US

Jul 02 2020

Weekly Immigration Update: June 26-July 2, 2020

Albania, Angola, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malta, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal , Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of the Philippines, Romania, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, The Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia , Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States

In immigration news this week:

  • Worldwide: Jurisdictions around the world continue to adapt their coronavirus-related travel restrictions and quarantine measures, and many have implemented extension policies and other concessions. Visit Fragomen’s coronavirus-related news page for the latest immigration updates.
  • United States: President Trump has issued an amendment to last week’s nonimmigrant proclamation, making it more difficult for foreign nationals to qualify for an exemption from a suspension of the entry of foreign nationals in the H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and certain J-1 categories, as well as related categories for dependents. Federal immigration agencies released their Spring 2020 regulatory agendas disclosing their immigration rulemaking priorities for the coming six months, including plans to rescind the H-4 employment authorization program, revise H-1B eligibility criteria, and toughen rules related to business visitors, and to foreign student periods of stay and practical training, among others. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, USCIS is further extending its 60-day deadline extension policy to September 11, 2020.
  • European Union: As an update to COVID-19-related travel restrictions in the European Union, the European Council has advised EU countries to allow entry to residents from 15 countries starting July 1. Notably, Brazil, Russia and the United States are not on the first iteration of the list. Individual EU and Schengen Area countries will decide whether to follow the Council's advice.
  • United Kingdom: In response to the enactment of the National Security Legislation in Hong Kong, the UK government is expected to create a new immigration process for British National (Overseas) status holders. Applicants under the new process would have the right to work and study in the United Kingdom and sponsor dependent family members.
  • Poland: Poland has amended its posted worker laws to implement the EU Posted Workers Directive. The changes will become effective July 30, 2020.
  • Luxembourg: The Luxembourg government has published information about the process UK nationals residing in Luxembourg must follow before December to preserve their residence and work rights in Luxembourg after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31.

 

These items and other news from France, Ireland, Japan, the NetherlandsRussia, Thailand, and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

Poland, July 2, 2020

EU Posted Workers Directive to be Implemented in National Law

  • Poland has amended its posted worker laws to implement the EU Posted Workers Directive. Key changes include:
    • a requirement for the sending company to notify the Polish government of changes about the assignment;
    • a requirement for the sending employer of short-term posted workers to ensure that the employee receives all the same salary components and travel allowances as a local Polish worker, if such terms are more beneficial than under the sending country’s employment laws; and
    • a requirement for long-term posted workers to benefit from all the same terms of Polish employment law where such terms are more beneficial to them than the terms of their sending country’s law.
  • Also, the new rules expand the scope of rights of labour inspections. Therefore, an increase in auditing activity of the Polish labour inspector can be expected after July 30, 2020.

 

The changes will become effective July 30, 2020.

To view entire article, click here.

 

The Netherlands, July 2, 2020

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions No Longer Apply to Highly Skilled Migrants

  • Effective immediately, a new policy allows Highly Skilled Migrants to enter the Netherlands, regardless of their country of residence. Many other categories of non-resident foreign nationals remain banned from entry into the Netherlands due to COVID-19.
  • This policy applies to current permit holders, those with Highly Skilled Migrant long-term stay (MVV) visas, and visa-exempt nationals with approved Highly Skilled Migrant permits.
  • Access Fragomen’s dedicated COVID-19 website for information about travel restrictions and other COVID-19-related policies for the Netherlands and other countries

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Luxembourg, July 2, 2020

Post-Transition Period Plans for UK Nationals Residing in Luxembourg Published

The Luxembourg government has published information about the process UK nationals resident in Luxembourg before the end of December 2020 must follow to preserve their residence and work rights in Luxembourg after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31, 2020. Central details of the plan include:

  • UK nationals and third-country national dependents will need to submit a simplified residence permit application. Upon approval, they will be invited to submit their biometrics and will receive a new residence permit.
  • UK nationals residing in Luxembourg for five years or longer on December 31, 2020 would be able to apply for a permanent residence permit, if eligible. Eligibility criteria would be the same as for other EU applicants (five-year residency requirement).
  • UK nationals residing in Luxembourg for a period shorter than five years would be required to apply for a local residence permit type, if eligible (a new permit type will be created).

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom, July 1, 2020

Streamlined Immigration Process for Holders of British National (Overseas) Status in Hong Kong

  • The new program will make it easier for those with British National (Overseas) status to live, study, and work in the United Kingdom, the government announced.
  • Applicants under the new process would be able to sponsor their dependants for status. Also under the new system, individuals would be able to obtain permanent residence after five years in the United Kingdom.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, July 1, 2020

Federal Immigration Agencies Release Spring 2020 Regulatory Agendas

  • The Department of Homeland Security is continuing to move forward with plans to rescind the H-4 employment authorization program, revise H-1B eligibility criteria, and toughen rules related to business visitors, and to foreign student periods of stay and practical training, among others.
  • Both DHS and the State Department have plans to increase filing fees, with a sweeping USCIS fee rule scheduled for publication this fall.
  • Some key proposals in prior regulatory agendas have been moved to the DHS “long-term action” list, indicating they are of lesser priority at this time. These include plans related to the EB-5 immigrant investor program and L-1 nonimmigrant program, among others.
  • The agenda is being released in the wake of a presidential proclamation that directs DHS and the State Department to issue regulations ensuring that the presence of certain foreign workers does not disadvantage U.S. workers.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, July 1, 2020

USCIS Further Extends Existing COVID-19 Accommodations on RFEs, NOIDs, Appeals and Other Responses

  • Due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, USCIS is extending its 60-day deadline extension policy to September 11, 2020.
  • Petitioners and applicants will have an additional 60 days to respond to requests for evidence, notices of intent to deny or revoke, and notices of intent to terminate EB-5 regional investment centers dated between March 1 and September 11, 2020.
  • Employers and foreign nationals will also have 60, rather than 30, days to file any appeal or motion to reopen a USCIS decision that was issued between March 1 and September 11. 



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, June 30, 2020

President Trump Amends Nonimmigrant Proclamation to Narrow Exemption for Visa Holders

  • The amended proclamation makes it more difficult for foreign nationals to qualify for an exemption from the ban on entry in H-1B, H-2B, L-1, and certain J-1 statuses, including dependents.
  • Under the amendment, foreign nationals are exempt from the proclamation if they hold a valid visa in one of the restricted categories and are seeking entry to the United States pursuant to that visa. Those holding a valid visa in another category – such as F-1 or B-1 – will not be able to obtain a new H, L or J visa while the proclamation is in force, though changes of status within the United States should not be affected, including changes of status to H-1B.
  • Foreign nationals outside the United States with an expired visa may be unable to renew or obtain a new H, L or J visa absent a waiver while the proclamation is in force, even if they had a valid visa on June 24, the effective date of the proclamation.
  • Foreign nationals in the United States with an expired visa or whose visa will expire prior to any planned international travel may experience difficulty or delays obtaining a new H, L or J visa while abroad and while the proclamation is in force.



To view entire article, click here.

 

European Union, June 30, 2020

External COVID-19 Travel Ban Lifted for Select Countries

  • The European Commission has advised EU countries to allow entry to travelers from 15 countries starting July 1, as an update to COVID-19-related travel restrictions in the European Union. These countries have a COVID-19 infection rate similar to or lower than the EU average, and allow EU nationals to enter their territory.
  • The list includes Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay, and China, if EU travelers will be allowed to reciprocally enter Mainland China. The “greenlist” countries are in addition to Andorra, San Marino, Vatican City and Monaco.
  • Notably, Brazil, Russia and the United States are not on the first iteration of the list.
  • The recommendation is non-binding, and individual EU and Schengen Area countries will now decide whether to follow this advice. Fragomen expects most countries to do so, typically within a few days.
  • The proposal reconfirms existing travel exceptions for essential workers and visa or permit holders from non-listed countries, among others. The European Commission has advised that highly skilled workers essential to the economy are included in countries’ definitions of permitted essential workers. Travel within the European Union and Schengen Area is also increasingly permitted.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

France, June 30, 2020

Opening of Website for Residence Permit Applications for UK Nationals Postponed

  • The French government is currently updating the website on which UK nationals would be able to register for French residence permits prior to Brexit. The website was expected to be available for new registrations in early July 2020, however, due to COVID-19-related government delays, the opening of the website has been postponed to October 1, 2020.
  • As a reminder, UK nationals and their family members residing in France and those planning to enter France before December 31, 2021 must obtain a Withdrawal Agreement residence permit by July 1, 2021. They will be able to register once the website re-opens.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Japan, June 29, 2020

Tuberculosis Screening to be Required for Some Applicants

  • Likely starting July 1, 2020, tuberculosis screening will be mandatory for foreign nationals with passports from the Philippines, Vietnam, China, Indonesia, Nepal and Myanmar who are applying for a Certificate of Eligibility and Japanese visa.
  • Foreign nationals who fail to provide a tuberculosis certificate will not be approved for their Certificate of Eligibility or Japanese visa application.
  • Foreign nationals from the above-mentioned countries whose place of residence is outside of their country of nationality are exempt from this requirement.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Weekly News Briefs

Ireland: Unrestricted Travel by all Nationalities to Continue Despite European Council Recommendations: Ireland continues to allow travelers of all nationalities to enter the country, despite recent recommendations from the European Council. Some media outlets have incorrectly suggested that all EU countries including Ireland are barring entry for travelers from the United States and other countries since the European Council released its recommendations on Tuesday. The Council's recommendations were non-binding, and individual EU and Schengen Area countries remain free to implement their own travel restrictions. However, note that visa nationals will require an entry visa for Ireland and currently not all Irish consulate posts are processing Irish entry visas, although many Irish consulates and Visa Application Centres have reopened.



Russia: Second Quarter Salary Notifications for Highly Qualified Specialists Due July 31 – Employers have until July 31, 2020 to file second quarter notifications for salaries paid to Highly-Qualified Specialists (HQS). The notification must state the salary paid to HQS from April 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020. The reported HQS salary should be no less than RUB 167,000 per calendar month or RUB 501,000 per quarter (if there was a break in work during the reported period). Employers that fail to pay the correct salary can face a ban on employing new HQS employees for two years. No concessions are available for work/salary reductions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.



Thailand: TM 30 Notification Rule Change – The Thai Immigration Bureau has amended the rules for the TM 30 Notification, and no longer requires additional TM 30 Notifications each time a foreign national travels to and from their principal residence in Thailand. Effective June 30, 2020, the landlord/owner/lessor of the foreign national’s residence is only required to file an initial TM 30 report within 24 hours of the foreign national's initial arrival at the residence. A new report is no longer required if the foreign national returns to the same residence after travel overseas or within Thailand.



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