Connecticut, US

Jul 28 2017

Weekly Immigration Update: July 21 – 27, 2017

Azerbaijan, Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Oman, Romania, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela

In United States immigration news this week, the USCIS resumed premium processing for cap-exempt H-1B petitions filed by institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations related to or affiliated with institutions of higher education, nonprofit research organizations and governmental research organizations.  Premium processing remains temporarily suspended for all other H-1B petitions.

In United Kingdom, there has been an increase in sponsorship compliance audits by UK Visas and Immigration.  Additionally, the Home Secretary has published a Commissioning Letter to the Migration Advisory Committee asking the Committee to look at the UK’s immigration system and the impacts of the UK’s separation from the European Union on the labor market.

Romanian authorities have recently begun enforcing the minimum salary level requirements more strictly.  In Azerbaijan, E-Visas are now available for business trips, as well as visits for the purposes of science, education, labor, culture, sports, humanitarian reasons, medical treatment and for official reasons.

Ecuador’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Quito will no longer reschedule visa stamping appointments.

Taiwan has granted visa-exempt status to nationals of 11 South American countries.

These items and other news from China, Brazil, India, Oman, Sweden, Uruguay and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, July 24, 2017

USCIS Resumes H-1B Premium Processing for Certain Cap-Exempt Petitions

USCIS is resuming premium processing for cap-exempt H-1B petitions filed by institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations related to or affiliated with institutions of higher education, nonprofit research organizations and governmental research organizations.  Premium service remains suspended for most other H-1B petition types.

To view entire article, click here.

United Kingdom, July 27, 2017

Home Secretary Commissions the Migration Advisory Committee on Status Post Brexit 

The Home Secretary has published a Commissioning Letter to the Migration Advisory Committee that asks the Committee to look at the UK’s immigration system and the impacts of the UK’s separation from the European Union on the labor market. The Home Secretary has asked for the findings to be published by September 2018, but has requested interim reports.

To view entire article, click here.

Ecuador, July 27, 2017

Visa Stamping Appointment Rescheduling Not Allowed in Quito

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Quito will no longer reschedule visa stamping appointments.

To view entire article, click here.

Azerbaijan, July 27, 2017

E-Visas Now Available

Effective immediately, E-Visas are now available for business trips, as well as visits for the purposes of science, education, labour, culture, sports, humanitarian reasons, medical treatment and for official reasons. These E-Visas will be issued with a validity of 90 days, permitting a maximum stay of up to 30 days.

To view entire article, click here.

Romania, July 26, 2017

Strict Enforcement of Minimum Salary Level Requirements

Following the increase to minimum salary levels implemented earlier this year, the Romanian authorities have recently begun enforcing this requirement more strictly. The immigration authorities will not issue or extend Residence Permits for foreign nationals who do not meet the new requirements.  There is also an increased risk during inspections by labor authorities. Employers that have not yet increased the salaries of foreign national employees in line with the new requirements are recommended to do so immediately. 

To view entire article, click here.

Venezuela, July 26, 2017

Two-Day Strike Began Wednesday

Venezuelan government opposition leaders called for a national strike on July 26 and 27, 2017.   During these two days, private sector offices were closed. Though not an official government strike, there were service interruptions and delays for courier services and government offices.

To view entire article, click here.

United Kingdom, July 25, 2017

UKVI Auditing Employers as a Result of Sponsor License Renewals

There has been an increase in sponsorship compliance audits by UK Visas and Immigration.  The audits come as a result of the submission of Sponsor License renewals by Tier 2 sponsors.

To view entire article, click here.

Taiwan, July 25, 2017

Eleven Countries Granted Visa-Exempt Status

In a move that seeks to further strengthen bilateral relations and increase tourism, business, trade and cultural exchanges, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has granted visa-exempt status to nationals of 11 Latin American countries.  Qualified nationals from these countries may enter Taiwan for up to 30 or 90 days for tourist and business visits without requiring an entry visa.

To view entire article, click here.

Weekly News Briefs

Brazil: Audit Activities Now Permitted in Business Visitor Status  – The Brazilian Ministry of Labor (MoL) has confirmed a change in interpretation and now allows audit activities to be conducted in business visitor status.  A policy on auditing activities may also be included in the upcoming revisions to the regulations of the country’s immigration law (in November 2017), but could change as a result. The MoL's Inspection Unit has been informed of the change of policy and will conduct any worksite inspections according to this policy.

Brazil/Uruguay: Permanent Residence to Become Available without Minimum Residence Requirement  – In Brazil, Uruguayan nationals may now obtain Permanent Residence without satisfying the current two-year residence requirement by applying at a Brazilian Consulate abroad or filing directly with the Federal Police in Brazil.  The Permanent Residence application will be processed immediately.  In Uruguay, Brazilian nationals may now obtain permanent residence at a Uruguayan consulate abroad or in country through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs without having to satisfy the two-year residence requirement.   Applications may take up to five months to be processed.  The Permanent Residence program is the result of a treaty signed in July 2013 and enacted in July 2017.  For those who do not wish to obtain Permanent Residence, Uruguayan nationals still qualify for Temporary Residence under the MERCOSUR Agreement in Brazil, while Brazilian nationals qualify for MERCOSUR Temporary Residence in Uruguay.

China: Instability of Online Application System Persists - The Foreign Expert Bureau’s online application system, which processes the Notification Letter and Work Permit applications, continues to experience system crashes and other technical problems. As a result, Notification Letter or Work Permit applications filed through the online system may take longer to process, require additional effort to file, and may even need re-submission. Employers and foreign nationals should expect delays in the processing of their work authorization applications as a result. Foreign nationals who entered China using a Z Visa or who need to apply for an entity amendment should be aware of these recent developments and contact their immigration professional to make sure that their work authorization process is completed on time and within the stated period required by the rules. Fragomen China is closely monitoring the situation and will report on further details as they become available.

India:  Return Shipping of Visas to India Filed in United States - Effective July 24, 2017, all visas to India filed by a third party in the United States will be shipped back directly to the applicant.  The passport with a stamped visa will be shipped to the present address on the application for a Visa to India, which must match the proof of address filed in conjunction with the application.  Each passport will be shipped individually via FedEx or UPS.  Passports for family members will not be shipped back in a group shipment.  Applicants should scan a copy of their India Visa to Fragomen's Consular and Document Services Coordinator upon receipt of the visa for verification. 

OmanWages Protection System to be Introduced in November - The Ministry of Manpower and the Central Bank of Oman have announced plans to introduce a Wages Protection System (WPS) for all private sector companies, with a trial phase to begin on November 18, 2017. The WPS aims to control the payment of wages by employers to ensure employees receive their salaries in a timely manner and per the amounts agreed in their employment contracts.  The program comes as a result of implementation of Article 53 of the Labor Law imposing the obligation of depositing the employee’s salary through one of the locally approved banks. It is expected that further details of the program will be released closer to the start date.

SwedenMigration Agency Considers Rules on Work Permit Applicants with Previous Work History – The Swedish Migration Agency’s Law Unit is currently reviewing how to treat Work Permit applications of foreign nationals with previous work history in Sweden.  Until the Agency makes a final decision, applications submitted within six months of expiration of the latest Work Permit will be treated as an extension.  Foreign nationals must provide all mandatory information and documents regarding the previous work authorized period, including salary, pay slips, income statements and insurance documents. Applications submitted after six months of expiration of the latest Work Permit will be treated as a new application. 

Sweden:  Permanent Residence Applications to be Submitted One Month Prior to Work and Residence Permit Expiration– Permanent Residence applications should be submitted at least one month prior to the expiration date of the Work and Residence Permit to ensure proper completion and compliance with all regulations.  The Swedish Migration Agency does not accept incomplete applications, and all applications must include pay slips and salary information.  Foreign nationals must have spent at least 42 months working and living in Sweden within the previous 48-month period of work-authorized status before being eligible for permanent residence.   Foreign nationals who are nearing the 48-month mark of work-authorized status may be granted an extension with a shorter validity than usual to give them the opportunity to submit another extension application after reaching 48 months.

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.