Virginia, US

Jun 11 2020

Weekly Immigration Update: June 5-11, 2020

Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, European Union, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Republic of the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, The Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, 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: Employers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will no longer automatically receive additional time to respond to Department of Labor inquiries and recruit for PERM positions. FY 2021 Diversity Visa lottery entrants must check the State Department’s official website to learn whether they have been chosen.
  • European Union: The European Commission has proposed a common approach toward removing restrictions on non-essential travel to the European Union starting July 1, while encouraging all EU Member States to lift restrictions to free movement within the EU by June 15. The proposal also adopts Fragomen’s recommendation to expand travel exemptions to some non-EU highly qualified workers and students.
  • Mauritius: Forthcoming changes to the Occupation, Residence and Investor Permits as well as the Permanent Resident Permit will be the first permanent immigration system overhauls to be implemented in Africa in response to the effect that COVID-19 has had on the economy.

 

These items and other news from Bahrain, Colombia, Cyprus, Oman, and Peru follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

European Union, June 11, 2020

European Commission Recommends Easing EU COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

  • The European Commission has published a proposal recommending a coordinated and flexible approach toward removing restrictions on non-essential travel to the European Union starting July 1, 2020.
  • The European Commission strongly encourages all EU Member States to reopen their internal borders and lift restrictions to free movement within the European Union by June 15.
  • By the end of June, the European Commission and the EU Member States are expected to prepare a list of third countries for which travel restrictions can be lifted starting July 1 based on criteria including each country’s epidemiological situation and response to COVID-19 in the third country; the possibility to apply containment measures during travel (including physical distancing); and any reciprocity measures.
  • Member States are encouraged to resume visa processing to coincide with the re-opening of borders

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Mauritius, June 8, 2020

Occupation and Residence Permit Improvements Forthcoming

  • Key changes include the combination of the Occupation and Residence Permits into one category, a longer validity period, a reduced minimum investment amount for the Investor Visa, and the doubling of the validity period of the Permanent Residence Permit.
  • The government did not announce the effective dates of the changes.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, June 8, 2020

State Department Selects FY 2021 Diversity Visa Lottery Winners

  • Lottery entrants must check the State Department’s official Diversity Visa Lottery website to learn whether they have been chosen. Entrants may experience delays accessing the official website due to heavy user traffic.  
  • The State Department does not send direct notification to lottery winners. 
  • Successful entrants can submit an application for permanent residence during FY 2021, which begins on October 1, 2020.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, June 4, 2020

Labor Department Will Not Extend COVID-19 Extension of Time to Respond to Inquiries and Recruit for PERM Filings

  • Employers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will no longer automatically receive additional time to respond to DOL inquiries. 
  • The Department of Labor’s accommodation granting an additional 60-days to post PERM recruitment will not be extended to PERM filings submitted after May 12, 2020.
  • The Department of Labor will entertain timely requests to extend deadlines to respond to DOL inquiries, though approvals are not guaranteed. 

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Weekly News Briefs

Bahrain: New Electronic Platform Launched for Job Seekers – The Labor Market Regulatory Authority launched a new electronic platform, Talent Portal, to connect job seekers in Bahrain with employers that have available job vacancies but are unable to recruit workers from overseas due to COVID-19 immigration and travel restrictions. Job seekers can use Talent Portal to create an online account, upload their resume and post any other employment-related information to allow companies with recruitment needs to identify potential candidates. There is no cost to register on the platform and it is expected to remain operational beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Colombia: Technical Issues with Online Visa Application System Causing Visa Application Delays – The Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' online application platform is experiencing technical issues due to system maintenance, preventing initial or renewal visa applications from being filed. Visa applicants should expect delays until the system is fully restored, which is expected within the next few days. The issuance of electronic visa approvals and online submission of additional documents for previously filed applications are unaffected at this time. As a reminder, the Ministry is currently accepting and processing visa applications only from foreign nationals who are in Colombia in a valid status in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Cyprus: Bank Guarantee Requirement Abolished Effective immediately, Cyprus host companies no longer need to obtain a bank guarantee for foreign national entry permit applicants seeking to travel to Cyprus for employment purposes. Host companies instead can sign a declaration that all repatriation costs, if applicable, will be covered by the host company. The foreign national would include this declaration with their entry permit application.

Oman: No-Objection Certificate Requirement to Be Eliminated from Sponsorship Transfer Process – The Royal Oman Police issued a law which will eliminate the no-objection certificate (NOC) currently required for foreign nationals changing employment in Oman, effective January 2021. Instead of obtaining a NOC, foreign nationals will have to prove that their previous employment has ended, while the new employer will have to ensure that appropriate labor clearance for the individual has been obtained. This new rule is expected to significantly ease the process of changing employment sponsorship. Previously, foreign nationals who were unable to obtain a NOC from their prior employer were required to leave Oman and wait two years before applying for work authorization with a new employer. It is expected that residence visas for dependent family members will automatically transfer under the new sponsorship along with the principal’s work and residence authorizations.

Peru: In-Country Online Applications Require Additional Personal Information – The National Superintendence of Immigration is requesting significant additional personal information from foreign nationals filing in-country change of status or resident visa renewal applications. Affected applicants must now provide detailed information about their residence in Peru, emergency contacts, illnesses and vaccinations, educational and employment background, countries of residence outside Peru, types of bank accounts opened in Peru and abroad, bank credit applications, and driver's licenses they hold, among others. Prior to the Superintendence's closures due to COVID-19 and implementation of the online application platforms, applicants were only required to submit general identification information with visa-specific supporting documents. Fragomen is contacting affected employees to gather the required information.

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