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Welcome to the July 2015 edition of our global immigration news bulletins. These bulletins provide readers with the latest global immigration news and developments.

Questions and comments are always welcome and can be directed to Angie Volz, Global Immigration Program Manager: avolz@crownww.com.

Malaysia
The “i-Pass” card is reinstated under a new name

The “i-Pass” card was ceased by the Malaysian Immigration authority in September, 2014. The ID card that held personal information, such as name, nationality and gender, was issued to expats to ease travel in and around Malaysia. The Putrajaya Immigration Office is now resuming issuance of the “i-Pass” card, under the new name of the “i-Kad” card. There has been no official announcement to the public, therefore, readers are advised to take note of the following changes to the application process:

One-stop application submission

The Putrajaya Immigration Office now processes all “i-Kad” card applications. Applications should not be submitted to any other immigration authority.

Requirements for applicants

The “i-Kad” card is no longer automatically granted following the issuance of an Employment Pass (EP) or a Dependent Pass (DP). An “i-Kad” card application can only be filed after the EP or DP has been granted. The card will only be issued to qualified applicants and is only valid for the duration of the EP or DP.

Shorter processing times and collection period

The “i-Kad” card is expected to be issued on the same day of submission. However, the processing time may be longer if there is a high volume of applications. The “i-Kad” card must be collected within one month of issuance. If the card is not collected within one month, a new application will be required.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, Asia, Kit Tang.

 

 

Thailand
Tax documentation is now required for the post-arrival visa process

From July 6, 2015, the One Stop Service Center in Thailand has required evidence of income tax as part of the post-arrival visa process. Transferees and their dependents can only apply for a post-arrival visa extension once evidence of income tax is available from their employer in Thailand.  

Tax filing requirements

  • If the transferee resides in Bangkok or Provincial Thailand, the employer must file the transferee’s income tax report to the Revenue Department. If the transferee resides outside of Bangkok, the income tax report should be filed to the District Revenue Office to obtain supporting evidence for the visa process
  • The employer can opt to file tax identification number PND1 – a monthly income tax report. A one-month report form and filing receipt is required to complete the visa extension process
  • Tax documents for transferees that receive income from outside the Kingdom of Thailand can be filed using tax identification number PND93, alongside a six-month income tax report. This report will provide evidence for long-stay visa extensions

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, Asia, Kit Tang.

 

 

The Philippines
Revised checklist criteria and immigration forms

The Philippine Bureau of Immigration has issued a revised list of updated immigration forms for the following applications:

  • Non-Immigrant Visa
  • Provisional Work Permit
  • Special Work Permit – Commercial
  • Limited Work Permit

All visa applications must now comply with the new checklist requirements and be submitted using the revised forms. Applications submitted on incorrect documents may be rejected or put on hold until the new requirements are met.

More information and the new forms can be found on the Philippine Bureau of Immigration’s website:

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, Asia, Kit Tang.

 

 

Canada
British Columbia introduces mandatory online registration for Entrepreneur Immigration stream

The province of British Columbia (BC) has introduced a mandatory online registration system for applicants to the Entrepreneur Immigration stream of the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP). A maximum of 200 registrations per month will be accepted. The BC PNP will periodically invite the highest-scoring registrants to submit applications.

Successful applicants will obtain a work permit. If their business in British Columbia fulfills the program’s requirements on an ongoing basis, applicants will be eligible to apply for permanent residence in Canada through the BC PNP.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, Americas, Laura Taggart.

 

 

Canada
Electronic Travel Authorization program

Canada is to introduce a new entry requirement for some international visitors who enter Canada by air. The new requirement will be known as an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). Entry requirements for visitors entering by land and sea will not change.

From August 1, 2015, visitors will be able to use the new online system to apply for an eTA. As of March 15, 2016, travelers must obtain an eTA before they board a flight to Canada.

Visitors that do not normally need a visa to enter Canada will require an eTA. Some exemptions will apply; for example, U.S. citizens do not need an eTA or a visa. However, identification must be presented at the border. U.S. permanent residents will be required to have an eTA to fly to Canada.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, Americas, Laura Taggart.

 

 

The United States
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) issues August 2015 Visa Bulletin

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released its August 2015 Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin sets out the priority dates for immigrants that are subject to the quota system. The DOS, Visa Control and Reporting Division determine the movement of immigrant cut-off dates each month.

The Philippines EB-3 and Other Workers categories are now available, and the cut-off date of June 1, 2004, has been established. China EB-3 retrogressed by more than seven years due to a large increase in applicant demand. A new cut-off date of June 1, 2004, has been established. Meanwhile, China EB-2 has advanced 11 weeks to December 15, 2013.

India EB-3 advanced four months to a cut-off date of June 1, 2004, and India EB-2 remains at October 1, 2008. 

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, Americas, Laura Taggart.

 

 

The United States
USCIS launches new resources in Spanish

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has launched a Spanish Facebook page and a new home for its Spanish blog, “USCIS Compás.” USCIS will share news and information as well as unique stories in Spanish, specifically for the Hispanic community.

For more information about USCIS and its programs, visit uscis.gov/es. Follow in Spanish on Facebook (/uscis.es), Twitter (@uscis_ES) and YouTube (/uscis).

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, Americas, Laura Taggart.

 

 

The United States
USCIS resumes premium processing for extension of stay H-1B petitions

From July 13, 2015, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) resumed accepting requests for premium processing for H-1B extension applications.

USCIS announced on May 19, 2015, that the premium processing service would be suspended from May 26, 2015, until July 27, 2015, for Form I-129 H-1B extension of stay petitions. The temporary suspension allowed USCIS to implement the employment authorization for certain H-4 dependent spouses. It also allowed USCIS to begin the adjudication of applications for employment authorization filed by H-4 non-immigrants under the new regulation.

USCIS closely monitored its workload before resuming the premium processing service for H-1B extension of stay petitions earlier than expected on July 13, 2015.

As a reminder, USCIS will only accept the new version (edition date: 01/29/2015) of Form I-907 and it must have been received after July 13, 2015. The edition date is printed on the bottom left-hand corner of every page of the form. USCIS will reject applications submitted on previous editions of this form.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, Americas, Laura Taggart.

 

 

European Union
Eight EU countries scrap work permit requirements for Croatian nationals

Since July 1, 2015, Croatian nationals can enter and work without a work permit in eight countries within the EU. The countries that have permitted Croatian citizens access are:

  • Belgium
  • Cyprus
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Spain

Croatians will now follow standard EU registration processes in these countries. Austria, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia and the United Kingdom will maintain their restrictions for another three years. There is no change with the remaining Member States who previously granted Croatian workers freedom of movement rights.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Peregrine Immigration Management’s website.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this immigration alert is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA, Ben Sookia.

 

 

France
Record-keeping requirements for employers in France

Employers in France must appoint a legal representative in France who has access to documents relating to the employee’s employment and the French assignment. The host company in France must also receive certain documents prior to the start of the assignment. Failure to comply with the new requirements could result in fines for both the employer abroad and in France.

The legal representative must have access to the following documents:

  • The assignee’s French work permit, immigration medical certificate, payslips, proof of salary payment and timesheet
  • Evidence of the employer’s business activity abroad and in France, and social security compliance
  • The employment contract of the assignee and, if applicable, the service agreement between the employer and the host company in France
  • A copy of the letter designating the legal representative

The host company in France must ensure that it has access to the following documents before the assignment starts:

  • The prior detachment declaration filed with the labor inspectorate that has jurisdiction for the place of work
  • A copy of the letter designating the legal representative
  • A copy of the French work permit, which needs to be added to the personnel register

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Peregrine Immigration Management’s website.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this immigration alert is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA, Ben Sookia.

 

 

Kazakhstan
Additional countries added to the visa waiver scheme

The visa waiver scheme, that came into effect in July 2014, has now been extended to ten additional countries:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Finland
  • Hungary
  • Monaco
  • Norway
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

Nationals of these countries will now be able to enter, leave and travel through Kazakhstan for business or tourism purposes for up to 15 days without a visa. Nationals from the eligible countries traveling to Kazakhstan for work purposes are still required to obtain a work visa.

The primary purpose of the visa waiver scheme is to facilitate travel to Kazakhstan for business visitors traveling from countries that have actively invested in the local economy.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Peregrine Immigration Management’s website.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA, Ben Sookia.

 

 

Luxembourg
Salary requirements change for EU Blue Card holders

The Luxembourg government has made changes to the salary requirements for European Union (EU) Blue Card holders, with immediate effect.

EU Blue Card holders in Luxembourg must now be paid at least 71,946 euros per year, an increase from 69,858 euros.

However, immigration authorities in Luxembourg have also announced a list of occupations where there is a shortage. These occupations will now have a lower minimum annual salary of 57,556.80 euros.

The qualifying occupations are mostly in the ICT sector, where the Luxembourg government has identified the need to attract more non-EU workers:

  • Mathematicians, actuaries and statisticians
  • System analysts
  • Software developers
  • Web and multimedia developers
  • Applications programmers
  • Software and application developers and analysts (not elsewhere classified)
  • Database designers and administrators
  • Systems administrators
  • Computer network professionals
  • Database and network professionals (not elsewhere classified)

The government fee for Residence Permit applications in Luxembourg has increased from 50 euros to 80 euros.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Peregrine Immigration Management’s website.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA, Ben Sookia.

 

 

Qatar
New residence cards introduced

From June 15, 2015, the Qatar Ministry of the Interior (MOI) began issuing new residence/ID cards for new and renewing foreign national residents – replacing existing ID cards and passport stickers.

Children under the age of 16 will now require their own ID card. The new cards will include the holder’s home address and must be presented with the holder’s passport when entering and leaving Qatar. First-time applicants will now be required to show their passport and give fingerprints.

Who is affected?

  • All residents of Qatar are now required to have ID cards, including children under the age of 16
  • Residents with valid Residence Permits (RP) and ID cards do not need to apply for the new residence card until their current RP and ID card is about to expire
  • All new residents will be issued the new type of card

Foreign nationals sponsored by their employer, applying to renew their initial residence card, must make their applications electronically. Electronic applications can be made on the Metrash2 app on the MOI website or the e-government website.

Residence cards will be sent to the applicant’s home in the mail, and will be valid for one, two, three or five years – depending upon the resident’s category. Applicants can choose between a standard card and a smart card. The smart card features biometric data and can be used for fast-track immigration at Hamad International Airport.

It is hoped that the new card system will ease the application process for foreign nationals, reduce the number of visitors to MOI centers and save the passport pages of applicants.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Peregrine Immigration Management’s website.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA, Ben Sookia.

 

 

Russia
Reporting a change of personal details within seven days

From June 29, 2015, holders of work permits, highly qualified specialist work permits and work patents are required to inform the issuing Russian immigration authorities of any changes to their name or passport details within seven working days. Previously, the law did not specify an exact timeframe to apply for corrections.

Penalties

Failure to inform the Russian immigration authorities within seven days is considered to be an administrative violation. It could lead to a fine of up to 5,000 RUB for the foreign national (approximately US$ 95).

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Peregrine Immigration Management’s website.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA, Ben Sookia.

 

 

United Kingdom
Migration Advisory Committee requests UK immigration process review

On July 2, 2015, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) launched a call for evidence relating to the commission from the U.K. government to review the Tier 2 route. Tier 2 of the points-based system is the route for skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who can offer skilled employment in the U.K.

The MAC review will focus on:

  • Options to re-focus the route on areas where there are genuine skills shortages
  • How to limit the time that sectors can remain on a shortage list
  • Implementation of a levy on Tier 2 visas to fund apprenticeships
  • Restrictions on the automatic right of Tier 2 dependents to work
  • Tightening up on the intra-company transfer (ICT) route, including applying the immigration health surcharge to ICTs
  • Raising the minimum salary levels that migrants are paid

The call for evidence document, available here, sets out the questions on which the MAC seeks views, evidence and responses from partners. The MAC is also keen to meet with partners to discuss the issues raised and will be arranging meetings and events with U.K. businesses.

The closing date for responses to be received by the MAC is September 25, 2015. Partners are strongly encouraged to submit their evidence before this date.

Source

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further enquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact the Regional Immigration Manager, EMEA, Ben Sookia.

 

 

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