Virginia, US

Jun 23 2017

Weekly Immigration Update: June 16 - 22, 2017

Argentina, Canada, China, India, Italy, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United States, Venezuela, Vietnam

In United States immigration news this week, the Department of Homeland Security continues to accept applications for the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program but has withdrawn an Obama Administration policy that would have both expanded DACA and created a new program for undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

In Canada, Bill C-6 which introduces changes to the Citizenship Act received Royal Assent on June 19 and is now law. Amendments to the Citizenship Act will allow permanent residents of Canada to apply for citizenship sooner and with fewer restrictions. Other changes are expected to take effect in the Fall of 2017 and early 2018.

In Vietnam, an online portal for submission and management of Work Permit applications is expected to become mandatory nationwide starting July 2017.

In India, the deadline to apply for the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Card in lieu of the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) Card is June 30, 2017.

These items and other news from Argentina, China, Italy, the Middle East, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, June 16, 2017
DHS Confirms Original DACA Remains in Effect For Now but Formally Rescinds Expansion Plans

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to accept applications for the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program but has withdrawn an Obama Administration policy that would have both expanded DACA and created a new program for undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

To view entire article, click here.

China, June 21, 2017
Technical Upgrades to Unified Online Application System Causing Processing Delays

China's new unified online application system has experienced some instability since its launch following the implementation of the new policy. Further, the recent technical upgrades to the online application system from version 1.0 to version 2.0 has increased the frequency of system shutdown. As a result, employers and foreign nationals may encounter delays in the processing of their work authorization applications in China.

To view entire article, click here.

Venezuela, June 21, 2017
Inbound and Outbound Courier Services Temporarily Suspended

Most major courier companies have indefinitely suspended their services to and from Venezuela, due to the country's current political instability.

To view entire article, click here.

Canada, June 20, 2017
Certain Changes to the Citizenship Act Take Effect; Other Changes Forthcoming

Bill C-6 which introduces changes to Canada's Citizenship Act received Royal Assent on June 19, 2017. Amendments to the Citizenship Act will allow permanent residents of Canada to apply for citizenship sooner and with fewer restrictions. Of note is the modification of the residency calculation to include a portion of time spent in Canada prior to the grant of Permanent Residence towards the physical residency requirement. Other changes are expected to take effect in the Fall of 2017 and early 2018.

To view entire article, click here.

Canada, June 19, 2017
Southern Ontario Ports of Entry Application Submission Window Restricted

The ports of entry in the Southern Ontario Region (Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, Niagara Falls Rainbow Bridge, and Fort Erie Peace Bridge) are no longer accepting "flagpole" Work Permit applications and Permanent Residence landings on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays or Mondays. This applies to foreign nationals who are Temporary Resident Visa-exempt, holding a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), and those holding multiple-entry visas.  Work Permit applications and finalizing of Permanent Residence applications that do not involve "flagpoling" will continue to be processed on all calendar days.

To view entire article, click here.

India, June 19, 2017
Deadline for OCI in Lieu of PIO Card Applications is June 30

The deadline to apply for the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) Card in lieu of the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) Card is June 30, 2017. In the absence of clear guidelines from the Ministry of Home Affairs about the immigration status of PIO Card holders past the current deadline, current PIO Card holders must apply for OCI Card to be able to travel to India without restrictions.

To view entire article, click here.

Vietnam, June 19, 2017
Online Filing of Work Authorization Applications to Become Mandatory Starting July 2017

An online portal for submission and management of Work Permit applications, which had been piloted in Hanoi, is expected to become mandatory nationwide starting July 2017. Once fully implemented, all applications for new and renewal Work Permits, job position approvals and Work Permit exemption certificates will need to be submitted through this online portal.

To view entire article, click here.

Italy, June 16, 2017
Additional Residence Permit Filing Fees Re-Introduced

Additional filing fees for Residence Permits have been re-introduced by the Italian government. The filing fees for Residence Permit applications in Italy have fluctuated over the past years following several court decisions. The fees range from EUR 40 to EUR 100 and are in addition to the fixed expenses cost of EUR 76, already in effect, to cover the cost of the electronic card, application stamp and mailing fee.

To view entire article, click here.

Weekly News Briefs

United States: President Trump Announces Policy Changes Towards Cuba – In a memorandum to the heads of several government agencies, President Trump called for changes to United States policy towards Cuba, including restrictions to certain Obama Administration rules related to financial transactions and travel.  Among other orders, the President has directed that travel for non-academic education purposes be limited to group travel, and self-directed, individual travel, be prohibited. The restrictions will not take immediate effect, but will be implemented once the Treasury and Commerce Departments promulgate relevant regulations, a process that may take many months.

Argentina: Strikes at Civil Registry Cause Delays – Following weeks of strikes at the Civil Registry in the Province of Buenos Aires, the issuance of birth certificates requested in April and May continues to be delayed. The Registry is closed at this time, and is expected to remain closed until all pending requests are completed.

Middle East: Government Closures During Eid-al-Fitr Holiday – Government offices across the Middle East will remain closed due to the upcoming Eid-al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan.  In Kuwait, all government offices will be closed from June 25 until June 28 or July 2, depending on the moon sighting.  In Oman, all government offices, including the Ministry of Manpower, will remain closed between June 24 and 29, with operations resuming on July 2.   In Qatar, although no official announcements have been made as of yet, it is anticipated that all government offices will remain closed between June 25 and 29, with operations resuming on July 2.  In Saudi Arabia, most government offices will remain closed between June 18 and 29, with operations resuming on July 2.  In the United Arab Emirates, General Directorates of Residence and Foreigners Affairs and Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) will be closed from June 25 until reopening operations on either June 28 or July 2, depending on the moon sighting.

Qatar: Employers in Violation of Wages Protection System Not Eligible for Work Authorization –  The immigration system is now linked with the Ministry of Administrative Development Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA).  Although not officially announced yet, employers found non-compliant with the Wages Protection System (WPS) will not be able to obtain new Work Residence Permits for their employees.  Additionally, if the employer's sponsor entity owns other entities in Qatar, and any of those entities is found in violation of the WPS, then all related entities will automatically be blocked by the MADLSA and Immigration Authority. The new rule is effective immediately.

Saudi Arabia: New Fees Imposed on Foreign Nationals Sponsoring Dependents – Beginning July 1, 2017, foreign nationals in Saudi Arabia sponsoring dependents will be subject to a monthly fee of SAR 100 per dependent person.  The amount will increase annually to reach SAR 400 per dependent person by 2020.  It is anticipated that the levy will be linked with the issuance of new or renewal Muqeem Cards (resident’s ID Card) and will be paid in addition to the standard visa processing fees.  It is expected that the levy will have to be paid by the foreign nationals, not the employers.

Saudi Arabia: Registration with Saudi Council of Engineers Mandatory for Selected Technicians – The Saudi Council of Engineers (SCE) has expanded the list of technical job titles for which it requires their holders to register before being able to obtain or renew a Work Permit and Muqeem Card (resident’s ID card).  Building surveyors, building technicians and general surveyors are among the 52 technician positions that have been added to the list. It is expected that the list will expand further. 

United Arab Emirates: Online Salem Medical Fitness System Launched in Dubai – Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has launched the Salem Medical Fitness System to facilitate the online preparation of medical examination applications for companies with over 50 employees and selected typing centers. Eligible employers can register with the DHA through the Salem portal and will be able to complete online medical examination applications for their workers, rather than having to type them in one of the typing centers. Login credentials will be sent within 15 business days of submitting the request. Copies of corporate documents, including establishment cards and business license, must be provided for successful registration.

Global Immigration News Links

Overhauling U.S. immigration and the need for legislation regulating H-1B visas were some of the issues discussed at the White House for the inaugural meeting of the American Technology Council, a group working to upgrade dated U.S. government technology. Attendees included eighteen tech leaders, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

A report by the New American Economy on refugees in the United States provides evidence that the high rate of labor force participation of refugees and their spirit of entrepreneurship sustains and strengthens, rather than acts as a drain upon their new hometowns.

The number of eastern Europeans registering to work in the UK has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade, with immigrants deterred by the weak pound and uncertainty of Brexit, the Financial Times reports.  

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