Jul 01 2021

Weekly Immigration Update: June 25–July 1, 2021

Albania, Angola, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, European Union, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam

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.
  • United States: The EB-5 Regional Center Program has lapsed after Congress was unable to reach an agreement on reauthorization before the program’s June 30 expiration. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued guidance on how it will treat Regional Center filings while negotiations continue on the program’s reauthorization. 
  • Ireland: Employers have until August 12 to submit comments on the Occupation Lists for Employment Permits. Fragomen can assist with comment drafting and submission.
  • Saudi Arabia: The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has published further changes to the Nitaqat program, effective December 1. The changes include a new three-year Saudization plan, consolidation of economic activity categories, and implementation of a new company classification system.
  • United Kingdom: The Graduate visa route is now open and allows UK graduates from eligible Higher Education Providers to apply for a two- or three-year visa that provides work authorization in the United Kingdom.
  • European Union: Most EU countries are now issuing Digital COVID-19 Certificates – check this consolidated alert for updates. Additionally, deadlines to apply for Article 50 permits in many EU countries have passed. Check this consolidated alert for updates.



These items and other news from Albania, Australia, the European Union, Luxembourg, Singapore, Spain, and Sweden follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important updates in immigration this week



United Kingdom, July 1, 2021

Graduate Route Now Open

  • The UK government has opened the Graduate visa route, which allows UK graduates from eligible Higher Education Providers to apply for a two- or three-year visa allowing them to work in the United Kingdom.
  • Successful applicants will be issued with an electronic immigration status which can be shared with future employers.
  • The Graduate route offers qualifying applicants additional time in the United Kingdom following graduation, providing a more flexible pool of candidates and a less financially and administratively burdensome visa option for employers, as compared to other immigration routes. 



To view entire article, click here.

 

Ireland, July 1, 2021

Call for Submissions on Occupations Lists for Employment Permits

  • The Irish authorities are inviting comment submissions on the Occupations Lists for Employment Permits.  
  • Employers interested in submitting comments can do so via email by August 12, 2021. Fragomen can assist with comment drafting and submission. 
  • Following the review period, the government may add occupations to the Critical Skills Occupations List or remove occupations from the Ineligible List of Occupations for Employment Permits, which would expand hiring options for employers and prospective employees. 

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, June 30, 2021

EB-5 Regional Center Program to Expire on June 30

  • Congress will not reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center Program by its midnight, June 30, 2021 expiration, though negotiations continue.
  • USCIS has issued guidance stating that new Forms I-924 applications and regional center-affiliated Form I-526 petitions will be rejected if received by the agency on or after July 1, 2021. 
  • USCIS will continue to accept Forms I-485 based on an approved Form I-526, but will place these filings on hold until further notice.
  • Form I-829 petitions to remove conditions on EB-5 permanent resident status will not be affected by the program expiration.
  • Advocacy efforts to support bills to reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center Program are ongoing. Fragomen continues to monitor discussions in Congress and will provide updates. 

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Saudi Arabia, June 29, 2021

Reforms to Nitaqat Program Forthcoming

  • The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development published further changes to the Nitaqat program, effective December 1, 2021.
  • The changes include a new three-year Saudization plan, consolidation of economic activity categories, and implementation of a new company classification system.
  • These changes are expected to improve the performance of the labor market, provide job opportunities and create a more regulated work environment.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other weekly news briefs



Albania: E-Visas Now Available – Albanian consular posts have started issuing e-visas following the approval of a new immigration law that regulates such visas. Foreign nationals can now submit visa applications and upload supporting documents for all visa types through an e-visa portal. The consular post will confirm receipt of the application and will upload an invoice on the portal upon approval. Upon paying the invoice, the visa will be issued. The relevant authorities will upload the electronic visa to the applicant’s profile in the e-visa portal as soon as they approve the visa application.

Albania: Single Application, New Permit Types, Including Digital Nomad Permit, Forthcoming – The Albanian parliament has approved a law that will streamline residence permit applications to a single application, where currently separate applications to the Border and Immigration Police and town hall are required. Additionally, the law will create, among other visa programs, a nine-month search year permit for graduates and researchers; and a one-year (renewable) Digital Nomad Permit. Digital Nomad Permit applicants must submit a foreign employment or service contract, or a service contract that can be performed remotely, as well as proof of sufficient funds (no exact figure confirmed yet), an Albanian bank account where funds will be transferred, proof of accommodation, health insurance and a clear criminal record from their home country, among others. Detailed permit requirements will become available with formal publication of the new law.

Australia: Increases in Visa Application Charges and Other Fees Forthcoming – Effective July 1, 2021, Visa Application Charges for most visas have increased by 1.75%, as published in the 2021-22 Budget Paper, rounded to the nearest AUD 5. Key changes include: the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa has increased from AUD 1,265 to AUS 1,290 for short term stream and AUD 2,645 to AUD 2,690 for medium term and Labour Agreement stream main applicants; the Global Talent (subclass 858) visa increased from AUD 4,110 to AUD 4,180 for main applicants; the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (subclass 494), Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visas increased from AUD 4,045 to AUD to AUD 4,115 for main applicants. Indexation amendments are expected to continue on an annual basis. In addition to the increases to the Visa Application Charges, fees for Citizenship by conferral increased from AUD 285 to AUD 490 per person and fees for certain applications to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) increased from AUD 1,826 to AUD 3,000 for applications made to the AAT starting July 1, 2021, which includes applications for review of decisions relating to visas (other than protection visas), as well as decisions in relation to sponsorships and nominations. 

European Union/Luxembourg: Update on Post-Brexit Permit Applications – Luxembourg extended the application deadline for UK nationals with rights under the Withdrawal Agreement to December 31, 2021 from June 30, 2021. Application deadlines passed on June 30, 2021 in Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Malta and Slovakia. Eligible individuals are advised to urgently seek leniency applications if seeking continued residence in these locations. See this consolidated page for detailed information.

Singapore: Online Applications for Dependant’s Pass and Long-Term Visit Pass Applicants Moving to myMOM Portal – Starting July 26, 2021, the Ministry of Manpower will be moving online application services for Dependant Pass (DP) and Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP) applicants to the myMOM Portal from the current EP Online system. Currently, the myMOM Portal is only available for new Employment Pass applications, issuances and cancellations, but will be expanded to new DP and LTVP applications. Employers must get their CorpPass Administrator to add the myMOM Portal to their CorpPass account to use these online features. Applicants with drafts saved in the current EP Online system must submit these by July 23, 2021, as the saved drafts will not be reproduced in the new myMOM platform. Other transactions that have not been transitioned to the myMOM Portal, such as Letters of Consent, Training Employment Pass, or renewal applications, will continue to be processed through EP Online.

Spain: Fourth Week of Online System Outage; Resolution Date Not Clear – The online system of the Directorate General of Immigration is still experiencing technical issues. This is the fourth week of the outage and it is not clear when the issue will be resolved. As a result, immigration applications cannot be submitted on the system; applications related to the Large Companies Unit submitted through other platforms are not being accepted; and notifications related to applications will not be sent until the system is operating. Deadlines to submit documentary requirements and validities of immigration documents are temporarily suspended during the outage. Affected applicants can contact their Fragomen immigration professional for case-specific advice.

Sweden: Stricter Dependent Requirements Forthcoming – Following a legislative change effective July 20, 2021, foreign nationals must demonstrate sufficient funds and suitable accommodation when seeking to sponsor dependents. Detailed requirements are pending, but Fragomen anticipates that employment-based permit applicants will meet the funding requirement based on trade union-approved wages. Also effective July 20, permanent residence applicants must demonstrate a clean criminal record and must continue to meet the requirements for their current permit, which is currently not required. Dependents seeking permanent residence must have held a temporary permit for at least three years (up from two); and must independently meet permanent residence eligibility requirements, instead of automatically receiving permanent residence based on the principal applicant's approval. A widely publicized civic integration requirement for permanent residence applicants has not yet been implemented.

 

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