Virginia, US

Nov 17 2017

Weekly Immigration Update: November 10 - 16, 2017

Australia, Bahrain, China, Croatia, Ecuador, European Union, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Tanzania, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United States

In United States immigration news this week, U.S. travelers making “people-to-people” visits to Cuba must travel with a tour group licensed by the U.S. Treasury and accompanied by a representative of the tour group. Individual tourist travel to Cuba remains prohibited.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will allow the Trump Administration to temporarily enforce travel restrictions against certain nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen while the Administration appeals lower court rulings against the restrictions. Nationals of the six countries will be exempt from the restrictions if they have a bona fide relationship with a U.S. person or entity.

Also in the United States, EB-2 China and EB-2 will advance by two weeks and three weeks, respectively, according to the State Department's December Visa Bulletin. EB-3 cutoff dates for professionals and skilled workers will advance by three months for China and will remain unchanged for India.

In Croatia, the authorities have clarified the form and content of declarations for posted workers. In Romania, the work permit quotas for local hires and seconded workers have been exhausted. In Germany, beginning on or after January 1, 2018, the minimum salary for non-European Economic Area nationals applying for work authorization under the European Blue Card program will increase.

In Ecuador, foreign nationals and dependents must present proof of valid health insurance when filing several types of immigration applications.

In Bahrain, Qatari citizens and foreign nationals holding a Qatari residency permit who travel to Bahrain under a visit visa, including visa-on-arrival, require pre-approval to enter Bahrain. In the United Arab Emirates, the employment sponsorship transfer process is now subject to more requirements that will prolong the process and impact the residence permit validity period.

In Indonesia, a new regulation may significantly impact foreign workers in the financial sector. A new law in Taiwan will likely benefit eligible foreign professionals and their dependents through preferential provisions relating to visas, work permits and residency rights.

These items and other news from China, Italy, South Africa, Turkey and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, November 13, 2017
Ninth Circuit Allows Partial Enforcement of Latest Travel Ban

The Ninth Circuit will allow the Trump administration to temporarily enforce travel restrictions against certain nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen while the Administration appeals lower court rulings against the restrictions. Nationals of the six countries will be exempt from the restrictions if they have a bona fide relationship with a U.S. person or entity.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, November 13, 2017
December 2017 Visa Bulletin: Modest Advancements for EB-2 China and India and EB-3 China

EB-2 China will advance by two weeks, to July 1, 2013. EB-2 India will advance by three weeks, to November 1, 2008. EB-3 cutoff dates for professionals and skilled workers will advance by three months for China, to March 8, 2014, and will remain unchanged for India.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, November 10, 2017
What the New Cuba Rules Mean for Travelers

Effective November 9, 2017, travelers making “people-to-people” visits to Cuba must travel with a tour group licensed by the U.S. Treasury and accompanied by a representative of the tour group.  Individual tourist travel to Cuba remains prohibited.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Croatia, November 16, 2017
Clarification of Record-Keeping Requirements for EU Posted Workers

The Croatian Minister of Labour and Pension System has adopted ordinances that clarify the documentary requirements for posted workers implemented in July.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Germany, November 16, 2017
EU Blue Card Minimum Salary to Increase on January 1

On or after January 1, 2018, the minimum salary for non-European Economic Area nationals applying for work authorization in Germany under the European Blue Card program will increase to EUR 52,000 per year, or to EUR 40,560 per year if the applicant will work in a shortage occupation. 

To view entire article, click here.

 

South Africa, November 15, 2017
Zimbabwean Exemption Permits Submission Deadline Extended

Due to the high demand for the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit program, the Department of Home Affairs has extended the date by which documentation and biometrics need to be completed to January 31, 2018.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Singapore, November 15, 2017
Additional Recruitment-Related Information Required for Employment Pass Applications

Effective immediately, employers are required to provide additional recruitment-related information for all Employment Pass applications submitted to the Ministry of Manpower.

To view entire article, click here.

  

Romania, November 15, 2017
Work Permit Quota Exhausted 

The work permit quotas for Romania for local hires and seconded workers have been exhausted. No work permits will be issued until the new quota numbers are released.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Tanzania, November 15, 2017
Reminder to Submit Biannual Returns by December 31

Employers must submit their returns, which are bi-annual reports of foreign workers, by December 31 in compliance with the Tanzanian Non-Citizens Act of 2015 which requires biannual submission of returns.

To view entire article, click here.

  

Bahrain, November 15, 2017
Entry Visas Required for Citizens and Residents of Qatar

Effective immediately, Qatari citizens and foreign nationals holding a Qatari residency permit who travel to Bahrain under a visit visa, including visa-on-arrival, require pre-approval to enter Bahrain.

To view entire article, click here.

 

European Union, November 15, 2017
Reunification Rights for Family Members of Naturalised EEA Nationals

Today, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that dependants of naturalised EU citizens have the right to apply under EU law for residence in the EU Member State where the EU citizen is naturalised. In this case, a Spanish national resided and worked in the United Kingdom, became a UK naturalised citizen, and then married a non-European Economic Area (EEA) national. The non-EEA national was denied a residency permit and appealed the decision.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Australia, November 15, 2017
Transitional Arrangements to Apply to Certain Subclass 457 Visa Holders Applying for Permanent Residence from March 2018

Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection has announced transitional arrangements of subclass 457 visa holders applying for permanent residence under the Temporary Residence Transition stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme or Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme from March 2018.

To view entire alert, click here.  

  

Ecuador, November 14, 2017
Health Insurance Required for Foreign Nationals and Dependents

Effective immediately, foreign nationals and dependents must present proof of valid health insurance when filing several types of immigration applications, including temporary and permanent residence applications, among others. Health insurance will be required for tourists starting February 5, 2018.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United Arab Emirates, November 13, 2017
Employment Sponsorship Transfer Process Restricted

Effective immediately, foreign nationals seeking to transfer companies in the same free trade zone and their new employer are subject to more requirements that will prolong the transfer process and impact the residence permit validity period.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Papua New Guinea, November 13, 2017
Holiday Closures Require Early Renewal Application Filing                                                            

Papua New Guinea’s Labour Department will be closed December 22, 2017 through January 2, 2018 for the holiday season. Foreign nationals with work permits that expire in December, January and February should submit their renewal applications to the Labour Department before December 8, 2017.

To view entire article, click here.

  

Indonesia, November 10, 2017
New Law May Impact Financial Sector Employees

The financial services authority recently introduced a regulation that may significantly impact foreign workers in the financial sector. The key changes may affect local-to-foreign worker ratios, language requirements and reporting requirements.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Taiwan, November 10, 2017
Government Approves Law on Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals

A new law will likely benefit eligible foreign professionals and their dependents through preferential provisions relating to visas, work permits and residency rights. The effective date is yet to be decided. Key changes include longer work authorization validity periods, a new streamlined work permit category, more options for permanent residence for relatives and longer out-of-country stays, among other benefits.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Weekly News Briefs

United States: Latest PERM and PWD Processing Times - As of October 31, 2017, the Department of Labor (DOL) was conducting analyst review for PERM applications filed in July 2017 or earlier, and processing audited cases filed in March 2017 or earlier. DOL is working on standard reconsideration requests submitted in October 2017 or earlier. There is no update on the government error queue, though these appear to be current.

DOL is issuing prevailing wage determinations (PWD) for PERM requests filed in September 2017 and H-1B requests filed in August 2017. The agency has been processing PERM and H-1B redeterminations requested in October 2017, and PERM and H-1B center director reviews requested in September 2017.   

These reports are available on the iCERT home page.

China: Work Permit Online Application System Experiencing Technical Issues – Applicants using the Foreign Expert Bureau’s work permit online application system are experiencing intermittent technical issues after system maintenance was performed on November 10, 2017. There is no definitive date by which the system is expected to be stable again. Employers and foreign nationals should expect delays in the processing of their work authorization applications. Fragomen is closely monitoring the situation and will report with further details as they become available.

Italy: Citizenship Scams and Arrests - Due to the discovery of a system of corruption, Brazilian nationals were successful in obtaining Italian citizenship through the right to citizenship granted to Italian relatives, known as jure sangunis. In light of this, foreign nationals are reminded that to obtain Italian residency, in addition to formal registration with the town hall, they must have a physical, regular and continuous presence in Italy, and they must intend to stay and live in Italy for the foreseeable future. Foreign nationals should be wary of immigration scams that claim residency can be granted in other ways and should consult their immigration professional if they suspect they are involved in a suspicious similar scam.

Italy: Unmarried Partners May Become Eligible for Residency Rights – The Council of State has ruled that unmarried partners of Italian citizens should become eligible for dependent residence permits. Currently only married opposite-sex couples or same-sex couples in a civil union qualify for dependent residence permits. The Council of State found that partners cohabiting in Italy in a de facto marriage should also qualify. Immigration laws are expected to follow this ruling this winter. Fragomen will provide an update when this occurs.

South Africa/Germany: Visa Processing Delays - Foreign nationals should expect processing delays at the South African Embassy in Berlin and the Consulate General in Munich due to a high volume of visa applications during the peak travel and filming season. Short-term visa applications are taking up to 10 business days to process (where previously it took five business days); long-term visa applications are taking up to eight weeks to process (where previously it took approximately 30 business days). Visa applications may be submitted up to three months prior to departure from the foreign national’s home country. Fragomen can assist with proposing start or travel dates for foreign nationals as processing times are updated from the South African authorities.

South Africa: Background Clearance System to be Reintroduced for Residence Applicants - The Department of Home Affairs may be re-introducing a previously-postponed service that is meant to replace the requirement to provide police certificates for temporary and permanent residence applications, according to the Department of Home Affairs’ Visa facilitation Service Centre’s website. The Visa Facilitation Service Centre will continue to accept manual South African Police Clearance Certificates until December 31, 2017.  Thereafter, the Department of Home Affairs will only accept the criminal background checks in the form of the submission of biometrics.

This service is only available to applicants who are applying at VFS in South Africa for a temporary residence visa or a permanent residence permit. Foreign nationals who need to obtain a police clearance certificate for any other purpose should still request such at the South African Police Service.

The South African criminal record check and biometrics are done during the submission process, which means that applicants will no longer need to wait four to six weeks for the processing of the manual South Africa Police Clearance Certificates. Fragomen is confirming the process and whether all Visa Facilitation Services Centres are live with the implementation.  Fragomen is also reviewing how this will impact applications and whether it will extend the possible processing times of applications in South Africa awaiting the South African Criminal Record checks. Affected or potentially affected foreign nationals will be contacted by case teams or informed depending on the circumstances.

Turkey/United States: Update on Visa Issuance – Customs officers have verbally confirmed that U.S. citizens are allowed to purchase sticker visas upon arrival at the airport if they are entering Turkey from outside the United States, and have spent at least three days outside the United States immediately before travelling to Turkey. Applicants are advised to carry a boarding pass from a non-U.S. location to demonstrate the days spent outside the United States. 

 

Global Immigration News Links

 

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