May 20 2021

Weekly Immigration Update: May 14–20, 2021

Albania, Angola, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Barbados, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Chad, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, European Union, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Montenegro, Nepal , Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal, Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden, Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia , Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam, Zambia

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 COVID-19 website for the latest immigration updates.
  • United States: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has formally removed from the Code of Federal Regulations a regulation that would have tightened the criteria for the H-1B program. Though the regulation never took effect due to a federal court ruling, DHS’s action officially reinstates longstanding H-1B eligibility criteria. According to the State Department’s June Visa Bulletin, the employment-based visa categories will continue to advance. USCIS will accept employment-based adjustment of status applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is earlier than the Final Action Dates listed in the State Department’s June 2021 Visa Bulletin.
  • Slovenia: The Slovenian parliament approved updated legislation to address several pending immigration process-related issues, including the adoption of the EU Students and Researchers Directive; and the implementation of stricter permit renewal requirements, residence requirements to sponsor family under the general permit and language requirements, among others.
  • Ireland: Irish authorities have resumed long-stay processing for eligible Employment Permit holders, family members and de facto partners.
  • Latin America: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru have approved the Andean Immigration Statute, which, once implemented by each individual member country, will offer reciprocal immigration benefits to each other’s nationals and permanent residents.



These items and other news from Bolivia, Ecuador, the European Union, Mexico, Sweden, and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.  

 

Important updates in immigration this week



United States, May 20, 2021

June 2021 Visa Bulletin Update: USCIS to Honor Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Categories

Next month, USCIS will accept employment-based adjustment of status applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is earlier than the Final Action Dates listed in the State Department’s June 2021 Visa Bulletin.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Ireland, May 20, 2021

Employment and Family Visa Processing Resumes Amid COVID-19-Related Processing Suspension

  • Irish authorities have resumed long-stay visa processing for eligible Employment Permit holders, family members and de facto partners.
  • Suspension of short-term visas and hotel quarantine for some travelers remain in place.
  • Employers and foreign nationals will benefit from being able to travel to Ireland once again, once visas are obtained.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Latin America, May 19, 2021

Regional Agreement Between Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru

  • Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru (the full members of the Andean Community - CAN) have approved the Andean Immigration Statute, which will offer reciprocal immigration benefits to each other’s nationals, as well as permanent residents and their families.
  • Eligible foreign nationals will benefit from new nationality-based temporary and permanent residence categories in the other signatory countries and the ability to enter these countries using their national identification document instead of a passport, among other benefits.
  • The statute is expected to take effect on August 13, 2021. Until then, each member country must draft and publish new immigration regulations implementing the statute, which could vary by country.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, May 19, 2021

June 2021 Visa Bulletin: Strong Movement Across Employment-Based Categories

  • EB-1 China and EB-1 India will remain current. 
  • EB-2 China will advance by five months, to May 1, 2017, and EB-2 India will advance by four months, to December 1, 2010.
  • EB-3 China will advance by three and a half months to September 1, 2018, while EB-3 India will advance by nine months to November 1, 2011.
  • EB-5 China will advance by one month, to September 15, 2015, and EB-5 Vietnam will advance by two months to April 15, 2018.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, May 18, 2021

DHS Formally Rescinds a Regulation that Sought to Tighten H-1B Program Criteria

  • The Department of Homeland Security has formally vacated a regulation that would have redefined the H-1B specialty occupation, restricted offsite placement of H-1B employees, and otherwise increased employer compliance obligations.
  • The vacatur follows a federal court ruling that set aside the regulation because the agency did not have good cause to bypass notice and comment rulemaking, in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. 
  • Though the regulation had never formally taken effect, DHS’s action today officially reinstates the longstanding H-1B criteria into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). 



To view entire article, click here.

 

Slovenia, May 18, 2021

Stricter Immigration Rules and Adoption of Students and Researchers Directive Forthcoming

The Slovenian parliament approved updated legislation to address several pending immigration process-related issues. The legislation takes effect May 26, and includes the following key changes:

  • A requirement for foreign nationals seeking to sponsor family members to reside in Slovenia for two years;
  • Proof of funds required for renewal, change of status or permanent residence permit applications;
  • Language requirements for renewal applicants and family members; and
  • Creation of new permit types for students, researchers and trainees.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other weekly news briefs



Bolivia/Mexico: Visa Waiver Agreement Signed Between Mexico and Bolivia – A bilateral agreement signed by the governments of Mexico and Bolivia to facilitate movement between the two countries has been published in Mexico’s federal Official Gazette, confirming visa-free entry for nationals of Bolivia traveling to Mexico for tourism, business or other non-remunerated activities for up to 180 days per visit, effective May 24, 2021. Fragomen is monitoring the implementation of the agreement in Bolivia and will report on relevant changes. Currently, nationals of Mexico do not require a visa for entry to Bolivia, and in practice, may be permitted to conduct certain, non-technical business activities for up to 30 days in tourist status.  

Ecuador: Visa Exemptions Revoked for Nationals of Five Countries – Effective immediately, nationals of the Republic of Congo, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Mali and Myanmar are no longer visa-exempt when entering Ecuador for tourism and business. Instead, these nationals must obtain a consular Tourist/Business Visa to enter Ecuador (which can take up to five weeks or more depending on the consular post), which typically allows an initial stay of 90 days and is extendable in Ecuador for an additional 90 days at the discretion of immigration authorities. The measure follows a visa exemption revocation in April 2020 for nationals of five countries and an earlier visa exemption revocation in August 2019 for nationals of 11 countries, in response to an increase in the number of nationals of these countries who have entered Ecuador and  overstayed their allowed stay period during the last few years.   

European Union: Reminder on Post-Brexit Rights Application Deadline – As a reminder, UK nationals and their family members seeking residence rights under the Withdrawal Agreement based on residence before December 31, 2020 must apply before or on June 30, 2021 in Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands and Slovakia. See this consolidated page for further details.

European Union: Entry Permission for Vaccinated Travelers, Broader Greenlist Forthcoming – The Council of the European Union has recommended that EU countries allow non-essential travel for vaccinated travelers from any country, where travelers are fully vaccinated with a European Medicines Agency-approved vaccine at least 14 days before entry. The recommendation also states that EU countries should implement a mechanism to immediately restrict travel into the European Union from countries where a variant causes concerns (without affecting EU citizens, long-term travelers and certain essential travelers). The Council has also recommended amending the criteria for setting the 'greenlist' for entry from non-EU countries to 75 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the previous 14 days, up from 25 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Other criteria will continue to apply, such as vaccination progress, prevalence of virus variants, case trend, number of tests and positivity rate, overall COVID-19 response and the reliability of information. The Council has yet to publish an updated entry 'greenlist' using the new criteria. It is expected that EU Member States will start applying these recommendations in the next few weeks.

Sweden: Applicants Must Now Confirm Language Skills for all Residence Permit Types – Effective immediately, online permit applications for all residence permit types in Sweden must include information on the applicant's language skills. The Swedish government has not yet confirmed what level of the Swedish language applicants will have to prove, though guidelines are expected to be released in the near future. The change affects initial and renewal work authorization applications, dependent permit applications and permanent residence permit applications.

United States: Biden Revokes Proclamation Imposing Health Insurance Requirement on Immigrant Visa Applicants – Effective May 14, President Biden revoked a proclamation issued by former President Trump in October 2019 (Presidential Proclamation (PP) 9945) that required immigrant visa applicants to show that they would have unsubsidized health insurance within 30 days after entry to the United States or the financial means to cover reasonably foreseeable medical expenses. Since its issuance, federal court injunctions have prevented PP 9945 from taking effect. As a result of the revocation, the Proclamation will not be implemented. In his revocation, President Biden noted that PP 9945 “does not advance the interests of the United States,” and also fails to align with his Executive Order 14012 (Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans), which directs federal agencies to reduce barriers to U.S. immigration.

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

 

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