Oct 17 2019

Weekly Immigration Update: October 11-17, 2019

Chile, Finland, France, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Morocco, Russia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States

In immigration news this week:

  • United States: Several federal district courts have blocked the Department of Homeland Security from enforcing a regulation that sought to apply strict new standards for determining whether a foreign national is a “public charge.” In related news, the State Department has postponed its similar public charge regulation. Until further notice, visa applicants will not be subject to heightened scrutiny of their finances, health and other personal circumstances contemplated under the regulation. Next month, cutoff dates will advance modestly for most countries, except India, according to the State Department’s November Visa Bulletin.
  • Chile: Foreign nationals with pending visa or residence applications who plan to leave Chile while their applications are being processed must now obtain authorization from the Immigration Department prior to exiting the country.
  • Lithuania: All temporary residence permit applications for Lithuania must now be filed online. During the initial phase of online filing, applicants will still be required to visit the migration authorities to submit fingerprints and passport photographs.
  • Hungary: The National Health Insurance Fund is no longer allowing officers to release social security number certificates or social security cards in person, delaying the Single Permit work authorization process.

In Brexit news this week:

  • France: UK nationals and their family residing in France should use the website the French government recently launched to register their stay in France in case of a no-deal Brexit.

These items and other news from Finland, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Russia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.


Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, October 17, 2019

November 2019 Visa Bulletin: Modest Advancement for Most Countries, Except India

  • All EB-1 countries except for China and India will advance by more than a month to June 1, 2018. China will advance to February 1, 2017, while India will remain at January 1, 2015.
  • EB-2 China will advance to March 15, 2015.
  • EB-3 China and India will remain the same in November.

To view entire article, click here.


Chile, October 17, 2019

Authorization Now Required for International Travel During Application Processing

  • Effective immediately, foreign nationals in Chile with pending new or renewal visa or residence applications who are awaiting documents that prove their application is pending must obtain prior authorization from the Immigration Department to exit the country.
  • This will add an administrative hurdle and possibly additional costs for applicants and employers, since prior authorization is required for each international trip until the documents proving their application is pending are issued.
  • Affected foreign nationals are no longer permitted to exit the country presenting only the original courier delivery receipt or electronic filing of their pending application, as has been allowed since May 2019.

To view entire article, click here.


France, October 16, 2019

Website Open for UK Nationals to Apply for Residence Cards in Case of No-Deal Brexit

  • The French government has launched its website on which UK nationals and their accompanying family residing in France can request a Residence Card that corresponds to their residence situation in France in case of a no-deal Brexit.
  • Applications should be filed within six months of the Exit date, which is currently set for October 31, 2019.

To view entire article, click here.


United States, October 15, 2019

State Department Postpones Implementation of Public Charge Regulation

  • Visa applicants will not be subject to the State Department’s new public charge regulation until further notice. The rule was set to take effect today.
  • The agency will implement the regulation after it develops and receives approval for a new form that is expected to solicit information on visa applicants’ finances, health, education and receipt of public benefits.
  • A similar Department of Homeland Security regulation was blocked by a federal court on October 11 and remains suspended.

To view entire article, click here.


Lithuania, October 17, 2019

Online Residence Permit Application Filing to be Introduced

  • Effective immediately, all temporary residence permit applications for Lithuania must be filed online. In the initial phase, however, applicants will still be required to visit the migration authorities to submit fingerprints and passport photographs.
  • Applicants face in-country waiting times and must now submit proof of residence sooner than under the previous process, which may be challenging to arrange from abroad.

To view entire article, click here.


Hungary, October 15, 2019

Social Security Card Process Change to Delay Single Permit Process

  • The National Health Insurance Fund of Hungary is no longer allowing officers to release social security number certificates or social security cards in person.
  • Single Permit applicants – who can only obtain a social security number after they obtain their Single Permit – must now await the delivery of their social security number before they can start work, which can take 20-30 business days.

To view entire article, click here.


Qatar, October 15, 2019

New Short-Term Work Visa, Reduced Government Fees and Other Reforms Forthcoming

The Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Administrative Development Labor and Social Affairs in Qatar announced a series of proposed reforms aimed at attracting investment in Qatar. Specifically, these reforms would:

  • introduce a Temporary Work Visa;
  • allow eligible male dependents to work without changing sponsorship; and
  • reduce government fees for processing immigration applications electronically.

The ministries have not announced when the reforms would be reviewed and/or adopted.

To view entire article, click here.


Finland, October 17, 2019

Residence Permit for a Specialist Applications Significantly Delayed

  • Due to increased application volumes, government processing times for Residence Permit for a Specialist applications – the main Finnish work authorization type for experts and managers – have increased from three to five weeks to three to four months, and residence card issuance processing times have increased from two to three weeks to three to four weeks.
  • Visa nationals without a Schengen visa are most affected by these delays as they can only enter Finland and start working after they have collected their residence card.
  • Visa-exempt nationals and Schengen visa holders may also face a gap during which they can reside in but cannot work in Finland, as well as additional work start date delays since in-country biometrics appointment waiting times have also increased.

To view entire article, click here.


United States, October 11, 2019

Federal District Court Blocks Enforcement of DHS Public Charge Regulation

  • A federal district court has issued a nationwide preliminary injunction that prohibits the Department of Homeland Security from enforcing a regulation that sought to apply strict new standards for determining whether a foreign national is a “public charge.”
  • If implemented, the rule would have subjected applicants for adjustment of status and nonimmigrants seeking a change or extension of status to higher scrutiny of their personal circumstances.
  • DHS is expected to appeal the ruling.

To view entire article, click here.


Brexit News and Related News Briefs This Week

United Kingdom: Reminder on Settlement Application Deadline – As a reminder of post-Brexit policy, a Home Office Minister has stated that rules will exist for the UK government to deport EU nationals and their families living in the United Kingdom after Brexit if they do not apply under the EU Settlement Scheme by December 31, 2020 in the event of a no-deal Brexit, or the end of June 2021 if there is a deal. In a related tweet, the Home Office Minister also confirmed that those with reasonable grounds for missing the deadline will be allowed more time to register. The EU Settlement Scheme is the registration system by which European nationals can secure citizens’ rights accrued in the United Kingdom through residency prior to the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union. European nationals and their family members are advised to consider their position without delay and submit an application before the deadline.

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

Kazakhstan: Visa Waiver Extended to Nationals of 12 Countries – Effective immediately, Kazakhstan has extended visa waivers to nationals of the following 12 countries travelling to Kazakhstan for business, tourism or private trips up to 30 days in a 180-day timeframe: Bahrain, Colombia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Vietnam and Vatican State.

Morocco: Delays in Adjudication of Work Permit Applications Due to Government Restructuring – Foreign nationals seeking employment in Morocco are experiencing delays in the adjudication of their work permit applications due to government restructuring within the Ministry of Employment and Professional Development and the appointment of a new Employment Minister. The new head of the department responsible for adjudicating work permit applications is expected to receive credentials from the new Employment Minister within the next two weeks, which should relieve the delays.

Russia: New Reporting Requirement With December 31 Deadline Added to Measles Monitoring Rule – Following the August 2019 government announcement requiring employers to follow specific rules to ensure their foreign workers are immunized against measles, the government  is now also requiring employers to report the results of immunizations to the territorial department of Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being (Rospotrebnadzor). The location of the department depends on the employer's local address in Russia. The deadline for filling such a report is December 31, 2019. The report must contain a list of all foreign nationals, including those who refused vaccination. As a reminder, employers found to have insufficiently documented a foreign worker’s immunization status during an audit, or those who fail to send the report by the December 31 deadline may be fined RUB 10,000-RUB 20,000 or be subject to an administrative suspension of the company’s operations for up to 90 days.

Thailand: Medical Certificate Unofficially No Longer Required for Some Work Permit Applications – The Employment Department in Thailand has unofficially announced that Work Permit applications filed under the Board of Investment, Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand and the Petroleum Act no longer require a medical certificate. An official announcement has not yet been issued but is expected soon. This action reverses a policy implemented in August 2019. The reversal stems from feedback from investors and executives who urged the Thai government to review this requirement to streamline the Work Permit process. Fragomen will continue to monitor the situation closely.

United Arab Emirates: New Directives Related to Emiratisation Forthcoming – During its latest session, the Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates adopted several strategic resolutions to support the employment of Emirati nationals across different sectors. The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation is expected to implement the resolutions through executive regulations in the coming months. Specifically, the resolutions address the following: adding 20,000 job opportunities for Emiratis over the next three years in industries such as civil aviation, banking, insurance, telecommunications and real estate development; allocating AED 300 million (USD 81,678,000) to create a fund to support specialized training programs for Emiratis, including a new training system for new graduates that will be partially financed by employers and partially by the fund; encouraging employers in the private sector to support the skill development programs and providing new incentives to entities that generate opportunities for Emiratis; forming a new committee to monitor the employment of Emiratis; and amending the United Arab Emirate’s labor and pension regulations to equalize benefits for Emiratis in government, semi-government and private sectors, which should make the private sector more attractive to local talent. As the United Arab Emirates continues to increase Emirati employment in the private sector, particularly in skilled professions, some restrictions on the hiring of foreign nationals could be forthcoming. Fragomen will report on the progress of these resolutions.

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