Virginia, US

Feb 16 2018

Weekly Immigration Update: February 9 – 15, 2018

Afghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Ghana, India, Ireland, Israel, Mozambique, Netherlands, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Thailand, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Venezuela

In United States immigration news this week, cutoff dates for EB-2 and EB-3 China and India will continue to advance, according to the State Department's March Visa Bulletin.

Israel has introduced an expedited visa application option for foreign nationals travelling to work in Israeli companies operating in Hi-Tech industries.

In the United Kingdom, the monthly quota for non-European Economic Area nationals sponsored under the Tier 2 (General) Visa category has exceeded for the third month.

Russia has made a number of document requirement changes for corporate and individual work permit applications.

Uganda has informally phased out its short-term work permit, known as the Special Pass. Foreign nationals can instead use the Entry Permit Class G2. Employers in Senegal must submit their annual returns by March 15. Nationals of Angola and Mozambique are now able to travel between the two countries without a visa for stays of up to 30 days.

Registered companies in Azerbaijan who intend to employ foreign national employees must submit their quota reports to the State Migration Service by May 1.

These items and other news from Belgium, Ghana, India, Iran, Ireland, Netherlands, Serbia, Thailand, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, the United States and Venezuela follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, February 12, 2018
March 2018 Visa Bulletin: EB-2 and EB-3 China and India Continue to Advance

  • EB-2 China will advance by more than two months, to December 8, 2013.
  • EB-2 India will advance by one week, to December 15, 2008.
  • EB-3 cutoff dates for professionals and skilled workers will advance by two months for China, to November 15, 2014, and by one month for India, to January 1, 2007.


To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom, February 15, 2018
Tier 2 General Cap Reached for the Third Time

As predicted, the monthly quota for non-European Economic Area nationals sponsored under the Tier 2 (General) Visa category has been exceeded again. Only certain prioritised applications for this category were granted.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Israel, February 15, 2018
Expedited Application Introduced for Foreign Workers at Hi-Tech Companies

Israel has introduced an expedited visa application option, the Hi-Tech Visa (HIT), for foreign nationals travelling to Israel to work in an Israeli registered company, operating in the Hi-Tech industries. A spouse of the principal on a HIT visa can also obtain work authorization by obtaining an Employment Authorization for Spouse (EAS).

To view entire article, click here.

 

Belgium, February 15, 2018
Progress Towards Single Permit

The Belgian federal government has introduced legislation to enable Single Permits, which combine work and residence authorization in a single document, to be issued. However, further legislative steps are required in order for the Single Permits to be implemented. Single Permits are expected to become available beginning in autumn of 2018, but foreign nationals and employers should expect delays and inconveniences associated with introducing a new system at that time.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Ireland, February 15, 2018
Work Authorization for Asylum Seekers Available

Asylum seekers in Ireland can now apply for work authorization in Ireland while their asylum cases are pending.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Ghana, February 14, 2018
Further Information Released on Medical Certificate Requirement

The Ghana Immigration Service has released additional information regarding the requirement for first time applicants for Work and Residence Permits to obtain medical certificates from the GIS Medical Facility in Accra, including: fees, types of tests conducted, hours of the clinic and the obtainment of results.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Thailand, February 14, 2018
Employment Department Changes Work Authorization Rules for Certain Categories of Foreign Employees

Effective immediately, Thailand's Employment Department has implemented changes that limit the work permit application filing period to 15 calendar days and require a non-immigrant "B" visa to be held continuously throughout the validity of the work permit, in certain cases. These rules may still be amended or reversed.

Only foreign employees who file their work permit applications directly with the Employment Department in Thailand are affected. Foreign employees who are eligible to file applications with the One Stop Service Center are not affected by these changes.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Iraq, February 14, 2018
Changes to Immigration Regulations for Visitor Visa Holders and Employers

The Ministry of Interior has introduced multiple changes to immigration regulations which affect holders of visitor visas, including:

  • Reversing an exit visa process, including adding fines for the issuance of an exit visa after the expiry date of the entry visa;
  • Eliminating the ability to convert a single-entry visa to a multiple-entry visa in-country; and
  • Issuing entry visas based on approved invitation letters at airports for foreign nationals arriving in Iraq from abroad.


The Ministry of Interior is also implementing a monthly reporting requirement for all employers who sponsor foreign nationals.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Netherlands, February 13, 2018
Preliminary Questions on Brexit Impact on Citizens

A Dutch court will ask the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for guidance on the impact of Brexit on the rights of UK nationals living in the Netherlands. The CJEU's response may affect the entire EU. The preliminary questions asked by the Dutch court are: 

  • Does the withdrawal of the UK from the EU lead to loss of EU citizenship for UK nationals and to the rights associated with that citizenship?
  • If UK nationals in the Netherlands will retain their EU rights, will there be any conditions or limitations applicable to the maintenance of those rights?


To view entire article, click here.

 

Senegal, February 12, 2018
March 15 Filing Deadline for Annual Returns

Employers in Senegal are reminded to file their annual returns on or before March 15.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Uganda, February 12, 2018
Special Pass Discontinued

The Government of Uganda has informally phased out its short-term work permit, known as the Special Pass. Foreign nationals can instead use the Entry Permit Class G2.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Ukraine, February 12, 2018
E-Visa to be Introduced

The Ukrainian government has approved the procedure for issuing e-visas, which will result in e-visas being available shortly.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Angola/Mozambique, February 12, 2018
Reciprocal Visa Waiver Introduced

Effective February 15, 2018, nationals of Angola and Mozambique will be able to travel between the two countries without a visa for stays of up to 30 days.

To view entire article, click here.

 

India, February 12, 2018
Electronic Services to be Implemented for In-Country Applications

Effective immediately, the Bureau of Immigration in India has implemented electronic services for in-country immigration applications. The electronic services will include registrations, visa extensions and residential permit updates, among others. The pilot program has been rolled out in Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai and will be implemented in phases in other locations.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Azerbaijan, February 9, 2018
May 1 Deadline for Companies to Submit Quota Reports

All companies registered in Azerbaijan which intend to use foreign national employees in Azerbaijan are required to submit their quota reports to the State Migration Service by May 1, 2018.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Netherlands, February 9, 2018
Immigration Inspections at Recognized Sponsors

The Dutch Immigration Authority (IND) will start performing immigration inspections at companies acting as recognized sponsors. Employers are advised to take immediate action to ensure compliance with immigration obligations.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Russia, February 9, 2018
Changes to Document Requirements

The Russian government has made a number of changes to document requirements for corporate and individual work permit applications.
 

  • The passport validity requirement has increased;
  • Requirements for passport photographs are more detailed; 
  • Signature requirements for application forms are stricter; and 
  • Applications may be rejected if they contain pencil notes.


To view entire article, click here.

 

Ghana, February 9, 2018
Medical Certificates To Be Obtained In-Country

The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has issued a directive, effective February 15, requiring first time applicants for Work and Residence Permits to obtain their medical certificates from the GIS Medical Facility in Accra.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Weekly News Briefs

United States: Second Federal Court Issues Preliminary Injunction Against DACA Termination – The Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York this week issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the Trump Administration's termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – the second federal court to do so. The injunction conforms to the terms of the preliminary injunction issued by a federal district court in January in Regents of the University of California v. Department of Homeland Security. As in the earlier case, DHS is ordered to maintain the DACA program on the same terms and conditions that existed before the September 5, 2017 DACA rescission memo. The agency, however, is not required to consider new applications from those who have never before obtained DACA benefits and need not grant advance parole to DACA beneficiaries. The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering whether to review the January federal court order.

Belgium: Work Permit Processing Delay – Foreign nationals applying for work permits in Belgium are facing processing delays. Work permits can take up to four weeks to approve in Wallonia (up 60%) or up to seven weeks to approve in Flanders and Brussels (up 100%).

Ireland: Investor and Entrepreneur Programs Available for 2018 – Applications for investors and start-ups in Ireland are open for 2018. The programs are designed to attract foreign nationals to invest and create innovative businesses in Ireland.

The Immigration Investor Programme (IIP) is available to non-EEA nationals with a net worth of EUR 2 million  who invest EUR 1 million of their own resources in an Irish project for at least three years. Investments can be transferred once if the initial project did not commence or proceed through no fault of the investor and with prior approval by the authorities.  Successful applicants will obtain a two-year residence permit which is renewable for three years under certain conditions and can sponsor dependent family members. After five years this immigration permission can be extended for further five year periods without limit, subject to certain conditions. Applicants are also potentially eligible for citizenship by naturalization if the relevant conditions have been met.

The Start-Up Entrepreneur Program is available to non-EEA nationals who invest EUR 50,000 in a high-potential startup business, which is a business that introduces an innovative product or service capable of creating 10 jobs in Ireland and EUR 1 million in sales within three to four years. The company must also be headquartered in Ireland, led by an experienced management team, and less than six years old. Successful applicants will obtain a two-year residence permit which is renewable for three years, under certain conditions, and can sponsor dependent family members. After five years, the entrepreneur and dependents will be eligible to apply for long-term residency. Applicants are also potentially eligible for citizenship by naturalization if the relevant conditions have been met.

Netherlands: Clarification of Working Holiday Scheme – The Dutch government has confirmed that the Working Holiday Scheme can only be used for incidental labor arising out of cultural exchanges. The permit cannot be used as a work permit for regular employment situations. The Working Holiday Scheme offers a one-year permit for nationals of Argentina, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Korea between the ages of 18 and 31. Companies currently employing Working Holiday Scheme permit holders are advised to contact a Fragomen representative to check compliance and discuss alternatives if needed.

Serbia: Visa Waiver for Six Nationalities – As of February 15, 2018, nationals of the Bahamas, Barbados, Colombia, Jamaica, Paraguay and St. Vincent and the Grenadines no longer require a visa for tourist trips to Serbia of up to 30 days per year.

United Arab Emirates: Certificate of Good Conduct Enforced by the Ministry of Interior –  Effective immediately, the Ministry of Interior is enforcing the requirement for foreign nationals seeking employment in the United Arab Emirates to submit a Certificate of Good Conduct (CGC). The CGC must be provided by all foreign nationals seeking employment in the UAE, regardless of their nationality and job title (including domestic workers). The CGC must be issued by the relevant authority in the applicant’s country of origin or the country of their residence regardless of if the foreign national is currently inside the UAE on a visitor’s visa or outside the UAE. Third-country consular representatives in the UAE may issue a CGC at their own discretion. The requirement is in the early phases of implementation and therefore guidelines communicated by different authorities in various jurisdictions have been inconsistent.

Venezuela: Document Legalization Stalled Due to Inoperable Government Websites – The websites for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Universities in Venezuela continue to be inoperable, preventing Venezuelans and foreign nationals from making appointments to obtain apostilles and legalizations. Delays in immigration application processing should continue to be expected since most immigration applications require apostilled or legalized documents. There is no estimated date of when the issue will be resolved. The only workaround at this time applies to foreign nationals and Venezuelans who have an urgent need to leave Venezuela within one week prior to their travel and who require documents for an immigration process in another country or require legalization or apostille services for any reason in Venezuela. These individuals can appear in person at the appropriate Ministry with an outgoing airline ticket validated by the airline.

 

Global Immigration News Links

  • The U.S. Senate failed to advance four immigration proposals before a self-imposed Friday deadline, leaving lawmakers with no plan to address the roughly 700,000 young immigrants who stand to lose legal protections as early as March 5, Bloomberg reports.
  • The European Commission is asked to investigate and amend the current summer time arrangements in the European Union.
  • UK’s National Health Service employers are urging the Home Office to exempt skilled employees from Tier 2 visa requirements.


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