visas beginning in mid-January in Thailand.
  • The Start-up Visa pilot program in Canada has net over 2,000 foreign national workers since June.
  • International students in the United Kingdom will have more flexibility in switching to work visas after new immigration rules are introduced in early 2018.


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