Virginia, US

Dec 01 2017

Weekly Immigration Update: November 22 - 30, 2017

Angola, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, European Union, India, Ireland, Japan, Romania, Rwanda, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela

In United States immigration news, if Congress is unable to pass a funding resolution by December 8, immigration operations at the Department of Labor would be suspended, while USCIS and State Department application processing would continue but could be delayed. E-Verify, the EB-5 Regional Center program and other immigration programs would expire if they are not reauthorized by December 8.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will only accept employment-based adjustment applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is current for final action under the State Department's December Visa Bulletin in December.

In a reversal of current policy, U.S. citizens, holding no other nationality, will now be issued sticker visas upon entry into Turkey if they can show legal residency in a country other than the United States.

In the European Union, the European Council adopted two regulations on the establishment of an entry-exit system for the management of the Schengen Area's external border. The UK government will accelerate the path to settlement for the best international scientific and research talent in order to promote growth in innovative technology, research and development.

A new law in Brazil offers greater flexibility for visitors and temporary workers and restructures Brazil's current visa categories.

In Singapore, starting the second half of 2018, new Work Permit holders will be required to attend a mandatory Settling-In Programme. Employers will be responsible for registration and course fees.

Effective January 1, 2018, Rwanda will implement a new visa scheme which will expand the population eligible for visa-free travel, a visa-on-arrival, and entry under a residence identity card.

These items and other news from Angola, Canada, Ecuador, India, Ireland, Japan, Romania, South Africa, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, November 30, 2017
Preparing for a Possible Federal Government Shutdown

If Congress is unable to pass a funding resolution by December 8, immigration operations at the Department of Labor would be suspended; USCIS and State Department application processing would continue but could be delayed. E-Verify, the EB-5 Regional Center program and other immigration programs will expire if they are not reauthorized by December 8.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, November 22, 2017
December Visa Bulletin Update - USCIS to Honor Employment-Based Final Action Dates Only Next Month

In December, USCIS will only accept employment-based adjustment applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is current for final action under the State Department's December Visa Bulletin.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States/Turkey, November 22, 2017
Sticker Visas on Arrival Now Restricted for U.S. Citizens

In a reversal of current policy, U.S. citizens, holding no other nationality, will now be issued sticker visas upon entry into Turkey only if they can show legal residency in a country other than the United States.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, November 30, 2017
List of Temporary Residents Requiring Medical Exam Amended

The government has added and deleted countries from the list of countries whose residents must obtain a medical examination when seeking temporary residence in Canada for six months or more.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Ecuador, November 30, 2017
Immigration Appointments Unavailable and New Requirements in Guayaquil

Appointments for immigration processes for the rest of 2017 are not available in Quito and very few remain in Guayaquil. Due to this shortage, foreign nationals may have to wait until 2018 to file immigration applications that require an appointment. Additionally, the Registro Civil in Guayaquil now requires a birth certificate for the cedula (identification card) application process.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United Arab Emirates, November 30, 2017
Egyptian Visa Applicants Require In-Person Appearance

Effective immediately, Egyptian nationals applying for a new employment residence permit sponsored by a company in the Dubai Airport Free Zone or the Dubai International Financial Center Free Zone must personally appear at a designated UAE visa service center in Cairo to obtain an entry visa. Employers of affected Egyptian nationals should prepare for longer processing times and additional costs related to the medical exam and consular processing fees.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Venezuela, November 29, 2017
Passport Appointments Suspended Indefinitely

Passport appointments in Venezuela are suspended indefinitely due to a lack of materials. The following Venezuelan nationals seeking to renew their passport during this issue can use the recently-implemented extension stamping process: those who hold a passport that expired in or after 2015, or that is not set to expire in the next six months; and those who started the passport renewal process prior to November 1, 2017 who must travel urgently but cannot obtain a passport due to this issue. All others must wait for this issue to be resolved in order to obtain a passport. It is not clear when this issue will be resolved.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Singapore, November 28, 2017
Work Permit Holders to be Subject to Mandatory Settling-In Program

Starting the second half of 2018, new Work Permit holders will be required to attend a mandatory Settling-In Programme, which is currently only mandatory for foreign domestic workers. Employers will be responsible for registration and course fees.

To view entire article, click here.

 

India, November 28, 2017
Reminder: Deadline to File OCI in Lieu of PIO Applications Forthcoming

Holders of Person of Indian Origin cards are reminded that the current deadline to submit applications to convert to the Overseas Citizens of India card is December 31, 2017. Filing fees may be charged by the authorities after this date. Person of Indian Origin cards which are not machine-readable will become invalid as of October 31, 2018.

To view entire article, click here.

 

South Africa, November 28, 2017
Biometric Background Check Service Introduced

Further details are now available on the new biometric background check service which has replaced the requirement to submit manual police clearance certificates obtained from the South African Police Service.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Romania, November 27, 2017
Minimum Salary May Increase Due to Social Security Changes

Following a significant change in social security rules in Romania that is expected to come into effect January 1, 2018, the minimum salary required for foreign workers is expected to increase. Additionally, the national minimum wage will increase on January 1, 2018.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom, November 22, 2017
Government Seeks to Encourage Immigration of International Talent

The UK government will accelerate the path to settlement for the best international scientific and research talent in order to promote growth in innovative technology, research and development.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Brazil, November 22, 2017
New Immigration Law Takes Effect

A new law has overhauled the immigration system in Brazil, which went into effect on November 21, 2017. The law offers greater flexibility for visitors and temporary workers and restructures Brazil's current visa categories.

To view entire article, click here.

 

European Union, November 22, 2017
Entry-Exit System Adopted – Full Implementation Expected by 2020

On November 20, 2017, the European Council adopted two regulations on the establishment of an entry-exit system for the management of the Schengen Area's external border. The entry-exit system is expected to contribute to reducing border check delays, better identifying overstayers and combating terrorism.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Rwanda, November 22, 2017
New Visa Scheme and Relaxed Entry Rules Forthcoming

Effective January 1, 2018, the Rwandan immigration authorities will implement a new visa scheme which will expand the population eligible for visa-free travel, a visa-on-arrival, and entry under a residence identity card.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Weekly News Briefs

Angola/South Africa: Reciprocal Visa Exemption for Angolan and South African Nationals – Effective December 1, 2017, South African nationals no longer require a port of entry visa to visit Angola for up to 30 days at a time and up to 90 days per year for business, tourism or family visits, and vice versa.  Angolan passport holders will be issued a 30-day Visitor’s Visa at the Port of Entry upon arrival in South Africa, and the same applies for South African nationals entering Angola. Previously, South African passport holders had to apply for an applicable entry visa prior to traveling to Angola for such visits, and vice versa. Note that this visa waiver does not include visits for the purposes of work, study or self-employment.

Australia: Amendments to Subclass 457 Health Insurance Evidentiary Requirements – As of November 18, 2017, Subclass 457 visa applicants are no longer required to provide evidence of their health insurance coverage as part of the visa application process but rather must declare as part of their online application form, that they have made adequate arrangements for health insurance for their intended period of stay in Australia.

Australia: New Long-Term Tourist Visa Available for Singaporean Nationals – The Minister for Immigration has announced that a new six year-validity, multiple-entry visitor visa option for Singaporean nationals has been introduced under the Australia Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. The new Visitor (Subclass 600) visa allows three-month stays per trip over the six-year validity of the visa. Previously, Singaporean nationals were generally eligible for a maximum 12-month validity visitor visa that allowed stays up to three months each visit.

Ireland: Asylum Seekers May be able to Obtain Work Authorization – Following a Supreme Court judgment, the Irish government is taking steps to grant eligible asylum seekers work authorization. The government has proposed to opt into a relevant EU Directive. Both houses of Parliament and the European Commission must approve this step before it can take effect. Under the provisions of the Directive, eligible asylum seekers would be automatically work authorized if their applications are still pending nine months from the date of application. The government would be allowed to set further eligibility conditions. Fragomen will keep clients informed on related developments.

Japan: Relaxed Visa Requirements Forthcoming for Nationals of India and Ukraine – Starting January 1, 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will implement the following relaxed visa requirements to promote bilateral relations and exchanges between Japan, India and Ukraine:

  • Fewer documents required for Indian applicants. Indian business travellers applying for multiple-entry visas will only need to present a passport, document proving affiliation to a local company, and visa application form to enter Japan. Those who have travelled to Japan twice or more in the past year will need only to present their passport and visa application form. The current requirements include certificate of employment, reason letter for requesting a multiple-entry visa or letter of invitation including the necessity of multiple-entry visa, and supporting documents from the applicant's company.
  • Relaxed visa requirements for Ukrainian nationals. Ukrainian business travellers applying for multiple-entry visas will no longer be required to submit a letter of reference from a guarantor if they will be financing their travel on their own.
  • Longer visa validity for Ukrainian nationals. The validity of Ukrainian business travellers' visas will be extended from three to five years.


Switzerland: Update on Quota Figures – Employers seeking to send foreign workers to Switzerland should be aware of the below updates to quota figures for non-EU and EU nationals:

  • Non-EU nationals. The government has released the quota figures for October for non-EU nationals. B permits are now expected to last until mid-December. L permits are still expected to last through December.
  • EU nationals. Quotas for EU/European Economic Area (EEA) nationals have been filled for both B and L permits. This affects assignments longer than four months. For all cantons except Ticino, there are interim solutions until new quotas become available on January 1, 2018.
  • Background. Switzerland restricts the number of work permits that can be issued to foreign workers, both for EU/EEA and other nationals. Spots are released on a quarterly or annual basis. Once the quotas are filled, no further permits can be granted until the next quotas are available.
  • Looking ahead. Switzerland significantly reduced quota numbers in 2015. It increased the numbers again for non-EU nationals in 2017. It increased the numbers for both EU and non-EU nationals for 2018 in response to pressure from business and cantons.

 

Global Immigration News Links

  • Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) believe the Senate can reach a consensus on immigration policy, possibly as part of a year-end government funding bill, CNN reports.
  • The Trump Administration is overhauling the U.S. immigration system by reducing the number of foreigners living in the United States – those who are undocumented and those here legally, according to the Chicago Tribune.
  • Net migration to the United Kingdom is estimated to have dropped by nearly a third to 230,000 in the year to June following the Brexit referendum, BBC reports.
  • European and African leaders at the two-day African Union-European Union summit have an opportunity to discuss migration, as Europe is grappling to stem the biggest wave of asylum seeks since World War II, Bloomberg 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.