February’s global immigration news roundup

Welcome to the latest edition of Crown World Mobility's global immigration news bulletins. These bulletins provide readers with the most recent 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.

China
New rule extends visa-free entry to Yangtze River Delta from 72 to 144 hours

On January 26, 2016, the Ministry of Public Security announced the launch of a 144-hour Transit Visa Exemption program. The new program, which took effect on January 30, gives six days with no visa requirement to transit passengers of 51 countries. Passengers can also move within the administration precincts of Shanghai Municipality, Jiangsu Province and Hangzhou Municipality.

To qualify:

  1. Passengers must hold valid travel documents and air, sea and railway tickets with confirmed dates and destinations leaving within 144 hours of their transit stay.
  2. Approval will only be granted to travelers entering Yangtze River Delta through the seven designated air, sea and railway ports-of-entry.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Ministry of Public Security:

Source one (website displays Chinese)

Source two (website displays Chinese)

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 Global Immigration Program Manager, Angie Volz.

 

 

Brazil
Brazil simplifies document legalization process

Beginning August 2016, Brazilian authorities will accept foreign-issued documents legalized with an apostille. Once the formal statement is implemented, the lengthier consular legalization process will no longer be required.

What is an apostille?

An "apostille" is a form of authentication issued to documents for use in countries that participate in the Hague Convention of 1961. A list of countries that accept apostilles is provided by the U.S. State Department.

Why is having an apostille so important?

An apostille reduces the time consuming formalities of legalization to the delivery of a certificate in a prescribed form, entitled "Apostille," by the authorities of the State where the document originates. This certificate, placed on the document, is dated, numbered and registered.

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.

 

 

Brazil
Instruction published reduces mandatory age for CPF

The Federal Revenue published the Normative Instruction No. 1610 on January 21, making it mandatory to provide a social security number to dependents aged 14 – for the purpose of calculating taxable income. This, in effect, reduces the mandatory age for a Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas (CPF) – a document that identifies the tax payer – to 14 years of age.

The age reduction for the CPF contained in the Declaração do Imposto sobre a Renda da Pessoa Física (DIRPF) – Annual Individual Income Tax Return – reduces the risk of fraud related to the inclusion of a fictitious dependent and the inclusion of the same dependent on more than one statement.

This rule will apply to the Annual Adjustment Statement Base Year 2015 – declared in 2016.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Brazil’s Federal Revenue (website displays Portuguese).

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
Express Entry – 27th draw illustrates continuing flexibility

Express Entry is the system used by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to select candidates for immigration to Canada using the following federal economic immigration programs: Federal Skilled WorkerFederal Skilled Trades and the Canadian Experience Class.

Launched on January 1, 2015, candidates eligible to immigrate to Canada under a federal economic immigration program may enter the Express Entry pool. The government of Canada selects the top-ranked candidates on a priority basis when it performs one of its frequent draws from the pool.

On February 10, 2016, 1,505 invitations were sent with the cut-off score of 459 points to those skilled candidates who had submitted a profile into the Express Entry pool.

This latest draw is the fourth draw that has taken place over the first six weeks of 2016. Recent Express Entry draws have seen an increase in frequency and number of invitations.

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
Cap count update for H-2B non-immigrants

The H-2B program

The H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs.

Click here for more information on the H-2B program.

What is the H-2B cap?

There is a statutory numerical limit, or "cap," on the total number of foreign nationals who may be issued an H-2B visa or otherwise granted H-2B status during a fiscal year (FY). Currently, Congress has set the H-2B cap at 66,000 per FY – 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the FY (October 1 – March 31) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the FY (April 1 – September 30). Any unused numbers from the first half of the FY will be available for employers seeking H-2B workers during the second half of the FY. However, unused H-2B numbers from one FY do not carry over into the next.

Workers who are exempt from the H-2B cap

Generally, workers in the United States with H-2B status who extend their stay, change employers or change the terms and conditions of their employment will not be subject to the cap. The spouse and children of H-2B workers classified as H-4 non-immigrants are also not counted against this cap.

Additionally, petitions for the following types of workers are exempt from the H-2B cap:

  • Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians and/or supervisors of fish roe processing
  • Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam from November 28, 2009 until December 31, 2019
  • For FY 2016 only, workers identified as “returning workers” who were previously counted against the annual H-2B cap during FYs 2013, 2014 or 2015

Once the H-2B cap has been reached, USCIS may only accept petitions for H-2B workers who are exempt or not subject to the H-2B cap.

Fiscal year 2016 H-2B cap counts

The H-2B cap for FY 2016 is now open.

According to the USCIS chart, as of February 9, 2016, for the first half of FY 2016, USCIS had received filings on behalf of 31,948 H-2B beneficiaries. This number refers to the total number of beneficiaries for approved or pending petitions filed with USCIS that could potentially be counted towards the H-2B cap. The cap for each half year is 33,000. USCIS accepts filings to exceed the actual cap to allow for withdrawals, denials and approvals for which no visa is issued.

If the cap is not reached for the first half of the FY, USCIS will make those unused numbers available for use during the second half of the FY.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from 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
Germany joins the Global Entry program

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Travelers from Germany are now able to join the program.

Citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany who have been identified as potentially eligible for initial participation will receive a promotional code and information about the program from the German government. These individuals will be required to complete the online application located on the GOES website, enter the code during the application process, pay the non-refundable Global Entry fee and satisfy all the requirements of Global Entry.

These applicants will be permitted to participate in Global Entry upon successful completion of a thorough risk assessment by both CBP and the German Federal Police, and completion of an interview with CBP. The vetting criteria was mutually agreed upon and are consistent with each agency's applicable domestic laws and policies. CBP will notify the applicants regarding whether or not they have been accepted into Global Entry.

Global Entry began in February 2012 for U.S. travelers, and was initially open to citizens of Mexico and the Netherlands.

By August 2013, the program was enlarged for citizens of South Korea who participated in that country’s Smart Entry System, and for a limited number of citizens of Qatar, the United Kingdom and Germany.

The program was opened to all citizens of Panama in January 2015 and of the United Kingdom in December.

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.

 

 

Germany
Streamlined immigration process: Dependent and employment visas

The German federal government has streamlined rules for family reunification visa types and shortened processing times where the Federal Employment Agency is not involved in granting an application.

Accompanying family members are now subject to shorter processing times. Previously, applications were often processed within three months, despite the main principal`s application being ready within two weeks.

Local immigration offices will no longer need to be involved, providing the following conditions are met:

  • The main applicant’s visa application does not require the approval of an immigration office
  • The family member’s application does not require the approval of an immigration office due to a previous stay in Germany
  • The applicant and partner are married and have filed both applications shortly after each other

The German consulate abroad can grant and approve a permit application if objection has not been received from local labor authorities within 10 days.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Bundesanzeiger Verlag (website displays German).

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, Vladimir Dziak.

 

 

Ireland
Introduction of new stamp for students under the Third Level Graduate Scheme

A new immigration stamp has been introduced to cater for those under the Third Level Graduate Scheme.

At present, third level non-EEA students graduating with Irish degree awards can take advantage of an extension of their immigration permission. The Third Level Graduate Scheme allows legally resident non-EEA third level graduates to remain in Ireland for the purposes of seeking employment and applying for a green card or work permit.

The new stamp (Stamp 1G) will help employers determine those students who are entitled to work full time under the scheme. (There are no changes to eligibility criteria for the scheme.)

Students received Stamp 2 before the new categorization. We expect a transitional period, where some existing graduates have a Stamp 2, while others have a Stamp 1G. Graduates with permission under the scheme with Stamp 2 are similarly entitled to work full time. They should also be able to produce a transcript of their final results from the college in support of their entitlement to an employer.

The Third Level Graduate Scheme may only be used once. Full details are provided in the document guidelines for degree programme students.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service.

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, Vladimir Dziak.

 

 

Italy
2016 quotas released for several employment types

Quotas for foreign workers in several categories of employment (subordinate work, independent work, etc.) have been released.

Currently, 2,400 quota spots are available for the following categories:

  • Innovative startups initiators
  • Selected investors
  • Freelancers in skilled regulated and unregulated professions
  • Officers
  • Internationally-known artists or those with high professional qualifications employed by public or private organizations

Online quota applications can be submitted via the Ministry of Interior website.

After February 17, employers can apply for quota spots for seasonal workers.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Italian government (website displays Italian).

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, Vladimir Dziak.

 

 

Russia
Health insurance requirements for foreign citizens and persons without citizenship in Russia

On September 13, 2015, the Central Bank of the Russian Federation issued decree no. 3793-U. The order, which took effect on January 31, 2016, sets out the standard requirements for the voluntary health insurance of foreign citizens and persons without citizenship in Russia for the purpose of employment.

Under the order, the insurer must carry out their health insurance program against the risks of incurring medical expenses. The cost of insurance per person must be more than 100,000 rubles for the duration of employment. The health insurance policy should contain a list of medical services covered by the insurer, and the procedure for their provision.

The insurer is entitled to exclude cover for the following medical services:

  • The medical care of dangerous infectious diseases, malignant tumors, diabetes and mental disorders
  • High-tech medical care
  • Medical care for pathological conditions, poisoning and injuries due to intoxication
  • Medical care related to suicide attempts
  • Medical services related to pregnancy and childbirth, etc.

The health insurance program should also state that the insurer will cover the costs of vital medication and medical devices used by medical personnel when providing emergency and specialized medical care.

The legislation sets out more concrete requirements regarding the content of the insurance policy, including:

  • Date the insurance policy form was filed
  • Policy terms and territory of validity
  • Cost
  • The signature of the insured person

Validity of the health insurance agreement should be defined – based upon the work permit validity or a patent reported by the insurer, and the territory of its validity. This should include the subject of the Russian Federation and on whose territory the insured person intends to work.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Central Bank of Russia (website displays Russian).

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, Vladimir Dziak.

 

 

Tanzania
Reintroduction of business visa-on-arrival

The Immigration Services Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs has reintroduced the business visa-on-arrival, which allows business visitors to obtain a non-extendable 90-day visa at the port-of-entry.

Several activities are allowed under business visitor status, including:

  • Board meetings and business prospecting
  • Internal presentations
  • Advisory consultations
  • The installation of machinery

Please note that productive work cannot be performed under business visitor status.

However, immigration officials at the port-of-entry maintain discretion to issue a business visa-on-arrival, and may refer a traveler to the Labor Department if they think a work permit is necessary. If this occurs, the traveler may be issued an ordinary visa so they can apply for a work permit in Tanzania. An ordinary visa does not permit productive work or business activities. For visa-exempt nationals (East African Community and Southern African Development Community), fees of US$ 200 apply for a business pass.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Tanzanian government.

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, Vladimir Dziak.

 

 

United Kingdom
Immigration health surcharge extended for Australians and New Zealanders

From 4 April 2016, citizens of Australia and New Zealand planning to spend more than six months in the UK, or who are extending their stay from within the UK, will be required to pay a £200 per year surcharge as a part of their application.

Previously, when the health surcharge was introduced last year for all non-EU/EEA nationals, Australians and New Zealanders were exempt from this requirement. The £200 surcharge is designed to ensure the National Health Service (NHS) remains sustainable and receives a fair contribution to the cost of healthcare from temporary migrants.

Health surcharge payers receive NHS care generally free of charge, but are charged for services a permanent resident would also pay for, such as dental treatment and prescription charges in England.

The surcharge does not apply to any non-EEA national coming to the UK for six months or less, or to those who apply for a visitor visa, who continue to be fully liable for the cost of any NHS treatment at the point they receive it. However, due to reciprocal healthcare agreements with both countries, residents of Australia and citizens of New Zealand who visit the UK will not be charged for treatment that cannot wait until they return home.

Those, aged between 18 and 30, applying to come to the UK on the Youth Mobility Scheme will benefit from a discounted rate of £150 per person per year – a reduction of £50, which will align the cost with the amount paid by students.

The changes were introduced 4 February, 2016, as a draft order and will come into force from 6 April, 2016, subject to Parliamentary approval.

Further guidance on the surcharge is available here.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from GOV.UK.

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, Vladimir Dziak.

 

 

Meet the team: Elena Elyutina, Regional Immigration Coordinator – EMEA


Elena Elyutina
Elena Elyutina
 

Elena joined Crown World Mobility in January as Regional Immigration Coordinator. She is responsible for delivering immigration services across the EMEA region – mainly for Central and Eastern European Countries, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Elena’s primary responsibilities include:

  • The coordination of complex immigration cases, including third-country applications and consular processes
  • Consulting with local Crown experts and/or departments, embassies, consulates and other authorities to provide structured guidance on how to move application processes forward
  • Attending meetings with relevant authorities to understand processes and timelines (with and without the transferee/applicant)

She also holds a Business Technologies in Tourism and Management Laurea degree, and speaks Russian, Czech, English and Italian.