Virginia, US

Jun 06 2019

Weekly Immigration Update: May 31-June 6, 2019

Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Panama, Republic of the Philippines, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States, Zambia

In immigration news this week:

  • United States: A Department of Homeland Security proposal is under review to impose a yet-to-be disclosed fee on employers who register for the H-1B cap under an online system that will take effect next year. The House of Representatives passed a bill to provide a path to permanent residence and citizenship for Dreamers and others, though the bill is not expected to be taken up on the Senate. Starting June 10, E-1 treaty trader and E-2 treaty investor visa status will be available to qualifying New Zealand employers and nationals.
  • Zambia: Foreign nationals will be allowed to apply for work authorization only for positions appearing on a new critical skills list, under a recently enacted employment act that took effect on June 1. The act also introduces new local worker succession plan requirements, requiring employers to designate a local understudy for each foreign national employee and create a training program.
  • Panama: Recently implemented immigration reforms extend the validity of some work permits and create a new visa for U.S. citizens seeking to study, work or invest.
  • Taiwan: A Work Permit holder’s same-sex spouse may apply for a dependent Alien Resident Certificate that will allow them to stay in Taiwan, provided both spouses come from a list of 26 countries that recognize same-sex marriage.



These items and other news from Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Switzerland, and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, June 5, 2019

U.S. Embassy in New Zealand Announces E-1/E-2 Treaty Trader and Investor Visas Available for New Zealand Nationals Starting June 10

Starting June 10, E-1 treaty trader and E-2 treaty investor visa status will be available to qualifying New Zealand employers and nationals.

To view article, click here.

 

Mexico, June 5, 2019

Immigration Processing Delays Expected Due to Government Restructure

  • Foreign nationals and their employers can expect significant processing delays for new temporary residence visas, permanent residence applications and corporate registrations due to a government restructure of personnel within several of its institutions, including the National Immigration Institute.
  • These delays could extend for several months, depending on how quickly the government finalizes the reorganization.



To view article, click here.

 

United States, June 5, 2019

House of Representatives Passes Relief Bill for Dreamers and Others

  • The bill would permit foreign nationals who entered the United States before the age of 18 and met other requirements to apply for conditional residence, with a path to full permanent residence and citizenship.
  • Nationals of countries designated for Temporary Protected Status, and those who have received a grant of Deferred Enforced Departure could apply for permanent residence within three years after enactment of the bill.
  • Though relief for Dreamers has bipartisan support, the bill is not expected to be taken up on the Senate.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, June 3, 2019

Visa Applicants Now Required to Disclose Social Media Use, Prior Contact Information

  • Foreign nationals must provide five years of social media history, email addresses and phone numbers when applying for a U.S nonimmigrant or immigrant visa.
  • The requirement is the latest step in the Trump Administration’s extreme vetting initiative.
  • Consular officers are likely to review the new information during the visa adjudication process, which could result in additional screening and visa issuance delays.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Zambia, May 31, 2019

New Occupational Limitations and Local Worker Succession Plan Requirements Introduced for Work Authorization Applications

  • Foreign nationals seeking to work in Zambia will be allowed to apply for work authorization only for positions appearing on a new critical skills list, under a recently enacted employment act that takes effect on June 1, 2019.
  • The act also introduces new local worker succession plan requirements, under which employers will have to designate a local understudy for each foreign national employee. They must also create a training program to ensure that skills are transferred from the foreign worker to his or her understudy.
  • Employers will be required to provide details of all foreign nationals to the Labour Commission, which will be maintaining a register of expatriate workers in the country.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Panama, May 31, 2019

Immigration Reforms Extend the Validity of Some Work Permits and Create a New Visa for US Citizens, Among Other Changes

Key changes of recently implemented immigration reforms include:

  • Longer validity periods for work permits in the 10% quota, 15% quota, short-term technical worker, professional worker, and spouse of a Panamanian national categories.
  • Process changes for professional work permit applications that will result in shorter lead times.
  • The creation of a new visa category for United States citizens seeking to study, work, or make an investment in Panama.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, May 31, 2019

Proposed H-1B Cap Registration Fee Under Federal Review

  • The Department of Homeland Security has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a proposal to impose a fee on employers who register for the H-1B cap under an online system that will take effect next year.
  • Once OMB clears the proposal, it will be published in the Federal Register for public comment. It is expected to be made final in time for the FY 2021 H-1B cap season.
  • The fee amount is not yet known.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Taiwan, May 31, 2019

Same-Sex Spouses from 26 Countries Granted Dependent Status

  • Effective immediately, the same-sex spouse of a Work Permit holder may apply for a dependent Alien Resident Certificate that will allow them to stay in Taiwan, provided both spouses come from a list of 26 countries that recognize same-sex marriage.
  • A Taiwanese national in a same-sex marriage with a foreign national may also apply for a dependent Alien Resident Certificate for the foreign spouse provided the latter is a national of one of the 26 countries.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Weekly News Briefs

Canada: British Columbia Technology Pilot Program Extended – The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program has announced that British Columbia’s Tech Pilot program will continue until June 2020. The Tech Pilot program was introduced in 2017 and provides a fast-tracked pathway to foreign nationals with a job offer in one of 29 eligible tech occupations. The job offer must be at least one year in duration and have at least 120 days remaining on it at the time of application. Employers will benefit from the ability to continue to hire internationally-trained technology workers with the required skills, experience and qualifications and international students who completed their education in Canada within two to three months of the submission of the application, which is faster than the typical processing time for a typical work permit in British Colombia.

Malaysia: Planned Fee Increases at MYXpats Postponed – The MYXpats Centre has suspended plans to increase processing fees for online transactions filed with the MYXpats Centre. The higher fees would have affected Employment Pass (EP), Dependant Pass (DP), Long-Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP) and Professional Visit Pass (PVP) applications processed by MYXpats Centre. Fragomen will report on further developments on this topic.

Switzerland: Work and Residence Permit Quota for Bulgarian and Romanian Nationals Eliminated Effective June 1, 2019, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals seeking to work and stay in Switzerland will be subject to the general rules applicable to other EU nationals, due to the expiry of the quota specific to Bulgarian and Romanian nationals. EU nationals must obtain work authorization subject to a quota limitation to work and stay in Switzerland. Previously, Bulgarians and Romanians were subject to a separate annual quota limitation of 966 spots. The change will benefit Bulgarian and Romanian nationals, who will no longer need to apply for a quota spot before filing their work permit applications.

United States: Latest PERM and PWD Processing Times – As of May 31, 2019, the Department of Labor (DOL) was conducting analyst review for PERM applications filed in April 2019 or earlier, and processing audited cases filed in November 2018 or earlier. DOL is working on standard reconsideration requests submitted in February 2019 or earlier. There is no update on the government error queue, though these cases appear to be current.  

DOL is issuing prevailing wage determinations for PERM and H-1B requests filed in February 2019. The agency has been processing PERM and H-1B redeterminations requested in April and May 2019, respectively, and PERM center director reviews requested in April 2019. There are no pending H-1B center director reviews. These reports are available on the iCERT page.

United States: Diversity Visa Applicants Now Require Valid Passport to Enter DV Lottery – Effective June 5, 2019, the State Department requires Diversity Visa applicants to provide information from a valid, unexpired passport when entering the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery. An interim final rule was published in the Federal Register and the agency is accepting comments on the rule through July 5, 2019.

The FY 2021 DV program registration is expected to begin in October 2019. The new electronic DV entry form will request the foreign national's passport number, passport country or authority of issuance, and passport expiration date. The requirement will apply only to the principal applicant, not to derivative family members, and the new rule contains exceptions for foreign nationals who are stateless, a national of a Communist-controlled country and unable to obtain a passport, or the beneficiary of a DHS waiver in certain circumstances. The regulation clarifies that failure to provide any information required by the DV entry form will result in disqualification of the applicant's entry for that fiscal year.

United States: Restrictions on Non-family Travel to Cuba Effective June 5 – Effective June 5, 2019, the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is amending the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR) to remove the authorization for group people-to-people educational travel. The amendment implements portions of President Trump's June 16, 2017 memorandum announcing a stricter U.S. policy toward Cuba. The amendment also provides a "grandfathering" provision to authorize group people-to-people educational travel that previously was authorized and where the traveler completed at least one travel-related transaction (such as purchasing a flight or reserving accommodation) prior to June 5, 2019. Travel-related transactions continue to be permitted by general licenses for certain categories of travel and certain authorized export transactions. A detailed FAQ and fact sheet on this amendment are available for review.

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