US

Jan 24 2019

Weekly Immigration Update: January 18-24, 2019

Belarus, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Israel, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Nigeria, Qatar, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela

In immigration news this week:

  • United Kingdom: EU nationals who hold a valid passport and non-EU family members who hold a biometric residence permit are now among those included in the UK government’s Brexit pilot scheme who may apply for confirmation of immigration status in the United Kingdom. 
  • Czech Republic/Luxembourg/Sweden: Plans have been published by each country on the treatment of UK nationals after March 29, 2019, in case of a no-deal Brexit.
  • United States: The Department of Homeland Security will continue to accept Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal applications since the Supreme Court took no action on the Trump Administration’s request to expedite and consolidate review of challenges to its decision to terminate the DACA program.
  • Canada: The government is piloting a Rural and Northern Immigration program, a five-year pilot program intended to facilitate economic immigration to less-populated communities.
  • United Arab Emirates: The long-term residence permit scheme for investors, outstanding students, foreign nationals with exceptional talents and other select applicant categories is set for implementation on February 3, 2019.
  • Singapore: A new work pass is available to eligible Long-Term Visit Pass holders who are spouses or children of Singaporean citizens or permanent residents.



These items and other news from the APAC region, Belarus, Colombia, Ecuador, Israel, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nigeria, Qatar, Slovakia, Swaziland, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

Mexico, January 24, 2019

Immigration Application Processing Delays in Monterrey Continue

There are significant processing delays for immigration applications filed in ​Monterrey, due to a lack of immigration department directors authorized to sign work permit approvals and other immigration applications. The immigration office in Monterrey is also experiencing a shortage of materials, preventing the office from printing renewal residence cards and other identification cards. Fragomen is working with clients that are impacted by these delays.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, January 24, 2019

Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Program Announced

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced the creation of the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, a five-year pilot program intended to facilitate economic immigration to less-populated communities in Canada. Lesser-skilled foreign nationals should benefit from this scheme since it allows immigration to a wider array of foreign workers than is allowed under other schemes, in order to fill the diverse labour market needs of rural communities. The Canadian government is currently seeking out eligible communities to participate in the pilot program.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Czech Republic, January 24, 2019

Official Minimum Salary Level Lower Than Expected

The Czech government has confirmed that the minimum monthly salary for foreign workers in the Czech Republic is CZK 13,350, up nine percent from last year. This is in contrast to the previously-proposed increase of 12 percent. While the increase is considerable, employers are expected to easily meet the new threshold since foreign workers typically receive salaries well above the threshold.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Qatar, January 24, 2019

Entry Restrictions for Certain Travelers Using Visitor Visas for GCC Residents

Foreign nationals traveling under a visitor visa for Gulf Cooperation Council country residents based on a residence permit issued by the United Arab Emirates are likely to be denied entry to Qatar due to continued restrictive practices between the governments of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United Arab Emirates, January 24, 2019

Implementation Date and More Details for Long-Term Residence Permits Announced

The long-term residence permit scheme for investors, outstanding students, foreign nationals with exceptional talents and other select applicant categories will be implemented on February 3, 2019. The residence permit scheme, which was first announced in May 2018, will allow eligible foreign nationals to reside in the United Arab Emirates for five or ten years, depending on their profession, up from the current three-year limit.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Sweden, January 23, 2019

No-Deal Brexit Plans for UK Nationals Published

The Swedish government has published plans for the treatment of UK nationals residing in Sweden after March 29, 2019 in case of a no-deal Brexit. Central details of the plan include:

  • A 12-month transition period, commencing on March 30, 2019, during which time UK nationals already residing in Sweden would be able to apply for a residence permit. UK nationals currently residing in Sweden would be able to continue working and staying in Sweden during this period.
  • UK nationals and their non-EU family members residing in Sweden for five years or longer by March 30, 2020 would be able to apply for a permanent residence permit if eligible.
  • UK nationals and their non-EU family members residing in Sweden for a period shorter than five years would be able to apply for a special temporary residence permit allowing them to continue working and residing in Sweden until they reach the five-year threshold.
  • UK nationals arriving in Sweden until March 30, 2020 would be able to continue to register as EU nationals. Only those planning to arrive on March 31, 2020 and after would be required to apply for a local permit under the same requirements and process as non-EU nationals.



To view entire article, click here.

 

APAC Region, January 23, 2019

Lunar New Year to Cause Government Closures, Travel Delays

Travelers to East and Southeast Asia should expect delays and interruptions in government and business operations due to the Lunar New Year, which falls on February 5 this year. Travelers to the area should make advance arrangements, and visa and permit applicants should submit applications as early as possible.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, January 22, 2019

DACA Renewal Program Remains in Place after Supreme Court Takes No Action on Trump Administration Expedite Request

  • The Supreme Court has taken no action on the Trump Administration’s request to fast-track review of its decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, leaving parts of the program in place for the next several months.
  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will continue to accept DACA renewal applications in accordance with district court orders until further notice.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Luxembourg, January 22, 2019

No-Deal Brexit Plans for UK Nationals Published

The Luxembourg government has published plans for the treatment of UK nationals residing in Luxembourg after March 29, 2019 in case of a no-deal Brexit scenario. Central details of the plan include:

  • A 12-month transition period, commencing on March 30, 2019, during which time UK nationals and their non-EU family members would be able to continue to stay in Luxembourg.
  • Applications for a national residence permit must however be filed before December 31, 2019, for both UK nationals and their non-EU family members.
  • It is not yet clear whether UK nationals residing in Luxembourg for five years or longer would be able to apply for a permanent residence permit.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Singapore, January 21, 2019

New Work Pass Type Introduced

The Ministry of Manpower and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority has introduced a new work pass, the Pre-Approved Letter of Consent, that permits eligible Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP/LTVP+) holders who are spouses or children (under 21 years old) of a Singaporean citizen or permanent resident to work in Singapore. The new work pass facilitates the integration process for these dependents by pre-approving their right to work without the need to first secure sponsorship or an offer of employment.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom, January 21, 2019

EU Settlement Scheme Opens for Most EU Nationals; Application Fees Eliminated

The UK government's Brexit pilot scheme for EU nationals and their family members to apply for confirmation of immigration status in the United Kingdom was expanded today. The pilot now includes EU nationals who hold a valid passport and non-EU family members who hold a biometric residence permit. European Economic Area and Swiss nationals are not part of the pilot but will be able to apply after Brexit, if not before.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Slovakia, January 21, 2019

New Law Streamlines Shortage Occupation Processing and Other Aspects of Work Permit Process

Based on a new law, foreign workers in Slovakia and their employers will see the following key changes: 

  • Streamlined processing of work authorization applications for shortage occupations. 
  • A new requirement for employers to notify all vacancies to the Labour Office, including for shortage occupations, EU and Slovak workers. 
  • Amended document requirements, with diploma requirements waived for most applicants, but a new document requirement for in-country residence permit applications for employment purposes.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Czech Republic, January 18, 2019

No-Deal Brexit Plans for UK Nationals Published

The Czech government has published plans for the treatment of UK nationals residing in the Czech Republic after March 29, 2019 in case of a no-deal Brexit. Central details of the plan include: 

  • A 21-month transition period, commencing on March 29, 2019, during which time UK nationals already registered in the Czech Republic would be able to apply for a residence permit.
  • UK nationals currently holding an EU temporary residence certificate would be able to continue working and staying in the Czech Republic until December 30, 2020. 
  • Non-EU family members of UK nationals, holding a corresponding residence permit, would be able to stay in the Czech Republic until December 30, 2020. After this date, affected individuals would have to obtain a different permit type. 
  • UK nationals residing in the Czech Republic for five years or longer would be able to apply for a permanent residence permit if eligible. Eligibility criteria would be the same as for non-EU applicants. 
  • UK nationals residing in the Czech Republic for a period shorter than five years would be required to apply for a local residence permit type if eligible. Eligibility criteria would be the same as for non-EU applicants.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Weekly News Briefs

Belarus: New Worksite Inspection Process Introduced – Belorussian authorities have published a new worksite inspection process, authorizing immigration officials to inspect personnel files of companies sponsoring foreign workers, among others. Previously, immigration compliance checks were not regulated and occurred rarely. Fragomen does not expect checks to be conducted at short notice as the new process is still being developed. Compliance checks will continue to focus on high-risk industries such as construction and agriculture. However, employers sponsoring foreign workers in Belarus are advised to ensure that their personnel files contain the requisite information.

Colombia: New Special Permit for Venezuelans Released Migracion Colombia has introduced another Special Permit (PEP) for Venezuelan nationals, allowing them to work in Colombia and providing access to health care services and public education. Under this new PEP, Venezuelan nationals who entered Colombia before December 17, 2018 can apply for a PEP on Migracion Colombia’s website until April 2019. In order to qualify for the PEP, the applicant must meet the following criteria: legal entry into Colombian territory with regular immigration status and through an authorized immigration border; no national or international criminal record; and no current deportation or expulsion order from Colombia. Venezuelan nationals should be aware that this new PEP has significantly different criteria than the previously-available PEP and that foreign nationals who have already been granted a PEP or requested a PEP-RAMV will not be eligible for the new PEP.

Colombia: New Temporary Permit for Transit Purpose – Colombia introduced a new non-renewable 15-day temporary permit for visa-exempt nationals to transit through Colombia. Qualified applicants can request a temporary transit permit at the port of entry in Colombia by presenting their passport, national identity card or electronic immigration card (if applicable), and departure or connection ticket.

Ecuador: Apostilled Criminal Clearance Certificate to be Required for Venezuelan Nationals – Due to recent events in Ecuador and the volume of Venezuelan nationals living in and entering Ecuador, the Vice President of Ecuador announced a proposal to require Venezuelan nationals to present at the port of entry a Venezuelan criminal clearance certificate from the past six months. The document must be apostilled in Venezuela. This requirement will apply to those entering for work and non-work purposes and the clearance certificate must also be included with work permit application materials. Those who fail to present this document will be denied entry and/or a work permit. Further details are expected to be published shortly. Affected Venezuelan nationals should contact their immigration professional for further guidance.

Israel: Government Filing Fees Increase – Effective January 1, 2019, Israeli immigration authorities have increased government filing fees to ILS 11,180 for B-1 Work Visa applications (up 1.36 percent from last year). Fees for Short-Term Employment Authorization applications (SEA) and Short-Term Expedited Process (STEP) also slightly increased due to the increase of the Work Permit application fee from ILS 1,190 to ILS 1,210, up 1.68 percent from last year.

For both SEA and STEP applications, the government fee is calculated based on the number of days the employee will stay in Israel (ILS 48.1 per day instead of ILS 47.5 per day in 2018, up 1.26 percent). Fees apply to the work permit, work visa, employee fee and multiple-entry visa. Employers are advised to budget for the slight increase. Fragomen worked closely with Kan-Tor & Acco Law Firm (Israel and Poland) to prepare this update.

Kazakhstan: Business Visitor Sponsorship Restriction for Branches and Representative Offices – Kazakh migration authorities no longer accept invitation letters for business visas from branches and representative offices, as these are not considered legal entities authorized to issue invitation letters under Kazakh law. As a result, branches and representative offices can no longer sponsor business visitors and entry visas. This restriction may be temporary, as the migration authorities have requested the Ministry of Internal Affairs to review the situation. As background, invitation letters are required to obtain an entry visa as part of most work authorization processes for visa nationals, and must also be carried by both visa national and visa-exempt business visitors. The migration authorities still accept invitation letters issued by subsidiary companies and other locally-incorporated entities.  Fragomen will monitor the situation and will report on developments as they occur.

Nigeria: E-Yellow Card Introduced in Nigeria – The Nigerian Ministry of Health has launched a new online system for international travellers who require a yellow card certificate (based on a World Health Organization requirement that travelers who visited countries falling within the yellow fever belt prove that they have been vaccinated against yellow fever). As a result of the new system, effective April 1, 2019, all yellow card certificates issued in Nigeria through the old system will be invalidated, and international travellers with a yellow card obtained through the old system will need to reapply using the new online system. Those applying on or after April 1, 2019 will use the new system to obtain their online yellow card, and those who fail to display the new card will be denied exit and possibly fined when attempting to depart Nigeria. Note that the requirement to obtain a card on the new system by April 1 will only affect those who have applied or who will apply for a yellow card in Nigeria; since most foreign nationals obtain a yellow card prior to travelling to Nigeria, they are not affected.

Swaziland: Country Name Changed – In April 2018, the King of Swaziland announced the name of the country as The Kingdom of eSwatini (eSwatini). The name change has no impact on any pending processes or applications, but will now be reflected on all Fragomen products and databases.

United Arab Emirates: Visiting Doctor License Now Available to Healthcare Professionals Seeking Employment – Healthcare professionals seeking employment in the United Arab Emirates can now obtain a Visiting Doctor License which allows them to work at a clinical facility within the Dubai Healthcare City (DHC) Free Zone. International physicians, dentists and practitioners in alternative medicine, including those with a deactivated professional license issued by the Free Zone, can apply for the Visiting Doctor License online. The license allows foreign nationals to obtain a one-year residence permit, sponsored by the DHC Authority, which is not renewable. However, the permit can later be converted into an employment residence permit under the sponsorship of a new employer in the DHC, allowing eligible healthcare professionals to reside and work in the United Arab Emirates beyond one year.

Venezuela: Personal Appearance Required to Collect Legalized Documents – Based on Fragomen's practice at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, foreign and Venezuelan nationals can no longer send third-party representatives with a Power of Attorney to collect legalized or apostilled documents in Venezuela and instead must appear in person when the Ministry collects such documents, which is every Friday. (Submissions are accepted on Mondays and Tuesdays). This is in addition to the previously-reported restrictions and rules for obtaining legalized documents. Foreign and Venezuelan nationals should plan accordingly to allow enough time to request and collect their legalized documents in person.

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