Connecticut, US

Jul 16 2020

Weekly Immigration Update: July 10-16, 2020

Angola, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, Chad, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, El Salvador, European Union, Finland, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Republic of the Philippines, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, The Bahamas, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela

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 coronavirus-related news page for the latest immigration updates.
  • United States: An executive order signed by President Trump will end preferential visa treatment for foreign nationals born in Hong Kong as well as those who hold Hong Kong SAR passports. The State Department released two statements this week that address exemptions to several of the Trump Administration’s recent proclamations restricting immigrant and nonimmigrant entry to the United States. Following several legal challenges, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rescinded its July 6 memorandum that would have prohibited F-1 students from entering or remaining in the United States if their school did not offer in-person learning during the Fall 2020 semester. Starting July 15, the State Department will resume routine visa services at certain consular posts on a phased-in basis, with timelines dependent on local country conditions related to COVID-19.
  • United Kingdom: The UK government has published further details outlining its plans for a new immigration system that will be phased in from August 2020 and operational from January 2021, when free movement from the European Union comes to an end. The system will apply to both EU/European Economic Area (EEA) and third-country applicants.
  • European Union: On July 16, the European Council updated its guidance for countries whose residents should be allowed or denied entry into EU Member States. Several EU and Schengen Area countries have also lifted COVID-19-related travel restrictions for highly skilled workers.
  • Canada: Starting July 22, Quebec’s new immigration minister will implement restrictions to the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ). The changes will make it more difficult for many foreign nationals, including temporary residents working or studying in Quebec, to apply for permanent residence in the province.

 

These items and other news from Albania, and the Czech Republic follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, July 16, 2020

State Department Addresses Some Entry Ban Exemptions

  • Certain business travelers and foreign students present in the Schengen Area, the UK or Ireland within 14 days of attempted entry to the United States are now exempt from the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 travel bans.
  • The spouses and children of H, J, and L nonimmigrants are exempt from the June 22 nonimmigrant entry restrictions if their principal nonimmigrant is exempt or is not subject to those restrictions. 
  • The State Department has not yet addressed certain key economic recovery and national interest exemptions from the bans, including the nonimmigrant ban.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, July 16, 2020

Presidential Executive Order Ends Preferential Visa Policies for Hong Kong

  • Under an executive order recently signed by President Trump, foreign nationals born in Hong Kong are to be treated the same as those born in the People’s Republic of China for purposes of green-card quotas, subjecting them to lengthy backlogs in most employment-based immigrant visa categories.
  • The order also means that Hong Kong passport-holders will see shorter validity periods for new H-1B, L, and O visas and additional formalities for B-1/B-2 visas.



To view entire article, click here.

 

European Union, July 16, 2020

Update on External COVID-19 Travel Ban and Permission for Highly Skilled Workers’ Entry

  • On July 16, the European Council updated its guidance for countries whose residents should be allowed or denied entry into EU Member States, advising that residents of Montenegro and Serbia should be barred from entry. No countries were added to the greenlist.
  • Additionally, as an update to the EU entry rules, several EU and Schengen Area countries have lifted COVID-19-related travel restrictions for highly skilled workers in line with the European Commission’s June 11 advice. The scope of implementation of prior EU guidance varies considerably between countries, with Portugal allowing only urgent professional travel and Germany permitting entry for greenlisted countries’ residents and specific types of travel.
  • Though consular posts are not yet fully operational in EU countries, some have started to process visa applications for highly skilled workers, since they are considered essential workers.
  • Check Fragomen’s dedicated COVID-19 website for updates on this situation and other countries’ travel and entry restrictions.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, July 14, 2020

ICE Rescinds Restrictive F-1 Student Visa Policy

  • In a hearing before a federal district judge today, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced it is withdrawing a July 6 memorandum that barred F-1 students from remaining in the United States if their U.S. school did not offer in-person learning during the Fall 2020 semester.
  • ICE will reapply its March 2020 COVID-19 guidance, which permits F-1 students attending school in the United States to take online classes in order to maintain their status.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, July 13, 2020

Legal Challenges Mount Against F-1 Student Visa Restrictions

  • The State of Massachusetts and 17 other U.S. states today filed a lawsuit to invalidate a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy that would require F-1 students to depart the United States or transfer to a different institution if their U.S. school will not provide in-person learning during the Fall 2020 semester.
  • The lawsuit by the states joins two other challenges filed by the University of California and by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • A federal district judge is set to rule later this week on Harvard and MIT’s motion to temporarily block the new student visa rules.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, July 13, 2020

Coronavirus Update: Some U.S. Consulates to Begin Phased Resumption of Routine Visa Services

  • The State Department will resume routine visa services at certain consular posts on a phased-in basis, with timelines dependent on local country conditions related to COVID-19.
  • Some foreign nationals may soon be able to schedule nonimmigrant and immigrant visa appointments at certain consulates; however, consular operations could continue to be fluid based on changing country conditions.
  • Those with scheduled U.S. visa appointments should monitor the relevant consulate’s website for the latest information.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom, July 13, 2020

Government Publishes New Paper on Points-Based System

  • The UK government has published further details outlining its plans for the new immigration system to take effect from the beginning of 2021, when free movement from the European Union comes to an end.
  • This document builds on the Policy Statement released in February 2020 by providing more detail to applicants, employers and educational institutions on the draft requirements and conditions underpinning the key immigration routes in the Points-Based System.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, July 10, 2020

New Restrictions for the Quebec Experience Program Forthcoming

  • Effective July 22, 2020, Quebec’s new immigration minister will implement restrictions to the ​Quebec Experience Program (PEQ).
  • Although the previous immigration minister had proposed stricter PEQ restrictions which were set to go into effect on June 29, 2020, due to a change in government, those restrictions were not implemented.
  • The new restrictions are less stringent than the previously-planned ones, but they still increase work experience and language requirements.
  • The changes will make it more difficult for many foreign nationals, including temporary residents working or studying in Quebec, to apply for permanent residence in the province.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Weekly News Briefs

Albania: Visa Waiver for Business and Tourism – Until November 30, 2020, nationals of Bahrain, Belarus, India, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Thailand are visa exempt for business and tourist trips to Albania for up to 90 days. The entry visa requirement for these nationals is expected to be reinstated in December.

Czech Republic: Employer Statement Requirement Forthcoming – As of July 13, all Employee Card and Blue Card applications require a signed employer statement declaring that: a) the employer will pay for the employee's medical care during their stay in the Czech Republic if the employee does not have medical insurance; b) the employer will pay for and arrange repatriation if the employee loses their job; and c) the employer will ensure the employee has accommodation during their stay, including for COVID-19-related quarantine (if needed). For the last element, the Immigration Authority advises that employers need not actively participate in searching for an accommodation or paying the cost of the accommodation. Since most foreign workers make a sufficient salary to pay for their accommodation, the employer will likely not need to change any policies in this regard. Employers were already subject to these three conditions according to Czech immigration law but they must now submit a signed statement.

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