Virginia, US

Jul 27 2018

Weekly Immigration Update: July 20 - 26, 2018

Azerbaijan, Bahrain, European Union, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Slovak Republic, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam

In United States immigration news, employers have seen a marked increase in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) I-9 inspections in the last seven months.

In the United Kingdom, the monthly quota for non-European Economic Area nationals sponsored under the Tier 2 (General) Visa category has been exceeded for the eighth consecutive month; however, there was also a significant reduction in this month’s salary cap. Slovak Republic has published a list of shortage occupations in regions where the unemployment rate is less than five percent.

In Thailand, the Board of Investment's online system for Work Permit and Long-Term Visa applications will now be mandatory starting July 31 – a change from the originally-announced date of October 2018. Vietnam has instituted a new cancellation process for temporary residence card holders in Hanoi City and Dong Nai.

Bahrain has issued a new law mandating that health insurance coverage be provided to all citizens, residents and visitors in the country. Azerbaijan announced changes to its Migration Code impacting permanent residence applications, registration requirements, and immigration fines, among others.

These items and other news from the European Union, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, and United Arab Emirates follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.


Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, July 26, 2018

Surge in ICE I-9 Investigations Continues

  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has initiated 5,200 worksite audits and investigations since January of this year – three times the number of worksite investigations that took place in all of FY 2017 and significantly more than the agency had previously completed in the past in any one year.
  • More than 2,700 inspections were initiated from July 16 to July 20 alone.

To view entire article, click here.


United Kingdom, July 26, 2018

Tier 2 Quota Exceeded but at Lower Salary Cap

The monthly quota for non-European Economic Area nationals sponsored under the Tier 2 (General) Visa category has been exceeded for the eighth consecutive month since December 2017. The salary cap for this month, however, dropped to GBP 41,000, a significant reduction from the GBP 50,000-60,000 range over the past months.

To view entire article, click here.


Canada, July 25, 2018

New Biometrics Submission Rules Start July 31, 2018

Effective July 31, 2018, biometrics collection will become mandatory for nationals from Europe, the Middle East and Africa who intend to work or study in Canada, as well as applicants for visitor visas, permanent residence and anyone seeking asylum in Canada. Visa-exempt travelers from these regions who are entering Canada as a visitor under a valid electronic travel authorization (eTA) and U.S. citizens are among those who are exempt from the requirement to provide biometrics at this time. The Canadian government has published additional details on the biometrics program, including validity rules and locations of biometrics collection centers for visa-exempt nationals.

To view entire article, click here.


Russia, July 25, 2018

Residence Registration Issues Possible for Companies Leasing Property to Foreign Workers

Some local migration offices in Russia are rejecting the residence registration applications of companies that are involved in lease arrangements for their foreign workers. In such cases, the migration office is requiring the landlord to register the foreign national, or for the landlord to submit a consent form.

To view entire article, click here.


Indonesia, July 24, 2018

Clarifying Regulations Issued for April Decree

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has released a regulation clarifying the changes set out in the April 2018 Presidential Decree. The main clarifying information pertains to:

  • Foreign Manpower Utilization Plan (RPTKA) changes, including processing times and exemptions;
  • Work Permit (IMTA) changes, including a new name and shorter processing times;
  • Consolidated online systems for the MOM, Ministry of Law and Human Rights and the Ministry of Finance; and
  • Rules regarding the deadline for applying for urgent and emergency work.

The changes will not be in full effect until the Ministries issue implementing regulations.

To view entire article, click here.


Azerbaijan, July 24, 2018

Migration Code Changes Immigration Fines, Other Rules

The Azerbaijani government announced changes to the Migration Code which affect the following topics:

  • Registration requirements;
  • Permanent residence applications;
  • Immigration bans; and
  • Interest penalties on fines.

To view entire article, click here.


Bahrain, July 24, 2018

Mandatory Health Insurance Forthcoming

The Bahraini government has issued a new law mandating that health insurance coverage must be provided to all citizens, residents and visitors in the country. Proof of insurance is expected to become compulsory for the issuance and renewal of employment and residence permits in January 2019, when the law will come into force.

To view entire article, click here.


Thailand, July 24, 2018

Board of Investment Online System Deadline Moved up to July 31

Thailand's Board of Investment (BOI)'s online system - called the Single Window for Visa and Work Permit System - which will allow BOI-registered companies to apply for their employees' Work Permits and Long-Term Visas online, will now be mandatory starting July 31, 2018 instead of the originally-announced date of October 2018. 

To view entire article, click here.


Slovak Republic, July 23, 2018

List of Shortage Occupations Published

  • The Labor Office in the Slovak Republic recently published the list of shortage occupations in regions where the unemployment rate is less than 5%.  
  • As a result, employers will no longer need to publish advertisements for vacant positions before hiring a foreign national for a shortage occupation, which should result in faster processing for Single Permit applications.

To view entire article, click here.


Vietnam, July 20, 2018

New Cancellation Process for Temporary Residence Card Holders in Hanoi City and Dong Nai

  • Effective immediately, foreign nationals with Temporary Residence Cards issued in Hanoi City and Dong Nai province are required to cancel their cards three to four weeks before they exit Vietnam permanently, instead of the previous process that allowed them to cancel the cards after exiting Vietnam.
  • As a result, affected foreign nationals will need to apply for a separate exit visa, during which the Immigration Department will keep the foreign national’s passport for approximately seven business days to process the exit visa, which may prevent domestic and international travels.

To view entire article, click here.


Weekly News Briefs

European Union: Commission Pushes for Implementation of Students and Researchers Directive – On July 19, 2018, the European Commission sent letters of formal notice to 17 EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden) to push for implementation of the Students and Researchers Directive. EU countries had until May 23, 2018 to bring their national legislation in line with this Directive and to inform the Commission accordingly. Member States now have two months to fully transpose the Directive into their national law, otherwise, the Commission may take further enforcement steps.

Hungary: Social Security Reporting Rule Changes in Budapest – Due to a change in local policy, foreign employees in Budapest, who must obtain a social security number and report it on a Start of Work Report Form to the Immigration and Asylum Office prior to starting work, must now wait eight days for their social security number to be issued by the social security administration. Previously, foreign workers in Budapest could obtain their social security number immediately upon submission of the application by the local employer. To avoid the eight-day delay and start work immediately, the applicant (or the representative applying on their behalf) can enter zeros in place of their social security number on the Start of Work Report Form. The form can then be retroactively corrected when the social security number becomes available.

Kazakhstan: Reminder on Quota DeadlineAs a reminder, applications for quota numbers allowing employers to sponsor foreign workers in 2019 must be submitted by July 31, 2018 at the latest.

Nigeria: Online Portal for Processing Applications Launches  The mandatory online work permit application system, previously piloted in May 2018, will be fully launched on September 3, 2018. The online portal will allow companies hiring foreign workers in Nigeria to make online payments for work permit applications and to monitor their initial and renewal applications online.

Qatar: Work Visa Labour Approvals Issued in 2016 to Expire Soon – The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) announced that work visa labour approvals issued in Qatar in or before 2016 that have not been used by companies in Qatar will be cancelled in September 2018. Upon cancellation of such approvals, companies may re-apply for new block visa requests through the MADLSA's electronic portal. Work visas that have been approved and issued but not yet used will not be affected.

Saudi Arabia: Change of Job Title Process Reinstated – Employers in Saudi Arabia can again change professions indicated on their employees’ work and residence permits, as the Ministry of Labour and Social Development has reinstated the job title amendment process, which was eliminated in 2017. To benefit from the service, employers must be classified under the green or platinum rating in the Nitaqat system.

United Arab Emirates: Amnesty Program Information Released – The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship has announced details regarding the “Protect Yourself by Modifying Your Status” amnesty program, beginning August 1, 2018. Foreign nationals in violation of their legal status will be allowed a three-month amnesty period to regularize their status by either leaving the country without paying a fine and becoming subject to a return immigration ban (unless they entered the country illegally), or by changing their sponsorship in the United Arab Emirates. Additional conditions include:

  • Foreign nationals who depart the country under this program will be issued an exit permit valid for ten days.
  • Those who wish to remain will have to provide documents from their new sponsor before a residence visa can be granted.
  • Those without a confirmed job offer will be given a six-month temporary residence status to secure new employment in the United Arab Emirates under the supervision of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.


Global Immigration News Links

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