Virginia, US

Jul 06 2018

Weekly Immigration Update: June 29 - July 5, 2018

Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, European Union, France, Georgia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States

In United States immigration news this week, a federal court has temporarily blocked the State of California from penalizing any employer who allows an immigration enforcement agent to access to nonpublic areas of a worksite or employee records without a judicial warrant or subpoena. California may continue to enforce a provision that requires employers to give notice to employees and their labor unions before and after a federal inspection of I-9 forms.

Also in the United States, Temporary Protected Status for Yemen will be extended by 18 months, through March 3, 2020. Yemeni TPS beneficiaries will be required to re-register to extend their benefits. 

UK nationals in the Netherlands and in other EU countries have no further information on their legal status after Brexit, following an Amsterdam Court of Appeal dismissal. In the United Kingdom, the monthly quota for non-European Economic Area nationals sponsored under the Tier 2 (General) Visa category has been exceeded for the seventh time. In Belgium, the Flanders Labor Minister expects to ease work permit requirements for highly-skilled workers, graduates and shortage occupations starting January 1, 2019.

In Russia, a new law taking effect July 9 will require host parties to register foreign nationals' actual place of stay, disallowing registration at the employer's address unless the foreign national dwells there. 

Australia has launched a Global Talent Scheme pilot program to attract highly-skilled foreign nationals to engage in innovative and entrepreneurial activity. The pilot program will run for 12 months starting July 2018. Fragomen has been working with the Department of Home Affairs on the design of the scheme as part of an expert Industry Advisory Group.

Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal upheld a landmark decision in September 2017 granting a British same-sex spouse the right to obtain dependent status.

These items and other news from Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador,  Egypt, the European Union, France, Georgia, Indonesia, Mexico, Oman, Poland, Slovenia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, July 5, 2018
Federal District Court Enjoins Enforcement of Portions of California AB450

  • A federal court has temporarily blocked the State of California from penalizing any employer who allows an immigration enforcement agent to access nonpublic areas of a worksite or employee records without a judicial warrant or subpoena.
  • California may continue to enforce a provision that requires employers to give notice to employees and their labor unions before and after a federal inspection of I-9 forms.


To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, July 5, 2018
DHS to Extend TPS for Yemen

Temporary Protected Status for Yemen will be extended by 18 months, through March 3, 2020. Yemeni TPS beneficiaries will be required to re-register to extend their benefits.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, July 5, 2018
Changes to Sentencing for Impaired Driving will Increase Inadmissibility to Canada

On June 21, 2018, Bill C-46, which strengthens Canada's Criminal Code sentencing provisions for driving while impaired from a maximum term of imprisonment of not more than five years to a maximum term of not more than ten years, received Royal Asset and will enter into force on December 18, 2018. Due to the increase in the sentencing provisions, foreign nationals and permanent residents convicted of driving while impaired, or similar offenses, will now be inadmissible to Canada for serious criminality.  

To view entire article, click here.

 

Brazil, July 5, 2018
New Guidelines Codify Dependents’ Visa and Work Booklet Processes

The Ministry of Labor in Brazil published new guidelines, effective immediately, which:

  • Clarify the process for in-country and out-of-country dependent visas; and 
  • Standardize the work booklet application process across all cities. 


To view entire article, click here.

 

Netherlands, July 5, 2018
No Guarantees on UK Nationals’ Rights in the Netherlands as Court Dismisses Case

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal recently ruled that the post-Brexit legal status questions British nationals sought to refer for a preliminary ruling were too vague and held that the case could not be forwarded to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The court also stated that the position of British nationals after Brexit would need to be decided by the CJEU.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Hong Kong, July 4, 2018
Court of Final Appeal Upholds Landmark Ruling on Dependent Status for Same-Sex Spouses

Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal has dismissed the Director of Immigration's petition to set aside the Court of Appeal's landmark decision in September 2017 granting a British same-sex spouse the right to obtain dependent status sponsored by her partner.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Colombia, July 3, 2018
New Reporting Requirement Introduced and New Steps Required to Avoid Deportation

Migración Colombia recently issued a resolution that requires foreign nationals or their employers to take the following new steps during the foreign worker's stay in Colombia:

  • Employers must file a new report online when their foreign workers change visa categories or if there is a gap between visas; and
  • Foreign nationals without the proper immigration status will be deported. If Migración Colombia allows it, the foreign national can submit a 'voluntary intention to depart' application, which may prevent deportation.


To view entire article, click here.

 

Australia, July 3, 2018
Global Talent Scheme for Highly-Skilled Foreign Nationals Introduced

The Australian government has announced the launch of the Global Talent Scheme pilot program, a facilitated immigration pathway intended to attract highly- and uniquely-talented foreign nationals to engage in innovative and entrepreneurial activity in Australia. The pilot program will run for 12 months starting July 2018. Fragomen has been working with the Department of Home Affairs on the design of the scheme as part of an expert Industry Advisory Group.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Belgium, July 2, 2018
Flanders To Ease Work Permit Requirements for Highly-Skilled Workers, Graduates and Shortage Occupations

The Flanders Labor Minister has announced the following upcoming changes to work authorization rules, among others:

  • Differentiation of the salary thresholds for highly-skilled and managerial employees, in line with salary levels in Flanders;
  • Longer work permit validity and a simpler process for client site work; 
  • A new job-seeking permit for foreign nationals graduating Flemish universities and lower salary threshold for the work permit for recent graduates; 
  • An easier internship permit route for foreign students; and
  • Exemption from labor market testing and a simpler process for shortage occupations.


The changes are expected to come into effect by January 1, 2019.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom, July 2, 2018
Tier 2 General Cap Reached for the Seventh Time but Change is on the Horizon

As predicted, the monthly quota for non-European Economic Area nationals sponsored under the Tier 2 (General) Visa category has been exceeded again. Only prioritised applications for this category have been granted. 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Indonesia, July 2, 2018
Delays Expected Due to Sudden Replacement of Online Filing System

The Indonesian Ministry of Manpower's online filing system will be shut down starting July 4 in preparation for the launch of a new integrated online system on July 9. Applicants have until the close of business on July 3 to complete their current online transactions. Thereafter, the system will not accept online applications or transactions until the new system goes live. This downtime is expected to cause delays to new and pending Work Permit applications. 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Russia, July 2, 2018
New Address Registration Rules in Effect July 8

A new law will require foreign nationals to register their actual place of stay, disallowing registration at the employer's address unless the foreign national dwells there.  Additionally, the registration obligation will be transferred from foreign nationals to host parties. 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Weekly News Briefs

United States: Latest PERM and PWD Processing Times – As of June 30, 2018, the Department of Labor (DOL) was conducting analyst review for PERM applications filed in March 2018 or earlier, and processing audited cases filed in November 2017 or earlier. DOL is working on standard reconsideration requests submitted in May 2018 or earlier. There is no update on the government error queue, though these appear to be current.

DOL is issuing prevailing wage determinations for PERM and H-1B requests filed in April 2018. The agency has been processing PERM and H-1B redeterminations requested in May 2018, and PERM center director reviews requested in May 2018. 

These reports are available on the iCERT home page.

Antigua and Barbuda/Ukraine: Mutual Visa Waiver Starts June 29, 2018 – Effective June 29, 2018, nationals of Antigua and Barbuda and Ukraine will no longer require a visa for business or tourist trips up to 90 days in a 180-day period.

Argentina: Visa Processes and Document Requests Remain Highly Discretionary – Processes for various visa types in Argentina may be subject to more or fewer documentary requirements as the Immigration office Dirección Nacional de Migración undergoes administrative changes. Foreign nationals should review their application materials thoroughly and prepare to provide additional documents if requested. 

Canada: New Visa Application Centers Opening to Support Biometrics Expansion –  New visa application centers (VACs) will be opening this summer and fall in Europe, Africa and the Middle East to support the expansion of Canada’s biometrics collection. The additional VACs will open in:

  • Kigali, Rwanda; Stockholm, Sweden; and Tel Aviv, Israel by mid-September 2018
  • Athens, Greece; Berlin, Germany; Lyon, France; and Vienna, Austria in early November 2018; and
  • Antananarivo, Madagascar and Cape Town, South Africa in early December 2018.


Additional VACs will also open in 2019 that will be announced at a later date. Prior to these VACS opening, some Canadian embassies in Europe will offer temporary interim biometrics collection services points for applicants who have applied online or by mail and have received a Biometrics Instruction Letter. Information has not yet been released regarding in-Canada biometrics services but Fragomen will provide updates once information becomes available.

Ecuador: Fingerprints Required for Police Clearances Obtained in Quito – Effective immediately, the Ecuadorian National Police office in Quito requires all foreign nationals over the age of 18 to register and be fingerprinted prior to applying for a police clearance online. Police clearances are required for in-country visa processes. Foreign nationals applying for their visas in Quito should allow up to two extra days to schedule a fingerprinting appointment prior to requesting the police clearance online. Although fingerprints are only required in Quito at this time, it is possible that Guayaquil may adopt this process soon. Fragomen will monitor and inform as new cities add this requirement.

Egypt: Delays in the Immigration Process Expected Due to Extensive Security Screening – Foreign nationals seeking employment and residency in Egypt should expect extensive security screening that may delay their immigration process, following the extension of the state of emergency in the country and the National Security Authority scrutinizing all immigration applications. The security clearance is the first stage of the application process for work and residence permits in Egypt. Egypt first imposed the state of emergency in 2017 and it is now extended for an additional three months beginning July 14, 2018.

European Union: Proportionality Test on Future Restrictions for Regulated Professions – As a result of a new EU Directive, EU countries will need to justify whether new restrictions on regulated professions are necessary and balanced. Once the new Directive is fully implemented, EU countries will need to review whether the restriction to perform certain regulated professions is justified by public interest objectives (e.g. public security, public health, consumer protection, combating fraud and tax evasion etc.). Before introducing new or amending existing legislation, EU countries will also need to consult the public and relevant stakeholders, and maintain an easily accessible database of the criteria justifying the restricted access to these professions. EU countries have two years to implement the proportionality test for such restrictions in their national laws. Foreign workers seeking to work in regulated professions should benefit from a more transparent, streamlined and uniform local registration process, which should lower the barriers to working in another EU country. It is estimated that around 50 million people – 22% of the European labour force – work in regulated professions (e.g., engineers, lawyers or architects).

France: Update On Draft Immigration Bill – The French Senate issued preliminary approval of the draft immigration bill on June 26, 2018. Certain points on which the Senate and National Assembly disagree will be discussed by a joint commission later this month. Fragomen will keep clients informed on developments.

Georgia: Strict Compliance Checks at Border Crossings – Reports indicate that customs officials are conducting thorough entry checks and questioning travellers from high-risk locations to verify compliance. Travelers to Georgia are advised to carry all necessary supporting documents and check entry requirements before travel.

Mexico: Delays Continue; Changes Ahead due to New Administration – The delays in work permit, permanent residency and corporate registration processes, among others, are still delayed due to the resignation of multiple immigration officials in Mexico City and Monterrey. Affected foreign nationals should contact their immigration professional to determine the extent of the delays. Additionally, following the election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the new administration is expected to result in immigration-related changes. Fragomen will report on the details and impact of the changes when they are known.

Oman: Visit Visa and Sponsorship Conditions Amended – The Royal Oman Police issued a decision amending the following key provisions of the Foreigners’ Residency Law:

  • A 10-day visit visa for tourism has been reinstated after the authorities removed it in 2017.
  • Entry permits for the following categories of visas are now valid for one month from the date of issue: 10-day, one-month and one-year self-sponsored visas for tourism; 48-hour, 10-day and one-month visas for passengers of cruise ships; visas for residents of other Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) and visas for dependents of citizens of other GCC countries. Previously, entry permit conditions for these visa categories were not specified in the regulations.
  • Entry permits for the following categories of visas are now valid for three months from the date of issue: 10-day, one-month and one-year agency-sponsored visas for tourism and government employment contract visas. Previously, the entry permit conditions for these visa categories were not specified in the regulations.
  • Entry permits for the following categories of visas have been reduced from six to three months from the date of issue: student visas, property owner visas and dependent visas of property owners.
  • A penalty of OMR 10 for overstaying visa conditions has been extended to all categories of visas. Previously, only select categories of visas were covered by the regulation.
  • A right to sponsor domestic workers has been extended to foreign nationals working for a government entity in Oman. Previously, only Omani nationals, GCC nationals, foreign investors and property owners were allowed such sponsorship. 


Poland: Proposal to Hold Companies Liable for Breaches – The Ministry of Justice has proposed to hold employers directly liable for breaches to immigration and other rules. Currently, employers can only be held liable if an executive or other company representative is held personally liable and convicted of an offense listed in the applicable legislation or if the company has been convicted of insufficiently supervising the executive. Under the proposal, public prosecutors could take legal action directly and exclusively against the company. The draft of the related Act is currently under review by the Minister of Justice and must pass the internal legislative path in the Council of Ministers and, if accepted, would then be presented to the Polish Parliament. It could be adopted by the end of this year and be in force starting January 1, 2019. If it is adopted in the currently envisaged form, it will be retroactive. Fragomen will provide updates when they are available.

Slovenia: Faster Single Permit Processing for High-Value and Start-Up Companies – The Employment Service will start performing a more limited background check for companies registered as having high added value or being an innovative start-up in two newly-established registries of the Public Fund for Entrepreneurship. For initial or renewal Single Permit applications, the Employment Service will no longer check whether conditions for registration in the business register are met; whether the company has faced liquidation or bankruptcy proceedings; whether the company has active business operation and/or whether the company has pending tax obligations. Applications should be processed slightly faster as a result.

United Arab Emirates: Visa Exemption for Barbados Nationals – Effective immediately, nationals of Barbados are eligible for visa-free entry into the United Arab Emirates for stays of up to 90 days. Travelers will receive an entry stamp upon arrival. Previously, nationals of Barbados had to apply for a UAE visa prior to travel. Although not explicitly defined in the law, foreign nationals who are visa-exempt or subject to a visa-on-arrival in the UAE are allowed to conduct business activities.

United Arab Emirates: Official Statement Clarifies Entry and Residency of Qatari Citizens – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) clarified that Qatari citizens who currently reside in the United Arab Emirates are not required to apply for permission to continue their residence in the country. However, they are encouraged to obtain pre-approval for re-entry into the country should they decide to depart. Qatari citizens outside of the United Arab Emirates must obtain entry clearance prior to travel. Approvals can be requested through a helpline (+971-800-26-26) set up by the UAE government in June 2017.

 

Global Immigration News Links

  • The Trump Administration is changing the face of legal immigration, as the number of people receiving visas to move permanently to the United States is on pace to drop 12 percent in President Trump's first two years in office, the Washington Post reports.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump has said that he will not sign a new NAFTA deal until after the midterm elections in November.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel has agreed to build border camps for asylum seekers and to tighten the border with Austria in a political deal to save her government.
  • A UK national will argue before the Court of Justice of the European Union that UK overseas voters were not properly consulted during the Brexit referendum.
  • The European Parliament will vote on the legislative proposal introducing a travel registration system for visa-exempt nationals (ETIAS). If approved, the draft would need to be approved by the Council of Ministers before it could become effective.  
  • The European Parliament backs the European Union partnership agreement with Armenia.


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