Oct 12 2018

Weekly Immigration Update: October 5 - 11, 2018

Argentina, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, European Union, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay

In United States immigration news this week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published for public comment its proposed regulation that, if implemented, would impose stricter standards for determining whether an applicant for adjustment of status, a visa or a change or extension of nonimmigrant status is likely to become a "public charge" - that is, dependent on the government to meet their needs.

According to the U.S. State Department's November Visa Bulletin, there will be no advancement in worldwide EB-1 and most EB-2 and EB-3 cutoff dates, while EB-2 China will advance slightly. Also in the United States, DHS has granted California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and 10 other states an extension for compliance with the REAL ID Act.

Costa Rica now requires all applicants seeking to change status from temporary to permanent resident to pay a guarantee deposit after the approval of their permanent residence application.

In New Zealand, fees and levies will increase by up to 54 percent for most work visa applications, starting November 5. Luxembourg has eased document requirements for all immigration applications.

In the United Arab Emirates, a new worker's insurance scheme will go into effect on October 14. The new scheme replaces the existing bank guarantees system and applies to all private-sector employees in the mainland.

These items and other news from Argentina, Bulgaria, the European Union, Germany, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Uruguay follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.


Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, October 11, 2018

Fifteen States Given Further Extension for REAL ID Driver’s License Compliance

  • The Department of Homeland Security has granted an extension for compliance with the REAL ID Act to California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and 10 other states.
  • Driver’s licenses or ID cards issued by these states will remain acceptable for domestic air travel and other federal purposes through their extended compliance deadline.  All other U.S. states and territories are in compliance with REAL ID security standards.

To view entire article, click here.


United States, October 11, 2018

November 2018 Visa Bulletin – No Advancement in EB-1 and Most EB-2/3 Cutoff Dates, Slight Movement for EB-2 China

  • EB-1 for all countries and EB-2 and EB-3 for nearly all countries will remain at the dates set in last month’s bulletin.
  • EB-2 China will advance more than a month, to May 15, 2015.
  • The EB-4 non-minister religious worker and EB-5 Regional Center programs have been temporarily reauthorized by Congress and return to immigrant visa availability, with some countries retrogressed.

To view entire article, click here.

United States, October 10, 2018

DHS Publishes Proposed Rule Creating Stricter Test of Public Charge

  • As anticipated, the Department of Homeland Security published a proposed rule permitting wider latitude in denying immigration benefits based on the likelihood of becoming a “public charge.”
  • The public has been given 60 days, until December 10, 2018, to provide feedback to DHS on the proposed rule.
  • If finalized in its current form, the rule would require foreign nationals submitting an application for adjustment of status, a visa or a change or extension of nonimmigrant status to establish that they are financially self-sufficient.

To view entire article, click here.


European Union, October 9, 2018

Many EU Countries Implement Students and Researchers Directive

Many EU countries have implemented the EU Students and Researchers Directive, harmonizing and simplifying rules on stay, labor market access and intra-EU mobility for qualified researchers, students and trainees. Although most countries have implemented more beneficial options for these individuals on several points when compared to their prior legislation, existing national rules may still be favorable. Some countries have also taken a more conservative approach on several aspects of the Directive.

To view entire article, click here.


New Zealand, October 9, 2018

Upcoming Increases to Visa Application Fees and Levies

Starting November 5, fees and levies will increase by up to 54 percent for most work visa applications (excluding Recognized Seasonal Employers and Working Holiday work visas) in New Zealand. Employers and foreign nationals should complete visa applications for which fees are set to increase before November 5 to avoid any additional charges.

To view entire article, click here.


Ireland, October 8, 2018

Reminder - Re-Entry Visa Applications for Christmas and New Year Periods Due November 9

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) has published a reminder for visa nationals travelling over the Christmas and New Year period to submit their re-entry visa applications by November 9 to ensure that that they receive their re-entry visa in a timely manner, which will prevent issues with their ability to travel over the holiday period.

To view entire article, click here.


Ukraine, October 8, 2018

Residence Card Issuance Temporarily Suspended

The Ukraine Immigration Services cannot issue temporary residence cards due to a technical issue. Foreign nationals are advised not to travel outside Ukraine until they have obtained their residence card, particularly during the processing of temporary residence renewal applications.

To view entire article, click here.


United Arab Emirates, October 8, 2018

New Worker’s Insurance Scheme Effective October 14

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation in the United Arab Emirates announced that the worker's insurance scheme, which will replace the existing bank guarantees system, will go into effect on October 14. The new insurance scheme will apply to all private-sector employees in the mainland, including domestic workers, and it is expected to reduce costs for some employers sponsoring foreign workers. 

To view entire article, click here.


Luxembourg, October 5, 2018

Document Requirements Eased for All Immigration Applications

Luxembourg authorities have eased document requirements for immigration applications, allowing applicants to submit un-certified/un-notarized copies of their passport and diploma, where certified or notarized copies were previously required. Additionally, foreign workers no longer need to submit motivation letters and birth certificates with their work permit applications. As a result, the application process has been streamlined and document gathering time has been reduced.

To view entire article, click here.


Costa Rica, October 5, 2018

Employee Guarantee Deposit Now Required for Permanent Residence

The Costa Rican Immigration Department now requires that all applicants seeking to change status from temporary to permanent residence pay a guarantee deposit after the approval of their permanent residence application. This new requirement will increase the overall cost of a permanent residence application.

To view entire article, click here.


Weekly News Briefs

Argentina: Roll-out of New Electronic Filing System in Buenos Aires Delayed and Changes to Pilot Strategy – Argentina's immigration authority (Dirección Nacional de Migraciones (DNM)) has delayed the launch of its pilot electronic application filing system until November at the earliest, as it addresses technical issues with the new system. When the DNM formally launches the pilot in Buenos Aires, it will do so by accepting applications for all visa types other than Mercosur visas, a reversal from its original launch plans. The DNM had originally indicated it would pilot the system for only Mercosur visa applications submitted from within Argentina. However, Mercosur visas comprise roughly 70% of overall application volume in Buenos Aires, and the DNM decided to focus on a smaller application population for the pilot. The delayed launch has led to temporary delays in scheduling visa appointments in Buenos Aires, and Fragomen is currently helping clients avoid these delays by filing at other DNM offices that are not part of the pilot program.

Bulgaria: EU Intracompany Transferee (ICT) Permit Update – As an update on the implementation of the EU ICT Permit in Bulgaria, immigration authorities are requiring applicants to obtain EU ICT Permits for the maximum allowable duration of three years for managers and specialists, or one year for trainees. To enforce this new policy, immigration authorities have stopped accepting EU ICT Permit renewal applications. Previously, EU ICT Permits could be issued for maximum one year and were renewable. Manager or specialist EU ICT Permit holders with a permit valid for less than three years may be able to amend their permit to bypass the renewal restriction in limited situations, subject to case-by-case review. This is part of the legislative changes implemented in May intended to streamline various permits’ application processes. Affected foreign nationals are advised to contact their Fragomen representative.

European Union: European Travel Information and Authorisation System Enters Into Force – As an update on the adoption of the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) by the EU Council of Ministers, the regulation establishing ETIAS entered into force on October 9, 2018. The entry into force allows eu-LISA – an EU agency managing several other electronic border management systems – to start building the system, which is expected to be operational by 2021. In the meantime, the European Commission is seeking to improve functionality and alignment of the Schengen Information System (SIS) for law enforcement and border control; the Visa Information System (VIS) storing visa application information; the new Entry-Exit System (EES) which would expand and automate border checks (expected to be operational in 2020) and ETIAS. Fragomen will release a Frequently Asked Questions guide on ETIAS shortly.

Germany: Update on Immigration Processing Times – As an update on government processing times for all residence permit types, processing times of the Federal Employment Agency (FEA) have significantly improved for EU Intracompany Transferee (ICT), EU Blue Card and Local Hire applications compared to the six- to eight-month processing times at the beginning of 2018. Waiting times for in-country residence permit application appointments have decreased as well. Exact processing times may vary considerably across individual cases, and case-by-case advice on exact processing times is advised.

Germany: Government Plans to Change Immigration Policy – The German government is developing plans to ease entry requirements for skilled foreign workers, for example by removing the requirement that the Federal Employment Agency conduct a labor market test, broadening eligibility to non-shortage roles across all work permit types; and offering new work permit options to low-skilled workers without university education.

Ukraine/Uruguay: 90-Day Visa Waiver Forthcoming – Ukraine and Uruguay have signed a reciprocal visa waiver agreement to introduce a 90-day visa exemption. Under the exemption, Uruguay nationals could travel to Ukraine for up to 90 days in a 180-day period for business and tourism without requiring a visa, while Ukraine nationals could travel to Uruguay for up to 90 days renewable for another 90-day period, for business and tourism without requiring a visa. Fragomen expects that the Uruguayan Congress and Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers may still have to approve the agreement before it can enter into force.

United Kingdom: Tier 2 Quota Issues Improve – Applications to sponsor foreign workers under the Tier 2 (General) Visa category are now being approved for foreign workers with salaries around GBP 30,000, or 20,800 for less-established employees. This is an improvement from the GBP 41,000 salary cap reported in July. Since the monthly sponsorship quota was first exceeded in December 2017, the salary required for sponsorship applications to be approved upon first filing rose to GBP 50,000-60,000, with lower salaries requiring time-consuming re-filings. Since doctors and nurses were removed from the quota allocation, the volume of first time approvals has increased, processing times have decreased, and case outcomes have become more transparent.


Global Immigration News Links

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