May 30 2019

Weekly Immigration Update: May 24-30, 2019

Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Chile, European Union, Indonesia, Iraq, Malaysia, Mozambique, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States

In immigration news this week:

  • United States: Starting June 24, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will increase individual application fees for most students and exchange visitors and almost double the fee for schools requesting initial Student and Exchange Visitor Program certification.
  • United Kingdom: The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has published its recommended changes to the Shortage Occupation List.
  • Australia: Few significant immigration policy changes are expected following the coalition government's election victory on May 18.
  • Qatar: Foreign nationals seeking work permits in select professions are now required to hold a university degree to register their employment contract with the Ministry of Labor.
  • United Arab Emirates: The Cabinet has launched a permanent residence program to attract foreign investors.
  • Mozambique: Changes in residence permit expiration calculations will now require foreign nationals and their dependents to leave Mozambique during the processing of their work permit renewals.
  • Worldwide: In the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Asia, foreign nationals and their employers can expect immigration processing delays through June during the observance of Eid-al-Fitr.

These items and other news from Bahrain, Belgium, Chile, the European Union, South Africa, Thailand, and the United Kingdom follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.


Important Updates in Immigration This Week

Qatar, May 30, 2019

University Degrees Now Required for Project Coordinators and General Supervisors

  • Foreign nationals seeking Qatari work permits in select professions, notably including Project Coordinators and General Supervisors, are now required to hold a university degree in order to register their employment contract with the Ministry of Labour. No formal announcement of this change was made by Qatari authorities.
  • While foreign nationals in these professions are still able to obtain a visa, because they cannot register their employment contract without holding a degree, they are unable to obtain a Residence Permit.
  • The new requirement means that permit applications will take longer to prepare to account for the time necessary to obtain educational supporting documents.

To view entire article, click here.


United States, May 30, 2019

ICE’s Revised Student and Exchange Visitor Fees to Take Effect June 24

  • Effective June 24, 2019, the Student and Exchange Visitor System (SEVIS) fee for F and M students will increase to $350, from $200, and for most J exchange visitors to $220, from $180.
  • Schools requesting initial certification in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) will face a $3,000 fee, up from $1,700.
  • SEVP-certified schools will now be subject to filing fees when seeking recertification, requiring a site visit after changing or adding a physical location or appealing the denial of a request for certification or recertification. 

To view entire article, click here.


Mozambique, May 30, 2019

Departure Now Required for Work Permit Renewals After Government Changes How Residence Permit Expiries are Calculated

  • Mozambique’s immigration authorities have confirmed that residence permits will now be issued only until the date of the expiry of a foreign worker's work permit, rather than two years from entry, which was the prior practice.
  • As a result, foreign nationals seeking to renew their work permit will need to leave Mozambique with their dependents during the processing of the new work permit, because they would no longer have a valid residence permit to remain in country.

To view entire article, click here.


Worldwide, May 30, 2019

Immigration Processing Delays Expected as Governments Shut Down for Eid al-Fitr Holiday

Foreign nationals and their employers can expect immigration processing delays to continue well into June in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and parts of Asia due to government closures in observance of Eid-al-Fitr.

To view entire article, click here.


Australia, May 29, 2019

Few Significant Immigration Policy Changes Expected Following Coalition Government’s Election Win

  • This week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced his ministerial team, following the Coalition Government’s election victory on May 18.
  • There are no significant changes to the government’s immigration leadership, with Peter Dutton retained as the Minister for Home Affairs and David Coleman as Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs.

To view entire article, click here.


United Kingdom, May 29, 2019

Migration Advisory Committee Publishes Recommended Changes to Shortage Occupation List

  • The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has published its review of the UK’s Shortage Occupation List (SOL). Foreign nationals in recognized shortage occupations can enter the UK more quickly and with more certainty under Tier 2 (General).
  • The MAC recommends broadening the types of roles that appear on the SOL. Currently the list accounts for approximately 1% of all job roles in the UK. The MAC’s recommendations would increase the list's coverage to approximately 9%.
  • The MAC recommends adding a number of occupations to the SOL, including all roles related to software development, programmers, web designers, veterinarians, health workers and architects, among others.

To view entire article, click here.


United Arab Emirates, May 28, 2019

Permanent Residence Program Announced

  • The Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates has launched a permanent residence program called the Golden Card for investors, outstanding students and foreign nationals with exceptional talents, among others.
  • This is the first permanent residence option in the United Arab Emirates and is meant to attract foreign investors.

To view entire article, click here.


Thailand, May 27, 2019

One-Stop Service Center Changes Eligibility Rules

  • Effective May 31, 2019, employees of companies not registered with the Board of Investment in Thailand will no longer be able to file their Long-Term Visa applications at the One-Stop Service Center if their company does not have a registered office with the Ministry of Commerce in Bangkok.
  • This change will mean a more burdensome and longer immigration process for affected foreign employees. However, it will not impact foreign employees of companies registered with the Board of Investment.

To view entire article, click here.


Brexit News and Related News Briefs This Week

United Kingdom / European Union: UK Parliament Formally Confirms EU Nationals’ Visa-Free Travel After BrexitAs an update, the UK parliament has adopted legislation formally confirming visa-free travel for European Economic Area and Swiss nationals on tourist and business trips for up to three months. Entry can be via an e-gate, and no formal documentation will be issued. This provision is intended as a contingency measure in case of a no-deal Brexit. Authorities continue to work towards legislation on this issue that would apply in a deal scenario, as an interim measure until a new immigration system is implemented in 2021.

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: Government Launches New Program to Incentivize Hiring Bahraini Nationals with University Degrees – Under a program recently announced by Bahrain’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority, employers applying for new work permits in select professions will be given a two-week period to evaluate potential candidates from a pool of registered Bahraini national workers. Those that employ a candidate from this pool will be offered: (1) free professional training for the new hire; and (2) government subsidies to cover up to 70 percent of the worker’s total salary in the first year of employment, among other benefits. Many details of the new program have not been released. It is not yet known whether employers that opt to employ a foreign worker and not someone from the pool of Bahraini workers will have to wait for the full two-week period before they can proceed with their work permit application. The list of covered professions and the program’s implementation date have not been announced.

Belgium: Minor Increase in Application Fees – Effective June 1, 2019, administrative fees for certain residence permits and long-term visa D applications will increase, regardless of whether the application is filed with a Belgian diplomatic post abroad or in Belgium. The filing fee for non-EU employees and self-employed individuals filing residence applications on the basis of a work permit or a professional card will increase to EUR 358 (up from EUR 350). The fee for family reunification residence applications will increase to EUR 204 (up from EUR 200). The new fees will apply to all applications submitted after June 1.

Chile: Relaxed Process Allows Renewals of Expired Permits and International Travel During Application Processing – Effective immediately, Chile’s Immigration Department has implemented two procedural changes to ease the challenges faced by foreign nationals and employers as a result of continued delays caused by the Department’s new online appointment system:

  • Foreign nationals are now permitted to renew an already-expired Special Work Permit for Tourists without threatening their lawful status, provided they schedule their renewal appointment before their permit expires. The Special Work Permit for Tourists allows foreign nationals to work in Chile for up to 30 days and can be extended in country.
  • Foreign nationals in Chile with pending new or renewal visa or residence applications are now permitted to exit and reenter the country if they can present the original courier delivery receipt of their pending application. Previously, foreign nationals had to obtain either a visa-in-process or residence-in-process certificate to travel abroad during the processing of an application. These certificates were historically issued within 30 to 45 business days of a request being submitted by mail. Currently, however, the Immigration Department is issuing these certificates approximately four to five months after receipt of the application.

South Africa: Restrictions on Visitors Visa with Authorization to Conduct Short-Term Work More Strictly Enforced – The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has issued a new directive to South Africa's diplomatic missions worldwide to reiterate that they are not to issue Section 11(2) visitors visas for more than 180 days in a one-calendar-year period. The Section 11(2) visitors visa is designed for emergency project work and is issued for an initial stay of up to 90 days, depending on the applicant's need as substantiated by his or her supporting documents. While it is possible to extend a Section 11(2) visitors visa for up to an additional 90 days, because the visa is intended for short-term emergency project work, it can be difficult to do so or to obtain more than one visa within a one-year period. The DHA issued the new directive amidst reports that some diplomatic missions have been issuing multiple Section 11(2) visitors visas within a one-year period.

South Africa: Work Visa Applicants Who Have Resided in India Now Able to Use Embassy-Issued Police Clearance Certificate – Individuals applying for a work visa or long-term visa and who have previously resided in India are now able to obtain and use a police clearance certificate issued by an Indian consular post. South Africa generally requires work visa applicants to provide an official police clearance certificate from any country in which they have lived for more than 12 months since the age of 18. However, police stations in India do not issue police clearance certificates to individuals who are no longer residing in India. Individuals residing outside of India can request a police clearance from an Indian diplomatic post by submitting an application form and fingerprints to the consular post with jurisdiction over their place of residence.

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