Connecticut, US

Sep 17 2020

Weekly Immigration Update: September 11-17, 2020

Albania, Angola, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Egypt, Estonia, European Union, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Tunisia , Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Vietnam

In immigration news this week:

  • Worldwide: Jurisdictions around the world continue to adapt their coronavirus-related travel restrictions and quarantine measures, and many have implemented extension policies and other concessions. Visit Fragomen’s coronavirus-related news page for the latest immigration updates.
  • United States: The Trump Administration can proceed with its long-planned termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan, following a federal appeals court decision. The decision does not have immediate impact on the status or work authorization of TPS beneficiaries from these countries. TPS benefits for Haiti will remain in place until further notice. A forthcoming Department of Labor regulation is expected to restructure wage levels and requirements in the H-1B, E-3, H-1B1 and PERM programs. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is expected to soon re-implement the public charge regulation after a federal appeals court ruled that a lower court did not have the authority to enjoin the  government from enforcing the regulation during the COVID-19 national emergency. Also in connection with the COVID-19 emergency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is extending its remote I-9 document inspection policy through November 19, and USCIS is extending its 60-day deadline extension policy to January 1, 2021.
  • Mainland China: Effective September 1, the Shanghai Foreign Expert Bureau implemented measures to streamline the Work Permit process, including an online filing system without the need for a personal appearance, longer validity periods, fewer documentary requirements, and shorter government processing times.
  • European Union: Some European countries are lifting entry restrictions to allow limited business travel to resume. Separately and as a reminder, to protect post-Brexit work rights, UK nationals residing in an EU country should complete national registration requirements to demonstrate their legal stay before December 31, 2020.

 

These items and other news from Bahrain, Cyprus, Israel, the Netherlands, Russia, and Serbia follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

European Union, September 17, 2020

Some Business Travel to Europe Resume

  • Some European countries are lifting entry restrictions to allow limited business travel to resume.
  • Specifically, Belgium and the Netherlands have introduced new exemptions to the general entry ban in the European Union for select business travelers with consular permission.
  • Other European locations may follow with similar exemptions in the coming weeks. Access Fragomen’s dedicated microsite for the latest updates on this rapidly developing situation.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, September 17, 2020

Forthcoming DOL Rule Expected to Raise H-1B, E-3, H-1B1 and PERM Wage Minimums

  • The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is reviewing a Department of Labor (DOL) regulation that seeks to restructure the wage level system used to establish wage minimums in the H-1B, H-1B1, E-3 and PERM programs. The forthcoming rule is expected to increase wage requirements for the four programs.
  • DOL plans to issue the regulation as an interim final rule having immediate or near-immediate impact, with no opportunity for public feedback before the rule takes effect.
  • OMB continues to review a separate interim final rule that is expected to toughen H-1B eligibility criteria and employer obligations.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, September 15, 2020

ICE Further Extends Interim COVID-19 Protections for Form I-9 Compliance Through November 19

  • Due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is extending its remote I-9 document inspection policy for an additional 60 days, through November 19, 2020.
  • Eligible employers will not be required to review I-9 identity and employment authorization documents in the employee’s physical presence until the interim policy expires or until three days after the COVID-19 emergency is over, whichever comes first. 
  • The relaxed policy only applies where company employees are working remotely due to the COVID-19 emergency. 

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Mainland China, September 15, 2020

Shanghai Implements Streamlining Measures for Work Permit Process

  • Notification Letter of Work Permit applications, work permit extensions, and cancellations in Shanghai can now be submitted online, without a personal appearance.
  • Additionally, the standard government processing time for Category A, B, and C Work Permit applications, extensions and cancellations, has been reduced by two business days.
  • The maximum validity period for Category A Work Permits has increased to five years and the validity period for Category B Work Permits has increased to two years, up from one year. Both are renewable.
  • The documentary requirements for change of employer and intra-company transfer applications in Shanghai have been reduced.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, September 14, 2020

Federal Appeals Court Allows Trump Administration to Terminate TPS for Several Countries

  • The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Trump Administration may proceed with its long-planned termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan, vacating a lower court order blocking the terminations. 
  • The decision does not have immediate impact on the status or work authorization of TPS beneficiaries from the four countries. TPS beneficiaries from El Salvador, Nicaragua and Sudan will retain their status and employment authorization in the near term. Haitian TPS beneficiaries are not affected by today’s court ruling as they will continue to benefit from a separate court injunction against termination of the program for Haiti.



To view entire article, click here.

 

European Union, September 4, 2020

Reminder on Registration Before the End of Transition Period

  • As a reminder, to protect post-Brexit work rights, UK nationals residing in an EU country should complete any requisite national registration requirements to demonstrate their legal stay before December 31, 2020.
  • Applicants should anticipate pandemic-related appointment queues in jurisdictions where personal appearance is required. 

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, September 14, 2020

USCIS Extends Existing COVID-19 Accommodations on RFEs, NOIDs, Appeals and Other Responses Through January 1, 2021

  • Due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, USCIS is extending its 60-day deadline extension policy to January 1, 2021.
  • Petitioners and applicants will have an additional 60 days to respond to requests for evidence, notices of intent to deny or revoke, notices of intent to terminate EB-5 regional investment centers and certain other notices dated between March 1 and January 1, 2021.
  • Employers and foreign nationals will also have 60, rather than 30, days to file any appeal or motion to reopen a USCIS decision that was issued between March 1 and January 1, 2021. 



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, September 14, 2020

USCIS Expected to Re-Implement the Public Charge Rule Soon, After Federal Appeals Court Stays Lower Court Injunction

  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled late Friday that a lower court did not have the authority to enjoin the Department of Homeland Security from enforcing its public charge regulation during the COVID-19 national emergency, pursuant to a recent Supreme Court decision.
  • Though lawsuits against the DHS public charge rule are ongoing, the Supreme Court ruled that DHS may enforce the rule throughout the United States while those cases continue.
  • USCIS is soon expected to resume requiring applicants for adjustment of status and nonimmigrant extensions and changes of status to comply with the regulation.



To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, September 14, 2020

DHS Lifts Airport Restriction for Travelers Exempt from COVID Travel Bans

  • Starting today, air travelers who are exempt or have received an exception to the COVID-19 public health bans on travel from Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, the European Schengen Area, and the United Kingdom, may fly into any U.S. international airport, according to DHS. Previously, these travelers were limited to entry through15 designated U.S. airports.
  • The COVID-19 travel restrictions remain in place for those who have been physically present in any of the above countries within 14 days of their attempted entry to the United States. The notice simply expands the airport options for those permitted to travel to the United States in spite of the ban.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Weekly News Briefs

Bahrain/Israel: Agreement Reached to Normalize Relations – The governments of Bahrain and Israel reached an agreement to normalize relations between the two countries. As a result of the accord, bilateral treaties are expected which would allow tourism, investment, and direct passenger flights between the two countries, as well as the opening of embassies. This comes after the governments of Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced in August that they would normalize relations.

Cyprus: Stricter Eligibility Criteria for Citizenship by Investment – Cyprus parliament has approved the following key changes to the Citizenship by Investment Program to make eligibility criteria more strict, among others: investment funds must be wired from a private bank account or from the investor's company account; applications must be accompanied by much more extensive financial background information; applicants' finances are tested against stricter requirements under anti-money laundering legislation; and certification requirements for legal representatives have significantly increased. These changes are in addition to a November 2019 overhaul of the citizenship by investment program.

Netherlands: Online Post-Brexit Residence Applications Now OpenAs an update, the Dutch Immigration Authority (IND) is now inviting UK national residents and their family members to apply for a post-Brexit residence document online if they have not yet received an IND invitation to apply. Until December 31, 2020, all UK national residents and their family members can apply online after registering their stay with a town hall. As a reminder, all UK nationals residing in the Netherlands and in any other EU country should take all steps necessary to protect work and residence rights after the end of the Brexit transition period.

Russia: Address Registration Relaxed Further – Effective September 7, hotel stays in Russia no longer overwrite residential address registration in Russia. As a result, foreign nationals traveling in Russia no longer need to re-register their residential address after short-term tourist or business travel in Russia. This change follows a significant relaxation of address registration rules. Address registration was previously the most cumbersome stage of immigration processing, but is expected to be more streamlined following these changes.

Serbia: 2021 Minimum Wage Published – Effective January 1, 2021, Serbia's minimum wage will increase to RSD 183.93 net per hour, up 6.6 percent from the current rate. Serbia's monthly salary requirements fluctuate depending on the number of working hours that month (ranging from 184 in January to 160 in February). Foreign workers typically receive salaries well above these amounts. Salary increases between seven and 11 percent are typical for Serbia.

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