Connecticut, US

Sep 10 2020

Weekly Immigration Update: September 4-10, 2020

Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Guinea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States

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: A long-planned Department of Homeland Security regulation to tighten the definition of an H-1B specialty occupation and the H-1B employer-employee relationship is now under federal review on a fast track. Separately, the agency is proposing a regulation that would expand its current biometrics collection policies to include palm prints, iris images, and voice recognition, and, in certain circumstances, DNA, among other techniques; and also expand the categories of individuals subject to biometrics collection.
  • Ireland: The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) is now accepting online applications for the Atypical Working Scheme (AWS), Irelands’s short-term work authorisation option. Paper AWS applications will only be accepted until September 18.
  • Belgium: On October 1, foreign nationals are expected to be able to apply for the EU Intracompany Transferee (ICT) Permit. Belgium has also implemented immigration restrictions regarding in-country applications for a single permit and the right to unlimited residency.
  • United Kingdom: The Home Office released a statement of changes to be laid before Parliament which outlines the intent to close the Tier 4 visa route and replace it with ‘Student’ and ‘Child Student’ routes, expected to be implemented October 6.
  • Panama: Effective December 1, a new immigration scheme called the Special Regime for the Establishment and Operation of Multinational Companies Providing Manufacturing Related Services (EMMA) will offer accreditation for eligible companies with favorable terms such as new visa categories for its foreign national employees, shorter processing for qualifying immigration applications, and tax and labor benefits.



These items and other news from Mainland China, Italy, Panama, Russia, and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United Kingdom, September 10, 2020

Tier 4 Visa Route to be Replaced by New Student Routes

  • The Home Office has released a statement of changes to be laid before Parliament which outlines the intent to close the Tier 4 visa route and replace it with ‘Student’ and ‘Child Student’ routes.
  • The statement of changes sets out the aim to simplify the student route with the incorporation of European Economic Area students, and specific changes to the entry requirements for this route.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, September 8, 2020

DHS Proposes Broad Expansion of Biometrics Collection and Use

  • The Department of Homeland Security is proposing a regulation that would expand its current biometrics collection policies to include palm prints, iris images, and voice recognition, and, in certain circumstances, DNA, among other techniques.
  • If the rule is finalized as proposed, foreign nationals who are granted an immigration benefit would become subject to continuous biometrics screening and vetting throughout their stay in the United States until they naturalize to become U.S. citizens.
  • The new rule would expand the categories of individuals subject to biometrics collection to include U.S. citizens involved in an immigration filing and would expand collection to include foreign nationals under 14 years of age.
  • The rule will be formally proposed on September 11 and will be open for public feedback for 30 days. The rule will not take effect until it is finalized, a process that typically takes several months or more.



To view entire article, click here.

 

Panama, September 8, 2020

New Law to Bring Immigration and Other Benefits to Multinational Companies in the Manufacturing Industry

  • A new immigration scheme called the Special Regime for the Establishment and Operation of Multinational Companies Providing Manufacturing Related Services (EMMA) will take effect on December 1, 2020 in Panama for multinational companies that provide manufacturing-related services.
  • Eligible companies will benefit from favorable terms such as new visa categories for their foreign national employees, permanent residence after working in any EMMA company for five years, and shorter processing times for qualifying immigration applications.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Belgium, September 4, 2020

EU Intracompany Transferee Permit Forthcoming; New Immigration Restrictions Implemented

  • On October 1, 2020, foreign nationals are expected to be able to apply for the EU Intracompany Transferee (ICT) Permit in Belgium. This permit applies to qualified foreign managers, specialists and trainees who are sent from a company outside the European Union to a company of the same group in Belgium for more than 90 days.
  • The actual issuance of the EU ICT permit is subject to further legislation. This delays the main benefit of this permit (holders being able to work in other EU Member States, provided certain conditions are met).
  • Belgium has implemented immigration restrictions regarding in-country applications for a single permit and the right to unlimited residency.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, September 4, 2020

DHS Rule to Toughen H-1B Program Criteria Is Now Under Federal Review on a Fast Track

  • The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is reviewing a long-planned DHS regulation to tighten the definition of an H-1B specialty occupation and the H-1B employer-employee relationship – the next step in the process of implementing the rule.
  • DHS 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.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Ireland, September 4, 2020

Atypical Working Scheme Applications Now Online

  • The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) is now accepting online applications for the Atypical Working Scheme (AWS), Ireland’s short-term work authorisation option. The AWS was Ireland’s last employment-based permit still requiring paper applications.
  • Paper AWS applications will be accepted until September 18, 2020. After this date, online AWS applications are mandatory.

 

To view entire article, click here.

 

Other Weekly News Briefs

Italy: Reminder on Pre-Brexit Registration – As a reminder, UK nationals should register intended stays of over 90 days at their local Italian town hall of residence and must obtain a residency certificate (i.e. attestazione di iscrizione anagrafica) before the December 31, 2020 Brexit transition period deadline. Two personal applications are required, and applicants should anticipate pandemic-related appointment queues as many public offices continue to limit personal appearances due to COVID-19 restrictions. The residency certificate ensures UK residents safeguard their EU stay rights after the Brexit transition period ends December 31, 2020. If applicable, non-EU family members of UK nationals should apply for a 'dependent of an EU national' residence permit before December 31, 2020. As non-EU family members must submit the UK national’s residency certificate with their application, affected applicants are advised to start registration steps early to ensure all steps can be completed before the December 31, 2020 deadline. Italian authorities have not yet published regulations for new UK nationals arriving in Italy on or after January 1, 2021.

Mainland China: Delays in Press Credentials Approvals for Journalists Working for U.S. Media Outlets – Chinese authorities have delayed renewing the press credentials of some journalists working for U.S. media outlets in China. Chinese press cards have to be renewed in order for residence permits to be renewed. Affected journalists should obtain a letter from the International Press Center stating that their press card is being processed, and should present the letter to the Public Security Bureau to obtain a temporary residence permit extension. Fragomen can assist with this process. Bloomberg News, CNN and the Wall Street Journal are some of the affected media outlets. This is a developing issue and affected foreign nationals should contact their Fragomen immigration representative for specific advice.

Panama: Streamlined Work Authorization Process for SEM Dependents Forthcoming – Effective December 1, 2020, dependents of SEM Visa holders in Panama who are eligible to apply for work authorization under an existing work permit category will be eligible for a streamlined work authorization process. The new process would involve applying directly at the Ministry of Commerce’s special SEM processing desk, with shorter processing times. Currently, dependents of SEM visa holders eligible to apply for work authorization under an existing work permit category only have the option to obtain a visa at the National Immigration Service and a separate work permit processed with the Ministry of Labor, which can take up to four months to complete the process.

Russia: Registration for Foreign Nationals Rule Relaxed – Foreign nationals who own a residence in Russia can now register other foreign nationals for whom they provide a residence. Previously, only foreign nationals with permanent residence permits and Highly-Qualified Specialists (HQS) could do so, though HQS’ could register only family members. Additionally, address registration applications will now be accepted through “Gosuslugi,” the government’s internet portal. Previously, address registration was only possible through a post office (for initial address registrations), through multi-functional government centers and in-person through the Internal Affairs Ministry local immigration offices. If the inviting party (i.e., a Russian national, foreign national or company) permanently lives abroad, they can issue a notarized consent form to the foreign national so they can register themselves and their family members at the residence address.

United States: State Department To Process Certain Diversity Visa 2020 Applicants Where Local Conditions Allow – Following a U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia's ruling in Gomez v. Trump, the State Department confirmed that Diversity Visa (DV) 2020 applicants may be processed in embassies and consulates where local health conditions and post resources allow. The district court ordered the State Department to make good-faith efforts to expeditiously process and adjudicate DV-2020 diversity visa applications by September 30, notwithstanding the April 23 immigrant visa ban (Presidential Proclamation 10014). Note, however, that even after immigrant visa issuance, these foreign nationals would be barred from entering the United States while the immigrant ban is in effect (for now, though December 31, 2020), unless they qualify for an exception. In addition, if the applicant is subject to a COVID-19 public health regional ban (for travel within 14 days to China, Iran, the Schengen Area, the UK, Ireland, or Brazil), s/he will also need to overcome that ban. The State Department expects that, due to resource constraints, limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and country conditions, it will be unable to accommodate all DV applicants before September 30, 2020.

United States: Latest PERM and PWD Processing Times – As of August 31, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) was conducting analyst review for PERM applications filed in April 2020 or earlier, and processing audited cases filed in November 2019 or earlier. DOL is working on standard reconsideration requests submitted in June 2020 or earlier. DOL is issuing prevailing wage determinations (PWDs) for PERM requests filed in March 2020 and H-1B requests filed in May 2020. The agency has been processing PERM and H-1B redeterminations requested in August 2020. No PERM center director reviews remain pending. These reports are available on the 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.