US

Apr 04 2019

Weekly Immigration Update: March 29-April 4, 2019

Bahrain, Bulgaria, China, Denmark, Ecuador, European Union, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Malta, Mozambique, Netherlands, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Switzerland, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States

In immigration news this week:

  • United States: The FY 2020 H-1B cap filing season has begun and the initial filing period will continue through April 5. USCIS’s newly released H-1B Data Hub allows users to obtain more information about H-1B case outcomes.
  • France: Most of the immigration reforms introduced in September 2018 are now in effect, including stricter requirements for EU Intracompany Transferees, an expanded Talent Passport program, and benefits for students and researchers, among others.
  • Japan: Two new work visas have been introduced for semi-skilled foreign nationals in 14 industries currently experiencing labor shortages.
  • Kuwait: A new law will soon require foreign nationals entering or departing Kuwait to carry a Civil Identification card, instead of a residence permit sticker.
  • Ireland: In a change of policy, de facto partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit holders must now complete a pre-clearance process before filing a visa application and/or travelling to Ireland. Also, effective April 22, more occupations will be eligible for the Critical Skills Employment Permit and General Employment Permit.



In Brexit news this week:

  • European Union/United Kingdom: Brexit will be postponed to April 12 since the UK parliament did not approve the Withdrawal Agreement–the EU’s requirement to allow a Brexit extension until May 22–during a third vote on March 29. The United Kingdom has published guidance on post-Brexit right to work checks on prospective employees.
  • Netherlands: The Dutch Immigration Authority is issuing temporary work and residence permits in the form of letters to registered UK nationals, which are valid during the grace period in case of a no-deal Brexit. Separately, plans have been published on the treatment of qualifying UK national cross-border workers in case of a no-deal Brexit.
  • Bulgaria/Germany/Hungary/Italy: Plans have been published on the treatment of UK nationals in case of a no-deal Brexit.



These items and other news from Bahrain, China, Denmark, Ecuador, the European Union, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mozambique, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, South Korea, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

Venezuela, April 4, 2019

Update - Apostille and Legalization Process Still Unavailable

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reopened on April 3, but the apostille and legalization processes remain unavailable due to the inoperable Ministry website.
  • Additionally, the Ministry has eliminated the personal appearance process, which allowed Venezuelan and foreign nationals to request apostilled documents in person without a previously-scheduled appointment if they could prove upcoming travel. 



To view entire article, click here.

 

South Korea, April 4, 2019

Local Hires Now Require Apostilled or Legalized Documents

  • The Korean Immigration Service now requires applicants for the E-7 Visa (Particular Occupation Visa, used for local hires) to apostille or legalize their work experience certificates and educational degree certificates that support their visa applications.
  • This new requirement may, in certain cases, extend the E-7 Visa application process, though processing times, fees, requirements and process steps for the apostille and/or legalization process varies by consular post.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Ireland, April 3, 2019

More Occupations Eligible for Employment Permits

  • Following a comprehensive review, Irish authorities have added occupations such as civil engineers, construction project managers, and mechanical and electrical engineers to the list of those eligible for a Critical Skills Employment Permit.
  • The government also updated the Ineligible List of Occupations, making many technical and construction-related occupations eligible for a General Employment Permit to address labour shortages in these industries.
  • Employers and foreign nationals will benefit from broader eligibility for the two main Irish permit types.
  • The changes will take effect on April 22, 2019.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 3, 2019

Trump Administration Extends Wind-Down Period and Related Work Authorization for Liberians with Deferred Enforced Departure

  • The wind-down period for Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for eligible Liberians has been extended by twelve months, to March 30, 2020.
  • Eligible Liberian DED beneficiaries can remain in the United States through March 30, 2020.
  • DED employment authorization documents with an expiration date of March 31, 2019 will be automatically extended through September 27, 2019. Where employment authorization is needed beyond this date, a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, must be filed.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 3, 2019

Travel Tips for Foreign Students on OPT or Planning a Change of Status to H-1B

  • If you are an F-1 student who has applied for or is working on optional practical training (OPT) or is the beneficiary of a petition to change status to H-1B in this year's H-1B cap filing season, make sure you understand the risks and requirements of international travel.
  • Traveling abroad could affect your F-1 status, your ability to change status and your ability to reenter the United States.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Ireland, April 2, 2019

Guidelines for De Facto Partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit Holders Published

  • Due to a recent policy change, de facto partners of Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP) holders must complete a pre-clearance process before filing a visa application and/or travelling to Ireland.
  • While this may delay entry, it offers more certainty over the previous process, which required the de facto partner to wait up to six months while their residence permit was adjudicated in Ireland, with the possibility of refusal.
  • While this rule change prevents de facto partners from joining the principal applicant immediately upon the start of the assignment, it allows de facto partners to work shortly after upon entry for any employer, which was not allowed before.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 1, 2019

USCIS Unveils H-1B Data Hub

  • The new data hub allows users to obtain H-1B approval and denial statistics by employer, industry, fiscal year and location, but does not include details about individual cases.
  • Though USCIS has made H-1B petitioner data available for the last several years, the new release includes more information about case outcomes and provides increased search functionality.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 1, 2019

FY 2020 H-1B Cap Season Begins: What Employers and Foreign Nationals Can Expect

  • USCIS is expected to receive a very large number of H-1B cap cases between April 1 and April 5, the opening days of the FY 2020 filing season.
  • USCIS will use a computerized lottery to select the petitions that will be processed to completion. This season, the agency will reverse the order of the regular and advanced-degree cap lotteries.
  • Employers and foreign nationals should expect to wait several weeks or more to learn whether their cap petitions were selected for processing.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Japan, April 1, 2019

Two New Work Visas Introduced for Semi-Skilled Foreign Nationals to Address Labor Shortages

  • The Immigration Bureau has introduced two new work visas, the Specified Skilled Worker 1 and Specified Skilled Worker 2, for semi-skilled workers in 14 industries identified as currently experiencing labor shortages.
  • To qualify, applicants must prove that they possess the required skills and sufficient knowledge or work experience in the relevant industry.
  • Previously, there were no work visas available for semi-skilled professionals.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Kuwait, April 1, 2019

Residence Permit Stickers Replaced with Civil Identification Cards for Entry and Exit

  • A new law, when fully implemented in the coming weeks, will require all foreign nationals in Kuwait to carry a new, more descriptive Civil Identification card and valid passport in order to enter or depart Kuwait.
  • As a result, foreign nationals who applied for residence permits in Kuwait on or after March 10, 2019 will receive the new Civil Identification card instead of a residence sticker when applying for initial or renewed permits.
  • Foreign nationals holding endorsed residence permits approved before March 10, 2019 can continue to enter or depart Kuwait without having to carry their Civil Identification card as long as they have a valid visa. They will receive a new Civil Identification card when they renew their residence status. 



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, March 29, 2019

USCIS Will Begin Premium Processing for Certain H-1B Cap Cases on May 20

  • USCIS will begin 15-day processing of FY 2020 cap cases requesting a change of status on May 20, 2019, provided that the H-1B petitioner files a premium processing request concurrently with the petition.
  • Premium processing for H-1B cap petitions not requesting a change of status will begin in June at the earliest.
  • From May 20 to June 3, USCIS will not honor petitioners’ requests to use pre-paid mailers to send H-1B cap approvals and other final notices.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Colombia, March 29, 2019

Reminder - Immigration Consequences for Colombian Companies Failing to Renew Commercial Registration

Colombian companies who fail to renew their commercial registration (Matrícula Mercantil) by March 31, 2019 may be unable to sponsor foreign nationals for visas, among other immigration consequences.

To view entire article, click here.

 

France, March 29, 2019

Immigration Reforms Take Effect

Several immigration system reforms have been implemented. Key changes include:

  • Stricter application requirements for EU Intracompany Transferee (ICT) Permits, including a longer cooling-off period after completing a transfer;
  • Expanded eligibility and simpler travel documents for dependent children;
  • Greater mobility and expanded eligibility for graduates and researchers; and
  • An expansion of the Talent Passport program. 



To view entire article, click here.

 

Brexit News and Related News Briefs This Week

Germany, April 3, 2019

No-Deal Brexit Plans for UK Nationals Published

The German government has published further plans for the treatment of UK nationals residing in Germany after Brexit day in case of a no-deal Brexit scenario. The new plans provide more favorable treatment for UK nationals in Germany than a previously-published proposal. Central details of the plans include:

  • A grace period ending December 31, 2019 would apply during which time UK nationals already residing in Germany must apply for a work and residence permit, which will be required for UK nationals to remain after the grace period.
  • UK nationals who enter Germany after Brexit day for work would be able to work without a work permit during their first three months of stay. Those staying for over three months will need to obtain a work and residence permit.



All plans require approval from the German parliament, which is expected to occur in the coming weeks.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Bulgaria, April 2, 2019

Post-Brexit Plans for UK Nationals Published

The Bulgarian government has published plans for the treatment of UK nationals residing in Bulgaria after Brexit day in case of both a deal and no-deal Brexit scenario.  The government has only taken legislative steps in terms of a no-deal scenario at this time, and the central details of that plan are:

  • There would be a grace period commencing on Brexit day and ending December 31, 2020, during which time UK nationals who have entered and reside legally in Bulgaria would be able to apply for a national residence document.
  • Non-EU family members would have until December 31, 2020 or March 29, 2022, depending on when they arrived in Bulgaria, to apply for a national residence permit.



Both the no-deal and deal plans provide for a bill that allows amendments to the respective legislation.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom, April 2, 2019

New Guidance Published on Post-Brexit Right to Work Checks

  • After Brexit, employers in the United Kingdom will need to continue to conduct right to work checks on all prospective employees.
  • There will be no change to the way EU, European Economic Area and Swiss nationals prove their right to work in the United Kingdom until January 1, 2021. This remains the same if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Netherlands, April 2, 2019

Brexit Update for UK National Residents and Cross-Border Workers

  • As an update on Brexit no-deal contingency planning in the Netherlands, the Dutch Immigration Authority (IND) is currently issuing temporary work and residence permits in the form of letters to UK nationals registered with Dutch town hall. The permit letters will be valid during the grace period in case of a no-deal Brexit and must be retained for proof of work rights and for travel outside the Netherlands. UK nationals should register a non-temporary personal address with town hall, if not yet completed.
  • Separately, the Dutch government has confirmed that qualifying UK national cross-border workers can continue to perform cross-border work in the Netherlands after Brexit day in case of a no-deal Brexit, provided that their employment contract mentions their Dutch cross-border work and that they collect a passport sticker at an IND office. Affected UK nationals should schedule an appointment to collect a passport sticker at their earliest convenience after Brexit.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Italy, April 1, 2019

No-Deal Brexit Plans for UK Nationals Published

The Italian government has issued a decree outlining the treatment of UK nationals residing in Italy after Brexit day in case of a no-deal Brexit scenario. Central details of the plan include:

  • A grace period until December 31, 2020, during which time UK nationals and their non-EU family members already residing in Italy would be able to apply for a national residence permit.
  • UK nationals residing in Italy for five years or longer on Brexit day would be able to apply for an EU residence permit for long-term residents if eligible.
  • UK nationals residing in Italy for four years or longer on Brexit day would be able to apply for Italian citizenship if eligible.
  • UK nationals residing in Italy for a period shorter than five years on Brexit day would be required to apply for a new residence permit type which has yet to be created. Further information on the eligibility criteria and application process will be published in the coming months.



To view entire article, click here.

 

European Union / United Kingdom, March 29, 2019

Brexit Date Moved to April 12, 2019

  • The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union will be postponed to April 12, 2019. The UK parliament has not approved the Withdrawal Agreement – which the European Union required to allow a Brexit extension until May 22, 2019 – during a third vote on March 29, 2019. 
  • Fragomen expects that the UK parliament will develop further proposals on feasible alternative strategies in the coming days. These may be submitted for a further vote next week. The current most feasible strategies – organising a second referendum and seeking a customs union – would both require Brexit day to be postponed for several months at least and would thus require the United Kingdom to hold European Parliament elections.
  • If the United Kingdom does not identify candidates for European Parliament elections on or before April 11, 2019, a no-deal Brexit will occur automatically.
  • A no-deal Brexit would remain the legal default and could occur on April 12, 2019. Employers are advised to set up contingency plans in case of a no-deal Brexit on April 12, 2019.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Hungary, March 29, 2019

No-Deal Brexit Plans for UK Nationals Published

The Hungarian government has published a draft bill for the treatment of UK nationals residing in Hungary after the United Kingdom’s exit day in case of a no-deal Brexit scenario. Central details of the plan include:

  • A three-year grace period, commencing on the exit day, during which time UK nationals holding a valid registration certificate or permanent residence card in Hungary would be able to apply for a National Settlement Permit, the national permanent residence permit type.
  • Non-EU family members of UK nationals, holding a corresponding residence permit or permanent residence card, would also be able to stay in Hungary and apply for a National Settlement Permit during the grace period.
  • Eligible UK nationals and their family members would benefit from facilitated eligibility criteria for the National Settlement Permit. Alternatively, eligible applicants could apply for an EU Settlement Permit, the Hungarian EU long-term residence permit type, under similar eligibility criteria as non-EU nationals.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Denmark: Update on No-Deal Brexit LawAs an update, the Danish parliament passed the no-deal Brexit law with no significant changes from the initial government proposal, except that the law now contains guidelines for UK nationals and their family members arriving after Brexit day.

European Union: Reciprocal Visa-Free Travel for UK Nationals Forthcoming – The European Parliament has approved visa-free travel for tourist and business trips for up to 90 days in a 180-day period for UK nationals after Brexit in either a deal or no-deal scenario, provided that the United Kingdom offers a similar visa exemption for nationals of all EU countries. Although political commitments to this effect had already been made in the European Union and United Kingdom, and a reciprocal visa exemption was included in the Withdrawal Agreement, further legislative steps tailored to a no-deal scenario remained pending. The Council of Ministers must still formally adopt the proposal, and the proposal must be published before April 12, 2019 for these measures to take effect. 

Switzerland: Update on No-Deal Brexit for Long-Term Stays As an update to ongoing deal and no-deal Brexit preparations, the Swiss government has stated that UK nationals will continue to be visa-exempt for long-term stays requiring local work and residence authorization in Switzerland after Brexit day in case of a no-deal Brexit. Political commitments to ensure visa-free travel for UK nationals to the European Union and vice versa had already been made.

Many other EU countries have published contingency plans for UK nationals in case of a no-deal Brexit, with more expected soon. Fragomen will provide updates on the situation as they become available.

Please contact a Fragomen immigration professional for assistance in planning contingency arrangements in a single project. For more information, please visit Fragomen's dedicated Brexit site, which contains news, FAQs, and analysis/commentary in the form of blogs, videos, webcasts and events.

 

Other Weekly News Briefs

Bahrain: Increased Fees for Employment of Foreign Nationals within Parallel Bahranization Program – Companies whose employment of foreign nationals exceeds the specified ratios of foreign to local workers (Bahranization levels) must now pay an increased fee of BHD 500 for a two-year initial or renewed employment permit for each foreign national employee. Previously, the fee was BHD 300. The increase comes as a result of increased government fees for the Parallel Bahranization program, which addresses the foreign to local worker ratios.

China/Qatar: Reciprocal Visa Waiver Introduced – Effective immediately, nationals of China are eligible for visa-free entry to Qatar for stays of up to 30 days for tourism. While it is common practice for those entering Qatar under visa waiver programs to also undertake basic business activities (such as attending meetings), note that such activities are not expressly permitted in either the visa waiver agreement or Qatari law. Reciprocally, Qatari nationals are eligible for visa-free entry for tourism for up to 30 days when traveling to China. Previously, Chinese nationals were eligible for a 30-day visa-on-arrival (that had an associated cost) when entering Qatar, and Qatari nationals were required to obtain a visa for entry to China. The agreement stipulates that work, study, residency and journalism are not permitted under the visa waiver for entry into either country.

Ecuador: Relaxed Entry Requirements for Venezuelan Nationals – A Constitutional Court resolution expected to be implemented in the next few weeks will temporarily relax entry requirements for Venezuelan nationals entering Ecuador. Under the new resolution, Venezuelan nationals will no longer be required to present an apostilled criminal clearance certificate or a certificate of validity of their Venezuelan identification card upon entry. Additionally, the resolution will allow Venezuelan nationals to enter Ecuador with their Venezuelan identification card if their passport has expired or is valid for less than six months. This is a temporary measure to alleviate the challenges faced by Venezuelan nationals in obtaining such documents. However, Venezuelan nationals should note that even though they do not require an apostilled criminal clearance certificate or a passport valid for at least six months for entry into Ecuador, they will be required to have these documents when they apply for a work visa.

European Union: European Parliament May Limit Temporary Border Checks – In reaction to the border controls in effect in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway and Sweden, the European Parliament recently voted to reconfirm its position that EU countries should limit temporary border checks to two months initially (down from six); and to limit any extensions to one year (instead of two). Parliament also seeks to introduce review by the European Commission and approval by the Council of Ministers for checks lasting beyond six months. Currently, temporary border checks are not subject to detailed scrutiny at EU level, since border checks are typically introduced for national security reasons. Both the European Commission and Parliament have expressed concern that the current limited review undermines the principles of the Schengen area, where no internal border controls should take place. The next step of this proposal will involve new Parliamentary members due to the EU Parliament elections to be held May 23-26, 2019. If the rule is approved, any temporary border controls that are beyond the two-month limit may need to be eliminated. Fragomen will report on the proposal’s status when the EU Parliament addresses this issue.

Kazakhstan: 23 Nationalities Benefit from E-Visa – Authorities have introduced a single-entry e-visa for business trips for nationals of the following countries: the Bahamas, Bermuda, Burundi, Cambodia, Cuba, Greenland, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Kuwait, Laos, Macao SAR, Montenegro, Morocco, Nicaragua, North Macedonia, Oman, Qatar, Serbia, South Africa, Vatican State, Vietnam and the Virgin Islands. Nationals of 117 countries can obtain a single-entry e-visa for tourist trips. E-visa applicants can apply online and receive their visa via email upon approval, whereas under the standard application process, this typically requires two visits to a consular post. Fees, government processing times, document requirements (including a certified invitation letter) and the visa validity (30, 60 or 90 days per 180-day period, depending on the purpose of the trip) should remain unchanged, although applicants are advised to check their individual requirements on the migration portal when filing their e-visa application. Successful applicants must present a printed copy of the e-visa and a passport with remaining validity of three months after the visa expiry date, and can enter Kazakhstan through Nur-Sultan (Astana) and Almaty international airports.

Malta: Increased Exit Checks on Foreign Travelers – In recent months, Fragomen has reported an increase in checks on foreign nationals leaving Malta. If the traveler is found to have overstayed their allowable duration of stay on their residence permit, visa-exempt passport or visa, border officials will typically impose a travel ban of three years or longer, and will request the foreign national to waive their appeal rights.

Mozambique: Delays with Work and Residence Visa Processing – Due to an influx of foreign nationals into Mozambique, some Mozambique consular posts have been sending work visa applications to the immigration department in Mozambique for approval prior to issuance as an added measure of scrutiny. Previously, consular posts could review and approve applications without this step, though this step is part of the formal approval process. This additional step is likely to result in processing delays that can vary by consulate and may delay start dates. While this has only been observed at a few consulates, it may apply across all Mozambican diplomatic missions abroad soon. Fragomen will report if delays expand across many consular posts.

Mozambique: Employee List Required for Immigration Compliance – Employers must submit their annual list of employees through an online portal or by hard copy to the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security between April 1 and April 30, 2019. The list must include all local workers and foreign nationals employed as of March 31, 2019. Failure to comply with this rule will impact approvability of future long-term work permit applications and renewals. Employers requiring assistance with submitting the list of employees should contact their immigration professional or email Africainfo@fragomen.com

New Zealand: Electronic Travel Authorization to be Required for Entry – Starting October 1, 2019, travellers to New Zealand from 60 visa waiver countries will need to obtain an electronic travel authorization (ETA) before travelling to New Zealand. The ETA will be valid for entry for two years and cost NZD 9 for mobile requests and NZD 12 for web browser requests. Travellers will also be required to pay NZD 35 for an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL), which will be valid for the duration of the ETA. The system will open for applications in July 2019. New Zealand citizens traveling with their New Zealand passports and holders of valid New Zealand visas (both resident visas and temporary visas) will not be subject to the ETA requirement. Australian citizens, among others, will be exempt from this requirement. However, Australian permanent residents will need to hold an ETA but will not need to pay the IVL.

Papua New Guinea: Stricter Enforcement of Training and Skills Development Requirements – To ensure compliance with training and skills development requirements for their local employees, the Department of Labour and Industrial Relations (DLIR) will start to strictly enforce the following requirements on companies who sponsor foreign workers into Papua New Guinea:

  • All Training Reports submitted by the company must be signed by the trainee (local employee), regardless of whether the training was conducted in-house or externally, as evidence that the employee has actually received the training provided;
  • The company must concurrently submit a Succession Plan and the Work Permit renewal application;
  • In-house trainers will need to be registered with the National Training Council (NTC); and
  • A copy of the Training Report and Succession Plan must be submitted to NTC.



The stricter enforcement is the result of a DLIR observation that companies are submitting Training Reports even when no actual training took place. Under the rules, companies who sponsor Work Permits for their foreign employees are required to provide training and upskilling opportunities to their local counterparts as a condition for the issuance of the Work Permit. This is done to ensure that the local employee has the skills to replace the foreign employee once the foreign employee leaves at the end of their contract.

Qatar: Visa Service Centers Now Open in India – The Qatar Ministry of Interior has opened visa service centers for Indian nationals who need to complete mandatory immigration procedures prior to traveling to Qatar under a Work Visa in the following locations in India: Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and New Delhi. These service centers have been opened due to a 2018 regulation which requires nationals from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan to complete the following immigration steps in their home country prior to obtaining an entry permit for travel to Qatar: undergo a medical examination, submit their biometric data and have their electronic employment contract signed. In practice, however, applicants have been able to submit Work Visa applications via the alternative process which involves completing these procedures in Qatar. This rule will be implemented at a later date for nationals of Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines and Tunisia.

Qatar: Relaxed Process Allows International Traveling During Renewal Processing – The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs now allows foreign nationals to be abroad while their work visa renewal application is being processed in cases where the Work Entry Visa has expired before their Work Residence Permit. Previously, foreign nationals had to remain in Qatar during the renewal process. The new policy allows foreign nationals seeking to renew work visa applications to travel internationally. As background, foreign nationals entering Qatar for long-term work are normally issued a two- to five-year Work Entry Visa. Upon completing the in-country immigration procedures, they are granted a one- to three-year Work Residence Permit that can be renewed until the Work Entry Visa is no longer valid. Upon expiration of the Work Entry Visa, foreign nationals had to first renew their Work Entry Visa to renew their Work Residence Permit. Note that foreign nationals seeking Work Visa renewals must still return to Qatar to obtain work residence permit approval and identification card, which is later in the renewal process.

Ukraine: Renewal Applicants Must Reconfirm Residence Registration – In a change of policy, the Ukrainian State Migration Service (SMS, the main immigration authority) now requires renewal applicants to reconfirm their residence registration after filing a renewal application, thus requiring applicants or their authorized representative to revisit the registration authorities, where this was not required before. The landlord or their authorized representative does not have to accompany the foreign national for this process; this is only required for the initial residence registration and in case of address changes. The policy change is due to a change in residence permit format: the current plastic card does not allow the foreign national’s residence address to be registered on the permit, where this was possible on the prior paper format. This additional administrative step should not typically affect the renewal timing, since most regional authorities including those in Kyiv require the step to be completed after filing a renewal application.

United Arab Emirates: Income to Become Main Criterion for Sponsorship of Dependents – The Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates has announced that it plans to adopt a decision that would change the main criterion for foreign nationals sponsoring residence permits for dependents from profession to income. This change may allow foreign nationals considered to be low-skilled workers to sponsor dependents, whereas previously they were excluded based on their profession. Currently, the salary requirements in place to sponsor a dependent are: a minimum monthly salary of AED 3,000 (if the employer provides accommodation) or AED 4,000 (if the employer does not provide accommodation). Additionally, foreign nationals with monthly salaries of AED 6,000 and above can sponsor domestic workers. The decision has not yet been published and it is not clear when it will be published and implemented.

United Kingdom: Authorities Publish Endorsing Bodies for New Start-Up and Innovator Visa As an update, the UK immigration authorities have published the list of organisations that are authorized to endorse visa applicants under the new Tier 1 Start-up and Innovator visa types. Visa applicants must obtain endorsement from a listed authorized organisation to qualify for a visa under either of the new visa categories. As a reminder, the Start-up visa would replace the Graduate Entrepreneur route starting July 5, 2019. The Innovator visa would replace the Entrepreneur route starting March 29, 2019. Transitional provisions apply to both visa types.

United Kingdom: ePassport Gates Available Starting JuneAs an update, starting June 1, 2019, eligible travellers from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States will be able to use ePassport gates at UK airports and at Eurostar terminals in Brussels and Paris, allowing for faster entry. Currently, eligible UK, European Economic Area and Swiss nationals, and nationals of the above-listed countries enrolled in the Registered Traveller service can use the ePassport gates. The changes were announced in November 2018, and were expanded to include nationals from Singapore and South Korea in December, but the authorities had not yet confirmed an effective date.

United Kingdom: Update on In-Country Service CentresAs an update, Fragomen has observed several days’ processing delay over the past months in in-country visa services due to the transition to new service centres operated by Sopra Steria, although delays are already decreasing. As a reminder, the new service centres are suitable for in-country applications, including change of status and renewal applications. Applicants with urgent processing needs are advised to opt for priority service models (additional fees may apply). As a reminder, applicants can retain their passports during in-country visa processing; however, they cannot travel until the process is complete.



United Kingdom: Authorities Pilot Scanned Documents for Out-of-Country ApplicationsAs announced in June 2018, several UK consular posts are piloting scanning technology, allowing visa applicants to scan and upload original documents at visa application centres when filing their application or before attending a visa application appointment. Scanning documents allows applicants to retain their original documents (other than their passport, which will be held at the visa application centre until the process is complete) during the processing and is expected to eventually expedite processing by removing wait times for diplomatic mail.

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