Foreign nationals

Peru: New Law to Simplify Immigration Categories, Allow Spouses to Work, Among Other Changes

A new law effective March 1, 2017 will reorganize Peru’s immigration categories into temporary and resident categories, will allow foreign nationals to work in the public sector, and will relax travel bans but create new fines for foreign nationals violating immigration laws, among other changes.

New Immigration Category: Temporary Workers

The immigration category for temporary workers is meant for short-term workers. It includes the following key subcategories, among others:

India: Residence reporting form requirement extended to two cities

As part of its initiative to maintain updated records of foreign nationals and to curb potential overstays, the Ministry of Home Affairs has expanded the rule for hotels and landlords to report the occupancy of foreign tenants to the cities of Gurgaon and Jamnagar via the ‘Form C’. In addition, landlords in Gurgaon must submit a new Tenant Verification Form.

Thailand: Marriage and birth certificates from 21 countries now require legalisation

Foreign nationals from the following 21 countries applying for initial and renewal long-term dependent visas for their families at the One Stop Service Center (OSSC) must legalize their marriage and birth certificates:

To avoid delays, employers applying for long-stay visas at the OSSC should ensure that dependents of foreign employees from any of the above countries have their marriage and birth certificates officially legalized far prior to submission of their dependent visa applications. Fragomen can assist with legalization and translation services.

US: CBP to launch electronic visa update system for non-immigrants

Designated classes of non-immigrant visa holders will soon be required to enrol in the new Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) before travelling to the United States, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced.

Foreign nationals travelling on a passport issued by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and a U.S. B-1/B-2, B-1 or B-2 visitor visa valid for 10 years will be the first group required to register for travel that takes place on or after November 29, 2016.

US: FY 2018 Diversity Visa lottery registration opens October 4

The State Department will begin accepting online registrations for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Diversity Visa (DV) lottery starting Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at noon EDT.

Foreign nationals who wish to enter the lottery have until Monday, November 7, 2016 at noon EST to file online.

The DV lottery program makes 50,000 green card numbers available each year through random selection. FY 2018 lottery results will be announced in May 2017. Foreign nationals selected in the FY 2018 lottery can submit their green card applications starting on October 1, 2017.

Turkey: Residence permit validities increased

The new work permit law will create longer validity periods for certain residence permit categories and has eliminated strict residence permit-related rules.

The extended validity periods will not be issued until related regulations are implemented, which is expected to happen soon. The relaxed rules regarding stays abroad are effective immediately.

Saudi Arabia: Labour market testing now required for work authorisation process

Employers in the private sector must complete a labour market test to obtain block visas, effective immediately.

The new requirement is expected to complicate and add several weeks to the overall work authorisation process. Obtaining a block visa is the first stage of the work authorisation process, and is mandatory for all employers seeking to hire foreign nationals in Saudi Arabia.

Malaysia: New Employment Pass requirements expanded

The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) recently announced that a series of new requirements for Employment Pass (EP) applications and related filings will be extended to employers within the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) sector on or after September 1, 2016.

Brazil: Visa processing and document legalisation to be delayed

A strike by Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) workers will result in delayed visa processing and document legalisation procedures, both in Brazil and at many consulates worldwide.

In Brazil, local document legalisation procedures and the transmission of visa pre-approvals to consular posts will be subject to delays, due to reduced personnel.

US: Visa appointment backlogs at U.S. consulates in India

U.S. consulates in India are experiencing significant backlogs in non-immigrant visa appointments for H, L and other employment-based non-immigrant visas.

Foreign nationals seeking a non-immigrant visa are facing wait times of 75 to more than 115 days to secure an appointment  in Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi. The delays do not affect B-1/B-2 visitor visas or F-1 student visas.

US: September Visa Bulletin

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 according to the State Department’s September Visa Bulletin.

China: Relaxed immigration rules and procedures implemented

New immigration policies are being piloted in Guangdong Province that should make it easier for four main categories of foreign nationals to obtain Permanent Residence status and should simplify various application procedures, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Public Security. There are also plans to extend the visa-free policy from 72 hours to 144 hours.

UK: New criminal penalties for foreign nationals working illegally and their employers

In an effort to further prevent illegal work in the United Kingdom, new provisions were introduced by the Immigration Act 2016 stating that foreign nationals found to be undertaking employment in the United Kingdom after disqualification from employment for immigration-related reasons are subject to a criminal offence.  Employers are also subject to new penalties if they know or have reasonable cause to believe that a foreign worker has no right to work in the United Kingdom. Both offences can lead to imprisonment or a fine.

United Kingdom: Brexit vote likely to result in overhauled immigration system

As a result of the public vote for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, free movement to the United Kingdom from the European Union and vice versa will likely end, although the separation and a related Withdrawal Agreement will likely take at least two years.

Bostwana: Short-term work permit program moratorium ends

Foreign nationals seeking to visit Botswana for short-term work can now again apply for a short-term work permit, following the temporary moratorium of the short-term work permit program last December. 

United States: July visa bulletin update: USCIS to honor employment-based final action dates only next month

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 according to the State Department’s July Visa Bulletin. 

United Arab Emirates: Consular process to be required for some employment visa applicants

Employment visa (entry permit) applicants from certain countries will soon have to process their immigration applications through designated UAE consular service centres in their home country before entering the UAE, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MOFAIC) and the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).

Switzerland: Bulgarian and Romanian nationals to be exempt from labour market rules

On or after June 1, 2016, nationals of Bulgaria and Romania under a local Swiss employment contract will no longer be subject to Swiss labor market rules such as a labor market test, salary and working condition checks and the foreign national quota system.  Instead, they will be subject to the same registration formalities that apply to EU nationals.

Worldwide: Immigration processing delays expected during Ramadan


Foreign nationals and their employers can expect immigration processing delays over the coming weeks in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and parts of Asia during the observance of Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr. Many government offices worldwide reduce their hours and/or close during Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr.

US: Summer travel planning for foreign nationals

If you are a foreign national planning to travel abroad this summer, now is the time to make sure you are prepared, from an immigration perspective, to depart and re-enter the United States. Understanding your immigration obligations can help minimize delays on re-entry.