Virginia, US

Feb 23 2018

Weekly Immigration Update: February 16 - 22, 2018

Angola, India, Israel, Kazakhstan, Panama, Slovak Republic, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States

In United States immigration news this week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued guidance confirming it will no longer accept an employer's applications or petitions if they are signed by outside counsel under a power of attorney starting March 17.

Also in the United States, USCIS will only accept employment-based adjustment applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is current for final action next month under the State Department's March Visa Bulletin.

Foreign nationals in the United Kingdom under the Tier 1 (General) visa category will no longer be allowed to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after April 5, 2018.

India introduced new sub-categories for its employment, business and tourist visas.

Angola has created a reciprocal tourist visa exemption for nationals of Botswana, Mauritius, Seychelles, Singapore and Zimbabwe. South African Missions abroad have increased their scrutiny of various visa application types and have begun requesting additional documentation without prior notice.

These items and other news from Israel, Kazakhstan, Panama, Slovak Republic, South Africa and Turkey follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

 

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, February 21, 2018
March Visa Bulletin Update - USCIS to Honor Employment-Based Final Action Dates Only Next Month

In March, USCIS will only accept employment-based adjustment applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is current for final action under the State Department's March Visa Bulletin.

To view entire article, click here.

 

United States, February 16, 2018
USCIS Restricts Use of Powers of Attorney

  • In an abrupt reversal of policy, USCIS will no longer accept an employer's applications or petitions if they are signed by outside counsel under a power of attorney.
  • Filings made on behalf of a corporation or other legal entity must be signed by an authorized officer or employee of the entity.
  • The new policy takes effect on March 17, 2018 and will apply to the upcoming H-1B cap season.


To view entire article, click here.

 

Israel, February 22, 2018
Indian Business Persons Eligible for Longer Stays and More Visits Under One B-2 Visa

Effective immediately, Indian Business Persons, as defined by Israeli law, are eligible for a multiple-entry B-2 visa that is valid for up to five years and allows stays up to 90 days, subject to consular discretion. This is an improvement from their previous eligibility for a B-2 visa that allowed one trip, usually for up to 30 days.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Kazakhstan, February 22, 2018
Entry Pass Required to Access Border Areas

  • Effective March 1, 2018, the Migration Police will introduce a requirement for foreign nationals to procure an entry pass to access border areas. 
  • Affected foreign nationals will have to submit an application to the Migration Police. This process can take up to seven days, but does not require a personal appearance.


To view entire article, click here.

 

South Africa, February 22, 2018
Application Scrutiny Has Increased at Missions Abroad

  • Over the last few weeks, South African Missions abroad have been requesting ad hoc documents for various South African visa application types without prior notice.
  • Requests range from new supporting documents to different formatting of current requirements.


To view entire article, click here.

 

United Kingdom, February 21, 2018
Reminder: Deadline Approaching for Indefinite Leave to Remain Applications Under Tier 1 (General) Category

Foreign nationals in the United Kingdom under the Tier 1 (General) visa category will no longer be allowed to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after April 5, 2018.

To view entire article, click here.

 

India, February 21, 2018
Visa Sub-Categories Introduced

  • In an effort to further simplify the Indian visa system and better track foreign nationals based on the purpose of their visit, the Ministry of Home Affairs in India has introduced new sub-categories for certain visa types.
  • Foreign nationals must choose a specific purpose of travel while completing their online application forms.


To view entire article, click here.

 

Angola, February 21, 2018
Tourist Visa Exemption Expanded

  • A reciprocal tourist visa exemption has been created for nationals of Botswana, Mauritius, Seychelles, Singapore and Zimbabwe; and
  • The application process for the tourist visa will be simplified for nationals of 35 other countries.


To view entire article, click here.

 

Slovak Republic, February 20, 2018
Foreign Police Office in Bratislava to Relocate

On March 19, 2018, the Foreign Police in Bratislava will operate from a new location and adjust their hours of operations, which may temporarily delay visa and work permit processing.

To view entire article, click here.

 

Weekly News Briefs

Panama: New Biometric Registration System Implementation Delayed – The new biometric registration system that the Ministry of Labor announced in December will be implemented on March 6, 2018, after some delays. By this date, foreign nationals who are obtaining or renewing their work permits and who have a temporary identification card (for initial applications) and temporary or permanent identification card (for renewal applications) will need to attend an appointment to submit their biometrics and register with the Ministry of Labor. At this appointment, foreign nationals will be required to bring their original passport, a copy of their immigration status, a power of attorney and an application for a work permit. Foreign nationals under Multinational Companies (SEM) visas and Panama Pacifico visas are exempt from the new biometrics requirement.

Turkey: New Registration System Introduced A new registration system, called the KEP system (kayitli electronic posta), has been created by the Turkish Telecommunications Authority for Turkish companies to receive official government communications and notices electronically. At a later date, the Ministry of Labor will likely require companies and individuals who sponsor work permits to register with the KEP system, which will presumably electronically verify filings, approvals, cancellations, and Requests for Evidence. We will report further information on the system as soon as it is available.

 

Global Immigration News Links

  • U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has suggested that March 5 may no longer be the deadline for the House to take action on DACA relief, because of pending litigation.
  • The latest White House economic report cites the importance of an expanding labor force to raising growth and incomes but omits immigration from its discussion, according to CNBC.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron introduced legislation that will tighten controls over immigration to France, speed up deportations and narrow qualifications for asylum, Bloomberg reports.
  • The European Union and Armenia signed a partnership document outlining the structure for closer cooperation over the next two years.
  • The European Court of Justice advised a Belgian court that ‘on call’ time may count as working time, and that national legislation cannot provide less protection to workers than EU rules.


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