Jul 15 2021

Weekly Immigration Update: July 9–15, 2021

Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, European Union, Finland, Georgia, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Guinea, Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, The Bahamas, Togo, United Arab Emirates, United States, Vietnam, Zambia

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.
  • Peru: Following publication of the new Administrative Procedures Text (TUPA), numerous changes to immigration regulations went into effect July 9, including stricter criminal background requirements for temporary and permanent residence visas, longer employment contracts, and shorter government processing times for initial in-country and consular immigration applications, among other changes.
  • United States: According to the State Department’s August Visa Bulletin, there will be a significant advancement in the EB-3 India and EB-2 China categories, in addition to a modest movement across most other employment-based visa categories. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept employment-based adjustment of status applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is earlier than the Final Action Dates listed in the State Department’s August Visa Bulletin.
  • European Union: Ireland and Switzerland now issue EU Digital COVID Certificates. Check this consolidated website for further details.



These items and other news from the Middle East and APAC regions, Bahrain, Netherlands, the Philippines, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, and Zimbabwe follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important updates in immigration this week



United States, July 15, 2021

August 2021 Visa Bulletin Update: USCIS to Honor Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Categories

Next month, USCIS will accept employment-based adjustment of status applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is earlier than the Final Action Dates listed in the State Department’s August 2021 Visa Bulletin.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, July 14, 2021

August 2021 Visa Bulletin: Strong Advancement in EB-3 India and EB-2 China, Modest Movement Across Most Other Employment-Based Categories

  • EB-1 China and EB-1 India will remain current. 
  • EB-2 China will advance by four months to April 1, 2018, and EB-2 India will remain at June 1, 2011.
  • EB-3 India will advance by six months to July 1, 2013, while EB-3 China will advance by one week to January 8, 2019
  • EB-5 China (Non-Regional Center program) will advance by one week to November 15, 2015, and EB-5 Vietnam will become current in August.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Peru, July 9, 2021

New Decree Changes Processing Times and Requirements for Certain Immigration Applications

  • The Peruvian government has published the new Administrative Procedures Text (TUPA) which includes numerous changes to immigration regulations and goes into effect on July 9, 2021.
  • The decree reduces the mandated government processing time for all initial in-country and consular immigration applications; imposes stricter criminal background requirements for temporary and permanent residence visas; imposes an additional requirement for Mercosur Visa applicants; and increases the duration of employment contracts, among other changes.
  • These changes reflect the government’s priority in streamlining immigration processes to make it easier for foreign nationals to enter the country, while balancing security concerns of irregular immigration.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other weekly news briefs



Middle East and APAC Region: Eid al Adha Government Office Closures – Government offices across Asia Pacific will be closed due to the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday (festival of sacrifice) as follows - Bangladesh: expected July 20–August 9; Bahrain: July 20–25; Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia: July 20; Egypt and Iraq: July 18–25; Jordan, Kuwait, UAE: July 19–25; Morocco: July 21–23; Oman: July 18–25; Pakistan: July 21–26; the Philippines and Singapore: July 20; Qatar: expected July 18–26 or 27; Saudi Arabia: July 15–26. 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.

Bahrain: New Design of Residence Permit Sticker Implemented – The Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs Authority has introduced a new design for the Bahraini visa sticker. As a result, passports of foreign nationals who apply for a residency status in Bahrain are now endorsed with a visa sticker that replaces ‘Employer’ with ‘Guarantor’, among other minor changes. Foreign nationals with the old residence permit sticker endorsed in their passport are not affected by this change as their visa remains valid until its expiry date, and the new residence permit sticker will be endorsed at the time of renewal.

Netherlands: Stricter Eligibility for Graduate Permit Now in Effect – As previously announced, the stricter eligibility requirements for the graduate permit (‘orientation year highly educated persons’) have taken effect. As of July 1, 2021, graduates are now eligible for the permit if their international educational institution is listed in two of the following lists (up from one list): top 200 of the general ranking or ranking by subject of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings or Academic Ranking of World Universities. As previously required, graduates of foreign institutions must have obtained their Master’s degree or PhD no more than three years before applying for the permit in the Netherlands.

Philippines: Clarification on Submission Process for Establishment Reports – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has clarified that employers must submit an Establishment Report on Employed Foreign Workers no later than 30 calendar days after each quarter by emailing the DOLE at [email protected]. The DOLE will not accept Reports filed through third-party representatives or agents. The DOLE started requiring the Report in May 2021 for employers with foreign nationals working in the Philippines in line with the government’s goal of obtaining more information about the number of foreign nationals working in the Philippines. Employers that fail to submit the Report or submit it late may experience issues such as delays to immigration applications.  

Qatar: Mandatory Travel Permit Required for All Entrants – The Ministry of Interior of Qatar has announced that, effective July 12, 2021, travelers seeking entry to Qatar must obtain an approved travel permit not less than 12 hours before their arrival in Qatar. This applies to all travelers regardless of their nationality, including nationals of Qatar and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Individuals traveling by air without a travel permit will not be allowed to board their flight. Individuals can obtain the travel permit via the Ehteraz website or Ehteraz mobile phone application. Previously, travelers entering Qatar would be granted an exceptional entry permit post visa issuance or departure from Qatar, however, this will no longer be available.

United Arab Emirates: Golden Visas Now Available for Coders – Under a new program, foreign specialists in the fields of software engineering and science may now apply for a Golden Visa under the “specialized talent” category. This development follows the launch of the National Program for Coders in the United Arab Emirates, which aims to attract new technology-driven talent. To be eligible for this category, applicants must be: a) distinguished experts who achieved success in various areas of coding; b) individuals working for international technological firms; or c) graduates of software engineering, computer sciences, hardware engineering, information technology, artificial intelligence, data science, big data, and electrical engineering programs. Applicants can submit applications through the Office of Artificial Intelligence or the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship. UAE Golden Visas are long-term residence permits valid for five or 10 years (depending on the applicant’s category). Most Golden Visas (except for real estate, business investors, and now the specialized talent category) are typically issued through a government nomination process.

United States: Latest DOL PERM and PWD Processing Times – As of June 30, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) was conducting analyst review for PERM applications filed in January 2021 or earlier, and processing audited cases filed in August 2020 or earlier. DOL is working on standard reconsideration requests submitted in March 2021 or earlier. DOL is issuing prevailing wage determinations (PWDs) for PERM requests filed in December 2020 and H-1B requests filed in January 2021. The agency has been processing PERM and H-1B redeterminations requested in May 2021. PERM center director reviews requested in July 2021 remain pending. These reports are available on the FLAG page.

Zimbabwe: Visa Waived for Southern African Development Community Member States – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade announced that it will waive the entry visa requirement for nationals of member states of the Southern African Development community (SADC), a regional economic bloc whose member states include Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The implementation date of the visa waiver and duration of the stay are yet to be announced by the authorities. The waiver of visa requirements is part of Zimbabwe’s initiative to boost trade and tourism in line with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA is an African free trade area established in 2018 to create a single continent-wide market for goods and services and to promote the movement of capital and people. By waiving the visa requirement for SADC member states, Zimbabwe becomes the second SADC country after Seychelles to permit nationals of SADC member states to enter the country without a visa.

 

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