Virginia, US

Nov 09 2017

Weekly Immigration Update: November 3 - 9, 2017

Austria, Azerbaijan, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, European Union, Hong Kong, Mozambique, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States

In United States immigration news this week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will terminate temporary protected status (TPS) for Nicaragua effective January 5, 2019. TPS for Honduras will be extended temporarily through July 5, 2018 while DHS considers a final decision on redesignation of that country. 

The United States Mission to Turkey has recommenced issuing nonimmigrant visas. Interviews will resume on a limited basis at the Embassy in Ankara and Consulate General in Istanbul. Similarly, Turkey has resumed visa issuance on a limited basis for U.S. citizens at Turkish diplomatic and consular missions in the United States.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced the government’s plan to welcome nearly one million new permanent residents to settle in Canada over the next three years.

In Colombia, effective December 15, dependents of foreign nationals will no longer qualify as a dependent once they reach the age of 25, with limited exceptions.

The UK Government published a Technical Note explaining the intended approach of the Home Office on the new ‘settled status’ visa category, which will be available to EU citizens once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

In Singapore, permanent residence applications must be filed online via a new online system starting December 18.

Mozambique has stopped issuing residence permits, and will instead extend work permit holders’ work visas to allow foreign nationals to work and reside in the country.

These items and other news from Africa, Austria, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, the European Union, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Slovenia, South Africa and Turkey follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, November 7, 2017
DHS To Terminate TPS for Nicaragua; Temporarily Extends for Honduras

TPS for Nicaragua will be terminated effective January 5, 2019.  TPS for Honduras will be extended temporarily through July 5, 2018 while DHS considers a final decision on redesignation of that country.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, November 7, 2017
U.S. Mission in Turkey Resumes Processing of Nonimmigrant Visas on Limited Basis

The United States Mission to Turkey has resumed issuing nonimmigrant visas. Interviews will resume on a limited basis at the Embassy in Ankara and Consulate General in Istanbul. If an applicant’s appointment was cancelled during the suspension, they can go online and schedule a new appointment. Existing appointments can be rescheduled to an earlier date, if available.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Singapore, November 9, 2017
Online System for Permanent Residence Applications Forthcoming

As of December 18, 2017, permanent residence applications must be filed online via a new online system. The assessment criteria and eligibility requirements to qualify for permanent residency will not change.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Colombia, November 8, 2017
Eligibility for Dependent Status to be Restricted for Those Age 25 and Over

Effective December 15, 2017, dependents of foreign nationals will no longer qualify as a dependent once they reach the age of 25, with limited exceptions. The visas of dependents over the age of 25 in Colombia on or after December 15 will be automatically cancelled unless they apply for a visa in their own right within 30 days.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom, November 7, 2017
Information for EU Citizens Post Brexit Released

The UK Government has published a Technical Note on the administrative procedures that will apply to EU citizens once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. The note contains the clearest and most favourable statement so far of the intended approach of the Home Office on the new ‘settled status’ visa category available to EU citizens in the United Kingdom.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Ecuador, November 6, 2017
Penalties for Exceeding Maximum Period of Stay Strictly Enforced

Government authorities are strictly enforcing penalties introduced in August for Temporary and Permanent Visa holders who exceed the maximum period of stay outside of Ecuador. Foreign nationals under these visa types should keep accurate records of their time spent outside of the country.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, November 3, 2017
Economic and Family Based Migration to Significantly Increase Under New Immigration Plan

Recently, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada announced the Canadian government’s plan to welcome nearly one million new permanent residents to settle in Canada over the next three years.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Mozambique, November 3, 2017
Residence Permit Cancellation May Cause Travel Restriction

Mozambican immigration authorities have stopped issuing residence permits per a policy published in 2014, and will now start to extend work permit holders’ work visas to allow foreign nationals to work and reside in Mozambique. As a result, immigration authorities are retaining the passports of those who submit new resident permit applications, and will retain the passports of work visa extension applicants for endorsement of the work visa extension, which may affect travel plans.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Weekly News Briefs

Africa region: Two Countries Join Reciprocal Visa Exemption in CEMAC – Following a government meeting this week, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon have joined a free movement agreement with the other nations of the Economic Community of Central Africa States (CEMAC). Accordingly, nationals of CEMAC countries do not need visas to travel within the region. The CEMAC countries are Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo. Further information on the implementation of the agreement will be provided at a later stage.

Austria: ICT Permit Forms Available – Following the implementation of the Intracompany Transferee (ICT) Directive, Austria has published forms for the ICT Permit application and the Mobile ICT Permit application. The forms include a detailed checklist of required supporting documents, including:

  • Home employment contract;
  • Confirmation either in the employment contract or in a delegation letter that the foreign national can return to a group entity after the assignment ends;
  • Proof of prior employment with the corporate group; and
  • The foreign national’s professional references.

 

Austria: Red-White-Red Card Available for Two Years – The Red-White-Red Card can now be obtained for an initial validity of two years instead of one year. To benefit from the longer validity, applicants must submit a rental agreement or housing confirmation valid for at least two years with their application. If the applicant submits a rental agreement or housing confirmation valid for one year, the permit will still be issued for one year only. The Red-White-Red Card is available to specially-skilled local hires.

Applicants granted a one-year permit and current permit holders must now extend their Red-White-Red Card for another year before becoming eligible for aRed-White-Red Card Plus. Applicants are only eligible for a Red-White-Red Card Plus after having held a Red-White-Red Card for two consecutive years. The Red-White-Red Card Plus gives free access to the labor market.

Azerbaijan: E-Visa Not Permissible for Work – Due to further changes to the Migration Rules, e-visas are no longer considered sufficient for work purposes. Foreign nationals travelling to Azerbaijan for work purposes are advised to obtain a standard work/employment visa at a consular post abroad prior to entry.

Ethiopia: E-Visa System Now Open to Conference Attendees – Ethiopia recently opened their new e-visa system to foreign nationals applying for conference visas. Conference visas are issued to foreign nationals who have invitations to conferences, seminars or workshops that were organized in Ethiopia by a ministry or department of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; state governments; educational institutions or universities; organizations owned by the private sector or by the government; the United Nations or its specialized agencies; or the African Union or reputed non-governmental organizations. Business visitors are the next group expected to be able to utilize the e-visa system.

European Union: Updated Information on Implementation of EU ICT Directive – The European Commission has shared an updated overview on the current state of implementation of the EU ICT Directive with Fragomen’s dedicated EU team. The main updates are:

  • Belgium, Greece, Finland and Poland are still in preparatory stages of implementation. Lithuania, Slovenia and Sweden have draft legislation pending.
  • All other 18 member states have informed the Commission that they have fully implemented the Directive, even though details on the process may still be pending. For example, for Portugal, details on the practical aspects of the process will only be available after November 28, 2017.

 

The overview includes a summary on immigration requirements for mobility for EU ICT permit holders, notably:

  • Of the 18 countries that have implemented the Directive, 14 locations confirmed their process for short-term mobility: Cyprus, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia and Spain require a notification. Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Latvia require no formalities. Austria, Estonia, Italy and Portugal are still considering their preferred approach.
  • Of the 18 countries that have implemented the Directive, 16 locations confirmed their process for long-term mobility: Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands and Romania require an application. Slovakia and Spain require a notification. Estonia and Portugal are still considering their preferred approach.

 

Fragomen will continue to monitor the Directive and can support clients to plan an immigration strategy across Europe.

European Union: Residence Permits More Secure – The European Union has taken legislative action to make residence permits for non-EU/European Economic Area/Swiss nationals more secure and to make forgery of such documents more difficult. Further technical specifications must be published, which may take a few months. Government agencies in each EU Member State will have 21 months to apply the legislation from the time of such publication. Fragomen will monitor the publication and will report on related developments.

European Union: Progress Toward Amending Schengen Information System – Following a Commission proposal, a European Parliament committee and the Council of Ministers have each adopted their position on amendments to the Schengen Information System (SIS). The parliament must approve the drafts before legislative negotiations between the EU institutions can begin. The objective of the amendments is to make the SIS more useful in combating terrorism, cross-border crime and illegal migration. Fragomen will report on further developments.

Hong Kong: Decision on Dependent Status for Same-Sex Partners and Spouses Challenged – The Hong Kong Immigration Department (HKID) announced that it will appeal a landmark decision by the Court of Appeals granting a British same-sex spouse the right to obtain dependent status with her partner. An application for leave to appeal has already been filed by the HKID to appeal the judgment to the Court of Final Appeal, Hong Kong's highest court.

Netherlands: Amendment to Increase Residence Period for Citizenship Not Passed – A law that would have increased the minimum residence period for foreign nationals seeking citizenship was voted down by the Dutch Parliament last week. This means that eligible applicants can continue to apply for citizenship if they have resided in the Netherlands for five years. Additionally, the immigration authorities will still accept citizenship applications from foreign nationals applying from abroad if they are in a registered partnership or have been married for and have lived together for at least three years. Lastly, foreign nationals can still apply for Dutch citizenship in the Netherlands if they have lived together for at least three years and if they have a valid residence permit in the Netherlands.

Nicaragua: Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate Required – Effective November 1, 2017, foreign and Nicaraguan nationals entering Nicaragua from the following countries, and those who have visited the following countries must present a valid International Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate upon arrival: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela and all African countries except Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Santo Tomé & Príncipe and Somalia.  This certificate must have been issued at least 10 days prior to arrival. Fragomen advises all foreign nationals with a  passport stamp in their current passport from one of the listed countries to obtain an International Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate.

Nigeria/South Africa: In-Person Appearance Now Required – Foreign nationals applying for a Nigerian visa at the Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria or the Nigerian Consulate in Johannesburg must now appear in person to submit biometrics.  Third-party submissions will no longer be accepted.

Poland: Recent Immigration Trends – The following are the latest immigration developments and trends in Poland:

  • Implementation of the EU ICT Directive is currently scheduled for mid-2018.
  • Implementation of the Seasonal Worker Directive will take effect in January 2018.
  • Authorities are investigating the option of introducing quotas in future, based on market needs.
  • Immigration officials will likely be granted increased discretionary powers in deciding on permit applications starting January 2018.
  • The Labour Inspectorate is expected to increase scrutiny on fulfilment of permit conditions for foreign employees.
  • Workload issues at the immigration authorities continue. There are no plans to alleviate the situation with specific measures. Delays are expected to continue.   

 

Slovenia: Further Information on the EU ICT Directive – Legislative amendments that would further implement the EU ICT Directive are expected to come into effect before the end of 2017. In its current form, the draft legislation indicates that:

  • Work on various group sites and client sites would be allowed;
  • Minimum salary requirements and processing times would be similar to existing schemes;
  • Prior employment of nine months for managers or specialists (or six months for trainees) would be required;
  • Dependents would not be allowed to work, as under existing schemes;
  • Short-term mobility would require a notification; long-term mobility would require an application. ICT Permit holders would be able to start work immediately upon filing the notification / application.

 

Fragomen will provide an update once further details are released.

Turkey/United States: Visas for U.S. Citizens to be Issued on Limited Basis – The Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C. has stated on its website that visa issuance for U.S. citizens will resume at Turkish diplomatic and consular missions in the United States on a limited basis.

This means visas will be issued for:

  • Medical matters;
  • Family emergencies (e.g. death, surgery);
  • Participation in international conferences or sports events;
  • Diplomatic needs; and
  • Children under 18 travelling for purposes other than tourism (e.g. education).

More updates will be provided when they are available.

 

Global Immigration News Links

  • Over 20 House Republicans pressed Speaker Paul Ryan to act quickly on legislation that would protect over 800,000 young immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that is due to expire in March 2018.
  • Immigration policy will dominate Hungary's 2018 elections, according to Prime Minister Viktor Orbon.
  • The European Parliament comments on the UK government's Technical Note on the administrative procedures applicable to EU citizens, emphasizing that major issues still need to be addressed.

 

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