Virginia, US

May 24 2018

Weekly Immigration Update: May 18 - 24, 2018

Angola, China, Colombia, Ireland, Kenya, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela

In United States immigration news this week, the Department of Homeland Security's proposed rule to terminate the employment authorization program for certain H-4 spouses is expected to be published for public feedback in June.

Also in the United States, USCIS has opened the final filing period for nationals of Nepal to extend their Temporary Protected Status (TPS) through June 24, 2019. Foreign nationals planning to travel internationally this summer should make sure that they have all necessary documents to reenter the United States and familiarize themselves with procedures at U.S. consulates and ports of entry.

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 sixth time.

Ukraine has announced upcoming restrictions to Temporary Residence Permit processing times, renewal deadlines and the application process, as well as a shorter validity period for Permanent Residence Permits.

China is gradually enforcing a requirement for most foreign nationals to register their biometric information upon arrival. 

All work permit holders in Kenya must now appear at the Department of Immigration to submit their fingerprints and required documentation by July 21, 2018.

These items and other news from Angola, Colombia, Ireland, Paraguay, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.


Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, May 23, 2018

Proposal to Rescind H-4 EAD Regulation Moves Closer to Completion

  • DHS has told a federal appeals court that it is in the last stages of drafting the proposed rule that would terminate the employment authorization program for certain H-4 spouses.
  • The proposal is expected to be published for public feedback in June.
  • Eligible H-4 spouses should still be able to apply for employment authorization under current rules.

To view entire article, click here.


United States, May 22, 2018

Nepal TPS Re-Registration Period Opens

  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nepal is extended for 12 months, from June 24, 2018, through June 24, 2019.
  • Current Nepal TPS beneficiaries will have through July 23, 2018 to re-register to maintain status through June 24, 2019, according to a USCIS notice published today.
  • Nepal TPS employment authorization documents with an expiration date of June 24, 2018 will automatically be extended through December 21, 2018.

To view entire article, click here.


United States, May 21, 2018

Summer Travel Planning for Foreign Nationals

  • If you are a foreign national planning to travel internationally this summer, make sure that you have all the necessary documents, including a passport with sufficient remaining validity, a valid U.S. visa in the appropriate classification, and advance permission to travel if necessary.
  • If you will need to apply for a visa while you are abroad, be prepared for possible delays in visa issuance.
  • On reentry to the United States, expect thorough screening at the port of entry.

To view entire article, click here.


Ukraine, May 23, 2018

Temporary and Permanent Residence Permit Restrictions Forthcoming

The Ukrainian State Migration Service has announced upcoming restrictions to Temporary Residence Permit processing times, renewal deadlines and the application process, as well as a shorter validity period for Permanent Residence Permits. Foreign nationals should anticipate delays in obtaining and renewing such permits around June 2, as the government works to implement the changes.

To view entire article, click here.


China, May 23, 2018

Biometric Registration Requirement for Foreign Nationals

Immigration authorities in China now require foreign nationals between 14 and 70 years old, inclusive, to register their biometric information upon arrival. This rule is being enforced gradually nationwide, starting with a pilot program that launched in Shenzhen in February 2017, and will be followed by implementation in other cities such as Shanghai and Guangzhou.

To view entire article, click here.


Kenya, May 21, 2018

Foreign Workers Must Appear at Department of Immigration to Submit Fingerprints by July 21

The Department of Immigration in Kenya launched a mandatory work permit verification exercise that requires all work permit holders in Kenya to appear at the Department of Immigration to submit their fingerprints and required documentation by July 21, 2018. Those whose immigration status is verified will receive an e-Permit, which allows the government to better track foreign workers, and gives foreign workers the benefit of proving their work permit and residency status with one document.

To view entire article, click here.


Saudi Arabia, May 21, 2018

Visitor Visa Restrictions Introduced for Some Nationals Applying in Dubai

Saudi Arabian authorities have restricted certain Saudi visitor visa conditions for applicants from Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa and Ukraine applying for Saudi visas in Dubai, according to an announcement by the Saudi visa application centre in Dubai.

To view entire article, click here.


United Kingdom, May 18, 2018

Tier 2 General Cap Reached for the Sixth Time

As anticipated, 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.


Weekly News Briefs

Angola: Additional Requirements for Oil and Gas Work Permit Renewals – The Ministry of Petroleum has added a requirement for foreign nationals in the oil and gas sector renewing their work permit to submit a CV and local police clearance certificate. The police clearance certificate can take up to five to seven business days to obtain, therefore, foreign nationals should start preparing their application documents earlier than before.

Colombia: Delays in Obtaining Birth and Marriage Certificates – Due to changes within the Main Registry Office (Registraduría Nacional del Estado Civil), the current processing time to obtain birth and marriage certificates is eight business days instead of the normal three business days. These delays impact Colombian and foreign nationals living abroad who were married or had children in Colombia who require a birth or marriage certificate for immigration or other purposes. It is unclear when processing times will normalize; Fragomen will provide updates when they are available.

Ireland: Immigration Authority Warns of Fraudulent Letters – The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) has warned foreign nationals and citizens of fraudulent letters sent via email requesting payment of processing and administration fees. The fraudulent letters use official logos from government departments and include an application form/certificate. Foreign nationals and citizens are requested to contact INIS or the police immediately upon receipt of suspicious payment requests.

Paraguay: Visas-on-Arrival Available for UAE Nationals – Effective immediately, UAE nationals will be issued a visa-on-arrival upon arrival in Paraguay, which will allow a stay up to 30 days for tourism or business purposes. Previously, UAE nationals had to apply for a visa at a Paraguayan consulate prior to travel. UAE nationals will benefit from an expedited travel process as they will no longer face consular processing times.

Saudi Arabia: Summer Training Program 2018 Launch Date Announced – The Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MOLSD) have announced the launch of the 2018 edition of the Summer Training Program, called Saifi, which aims at preparing students to acquire necessary work experience in order to meet Saudi labour market needs. Saifi will start on July 8, 2018 and will run for four weeks. Companies may register for the program directly through the HRDF’s website. Employers in the private sector with more than 25 employees must participate in summer training programs and must offer students on-the-job training at their site, or must arrange a course through an approved institute. Fragomen can assist employers with the Saifi Summer Training Program registration process.

Sri Lanka: Significant Amendments to Immigration System Forthcoming – The government of Sri Lanka has proposed a new law to replace the existing main immigration law in the country. Although the move is intended to streamline the immigration process and expedite the granting of Residence Visas for employment, it also includes new visa regulations that may restrict the requirements for foreign professionals. These restrictions include a new screening process that gives professional bodies an integral role in evaluating a foreign nationals' academic qualifications and work experience, and labor market testing requirements that seek to ensure that qualified Sri Lankans are given the opportunity to fill the required position. If approved, such changes could likely cause visa application rejections or delays. The changes are still in the drafting stage and will likely take several months to finalize. Fragomen will monitor the situation and provide updates once available.

United Arab Emirates: Changes Announced to Residency Rules for Scientists, Researchers, Students – The Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates has announced that international investors and professionals in medical, scientific, research and technical fields as well as all scientists and innovators will be eligible for residency permits with a validity of up to ten years.  The new rule also extends the maximum validity of residency permits for foreign students for up to five years, or up to ten years for foreign students with exceptional skills. A revised policy is also expected regarding the visa validity for students under the sponsorship of their guardians who have completed their education in the United Arab Emirates. Currently, UAE residency permits are issued with a maximum validity of three years, depending on the issuing authority. Further details of the new law are expected to be announced in the coming months, and the changes are expected to be implemented by the end of this year.

United Arab Emirates: New Regulations Announced for Employment of Emirati Nationals – The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has announced a new resolution regarding the employment of Emirati nationals in the private sector in the mainland. The new law sets out procedures that companies must follow when hiring and terminating UAE nationals, including the submission of an end-of-service interview report to determine the reasons for concluding the employment relationship. According to the announcement, an orientation program will be offered to new hires to ensure their awareness of rights and obligations for employment. Employers should be prepared to follow the additional new rules.

Venezuela: Requirements Revised Again for Personal Appearance Process to Obtain Legalized  Documents  – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has again changed the requirements to obtain legalized documents in Venezuela. Effective immediately, Venezuelan and foreign nationals seeking to obtain legalized documents in Venezuela must:

  • Present an outgoing airline ticket validated by the airline, showing proof of travel within 15 calendar days of travel (as opposed to the previous three-day requirement);
  • Present their purchase receipt for the airline ticket (this is a new requirement); and
  • Submit their application in person on Mondays or Tuesdays (as opposed to the previous Monday through Thursday openings).

Due to ongoing Ministry of Foreign Affairs website issues, foreign and Venezuelan nationals should check with their immigration professional to determine whether the website works before they plan their travel.


Global Immigration News Links

  • U.S. President Donald Trump said he would only approve immigration legislation that met all of his demands, including a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
  • U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ended administrative closure, a common practice by immigration judges that gave some immigrants reprieves from deportation, Reuters reports.
  • Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have proposed a new name for the latter in an attempt to resolve a historic name dispute – a prerequisite for FYR Macedonia to join the European Union.
  • Six Balkan states will have a longer wait on their path to potential EU membership, The Guardian reports.

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