Sep 09 2021

Weekly Immigration Update: September 3–9, 2021

Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, China, Curaçao, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guyana, Hungary, Ireland, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Macau, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Peru, Portugal, Republic of Guinea, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis , Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United States

In immigration news this week:

  • Worldwide: Jurisdictions around the world continue to adapt their coronavirus-related travel restrictions and health requirements based on several factors, including fluctuating infection rates and growing vaccination initiatives. Visit Fragomen’s COVID-19 website for the latest immigration updates.
  • United States: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will extend through December 31, 2022 the status and employment authorization documentation for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) beneficiaries of El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan.
  • Netherlands: Government immigration offices are experiencing high demand and backlog, leading to delays for most in-country registration appointments. The Amsterdam Expatcenter is experiencing a two-month appointment wait time, causing delays in work start dates for visa-exempt nationals.

 

These items and other news from Australia, Mauritius, South Africa, and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important updates in immigration this week



United States, September 9, 2021

DHS Extends TPS Status and Documentation Validity for Several Countries

  • The Department of Homeland Security will extend through December 31, 2022 the status and employment authorization documentation for TPS beneficiaries of El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, and Sudan. The current expiration date for these groups is October 4, 2021.
  • TPS beneficiaries eligible for automatic EAD extensions to December 31, 2022 under the new announcement may complete or update their I-9 employment eligibility records by providing an employer with a copy of the Federal Register notice, an eligible expiring or expired TPS EAD, and any other required I-9 documents.
  • Haiti benefits from a subsequent, separate TPS designation announced in August 2021. The new Haiti designation extends through February 3, 2023, and all those eligible are encouraged to register, including those with Haitian TPS under the prior designation.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Netherlands, September 9, 2021

Expatcenter and Immigration Office Appointment Backlog

  • Government immigration offices across the Netherlands are experiencing high demand and backlog, leading to delays for most in-country registration appointments. This significantly impacts non-visa nationals, who require a passport sticker to start work in the Netherlands.
  • Critically, the Amsterdam Expatcenter currently has a two-month appointment wait time, causing delays in work start dates for visa-exempt nationals in the Amsterdam metropolitan area.
  • Because the sticker is required to obtain a Social Fiscal Number (BSN) and health insurance, affected foreign nationals will also experience delays in these in-country processes.
  • Fragomen expects the delays to improve after October.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other weekly news briefs



Australia: Report Published on Temporary Migration Impact – In December 2019, the Australian government established a Select Committee on Temporary Migration to inquire into and report on the impact that temporary migration has on the Australian economy, wages and jobs, social cohesion, and workplace rights and conditions. The Select Committee received over 130 submissions, including submissions from Fragomen highlighting the important role skilled temporary migrants play as job multipliers to grow the economy, and advocating the need to appropriately link skilled temporary to permanent visa pathways to retain key talent in Australia and secure better migration outcomes. The Select Committee has now published its final report to the Inquiry which includes 40 recommendations, many of which were focused on protections to foreign worker exploitation. Two key recommendations include significantly increasing the resources provided to the Department of Home Affairs to improve visa application processing times and increasing the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold to the rate it would have been if it were not frozen in 2013 and indexing future increases.

Mauritius: Occupation Permit-Related Improvements Published – The Ministry of Finance has published measures originally proposed in June 2021 that extend the maximum duration of the Occupation Permit from three to 10 years; allow change of status and change of occupation without submitting new Occupation Permit applications (by informing the Economic Development Board); allow Occupation Permit holder’s spouses to apply for their own Occupation Permit; allow the issuance of Occupation Permits to young professionals for a period not exceeding three years; and extend the validity period of permanent residence permits to 20 years. Notably, the measures also implement the Family Occupation Permit, a new 10-year work permit that requires a minimum contribution of USD 250,000 or its equivalent in foreign currency to the COVID-19 Projects Development Fund. Lastly, a new interim permit measure is available that will be issued to Occupation Permit applicants if the authorities are unable to issue an Occupation Permit in 15 business days, and the fine for employers who hire foreign nationals without valid permits has increased to MUR 500,000 from MUR 100,000, with the possibility of imprisonment for at most five years.

 

Mauritius: New Premium Investor Scheme – The Minister of Finance has announced a new immigration category called the Premium Investor Scheme, aimed at attracting foreign investment in sectors that will contribute toward the modernization of the economy and job creation in Mauritius. Projects eligible for the scheme must have a minimum investment amount of MUR 500 million for those involved in the manufacture of pharmaceutical or medical devices. An investment of MUR 500,000 million is required for emerging sectors, innovative technologies and industries and other targeted economic activities that may be approved by the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development. Other terms of the Scheme, including the allowed period of stay and cost, are not yet known. Investors participating in the Premium Investor Scheme may benefit from exemptions and preferential rates on taxes and government fees and from grants and exemptions on land and buildings, infrastructure and public facilities, and utilities and other potential government concessions. The Scheme is unprecedented in Sub-Saharan Africa due to its focus on emerging industries.

South Africa: E-Visa for Select Nationals Implemented – The Department of Home Affairs has announced the implementation of an eVisa for business travelers and tourists who are nationals of Kenya and Cameroon who will land at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Only short-term visas for stays less than 90 days will be issued during the initial implementation phase, but the government plans to add more visa types at a later stage. Once an eVisa application has been approved, applicants will be issued an approval letter bearing a QR code for authentication by airlines and other service providers during the boarding process. The inclusion of Cameroon in the implementation of the eVisa follows the pilot process that was implemented for nationals of Kenya. The other countries expected to be added to the implementation phase are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mexico, Uganda, Saudi Arabia, Iran, the Philippines and Pakistan.

United States: Latest DOL PERM and PWD Processing Times – As of August 31, 2021, the Department of Labor (DOL) was conducting analyst review for PERM applications filed in April  2021 or earlier, and processing audited cases filed in October 2020 or earlier. DOL is working on standard reconsideration requests submitted in April 2021 or earlier. DOL is issuing prevailing wage determinations (PWDs) for PERM requests filed in February 2021 and H-1B requests filed in March 2021. The agency has been processing PERM redeterminations requested in July 2021 and H-1B redeterminations requested in August 2021. PERM center director reviews requested in July 2021 remain pending. These reports are available on the DOL FLAG page.

 

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