Jul 22 2021

Weekly Immigration Update: July 16–22, 2021

Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mexico, Mozambique, New Zealand, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Guinea, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, United Kingdom, United States

In immigration news this week:

  • Worldwide: Jurisdictions around the world continue to adapt their coronavirus-related travel restrictions and health requirements based on several factors, including fluctuating infection rates and growing vaccination initiatives. Visit Fragomen’s COVID-19 website for the latest immigration updates.
  • United States: In the wake of a federal court order largely halting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has confirmed that it will continue to process renewal applications, employment authorization extensions and advance parole requests submitted by current DACA beneficiaries. In connection with the COVID-19 emergency, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is extending through August 21 border restrictions that permit only essential travel across the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada land borders. The Department of Homeland Security has extended and redesignated Somalia for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) from September 18, 2021, through March 17, 2023, and has suspended certain employment authorization rules for Somali students in F-1 status.
  • United Kingdom: The UK Home Secretary has announced that a pilot will be launched for displaced talent mobility which will adapt existing work permit rules to facilitate applications from skilled refugees and displaced foreign nationals.
  • Poland: Nationals of Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine are now eligible for the Poland Business Harbor Program, which offers a streamlined work visa processing for information technology (IT) professionals.

 

These items and other news from Canada, Costa Rica, Ireland, New Zealand, Panama, Portugal, and Russia follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important updates in immigration this week



United Kingdom, July 21, 2021

Pilot Program for Displaced Talent to be Launched

  • The UK Home Secretary has announced that a pilot will be launched for displaced talent mobility which will adapt the United Kingdom’s existing work permit rules to facilitate applications from skilled refugees and displaced foreign nationals.
  • The pilot will remove the documentary requirements and administrative processes from the existing Skilled Worker rules which can inadvertently discriminate against displaced people.
  • While the initial pilot is limited to 100 applications, the model should open a new labour market to UK employers and normalise displaced talent mobility.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, July 21, 2021

U.S. Land Border Restrictions on Travel From Canada and Mexico Extended Through August 21

  • CBP border restrictions permitting only essential travel to the United States across Canadian and Mexican land borders will be extended through August 21, 2021. The restrictions do not affect air travel.
  • Essential travel includes travel by U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and foreign nationals traveling to work in the United States, among others.  
  • Visa Waiver and other business travelers may face additional scrutiny at the border. 
  • “Non-essential travel” at land borders is not permitted, which includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.
  • Starting August 9, the Canadian government will permit non-essential travel from the United States to Canada for fully vaccinated U.S. nationals and permanent residents who reside in the United States.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, July 21, 2021

DHS Extends and Redesignates Somalia for Temporary Protected Status; Expands Employment Options for Somali F-1 Students 

  • The Department of Homeland Security has extended and redesignated Somalia for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), from September 18, 2021, through March 17, 2023.
  • The registration period for new TPS applicants will run from July 22, 2021 to March 17, 2023. Eligible individuals will also be able to apply for TPS-related employment authorization documents (EADs) and travel permission during this time. 
  • Current Somali TPS beneficiaries who wish to extend their benefits will be required to re-register by September 20, 2021. Those whose EADs expire on September 17, 2021 will receive an automatic extension through March 16, 2022.  
  • DHS has also announced that it will suspend certain employment authorization rules for Somali students in F-1 status who are experiencing severe economic hardship as a direct result of the crisis in Somalia.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, July 20, 2021

USCIS Confirms It Will Continue to Process DACA Renewals and Related Applications Filed By Current Grantees

  • In the wake of a federal court order largely halting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, USCIS has confirmed that it will continue to process renewal applications, employment authorization extensions and advance parole requests submitted by current DACA grantees.
  • The agency will continue to accept new initial DACA applications but is enjoined from granting them under the court order.
  • USCIS is expected to issue detailed guidance for DACA grantees and applicants in the near future.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, July 16, 2021

Federal District Court Rules Against the DACA Program

  • A federal district judge in Texas has issued a permanent injunction against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but has temporarily stayed portions of his injunction pertaining to current DACA beneficiaries.
  • DACA deportation relief and employment authorization will remain in place for beneficiaries in good standing, but new applications for initial DACA benefits cannot be approved.
  • The Biden Administration is expected to appeal the ruling.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Poland, July 16, 2021

More Nationalities Eligible for Business Harbor Program

  • Nationals of Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine are now eligible for the Poland Business Harbor Program, which offers a streamlined work visa for information technology professionals. The program was previously only available to Belarussian nationals.
  • Eligible applicants can apply for a work visa without obtaining a separate work permit and benefit from work visa processing that is two to seven months faster than under other options in Poland.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other weekly news briefs



Canada: Increased Invitations to Apply Under 2021 Intake of Parents and Grandparents Program – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will invite a record number, up to 30,000, to apply for the Parents and Grandparents Program in its 2021 intake. As in the past, the IRCC will send invitations to potential sponsors who have submitted an interest to sponsor form in 2020, allowing those sponsors to bring their parents and grandparents to Canada as permanent residents. Invitations will be sent over two weeks starting the week of September 20, 2021. Those who are invited to apply will be able to submit online applications using the new Permanent Resident Digital Intake tool. The minimum income requirement for sponsors will continue to be the minimum necessary income for the 2020 tax year. Employment insurance benefits and temporary COVID-19 benefits can be counted toward this income.

Costa Rica: More Individuals Eligible for Special Permit for Cuban, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan Refugees – The government of Costa Rica has extended the deadline to February 28, 2022, from December 15, 2021, for eligible Cuban, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan nationals to apply for a special humanitarian permit. Additionally, it has expanded eligibility to those who were denied refugee status between January 1, 2010 and December 15, 2021. Previously, only those who were denied refugee status between January 1, 2016 and December 15, 2021 were eligible. Interested applicants should contact their immigration professional for more information and case-specific advice.

Ireland: Citizenship Applications Backlog – To help prioritize the processing of citizenship applications during a government processing backlog, the Irish government has requested that citizenship applicants not submit applications after September 30, 2021 if they will require their passport during this time since the passport may not be returned in time for travel. Those who have submitted their passport with an application and now need it for emergency travel can send an email to [email protected] with a request. More information is available here.

New Zealand: Accredited Employer Work Visa Introduction Delayed – The government of New Zealand has announced that the introduction of the new Accredited Employer Work visa (AEWV) will be deferred to the middle of 2022; it was originally scheduled for November 2021. As a result, the six work visa categories which were to be replaced by the AEWV will remain in place until the middle of next year. The exact date of commencement of the AEWV is yet to be confirmed.

Panama: Earlier Implementation Date for Specific Country Visas and Addition of Peru to Qualifying Countries The government of Panama is moving up the implementation date to August 7, 2021 from August 20, for the decree that will modify the eligibility criteria for Specific Country Visa applications filed after this date. Additionally, Peru will be added to the list of countries whose nationals can apply for these visas. Under the decree, foreign nationals will either need to be in an employment contract with a company established in Panama or show that they have a real estate investment or fixed-term deposit in a local bank of at least USD 200,000 in Panama. Currently, applicants can be under an employment contract with a company established in Panama or shareholders of a Panamanian company without having to make an investment. The new rules also reduce the validity of the visa to two years (with the possibility to apply for permanent residence), from the previous indefinite validity, and removes Taiwan from the list of eligible countries.

Portugal: Forthcoming Immigration Agency Restructuring Causes Appointment Issues – The Immigration Services agency in Portugal will soon be permanently closed, and its tasks allocated to several Public Services agencies. Corresponding legislation is undergoing parliamentary debate. As a result of this shift, non-visa related immigration services and appointments are planned to be shifted to the Civil Registration Department. In anticipation of the law taking effect, Immigration Services is not scheduling non-visa appointments, and because the new agency cannot yet schedule appointments, there is an appointment block and several weeks’ immigration processing delays. Affected applications include family member applications where family members are already in Portugal based on, for example, a visa-exempt passport or alternative visa; EU Intra-Company Transferee Permit applications; and applications by EU permit holders. It is not yet known when the new legislation will take effect, or when the new agency will start accepting appointments for affected applicants.

Russia: Changes to Standard Private Visa and Introduction of Two New Visa Types – Effective September 1, 2021, relaxed requirements and changes will take effect for the Standard Private Visa, which is used by “close relatives” of Russian nationals, namely spouses; parents (and adoptive parents); children (and adopted children); spouses of children; full and half-siblings; grandparents; and grandchildren of the Russian national. Key changes include a 12-month validity period (up from three months); an unlimited number of entries (up from single or double entry); and a simpler application process. Additionally, two new dependent visas will be introduced, including student visas for family members of foreign nationals who study in Russia and work visas for family members of foreign nationals who work in professions on the list of skilled professionals in demand in Russia, such as doctors, pharmacists, engineers, mechanics, teachers, and electricians; only qualified specialists themselves are eligible.

 

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