Connecticut, US

Jul 03 2019

Weekly Immigration Update: June 28-July 3, 2019

Angola, Australia, Canada, China, European Union, Greece, India, Israel, Kenya, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United States

In immigration news this week:

  • United States: The Supreme Court will review the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) termination cases next term, which begins October 2019. A final regulation expected to make significant changes to the EB-5 immigrant investor program is expected to be published imminently.
  • China/India/Israel/Turkey: Israeli Embassies and Consulates in China, India and Turkey have suspended visa processing since June 26, 2019 until further notice. 
  • Angola: A new law taking effect July 23 is expected to streamline access for tourists and investors.
  • Canada/Netherlands: The Canadian and Dutch governments are expected to launch the first voluntary passport-free pilot project in the world in 2020.
  • United Arab Emirates: Eligible foreign residents may be able to sponsor residence permits for dependents, without limitations on gender or profession.
  • Kenya: The Department of Immigration is increasing its enforcement of stringent immigration-related requirements.
  • Mexico: Foreign nationals traveling to or within Mexico, especially at the northern and southern borders, are subject to greater scrutiny of their immigration documents.

These items and other news from Australia, the European Union, Greece, Mexico, Namibia, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago, and Turkey follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.


Important Updates in Immigration This Week

China/India/Israel/Turkey, July 3, 2019

Israeli Embassies and Consulates Suspend Visa Processing in China, India and Turkey

  • Israeli Embassies and Consulates in China, India and Turkey have suspended visa processing since June 26, 2019 until further notice. 
  • The impact is expected to differ in each country and foreign nationals applying for Israeli visas in the affected countries should check if their local visa application centers will process any pending or new applications.

To view entire article, click here.


Canada/Netherlands, July 3, 2019

First-Ever Passport-Free Travel Program Forthcoming; Likely to Expand to Include More Countries 

  • The governments of Canada and the Netherlands will launch the first ever voluntary passport-free pilot project in the world, the Known Traveler Digital Identity (KTDI) Initiative, in 2020. 
  • The KTDI is meant to streamline the travel process for travelers between the Netherlands and Canada, while maintaining national and international security requirements. 

To view entire article, click here.


Peru, July 3, 2019

Resident Visa Renewal Applications Will Require Personal Appearance

  • Effective July 8, 2019, residence renewal applicants in Peru will need to attend an appointment at the National Superintendence of Immigration and will no longer be able to send third-party representatives with a Power of Attorney to file their application.
  • Affected applicants should plan accordingly to allow enough time to file the application in person.

To view entire article, click here.


United Arab Emirates, July 2, 2019

Dependent Sponsorship Eligibility Now Based on Income, Not Profession

  • The government of the United Arab Emirates is starting to implement a decision that allows foreign residents to sponsor residence permits for their dependents if they earn at least a specified minimum salary. The implementation time may vary by emirate.
  • Previously, certain categories of foreign nationals, including domestic workers and laborers, were restricted from sponsoring dependents based on their profession.

To view entire article, click here.


Greece, July 2, 2019

Strike Delays Local Hires’ Work Authorization Process

  • The Social and Health Insurance Department in Greece has been on strike since June 21, affecting foreign nationals under local contracts (known as local hires) applying for residence permits.
  • Local hires cannot start work during the strike because the Social and Health Insurance Department issues a social security registration number that each local hire must submit before they can obtain a residence permit, which is required to start work.
  • The strike is expected to dissipate during the upcoming national election on July 7, 2019, but it may then be reinstated once the election ends, which would delay start dates by at least three weeks or the duration of the strike.

To view entire article, click here.


Mexico, July 1, 2019

Further Processing Delays Ahead from National Immigration Institute Staffing Changes

  • Upcoming staffing changes at the National Immigration Institute will result in adjudication delays that could extend for several months.
  • The previously-reported delays due to government restructures, closure of express processing window, corporate registrations, among other changes, have not subsided.

To view entire article, click here.


Kenya, July 1, 2019

New Directives Issued Enforcing Immigration Laws

Key developments from the Kenyan Department of Immigration’s new directives include the following, effective immediately:

  • All work permit renewal applications must be accompanied by a tax compliance certificate;
  • Government authorities are increasing scrutiny of work authorization applications – both long and short-term – with an increase in rejections and requests for additional information.
  • Employers must submit information related to their employees to the National Employment Authority before July 8, 2019 and must maintain a list of their employees’ details. Employers who fail to comply with these requirements will face penalties in accordance with the law.

To view entire article, click here.


Mexico, June 28, 2019

Increased Scrutiny of Immigration Documents for Foreign Nationals Traveling to and Within Mexico

  • Foreign nationals traveling to or within Mexico, by air or by land, especially at the northern and southern borders, are subject to increased scrutiny of their immigration documents.
  • Foreign nationals entering Mexico or traveling domestically within Mexico should ensure their immigration documents are complete and accurate.

To view entire article, click here.


United States, June 28, 2019

Final EB-5 Modernization Rule Clears Federal Review

  • The Office of Management and Budget has cleared a final regulation expected to make significant changes to the EB-5 immigrant investor program — the last step in the regulatory process before the rule is published and implemented.
  • The Department of Homeland Security is seeking to increase EB-5 investment thresholds and limit the types of development projects that qualify for the program. As originally proposed, the rule would increase the minimum standard EB-5 investment to $1.8 million and the minimum Targeted Employment Area (TEA) investment to $1.35 million. Current minimums are $1 million and $500,000.
  • The final rule will remain confidential until released for publication, which is expected to occur in the coming days. Until the regulation is implemented – no less than 30 days after publication – the EB-5 program will remain subject to current rules, including investment thresholds.

To view entire article, click here.


United States, June 28, 2019

Supreme Court to Take Up DACA Termination Cases Next Term

  • The Supreme Court will review three federal court rulings that enjoin the Trump Administration from terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
  • The Court will take up review during its next term, which begins October 2019. A decision could come as late as Spring or Summer 2020.
  • There will be no changes to the DACA program until further notice. DACA grantees may continue to renew their status. DHS will not accept new DACA applications.

To view entire article, click here.


Angola, June 28, 2019

New Law to Streamline Access for Tourists and Investors

A new law effective July 23, 2019 is expected to streamline processing and ease access for tourists and investors in Angola. Key changes include:

  • The Ordinary Visa, used for business purposes in Angola, will be replaced with a Tourism Visa, which will cover family and business visits.
  • The Short-Term Visa, used for emergency work, will be issued for up to 10 days, whereas it is currently only issued for seven days.
  • The Investor Visa will replace the Privileged Visa, and applicants will need to apply for the Visa in Angola, whereas currently they can apply at Angolan consular posts.
  • Employers allowing foreign nationals to work illegally in Angola, and foreign nationals working illegally in Angola, will face stricter and tougher penalties, including imprisonment.

To view entire article, click here.


Other Weekly News Briefs

Australia: Visa Application Charges Increased – Effective immediately, the visa application charge (VAC) for most visa subclasses has increased by over seven percent. The VAC for the Subclass 600 (Visitor) visa, the sponsorship fees for Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visas, and the nomination fees for both the TSS and Employer Nomination remain unchanged.

European Union: Update on Students and Researchers DirectiveAs an update, Poland and the Czech Republic have implemented the EU Students and Researchers Directive, which harmonizes and simplifies rules on stay, labor market access and intra-EU mobility for qualified researchers, students and trainees. The following countries have yet to implement the Directive: Belgium; Greece (no estimated implementation date confirmed); Slovenia (implementing legislation pending with parliament); and Sweden (implementation scheduled for July 1, 2019). Fragomen will continue to monitor developments and will keep clients informed.

India: Delays at Foreigners' Regional Registration Office and Airport Due to Flooding – The state of Maharashtra, including the city of Mumbai, is experiencing severe flooding that has affected transportation and power and has resulted in a temporary closure of the Mumbai International Airport until July 5, 2019. Though the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in Mumbai as well as other Foreigners’ Registration Offices (FRO) within the state are expected to remain open, processing delays for in-country immigration applications such as registrations, visa extensions and others can be expected. The offices may close without notice. Further, due to the airport closure, travelers should check reliable news channels and websites to determine current closures and delays.

Namibia: Visa-on-Arrival Piloted for Additional Countries; Jamaican Nationals Now Visa-Exempt – Namibia has expanded its visa-on-arrival program to nationals of more countries. The program is being piloted at Hosea Kutako International Airport in Namibia and offers a visa-on-arrival option for stays of up to 90 days for tourism or business activities for nationals from the following additional African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Cote d'Ivore, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Togo, Tunisia, Western Sahara Republic and Uganda. It also opens the option to the following non-African countries: Belarus, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Chile, Czech Republic, Hungary, Mexico, Moldova, Nicaragua, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, South Korea, Venezuela, Vietnam, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Ukraine. The original program offered the visa only to nationals of Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration has also announced that Jamaican nationals are now visa exempt for business activities.

Trinidad and Tobago: Visa Requirement for Venezuelan Nationals –  Effective immediately, Venezuelan nationals seeking to enter Trinidad and Tobago for business or tourism must obtain a consular visa at a Trinidad and Tobago consular post prior to entry, and should be prepared to present proof of accommodation, an onward airline ticket, and business invitation letter upon entry. The period of stay is up to 90 days at the discretion of the immigration official. Previously, Venezuelan nationals were visa exempt for stays of up to 90 days.

Turkey: Work Permit Fees Must Be Paid in Turkey – Effective immediately, work permit application and related fees must be paid in Turkey for all work permit applications. First-time applicants can no longer pay the fees at their home country consulate. Employers must pay the fees in Turkey once an application is approved and they will be electronically notified once payment is due.

Turkey: Updated Address Registration Required for Dependent Resident Permits; Now Requires Principal to Have a Special Online Government Account – Foreign nationals sponsoring dependents in Turkey must now use the same online system used by Turkish nationals (called E-Devlet) to obtain up-to-date proof of their address registration, a document that is required for Residence Permits in Turkey. Instead of visiting the Populations Registry in Turkey to renew their address registration, as was previously the process, foreign nationals sponsoring dependents must visit a local Turkish post office to obtain a password for the E-Devlet account. Once they have a password, they can access the system and immigration-related documents such as the address registration document, social security record and Turkish police clearance certificate. As a result of this change, the overall cost to the employer is likely to decrease as companies and foreign nationals will no longer need to pay for assistance for issuance of a police clearance certificate and can instead obtain it free of charge from the E-Devlet account. Note however, that the relevant portions of the E-Devlet website are available only in Turkish and local post office staff are unlikely to speak other languages. Applicants are therefore likely to require assistance with the system, which Fragomen can provide if instructed.

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