Dec 10 2020

Weekly Immigration Update: December 4–10, 2020

Angola, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bermuda, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, European Union, France, Georgia, Greece, Hong Kong, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Montenegro, Namibia, Netherlands, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Portugal, Republic of the Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, The Bahamas, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States

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 COVID-19 website for the latest immigration updates.
  • Brexit: Authorities in Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Portugal published guidance on post-Brexit residence permits or residence registration options (‘Article 50 residence permits’) for current UK national residents and their non-EU national family members. Authorities in the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain published further guidance. Check this consolidated information page for more information.
  • United States: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has taken steps to comply with a recent court order to reinstate the original 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DHS will also extend through October 4, 2021 the status and employment authorization documentation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries of El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan. The Department of Labor is making technical changes to its prevailing wage system to comply with court orders barring implementation of the agency’s October 8 prevailing wage interim final rule.
  • United Kingdom: Since December 5, senior executives travelling to England can temporarily cease to self-isolate during the 14-day quarantine period if they participate in eligible business activities that cannot be performed remotely.
  • European Union: Because UK national posted workers are not covered by the Brexit withdrawal agreement, EU countries may impose different registration and work permit rules to posted workers than to locally-employed individuals before and after the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020.
  • Chile: The Chilean Congress approved an immigration law which will create a new immigration framework and restructure Chile’s current visa categories.
  • Angola: The authorities have implemented a law promoting localization in the oil and gas sector impacting contracts signed only after October 20, 2020.
  • Minimum salary requirements: Portugal published the 2021 minimum wage level. Check this consolidated information page for more information.



These items and other news from Bahrain, Belgium, Estonia, Malaysia, Montenegro, and Oman follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

Chile, December 10, 2020

Congress Approves Law Restructuring Immigration System

  • The Chilean Congress has approved an immigration law which will create a new immigration framework and restructure Chile’s current visa categories.
  • Under the new law, there will be stricter rules regarding in-country change of status, a new short-term work authorization process, the expansion of Temporary Residence categories and work authorization for dependents, among others.
  • In order for the law to go into effect, the Ministry of Interior must first draft and publish implementing immigration regulations, which are expected to take at least one year.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, December 8, 2020

DHS Posts Notice of Compliance with DACA Court Order For Now

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has confirmed that it will comply with a recent court order to reinstate the original 2012 DACA program, but also states that the agency may appeal the ruling.
  • As of December 7 and while the court order is in effect, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept initial DACA applications and renewals, as well as applications for DACA advance parole travel documents.
  • USCIS will also issue one-year extensions of DACA and employment authorization to beneficiaries who received truncated one-year (instead of two-year) documents under a now-invalidated DHS guidance memorandum.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, December 8, 2020

DHS Extends TPS Status and Documentation Validity for Several Countries

  • The Department of Homeland Security will extend through October 4, 2021 the status and employment authorization documentation for TPS beneficiaries of El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan. The current expiration date for these groups is January 4, 2021.
  • In September, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump Administration may terminate TPS designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan – and in effect, also Nepal and Honduras. However, the appellate court has not yet issued a directive to implement its order, so the lower court injunction on terminating TPS for these countries remains in place at least temporarily. 
  • Should the Ninth Circuit issue a directive to implement its September order, the TPS designations will be terminated according to the order’s timelines, unless the Biden Administration reverses course next year, which it has signaled it may do.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom, December 7, 2020

Quarantine Exemption Limited to Eligible Business Activities

  • Since December 5, senior executives travelling to England can temporarily cease to self-isolate during the 14-day quarantine period if they participate in eligible business activities.
  • Eligible activities are those with more than a 50% chance of creating or preserving at least 50 UK-based jobs; or those that result in a GBP 100 million purchase of goods or services from a UK-based business. Additionally, the traveler must not be able to perform the activities remotely.
  • The exemption only covers the duration of the eligible activities. Travelers must self-isolate for the remainder of their stay.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

European Union, December 7, 2020

Brexit May Impact UK Posted Workers Differently than Locally-Hired UK Nationals

  • UK national posted workers may face different registration and work permit rules than UK nationals locally employed in EU countries before and after the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020.
  • This alert offers key examples of such differences. These and future differences will be posted on Fragomen’s consolidated Brexit alert page.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, December 4, 2020

District Court Orders DHS to Restore Full DACA Program and Provide Notice to the Public

  • Today, a federal district court ordered the Department of Homeland Security to take concrete steps to reinstate the original 2012 DACA program and to provide public notice of the reinstatement on its website within three days.
  • Under the court order, DHS must accept initial DACA applications as well as renewals, grant advance parole travel documents, and issue two-year (instead of one-year) DACA and EAD renewals to DACA beneficiaries.
  • The court also ordered DHS to take steps to notify members of a certified class of foreign nationals who may be able to benefit from reinstatement of the program.
  • Individuals who wish to apply for initial DACA benefits and advance parole should monitor the DHS website for guidance and instructions.  

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, December 4, 2020

DOL Issues Implementation Guidance after Federal Courts Block Prevailing Wage Interim Final Rule

  • The Department of Labor is making technical changes to its prevailing wage system to comply with court orders barring implementation of the agency’s October 8 prevailing wage interim final rule. The system will soon revert to pre-October 8 OES Wage data.
  • Labor Condition Applications using pre-October 8 OES prevailing wage data can be submitted by employers starting at approximately 8:30 am Eastern on Wednesday, December 9.
  • Employers have until January 4, 2021 to ask DOL to review prevailing wage determinations that were issued using the higher wage data under the October 8 rule. Timeframes for review and reissuance are unknown.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Angola, December 4, 2020

New Law Implemented to Promote Localization

  • The Angolan authorities have implemented a law under which oil and gas companies must enter into an agreement with the Ministry of Minerals and report on the progress they are making annually in training and integrating local workers.
  • Companies failing to comply with the new rules will face fines and may be denied the right to hire foreign nationals.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Weekly News Briefs

Bahrain: Pre-Approved Visitor Visa Now Available for Israeli Nationals – Nationals of Israel are now eligible to apply for a pre-approved visitor visa through Bahrain’s electronic portal before arrival to Bahrain. Eligible travelers will receive a single-entry visa with a maximum allowable duration of stay of two weeks or a multiple-entry visa with a maximum allowable duration of stay of 30 and 90 days, respectively. Previously, Israeli nationals were inadmissible to Bahrain. This follows the agreement reached by the governments of Bahrain and Israel to normalize relations in September 2020.

Belgium: Update on EU Intracompany Transfer PermitAs an update, the executing decree that would allow issuance of the EU Intracompany Transfer (ICT) Permit in Belgium is still pending. Publication of this decree was expected in October but may still take several months to finalize, due to pandemic-related delays. The Wallonia region in Belgium does not yet accept EU Intracompany Transfer (ICT) Permit applications pending publication of the decree. The Brussels and Flanders regions accept and process EU ICT Permit applications, but issue standard single permit cards upon approval. Individuals can exchange these cards for EU ICT Permit cards once available.

Estonia: 2021 Non-Exempt Residence Permit Quota Published – Estonian authorities set the 2021 quota for non-exempt residence permit applications at 1,315 spots, up from 1,314 spots. The quota is typically exhausted around June, except in 2020, when the quota was exhausted in January. The following categories continue to be exempt: Japanese, US, and UK citizens; foreign nationals on science/research assignments; foreign nationals with residence durations under 12 months; top specialists (as defined by Estonian law); information technology and communications professionals; students; family reunification applicants; foreign nationals who are extending or renewing their permits; and start-up entrepreneurs and investors.

Malaysia: 2021 Projection Submission Now Open – Companies in Malaysia registered with the Expatriate Services Division (ESD) and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) may now submit their projection applications to the ESD or MDEC, as appropriate, for initial or renewal Professional Visit Pass (PVP) and Employment Pass (EP) applications they wish to sponsor in 2021. All unutilized projections approved for the year 2020 will no longer be valid in 2021. Projection application processing generally takes 5-10 business days from the date of submission but may take longer due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Montenegro: 2021 Work Authorization Quota Published – Montenegrin authorities have published the 2021 work authorization quota, which remains the same as the 2020 quota at 15,454 spots (3,630 for seasonal employment, 11,824 for other permit types). An additional 5,000 permits can be distributed by the Ministry of Labor per labor market requirements. The following categories remain exempt: teaching, athletes, directors and entrepreneurs, highly educated managers, assigned managers or specialists, service providers, cross-border commuters, individuals on development projects and individuals under bilateral agreements. The new quota is available for applications filed starting January 1, 2021.

Oman: Deadline for Employers to Comply with Omanization and other Labor Requirements --- The Ministry of Manpower is requiring employers in Oman to comply with Omanization and other labour regulations no later than January 6, 2021 to avoid potential fines. Employers should amend the job title of foreign workers whose current occupation is subject to Omanization to a job title outside the list of restricted positions. Employers should also ensure that the salaries of foreign workers are disbursed as stated in their relevant employment contract. Furthermore, since the recruitment of foreign workers outside of Oman is suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers are encouraged to recruit staff from within Oman through the existing employment sponsorship process. It is not yet clear what consequences noncompliant employers will face or whether the enforcement actions will be carried out after January 6, 2021.

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