Virginia, US

Oct 27 2017

Weekly Immigration Update: October 20 - 26, 2017

Australia, Canada, Kenya, Panama, Singapore, Spain, Tanzania, Turkey, Ukraine, United States, Venezuela

In United States immigration news this week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a significant policy reversal, authorizing officers to readjudicate a beneficiary’s eligibility for a nonimmigrant classification, such as H-1B or L-1, each time an extension of stay is requested, even if there has been no change in circumstances. An increase in requests for evidence and processing times is expected. 

The Turkish Consulate in New York has confirmed that it will dispense work visas to U.S. citizens if the visa application was filed prior to the visa suspension that went into effect on October 9.

In Canada, effective January 2, 2018, the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program will implement two new immigration streams and utilize a single application form in an effort to streamline the application process.

In Tanzania, employers must appear at the Immigration Department by November 4 to verify the residence status of their foreign workers. Failure to timely comply will result in a fine and imprisonment for the employer.

In Singapore, starting November 17, employers must register their foreign workers' mobile phone numbers with the Ministry of Manpower's Online Foreign Worker Address Service to obtain or renew a Work Permit.

Australia introduced two bills that will facilitate the introduction of the training levy which will come into effect March 2018 to support the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa.

These items and other news from Australia, Kenya, Panama, Singapore, Spain, Ukraine and Venezuela follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, October 24, 2017
USCIS Toughens Scrutiny of Nonimmigrant Extension Filings

In a significant policy reversal, USCIS officers are no longer bound by previous petition approvals when reviewing an H-1B, L-1, or other nonimmigrant extension request. Officers are authorized to readjudicate a beneficiary’s eligibility for a nonimmigrant classification each time an extension of stay is requested, even if there has been no change in circumstances. An increase in requests for evidence and processing times is expected. 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, October 24, 2017
Change to Definition of Dependent Child

Effective October 24, 2017, the maximum age of a dependent child has increased from less than 19 years of age to less than 22 years of age for all immigration applications.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Canada, October 24, 2017
Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program Streamlined

Effective January 2, 2018, the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program will implement two new immigration streams and utilize a single application form in an effort to streamline the application process.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Australia, October 24, 2017
New Bills Introduced to Facilitate Training Levy

Two bills were introduced last week that will facilitate the introduction of the training levy which will come into effect March 2018 to support the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Singapore, October 24, 2017
Mobile Phone Number Registration Now Required for Work Permit Issuance

Starting November 17, 2017, employers must register their foreign workers' mobile phone numbers with the Ministry of Manpower's Online Foreign Worker Address Service to obtain or renew a Work Permit.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Venezuela, October 24, 2017
Passport Extensions Available Due to Shortage of New Passport Materials

Due to a shortage of materials needed to create new passports, the Venezuelan government has authorized eligible current passport holders to apply for a two-year extension that will begin upon the expiration of the current passport.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Turkey/United States, October 24, 2017
New York Consulate Dispensing Work Visas

The Turkish Consulate in New York has confirmed that it will dispense work visas to U.S. citizens if the visa application was filed prior to the visa suspension that went into effect on October 9.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Kenya, October 24, 2017
Government Offices to Close for Elections; Delays Expected

Government offices, including the Immigration Department, will be closed October 25 and 26, 2017, and will have limited services October 27, due to the repeated Kenya presidential election. This could delay immigration processing times. Normal services are expected to resume a few days after the election period.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Tanzania, October 20, 2017
Employers of Foreign Workers Must Appear at Immigration Department by November 4

Employers of foreign workers in Tanzania must appear at the Immigration Department by November 4 to verify the residence status of their foreign workers. Failure to timely comply with this process will result in a fine and imprisonment for the employer.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Singapore, October 20, 2017
Jobs Bank Merged with MySkillsFuture Portal

Effective immediately, the Jobs Bank portal has been merged with the MySkillsFuture portal, a government-run website that focuses on skills development and career guidance for citizens and permanent residents.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Weekly News Briefs

United States: Travel Ban Updates – Earlier this week, the Trump administration appealed the preliminary injunction issued by a District Court in the State of Hawaii, which restricted the September 24, 2017 Presidential Proclamation travel ban from taking effect on October 18, 2017, as originally scheduled. Also this week, the Supreme Court ordered the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss Trump v. Hawaii, the case concerning the March 6 Executive Order travel ban. The Court stated the case was moot since all provisions had expired, but it expressed "no view on the merits." As the provisions relating to the worldwide ban on refugees have expired and the ban has ended, the Trump administration has unveiled tighter screening procedures for refugees.

Australia: Publication of Employer Sanctions Bill Likely to go into Effect – The bill proposed in August that would allow publication of employer sanctions on the Department of Immigration’s website, among other data collection measures, is expected to go into effect in December 2017, subject to passage through both Houses of Parliament. This follows the issuance of a report by the Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee last week that recommended that the bill be passed subject to clarification of certain amendments. The proposed provisions, coupled with the heightened focus on compliance and enforcement by the Department, present business, financial and reputational risk for sponsors that are found to be non-compliant with their sponsorship obligations. The proposed disclosure provisions will not impact businesses that have been subject to counselling or warning notices. Fragomen Australia's Compliance and Advisory Practice can assist with a wide range of services including compliance “health checks” and wider reviews to establish or improve internal immigration risk management systems. MARN 0004980

Australia: Senate Rejects Bill to Change Citizenship Requirements – A bill introduced last April which proposed more restrictive criteria for citizenship via amendments to the Australian Citizenship Act was recently removed from the Senate’s Notice Paper. This means that the suspension of citizenship applications that has been in place since April has been lifted, and pending applications can proceed under the current application criteria. The Government intends to introduce a new bill addressing some of the concerns that were the basis of the rejection of the Bill, including the English language requirements and the retrospective effect. The Minister has indicated that if passed, he would like the revised legislation to come into effect on July 1, 2018. Foreign nationals seeking to file a citizenship application should contact their immigration professional. MARN 0849574

Panama: Chinese Nationals No Longer Require Authorized Visa –- Effective October 17, 2017, Chinese nationals can enter Panama under a Consular Visa instead of an Authorized Visa, reducing visa processing times from up to 60 days to under one week. Chinese nationals can still qualify for a visa waiver if they hold a multiple-entry Australian, Canadian, U.S. or UK visa valid for at least one year from entry.

Spain: Residence Card Applicants Can Book Appointments Again – The appointment system that was replaced with a longer process last week has been reinstated for residence card applications only. Therefore, third parties can appear on behalf of applicants again and there will no longer be delays caused by the application number system. The new system, however, remains in place for Número de Extranjero (NIE) certificates.

Ukraine: Further Steps Towards Abolishing Labor Market Testing – As part of a major legislative reform in Ukraine, further steps have been taken to abolish the requirement for labor market testing. Legal provisions requiring labor market testing have been removed. While a related government decree that requires vacancies to be advertised has not yet been amended, the labour authority has verbally confirmed that it will no longer require advertising. Fragomen will report on further developments. 

Venezuela: Extension of Venezuelan Passports – The Venezuelan government has clarified that only foreign nationals with passports expiring in or after 2015 are eligible for extension under the new automatic two year extension rule.

 

Global Immigration News Links

  • U.S. House conservatives are warning Republican leaders not to add deportation protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigrants to a year-end spending bill to keep the government open, the New York Times reports.
  • One in five Canadians is an immigrant, the highest ratio in almost a century, BBC reports.
  • The EU may offer the UK a transition period of only 20 months, to coincide with the end of the EU’s seven year budget cycle on December 31, 2020.
  • Grenfell Tower fire survivors may be granted permanent UK residency.
  • The UK Home Affairs Committee launched an inquiry to explore the capacity of the Home Office to deal with an increased workload resulting from more immigration steps for EU nationals after Brexit. The deadline for submissions is November 6, 2017.

 

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

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