Virginia, US

Jul 23 2020

Weekly Immigration Update: July 17-23, 2020

Argentina, Bahrain, Barbados, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Egypt, Ethiopia, European Union, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Latvia, Macau, Mexico, Netherlands, Oman, Panama, Qatar, Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, The Bahamas, Togo, Tunisia , Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay

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: In connection with the COVID-19 emergency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is extending its remote I-9 document inspection policy through August 19, and border restrictions permitting only essential travel across the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders will be extended through August 20. According to the State Department's August Visa Bulletin, there will be significant movement in most employment-based categories. USCIS has confirmed that it will accept employment-based adjustment applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is earlier than the Final Action dates listed in the August Visa Bulletin.
  • United Kingdom: The UK government has provided further details on the special immigration route for holders of British National (Overseas) status (BN(O)) in Hong Kong, which will be open for applications starting January 2021.
  • Ireland: Starting July 20, all non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and their dependents currently residing outside of Dublin can book an appointment via email with their local Registration Office to register for an initial or renewed Irish Residence Permit (IRP Card).

 

These items and other news from Ecuador, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United Kingdom, July 22, 2020

Further Details on Immigration Route for British Nationals (Overseas) in Hong Kong

  • The UK government has provided further details on the special immigration route for holders of British National (Overseas) status (BN(O)) in Hong Kong, which will be open for applications starting January 2021.
  • This visa route will lead to settled status after five years if the applicant has been continuously resident in the United Kingdom. Those who obtain settled status can then apply for full British citizenship after a further 12 months.
  • Applicants will be able to apply from anywhere in the world via an online application.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, July 21, 2020

U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico Land Border Restrictions Extended Through August 20

  • CBP border restrictions permitting only essential travel across the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders will be extended through August 20. 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.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, July 21, 2020

August Visa Bulletin Update: USCIS to Honor Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Categories Next Month

USCIS will accept employment-based adjustment applications in August from foreign nationals with a priority date that is earlier than the Final Action Dates listed in the State Department's August Visa Bulletin.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, July 20, 2020

ICE Further Extends Interim COVID-19 Protections for Form I-9 Compliance Through August 19

  • Due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is extending its remote I-9 document inspection policy for an additional 30 days, through August 19, 2020. The agency has also reiterated that it no longer provides employers with more time to respond to I-9 Notices of Inspection issued in March.
  • Eligible employers will not be required to review I-9 identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence until the interim policy expires or until 3 days after the COVID-19 emergency is over, whichever comes first.
  • The relaxed policy only applies where company employees are working remotely due to the COVID-19 emergency.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, July 20, 2020

August 2020 Visa Bulletin: Significant Movement in Most Employment-Based Categories

  • EB-1 China will advance by almost six months to February 8, 2018, while EB-1 India will advance by nine months to that same date. 
  • EB-2 China will advance by more than two months to January 15, 2016, while EB-2 India will remain at July 8, 2009.
  • EB-3 Worldwide will advance almost one year to April 1, 2019, while EB-3 China will advance by almost eight months to February 15, 2017, and EB-3 India will advance by four months to October 1, 2009.
  • EB-5 China will advance by two weeks to August 8, 2015 and EB-5 Vietnam will advance by more than two months to July 22, 2017.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Ireland, July 17, 2020

Re-Opening of Registration Offices Outside of Dublin

  • Starting July 20, 2020, all non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and their dependents currently residing outside of Dublin can book an appointment via email with their local Registration Office to register for an initial or renewed Irish Residence Permit (IRP Card). This is due to the phased reopening of the offices, which were closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Previously, many local Registration Offices accepted walk-in applicants during scheduled hours.
  • The appointment system should reduce wait times at certain local Registration Offices outside of Dublin.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Weekly News Briefs

Ecuador: UNASUR Visa Available Only for Nationals of Participating Member States – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs no longer allows nationals of the non-participating UNASUR member states of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay to qualify for temporary or permanent UNASUR visas, whereas previously they were eligible. Nationals of these countries under UNASUR visas in Ecuador will need to obtain a Mercosur visa or another type of temporary visa once their current visa expires to be able to remain in Ecuador. UNASUR visas remain available until further notice to eligible foreign nationals of the participating UNASUR member states, which include Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and Venezuela.

Egypt: Extended State of Emergency May Delay Residence Permit Processing – A state of emergency, which has been in place since June 2018, was recently extended for an additional three months, through October 27, 2020. As a result, foreign nationals seeking employment and residency in Egypt should expect extensive security screening that may delay their immigration process. The security clearance is the first stage of the application process for work and residence permits.

Saudi Arabia/United Arab Emirates: Eid al-Adha Holiday Closures – Government offices across the Middle East will be closed due to the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday. In Saudi Arabia, government offices will close on July 23 and resume work on August 9. In the United Arab Emirates, government offices will close on July 30 and resume work on August 3. Employers and employees should expect longer processing times for various immigration applications during and after the closures, in addition to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional countries in the Middle East and throughout Asia Pacific are expected to announce their closing dates in the coming days. Fragomen will report on these closures when they are known.

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