Virginia, US

Oct 23 2017

Weekly Immigration Update: October 13–19, 2017

Belarus, Belgium, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Russia, Slovak Republic, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United States, Venezuela

In United States immigration news this week, a federal District Court in Hawaii issued a nationwide temporary restraining order that prohibits the Trump Administration from implementing its September 24 travel ban against nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. A District Court in Maryland issued a similar nationwide preliminary injunction. Travel restrictions on certain Venezuelan government officials and on nationals of North Korea remain in place. The Trump Administration is expected to appeal the decisions.

The U.S. State Department has revised the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Diversity Visa (DV) lottery registration period due to technical issues with its application website. Entries submitted during October 3-10 must be resubmitted during the new registration period, which began on October 18, 2017 at noon EDT and ends on November 22, 2017 at noon EST.

Turkey's Ministry of Labor has resumed adjudicating work permits and work permit renewals for U.S. citizens. However, foreign nationals whose Work Permits were approved still cannot pick up their Work Visa at a Turkish consular post in the United States.

In Germany, due to extended controls on the Austrian border and a new border control on flights arriving from Greece, foreign nationals should expect delays upon entry through these routes and should travel with the appropriate travel documentation.

In Belgium, the minimum base salary for several work permit categories will increase in Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels on January 1, 2018.

These items and other news from Belarus, Belgium, Guatemala, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, October 17, 2017
Federal Court Temporarily Blocks Latest Entry Ban From Taking Effect

The Trump Administration has been enjoined from enforcing travel restrictions against nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. The Administration is expected to appeal the court order.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, October 16, 2017
State Department Revises FY 2019 DV Lottery Registration Entry Period Due to Technical Problems

Entrants will now have from Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at noon EDT until Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at noon EST to register online at the State Department’s official lottery website. Entries submitted during October 3-10 are invalid and must be resubmitted when the lottery registration period reopens. Lottery applications must conform to the State Department’s strict requirements.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, October 16, 2017
November Visa Bulletin Update: USCIS to Honor Employment-Based Final Action Dates Only Next Month

In November, 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 November Visa Bulletin.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Turkey/United States, October 19, 2017
Update on Work Permit Issuance for U.S. Citizens

The Ministry of Labor has resumed adjudicating and approving work permits and work permit renewals for U.S. citizens. However, foreign nationals whose Work Permits were approved still cannot pick up their Work Visa at a Turkish consular post in the United States.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States/Turkey, October 13, 2017
Update on Restrictions for U.S. Citizens

The following are updates to the travel and work permit restrictions for U.S. citizens: U.S. citizens still cannot obtain an e-visa or enter Turkey under a sticker or border visa if they are arriving on a direct flight from the United States. However, U.S. citizens entering Turkey from a port of exit outside the United States may be allowed to enter under a sticker visa. Turkish consular posts outside the United States are issuing visas to U.S. citizens. Note that some consular posts require applicants to be a lawful resident or dual citizen of the country in which the consular post is located. The Residence Permit appointment system has been shut down for several days.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Belgium, October 19, 2017
Higher Minimum Salary Levels Forthcoming in Wallonia and Brussels

Following Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels also confirmed that on January 1, 2018, the minimum base salary for several work permit categories will increase.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Guatemala, October 19, 2017
Document Legalization Requirements Simplified

Authorities in Guatemala now accept documents legalized with apostille. Consular legalization is no longer required.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Spain, October 19, 2017
Residence Card Applicants Must Now Appear in Person

Fast track residence card and Número de Extranjero (NIE) certificate applicants must now personally appear at the police station to obtain an application number. There are also other restrictions to the application process.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Belgium, October 17, 2017
Higher Minimum Salary Levels Forthcoming in Flanders

On January 1, 2018, the minimum base salary for several work permit categories will increase in Flanders.

To view entire article, click here

 

Ireland, October 17, 2017
Government Offices Reopen, Appointments Rescheduled

Government offices have reopened following Storm Ophelia. Authorities will contact foreign nationals to reschedule appointments initially planned for October 16.

To view entire article, click here

 

Ireland, October 16, 2017
Appointments Cancelled and Processing Delayed Due to Storm Ophelia

Government offices are closed on October 16 and 17 due to Storm Ophelia. Immigration appointments on these dates are cancelled or postponed and employment permit processing is delayed.

To view entire article, click here

 

Germany, October 13, 2017
Border Controls Extended Until May 2018

Due to extended controls on the Austrian border and a new border control on flights arriving from Greece, foreign nationals should expect delays upon entry through these routes and should travel with the appropriate travel documentation.

To view entire article, click here

 

Weekly News Briefs

Belgium: Highly-Skilled Foreign Nationals to See Relaxed Employment Rules – The Flanders regional government announced that it will relax the rules regarding the employment of third-country nationals in highly-skilled positions. The amendments are anticipated to take place over the course of 2018 and 2019.

Romania: 2018 Work Permit Quota May Be Delayed – The announcement of the 2018 work permit quota may be delayed. Quota announcements are typically delayed, with the 2017 quotas only being announced January 30 due to elections. Once the quota for 2017 is exhausted, pending work permit applications will be on hold for 15 calendar days. If the 2018 quotas are not announced within that period, pending applications will be rejected and must be refiled once the new quotas are announced.

Russia/Belarus: Increased Enforcement of Mutual Entry Ban – Foreign nationals denied entry to Belarus can now be denied entry to Russia as well, and vice versa.  As a result of this expanded entry ban practice, travelers to both countries should carry their travel documentation at borders in Russia and Belarus and should be prepared for additional scrutiny.  An example of why a foreign national would be denied entry to Belarus is the violation of the five-day visa-free regime for nationals of some countries entering via the National Airport of Minsk. 

Slovakia: Minimum Salary Levels to Increase for 2018 – The Slovak authorities have confirmed that the minimum salary level will increase to EUR 480 per month (up from EUR 435) for applications filed on or after January 1, 2018. Employers with foreign workers under Slovak employment contracts must meet the new salary level from January 1, 2018 to comply with the law. Foreign nationals whose applications are pending on January 1 must meet the higher threshold.

Taiwan: Philippine Business Visitors and Tourists Eligible for Temporary Visa Exemption – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will grant a 14-day visa-exempt status to Philippine business visitors and tourists travelling to Taiwan on a trial basis from November 1, 2017 to July 31, 2018. To qualify, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • hold a standard passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry;
  • hold a confirmed return or onward ticket, along with a valid visa for the onward destination;
  • have a clean criminal record, as verified at immigration checkpoint upon arrival; and
  • have proof of hotel reservation or address and contact details of their temporary residence in Taiwan.

The visa-exempt status cannot be converted into a visitor visa once the Philippines national obtains a work permit, although nationals of other visa exemptions allow such a conversion.

The new policy is line with Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy that relaxes visa rules in hopes of improving ties with the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation. The Ministry had previously planned in May to grant visa-exempt status to Philippine nationals for a one-year trial period originally scheduled to take effect from June 1, 2017 through May 31, 2018. However, that plan was suspended shortly after the announcement was made.

United Arab Emirates: North Korean Nationals’ Entry Suspended – Effective October 12, 2017, North Korean passports holders are not eligible for UAE entry visas, following the break of diplomatic ties between the two countries. 

Venezuela: Visa Requirement Introduced for Panamanian Nationals - Effective October 16, 2017, Panamanian nationals must hold a visa to enter Venezuela. The requirement was implemented in response to Panamanian authorities requiring a visa for Venezuelan nationals as of October 1, 2017.

 

Global Immigration News Links

  • Unresolved battles over immigration and other matters could result in a U.S. government shutdown in December, according to Bloomberg.
  • The extension of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations into next year may complicate efforts to sign a new version of the pact, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • A federal judge has ordered the Trump Administration to reveal internal documents that went into its decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, CNN reports.
  • EU leaders urge UK Prime Minister Theresa May to do more to break the deadlock in the Brexit negotiations, BBC reports.
  • The EU Council of Ministers urges Bosnia and Herzegovina to continue to work on the Reform Agenda, which details a wide range of measures that Bosnia and Herzegovina need to make to qualify as a candidate for EU membership.  
  • New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is set to take a hard line approach to immigration despite her progressive credentials. 


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