Connecticut, US

Apr 06 2018

Weekly Immigration Update: March 30 – April 5, 2018

Angola, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Iraq, Kenya, Mozambique, Netherlands, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States

In United States immigration news this week, the FY 2019 H-1B cap filing season has begun and will continue through April 6. As in past years, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is expected to receive a large number of filings that will exceed the annual cap of 85,000.

Also in the United States, USCIS has provided further updates on its pilot program for Canadians seeking L-1 admission at Blaine, Washington, clarifying that the program will be optional and will run for six months.

In Canada, the Quebec government has published new regulations affecting foreign nationals applying for permanent residence using Quebec Selection Certificates (CSQs) and the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP).

The Netherlands has announced a significant decrease in government fees for a number of immigration categories, including highly-skilled migrants, EU Intracompany Transferee permits and recognized sponsorship. The lower fees will apply to applications filed on or after May 3, 2018.

These items and other news from Angola, Belgium, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Iraq, Kenya, Mozambique, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, April 3, 2018

USCIS Releases New Details about Pilot Program for Canadian L-1 Applicants at Blaine, WA

USCIS has provided further updates on its pilot program for Canadians seeking L-1 admission at Blaine, Washington, clarifying that the program will be optional and will run for six months.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, April 2, 2018

FY 2019 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 2 and April 6, the opening days of the FY 2019 filing season.
  • The agency will use a computerized lottery to select the petitions that will be processed to completion.
  • 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.

 

Canada, April 5, 2018

New Regulations for Quebec’s Permanent Residence Programs

The Quebec government has published new regulations affecting foreign nationals applying for permanent residence using Quebec Selection Certificates (CSQs) and the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP).

  • The Quebec government is not accepting applications for CSQs from April 1, 2018 through August 15, 2018 for certain immigration streams, including the QIIP.
  • Once the QIIP reopens, applicants will require a higher investment level and net asset amount than previously required. 
  • The Quebec government is limited to receiving a maximum of 5,000 CSQs under the Skilled Worker stream between April 1 and August 15, 2018.  



To view entire article, click here.

 

United Arab Emirates, April 3, 2018

Certificate of Good Conduct Requirement Suspended

Effective April 1, 2018, the United Arab Emirates Cabinet suspended its decision requiring employment visa applicants to obtain a certificate of good conduct. The suspension is in effect until further notice. 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Netherlands, March 30, 2018

Significant Reduction in Government Fees Forthcoming

The Dutch government has announced a significant decrease in government fees for a number of immigration categories, including highly-skilled migrants, EU Intracompany Transferee (ICT) permits and recognized sponsorship. The lower fees will apply to applications filed on or after May 3, 2018.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Weekly News Briefs

United States: USCIS to Destroy Undeliverable Documents After 60 Days – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will destroy undeliverable employment authorization documents, travel documents, and permanent resident cards after 60 days from their return as undeliverable, unless the intended recipient provides USCIS with the correct address within that time frame. Applicants are advised to report address changes within 10 days of relocating using the applicable change of address instructions. Filing Form AR-11 does not update the address for pending or recently adjudicated applications, which must be updated separately. To mitigate delivery issues, the USCIS Ombudsman has advised applicants who move to ask local post offices to hold their mail.

United States: Latest PERM and PWD Processing Times – As of March 31, 2018, the Department of Labor (DOL) was conducting analyst review for PERM applications filed in November 2017 or earlier, and processing audited cases filed in August 2017 or earlier. DOL is working on standard reconsideration requests submitted in February 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 January 2018 and January 2017, respectively. The agency has been processing PERM and H-1B redeterminations requested in February 2018, and PERM center director reviews requested in February 2018. 

These reports are available on the iCERT home page. 

Angola: Tourist Visa Application Process Outlined The simplified visa process for nationals of 35 countries has been outlined. According to the updated guidelines, Angolan consular posts must issue tourist visas within three business days. Tourist visa applications may be submitted online through the official government website. Following online document submission, applicants must appear at a consular post to obtain their visa.

Belgium: Single Permit Update for Wallonia – The Walloon government has drafted further implementing legislation necessary to enable Single Permits to be issued. A first reading of the legislation took place on March 29, 2018 in Belgian parliament, however the results of the reading have not yet been published. Fragomen expects that the Walloon government will seek legislative advice, similar to the Flanders Single Permit approval process. As background, this legislation is related an EU Directive required all EU countries to create a Single Permit by December 2013 to reduce the administrative burden of immigration applications that required a separate residence permit and work permit.

Colombia: Immigration Consequences for Colombian Companies Failing to Renew Commercial Registration – Colombian companies who failed to renew their commercial registration (Matrícula Mercantil) by March 31, 2018 may be unable to sponsor foreign nationals for visas, among other immigration consequences. The commercial registration renewal, which is mandatory, is normally handled by local companies’ corporate or tax advisors.

Dominican Republic: Letter of Guarantee Reinstated as Visa Application Requirement – Effective immediately, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic is again requiring foreign nationals to submit a letter of guarantee from the inviting Dominican company with their consular visa application. The letter confirms that the local company takes responsibility for any expenses incurred by the foreign national while in the Dominican Republic. Immigration authorities had cancelled this requirement in November 2017. This impacts applications for NM1 visas (business visas with work purpose), which is the main visa process in the Dominican Republic.

Iraq: Issuance of Entry Visas Allowed for Foreign Nationals Arriving from Iraqi Kurdistan – The Ministry of Interior has reinstated the process of issuing entry visas based on an approved visa invitation letter to foreign nationals arriving in Federal Iraq directly from Iraqi Kurdistan. The decision comes a few weeks after the reopening of international flights in Iraqi Kurdistan. Foreign nationals can again fly to Iraqi Kurdistan (e.g., Erbil, Sulaymaniyah) and then on to Federal Iraq (e.g., Baghdad, Basrah) as long as they remain compliant with immigration requirements in both regions.

Kenya: Visa-Free Travel for Mozambique Nationals– The President of Kenya has announced that Mozambique nationals traveling to Kenya for business, tourism or medical stays will become visa-exempt for entry to Kenya. No date for the implementation of this visa exemption was provided. Until the rule is implemented, Mozambique nationals traveling for business, tourism or medical reasons must obtain a visa prior to traveling to Kenya. Fragomen will update with further details when they are available.

Mozambique: Employee List Required for Immigration Compliance – Mozambican companies 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, 2018. The list must include all local workers and foreign nationals employed as of March 31, 2018. 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 Africainfo@fragomen.com

Ukraine: E-Visa Service Launched for Business and Tourist Visas – Ukraine has launched an e-visa service for foreign nationals applying for tourist or business visas from 46 eligible countries. The visas will be issued as single-entry for up to a 30-day stay in Ukraine. The application process for the new e-visa will include:

  • Registering on the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s website;
  • Filing an online application form;
  • Uploading a scanned copy of the required documents; and
  • Paying a consular fee of USD 65 online.
  • The electronic visa will be emailed to the address provided within nine days.



Foreign nationals can expect a faster and more streamlined process when applying for tourist and business visas.

United Arab Emirates: New Rules for Part-Time Employment – Job seekers in the United Arab Emirates are no longer required to obtain permission from their existing employer to undertake part-time job(s), according to a new law. The law also expands the categories of workers who can engage in part-time employment to UAE citizens and residents, as well as foreign nationals overseas, who hold a university degree or a diploma in any technical or scientific field. It also outlines defines the responsibilities of the primary and secondary employer(s) in regard to obtaining the necessary permits, payment of salaries and any other financial obligations. Finally, the new law sets out the maximum working hours for part-time employees to eight hours a day or 48 hours per week.

 

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