EU Settlement Scheme

EU Settlement Scheme

On 21 June 2018 the UK Home Office published their EU Settlement Scheme Statement of Intent and draft Immigration Rules which set out further details about how EU citizens and their families can obtain settled status in the UK and continue living here permanently.

The statement of intent document is 60 pages long, so for those of you who don't have time to read through it, here are the main points:

EEA and international migrant workers in the UK labour market

EEA and international migrant workers in the UK labour market

In July 2017, the Government commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to advise on the economic and social impacts of the UK’s exit from the European Union and also on how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial strategy.

The areas outlined below provide a general indication of the information the MAC is reviewing:

Part 1 - EEA Migration Trends

Part 2 - Recruitment Practices, Training & Skills

Part 3 - Economic, Social and Fiscal Impacts

UK: Immigration Fee Changes

The UK Home Office will implement updated fees for immigration and nationality applications from Thursday 6th April 2017.

Previous years have seen advance warning from the Home Office that changes would take place; this year, the fee increases were laid before Parliament just days ago with no official announcement.

There are to be increases to fees across a number of immigration categories, with the most significant increase to an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain, or Settlement, made from within the UK. The charge for an application of this type will increase by £422 to £2297.

US: February Visa Bulletin Update

USCIS has determined that, next month, it will only accept employment-based adjustment of status applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is current for final action under the State Department’s February Visa Bulletin.

Employment-Based Priority Date Cut-offs for February 2017

To be eligible to file an employment-based adjustment application in February, employer-sponsored foreign nationals must have a priority date that is earlier than the date listed below for their preference category and country.

US: President Trump Suspends Entry of Foreign Nationals from Seven Countries

President Donald J. Trump has signed an executive order that reportedly suspends the entry of foreign nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen to the United States for a period of 90 days, or through April 27, 2017. The order also reportedly suspends a worldwide program that exempted certain visa renewal applicants from consular interviews.

Although the order has been signed and is in effect, the Administration has not yet released the final signed text. The following guidance is based on Fragomen’s analysis of a draft. The final published order may differ, and Fragomen will provide updates as necessary when it is released.

UAE: New Emiratisation and Labour Market Testing Program Creates More Recruitment Rules for Employers

In order to increase the amount of local workers in the private sector, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) has launched a National Program for Emiratisation called ‘Tawteen’. The program implements a new labour market testing platform called ‘Tawteen Gate’, which requires selected companies to create job advertisements accessible to UAE nationals seeking employment before those employers can hire foreign nationals

Bulgaria: New Notification and Document Retention Requirement for Foreign Employers Seconding Employees

Foreign employers seconding employees to Bulgaria must comply with new notification and document retention rules by February 10, 2017.

Notification Rule Details

Foreign employers seconding employees to Bulgaria must file a form with the Labor Inspectorate by February 10, 2017. The foreign employer may authorise the Bulgarian host entity to file the form on its behalf through a representative employee.

US: President Trump Expected to Suspend Entry of Foreign Nationals from Seven Countries

President Donald J. Trump is expected to sign an executive order that will suspend the entry of foreign nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen to the United States for a period of 30 days, according to a published draft of the order. The executive order is also expected to suspend a worldwide program that exempted certain visa renewal applicants from consular interviews.

The executive order is expected to be issued Thursday, though it could be delayed.  The following information is based on Fragomen’s analysis of the published draft.  The final order could differ.

Bolivia: Foreign Nationals Must Complete Mandatory Registration Process by April 2017

Foreign nationals currently living in Bolivia (with or without a visa) must register online before immigration by April 2017, according to a new immigration policy implemented due to increased security efforts.

Registration Details

Foreign nationals must complete an online form on the immigration authority website and take it to the immigration authority office to submit fingerprints and take a photograph.

UK: Allocation Of Certificates Of Sponsorship Open

UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) have advised that sponsors are now able to apply to renew their allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) in Tier 2 (General) .

The present allocations will expire on 5th April 2017.   

Some sponsors’ allocations will be "automatically renewed”, in which case nothing is required from the sponsor.  

However, UKVI will contact other sponsors via email three months before 5th April 2017, and monthly thereafter, by way of reminder

UK: Criminal Record Certificate Requirement for Entry Clearance Process to be Extended

Tier 2 visa applicants who are applying to work in certain occupations within the education, health and social care sectors on or after April 2017 will need to provide a criminal record certificate from any country in which they have lived for 12 months or more in the past 10 years as part of their entry clearance application. The requirement will also apply to their adult dependants. The new requirement may delay documentation gathering during the entry clearance process.

Saudi Arabia: Labour Market Testing Period Extended

Effective immediately, job advertisements posted by employers on the Taqat jobs portal must remain posted for at least 45 days, up from the previous 14-day requirement, unless a suitable candidate has been identified earlier, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Labour and Social Development.

The labour market verification period was extended to increase an employer's chances of finding an appropriate Saudi candidate.

US: USCIS Finalizes International Entrepreneur Parole Program

Under a new final regulation published on 17th January 2017, international entrepreneurs who have established a business in the United States, demonstrate significant U.S. funding and show that their business has substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation will be eligible to apply for up to five years of authorization to stay in the United States. The rule is slated to take effect on July 17, 2017.

US: USCIS Job Portability Rule Takes Effect

A new USCIS regulation intended to ease restrictions on job mobility for foreign workers awaiting employment-based permanent residence took effect on 17th January 2017. The new rule also establishes grace periods for non-immigrant workers before and after their employment, and provides automatic work authorization extensions to adjustment applicants and certain other classes of foreign nationals who have timely filed for renewal of an employment authorization document (EAD).

Panama: New Consular Visa Exemption Eliminates Exemption for EU and Schengen Visa Holders

A new decree replaces the current Consular Visa exemption with a new one only for those holding a valid Australian, Canadian, UK or U.S. multiple-entry visa valid for at least one year from the date of entry and used at least once, for stays up to 30 days initially, renewable twice for 30 days each stay through an in-country process. The previous exemption, allowing EU or Schengen country visa holders to qualify for the exemption as well, has been eliminated.

Thailand: One Stop Service Centre Visa Renewal Applications to Require 2016 Income Tax Form Starting February 1

On or after February 1, 2017, the One Stop Service Centre will only accept Personal Income Tax Return for 2016 (PND 91) to support long-term visa renewal applications.

Applicants may still use their 2015 PND 91 to support applications until February 1.

These changes do not apply to employees of companies registered under the Board of Investments.

Belarus: New Visa Exemption Created for Business Visitors

On or after February 12, 2017, nationals of 80 countries – including all EU Member States, the United States, Brazil, Indonesia and others – will be eligible for a visa-free business and tourist stay up to five days if they enter through the Minsk National Airport.

Required Documentation for Entry

Eligible entrants must present the below documents to enter under the exemption:

  • A valid passport or other valid travel document;

  • Proof of at least EUR 25 (or equal amount in dollars or Belarusian rubles) for each day of stay;

  • Proof of medical insurance with coverage of at least EUR 10,000 in Belarus.

US: USCIS Proposes Significant Increase in EB-5 Investment Minimums and Other Program Changes

In a proposed rule published today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is seeking to make significant changes to the EB-5 immigrant investor program, including higher investment minimums and exclusive federal authority to designate Targeted Employment Area (TEAs), the rural and high-unemployment areas that qualify for EB-5 investment at lower thresholds.

Key provisions of the proposal are summarised below.  USCIS is accepting public feedback on the rule through April 11, 2017.

India: Biometrics Requirement Introduced in Austria and San Francisco

According to a change in practice, foreign nationals seeking Indian visas in Austria will be required to visit an Indian visa application center to submit an Indian visa application on or after January 23, 2017. Additionally, foreign nationals filing in-person Indian visa applications in San Francisco must appear for biometrics at an Indian visa application center and must secure an appointment prior to visiting the application center.