Global Immigration Update – November 2017
Global Immigration Update – November 2017
Austria Austria has adopted a new intra-corporate transfer (ICT) scheme to align itself with European Union Directive 2014/66 on “the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the…
Austria has adopted a new intra-corporate transfer (ICT) scheme to align itself with European Union Directive 2014/66 on “the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer.”
Beginning 1 October 2017, the new framework replaces the “Rotationsarbeitskraft” scheme previously used in Austria. The new ICT is a combined work and residence permit available to third-country nationals transferred to work in Austria. The foreign employee must be working within the same group of companies as a manager, specialist, or trainee and must have been employed by the sending company for at least nine months (six months for trainees).
The permits are issued for a twelve month period and are renewable up to three times (non-renewable for trainees).
Those with an Austrian permit are then entitled to work in the Schengen Area, for a company in the same group, for up to 90 days in a 180 day period, although the host country may require notification. For those with an ICT permit granted in another EU country, the permit holder may work for up to 90 days in Austria without applying for a separate permit.
Effective immediately, Cyprus has adopted a new intra-corporate transfer (ICT) scheme to align itself with European Union Directive 2014/66 on “the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer.”
The new ICT is a combined work and residence permit available to third-country nationals transferred to work in Cyprus. The foreign employee must be working within the same group of companies as a manager, specialist, or trainee and must have been employed by the sending company for at least twelve months (six months for trainees).
The permits are issued for up to three years for managers and specialists and one year for trainees.
The holder of the Cypriot permit is then entitled to work in the Schengen Area, for a company in the same group, for up to 90 days in a 180 day period, although the host country may require notification. For those with an ICT permit granted in another EU country, the permit holder may work for up to 90 days Cyprus without applying for a separate permit but must notify the Cypriot authorities.
On 20 April 2017, the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) announced tougher eligibility requirements for citizenship. The changes required permanent residents of Australia to wait at least four years before applying, as well as a significantly higher level of English proficiency.
These changes were effective for all applications received beginning on 20 April 2017, however, the DIBP temporarily suspended application processing while it waited for the changes to be passed into law.
The proposed changes failed to pass the Australian Parliament in October 2017. Although the changes are expected to pass eventually, the proposals have been amended to eliminate their retroactive application and the higher English proficiency requirements.
As a result of the legislative delay, DIBP has resumed processing citizenship applications. Applications received between 20 April 2017 and 30 June 2018 will be assessed using the current eligibility criteria.
Applicants should expect long delays in processing by DIBP. There are currently more than 100,000 applications in the backlog and it is expected that the number of applications will increase before the tougher requirements go into effect on 1 July 2018.
Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has announced several changes to the Employment Pass Application Process, effective 15 November 2017.
New Processing Times
The following processing times apply to new and renewal applications:
|MSC Approval (Stage 1)||MSC Endorsement (Stage 2)||ICT Approval (Stage 1)||ICT Endorsement (Stage 2)|
MDEC will only take payment through online payment facilities, such as online bank transfers, credit cards, or debit cards. MDEC will no longer accept bank drafts, banker’s cheques, or cashier orders.
The below is the new fee structure for MDEC services:
|Services (New & Renewal Applications)||MDEC Fee for MSC
(incl. GST 6%)
|MDEC Fee for ICT
(incl. GST 6%)
|Employment Pass (EP)
(including Transfer of Endorsement and Cancellation of Passes)
|Dependent Pass (DP) / Social Visit Pass (SVP)||RM530||RM530|
|Amendment of Approval Letter||RM106||RM106|
New Online Portal
MDEC plans to launch an enhanced version of the eXpat portal on 15 November 2017. In anticipation of this, they have announced the following transition schedule for users of the current system:
- Companies may proceed with Stage 1 applications using the current eXpat system until 10 November 2017.
- For “keep in view” (KIV) applications (Stage 1), companies must confer with their designated MDEC client manager before 10 November 2017 to ensure pending applications are not cancelled.
- For Stage 1 approvals issued before 15 November 2017, the current eXpat system may be used until 29 December 2017 to complete endorsement procedures. The processing timelines and fees will remain unchanged under the old system.
- For KIV applications (Stage 2), companies must confer with their designated MDEC client manager before 29 December 2017 to ensure pending applications are not cancelled.
Note: failure to comply with any of these deadlines will result in all pending applications being cancelled. MDEC will migrate from the old eXpat system to the new system between 10 November and 15 November 2017 and both systems will be unavailable during that time.
Beginning 17 November 2017, employers must provide their foreign workers’ mobile telephone number when applying for or renewing a Work Permit through the Ministry of Manpower’s Online Foreign Worker Address Service.
Employers have five days to update the system if any changes are made to an employee’s mobile number or address.
Effective immediately, the Saudi Ministry of Labor has announced that the block visa validity period will be reduced from two years to one year. Block visas for foreign domestic workers and those employed by Saudi government agencies are exempt from this change.
Block visas are pre-approved visas given to employers to recruit foreign workers to Saudi Arabia. Employers must recruit and hire workers, then send them to apply for work visas at Saudi consular posts in the employees’ home country, all during the one year period the visas are valid.
The shortening of the visa period is reportedly part of an effort to decrease unemployment by encouraging the hiring of Saudi nationals.
Effective immediately, foreign nationals with a residence visa from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) are eligible for visas-on-arrival when they enter Tunisia. The visas will be eligible for stays of up to 15 days.
The following documents must be presented at the border:
- Valid passport;
- Residence visa/permit valid for six months from the date of entry into Tunisia;
- Hotel reservations or other proof of accommodation in Tunisia.
N.B.: Foreign national residents of Qatar should confirm before travel that they are eligible for a visa-on-arrival due to the ongoing boycott of Qatar by GCC nations.
Beginning 5 November 2017, Tel Aviv’s Ministry of Interior employees have announced they will suspend operations due to a labor dispute. During the suspension, no services will be provided by the Ministry of the Interior in Tel Aviv. Travelers should take these delays into consideration when planning travel.
Temporary Block to new travel ban
On Tuesday afternoon, 17 October 2017, hours before the new travel ban was due to take effect, US District Judge Derrick Watson issued a temporary restraining order preventing the implementation of portions of the presidential proclamation nationwide.
On 24 September 2017, the Trump Administration issued a new travel ban restricting entry into the United States indefinitely for nationals of eight (8) different countries. Five of the countries were impacted by the previous ban (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen) and three additional countries were added (Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela), while Sudan was removed from the list completely.
The ruling bars the enforcement or implementation of the travel ban on nationals from Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia to receive immigrant and non-immigrant visas to the United States.
However, the ruling does not impact the ban on travel from North Korea or certain Venezuelan government officials.
The ruling applies nationwide, and its practical effect is that travellers from the six Muslim-majority countries above are presently able to apply for immigrant and non-immigrant visas to the US.
The situation remains fluid, as the restraining order is a temporary measure, and not a final ruling. Shortly after the decision from Hawaii, a federal judge in Maryland issued a similar, albeit more limited, temporary injunction against the ban. US District Judge Theodore D. Chuang blocked the implementation of the ban for those with a “bona fide” relationship with a person or entity within the US.
The travel ban is also facing court challenges from the states of Washington, Massachusetts, California, Oregon, and New York.
The Department of Justice will appeal the ruling, and the expectation is that, as with the previous Executive Orders, the administration will next go to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Supreme Court of the United States was scheduled to hear arguments in October 2017 regarding the previous Executive Order, but postponed the hearing to allow both sides to resubmit legal briefs based on the most recently issued presidential proclamation.
Ferguson Snell are continuing to monitor the status of the lawsuits and will be sending further updates in case of changes impacting the Presidential Proclamation’s implementation.
Diversity Visa Lottery
Beginning 18 October 2017, the U.S. Department of State has opened the FY2019 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program application window. Applications for the lottery will be accepted until 22 November 2017. N.B., due to a technical issue, the previous lottery period that opened 3 October 2017 was closed and any application submitted between that date and 10 October 2017 is not valid and will need to be resubmitted.
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program allows up to 50,000 people from countries with low immigration into the United States to apply for a visa. To be eligible to enter the lottery, the applicant must have been born in a qualifying country and meet education/work requirements.
Nationals of countries which sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the US over the last five years are ineligible to apply for the lottery. They are:
Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.
If a national is ineligible to apply based on the location of birth, there are two other ways to qualify. An individual who was born in an ineligible country but is married to someone from an eligible country may apply. And a person who was born in an ineligible country to parents who were neither born in nor legally resided in that country at the time of the person’s birth may also apply.
Additionally, the applicant must have either a high school education (or equivalent) or at least two years of work experience within the last five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform.
Applications must be submitted electronically and winners are selected at random. Winners will not be notified, the confirmation number received after submission must be used to check the status of the application.
Please note that selection in the lottery does not guarantee lawful permanent residence in the US, the foreign national must also apply for permanent residence status by 30 September 2019.
If you would like further information on any part of this newsletter, please contact your dedicated Immigration Consultant via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +44 (0) 20 3668 2700.