Immigration Update – October 2017

October 17, 2017 All, Global, UK
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Immigration Update – October 2017

Update on EU negotiations Although the EU negotiations continue the UK government has released a statement to say that: – The settled status scheme for EU nationals in the UK,…

Update on EU negotiations

Although the EU negotiations continue the UK government has released a statement to say that:

– The settled status scheme for EU nationals in the UK, once implemented after the UK leave the EU, streamlined, digital and low cost.

– EU Nationals do not need a document now to prove that you are resident in the UK at the moment

– For those who already have EU permanent residence documents the process will be very straightforward, with greatly reduced or zero cost to applicants to update their status under the new scheme

– The EU Council is meeting next week to discuss whether or not there has been sufficient progress in the current talks to move onto discussion of wider issues

 

Canada

Canada and the European Union have agreed on a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that was provisionally effective beginning on 21 September 2017.

This agreement eases visa requirements for several groups of people:

  • Business Travellers: Short-term business visitors and business visitors for investment purposes can enter without a work permit for up to 90 days in any six month period for business activities (including attending meetings, consultations, training seminars, conducting research or commercial transactions, negotiating sales or purchasing, providing after sales service, accompanying a tour group, or translating/interpreting). A business visitor for investment purposes is someone who is a manager or specialist and who is responsible for setting up an enterprise.
  • Intra-Company Transferees: These professionals can now enter for work without being subject to labour market testing or quotas provided they meet the requirement of having been employed by the company for at least one year and are:
    • A senior executive or specialist: they may obtain a work permit for the length of the project, up to three years, with the possibility of an extension for 18 months.
    • A graduate trainee: they must have a university degree and may obtain a work permit for the length of the project, up to one year, with no possibility of extension.
  • Contracted Service Providers and Independent Professionals: These professionals can now enter for work without being subject to labour market testing or quotas when applying for a work permit as long as they meet the requirements as follows:
    • Must be contracted to supply a service for up to 12 months;
    • In almost all cases, must have a university degree as well as any required professional certifications;
    • Contracted service providers must have worked for their employing company for at least one year, along with at least three years of experience in the specific field;
    • Independent professionals must be self-employed and have at least six years of experience in the specific field.
  • Investors: Those who qualify may obtain a work permit for up to one year, without possibility of extension, without being subject to quotes or labour market testing.

Please note, citizens of the European Union will still require a valid Electronic Travel Authorisation to enter Canada. Canadian nationals do not require a visa to travel within the Schengen area for stays up to 90 days in any 180 day period.

 

Thailand

Beginning in October 2017, Thailand has launched a new online application system for work permits, renewal of work permits, and visa applications. The “Single Window System” will replace the current hardcopy based system.

Companies registered with Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) must register for mandatory online training with the system, which will be completed on a first-come, first-served basis. Training is available for a select number of companies within the month of October and those companies will be eligible to begin using the new system on 24 October 2017.

Training on the new system will continue until the end of 2017. From 1 January 2018, BOI registered companies will be required to use the new system for applications/renewals in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket Provinces. Any BOI registered company who has not completed the training by that date should expect extensive delays in processing their applications if they are still using the old system. The new system will become nationwide by October 2018, including for those companies which are not registered with the BOI.

Note that during the transition period, applications may take longer than during the previous system, however, ultimately, the Single Window System is expected to improve processing times for applications and renewals.

 

Singapore

With effect from 1 January 2018, the salary threshold for work pass holders to qualify for dependent privileges will increase from SGD 5000 to SGD 6000 minimum fixed monthly salary. This increase applies to eligibility for Dependant Passes for spouses and/or unmarried dependant children who are 20 years old or younger or Long Term Visit Passes for common-law spouses, unmarried stepchildren who are 20 years old or younger or unmarried children 21 years old or older in certain circumstances.

Applications and renewals received before 1 January 2018 will be assessed using the current salary requirements.

 

Switzerland

The Swiss Federal Council will increase the work permit quotas for long-term B permits and short-term L permits in 2018.

  • Non-EU/EFTA Nationals: the number of long-term B work permits will increase to 3500 and the number of short-term L work permits will remain the same, bringing the total number of Non-EU/EFTA permits available to 8000.
  • EU/EFTA Nationals: the number of long-term B work permits will increase to 500 and the number of short-term L work permits will increase to 3000, bringing the total number of EU/EFTA permits available to 3500.

 

USA

Resumption of Premium Processing for H-1B Petitions

On 3 October 2017, US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that premium processing for all types of H-1B petitions would be resumed, effective immediately. Premium processing allows for the application to be adjudicated within fifteen (15) calendar days for an additional fee of $1225.

Updated Travel Ban

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 new order took effect immediately for citizens of the following nations who could not show a “credible claim to a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States”:

  • Iran: No immigrant or nonimmigrant visas except F, M, and J student visas.
  • Libya: No immigrant or B-1, B-2, B-1/B-2 visas.
  • Somalia: No immigrant visas and increased screening for nonimmigrant visas.
  • Syria: No immigrant or nonimmigrant visas.
  • Yemen: No immigrant or B-1, B-2, B-1/B-2 visas.

Nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen who can show a credible relationship with a US entity or person and for nationals of following countries, the ban takes effect 18 October 2017:

  • Venezuela: No B-1, B-2, B-1/B-2 visas for certain members of the government.
  • North Korea: No immigrant or nonimmigrant visas.
  • Chad: No immigrant or B-1, B-2, B-1/B-2 visas.

The new order does not apply to citizens of affected countries who are already in the United States, valid visa holders, lawful permanent residents, and dual nationals travelling under the passport of an unaffected country.

 

Reciprocal Suspension of Visa Services – Turkey

On 8 October 2017, the US and Turkey announced reciprocal suspension of visa services between the two countries. The US will no longer offer nonimmigrant visa services at its embassy and consulates within Turkey. Turkey suspended all visa services for US citizens at diplomatic facilities within the US, at Turkey’s borders, and blocked US nationals from using its e-Visa service.

Turkish citizens may still apply for US visas at diplomatic facilities outside Turkey and visas which are currently valid will remain so.

 

FSA – Immigration Update October 2017

If you would like further information on any part of this newsletter, please contact your dedicated Immigration Consultant via email on comms@fergusonsnell.co.uk or call us on +44 (0) 20 3668 2700.