Worldwide: Weekly Immigration Update: August 9-15, 2019

Last Updated: August 23 2019
Article by Fragomen  

In immigration news this week:

  • United States: Foreign nationals who have received certain federal public benefits or who are likely to become dependent on the government in the future may face additional immigration hurdles under a new public charge regulation that is slated to take effect on October 15. The State Department will immediately retrogress EB-1 China and EB-3 China and India, while advancing cutoff dates in September for EB-1 and EB-2 Worldwide. EB-1 India is confirmed to be already unavailable.
  • Hong Kong: Though ongoing events in Hong Kong have caused travel disruptions at the Hong Kong Airport, immigration processing has not been affected.
  • United Kingdom: A new fast track Global Talent Visa Scheme is expected later this year for select applicants in the science, technology and mathematics (STEM) sector. According to revised guidelines from the Home Office, Tier 2 sponsors must now create a record of when their sponsored employees entered the United Kingdom within 30 days of the start of the visa's validity period.
  • Russia: The government is expanding the use of e-visas for business, tourist and humanitarian purposes. Foreign specialists will also see a shorter residence requirement for citizenship qualification.

These items and other news from Australia, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Maldives, Poland, Russia, and the United Kingdom follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, August 15, 2019

September Visa Bulletin Update: USCIS to Honor Final Action Dates Next Month

In September, USCIS will accept employment-based adjustment applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is earlier than the Final Action dates listed in the State Department's September Visa Bulletin.

To view entire article, click here.

United States, August 15, 2019

September 2019 Visa Bulletin: State Department Retrogresses EB-1 China and EB-3 China and India Immediately; Confirms EB-1 India Already Unavailable

  • September Visa Bulletin dates will take effect immediately for EB-1 China and EB-3 China and India. State Department confirms EB-1 India has been unavailable since July.
  • EB-1 Worldwide will advance to October 1, 2017. EB-1 China has retrogressed to January 1, 2014.
  • EB-2 Worldwide will advance to January 1, 2018, while EB-2 China will remain at January 1, 2017 and EB-2 India will advance to May 8, 2009.
  • EB-3 Worldwide will remain at July 1, 2016. EB-3 China and India has retrogressed to January 1, 2014 and July 1, 2005.
  • State Department suggests additional retrogression could occur before the end of the fiscal year, which ends on September 30, but hopes to return all cutoff dates to those listed in the August Visa Bulletin on October 1.

To view entire article, click here.

United States, August 15, 2019

USCIS Completes Return of Unselected FY 2020 H-1B Cap Petitions

According to the agency, employers should receive returned H-1B cap petition packages and fee checks by August 29, 2019.

To view entire article, click here.

Hong Kong, August 15, 2019

Impact of Events on Employers and Foreign Employees

  • The ongoing events in Hong Kong have caused travel delays into and out of Hong Kong.
  • The Immigration Department is functioning as usual and processing of visa applications is currently within the standard time frame.
  • Employers with foreign employees in Hong Kong should ensure that their employees are informed of the latest situation and should provide them with company contact information in case they come across any administrative issues.

To view entire article, click here.

United Kingdom, August 14, 2019

New Guidance for Record Maintenance for Tier 2 Sponsoring Employers

  • According to revised guidelines issued by the Home Office, Tier 2 sponsors must now create a record of when their sponsored employees entered the United Kingdom within 30 days of the start of the visa's validity period.
  • This will particularly impact employers of ePassport gate users, for whom the employer will need to affirmatively confirm the employee's entry date since there is no paper record of this when using the ePassport service.

To view entire article, click here.

United Kingdom, August 14, 2019

New Global Talent Visa Forthcoming

  • The Home Office has announced it will launch a new fast track Global Talent Visa Scheme later this year for select applicants in the science, technology and mathematics (STEM) sector.
  • The new Scheme is based on the existing Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa route and will include an initial three-year duration in which applicants and their eligible dependents will be able to enter the United Kingdom without restriction and with no need for an existing job offer or any salary requirements. After three years, applicants will be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the United Kingdom.
  • Most importantly, the existing selection criteria will be relaxed so applicants will not need to have been awarded a Research Fellowship and the annual cap of 2,000 per year will be removed.

To view entire article, click here.

Russia, August 13, 2019

Relaxed Rules Implemented Regarding Electronic Visas and Citizenship Eligibility

  • The Russian government has expanded the use of e-visas in the Special Economic Zone of Kaliningrad and the free port of Vladivostok and will expand the use of e-visas to St. Petersburg and Leningrad beginning October 1, 2019.
  • Eligible foreign nationals should benefit from a more convenient and less expensive visa application process but may be affected by implementation issues as ports and officials begin to use the e-visa system.
  • Additionally, beginning October 1, qualified foreign specialists will be able to apply for citizenship after one year of residence, as opposed to the current three-year requirement.

To view entire article, click here.

United States, August 13, 2019

New Public Charge Rule Subjects Adjustment Applicants and Nonimmigrants to Higher Scrutiny

  • Under a new regulation, applicants for adjustment of status will undergo a closer review of their personal circumstances to determine whether they have used or are likely to need certain federal public benefits in the future.
  • Nonimmigrants who have used certain federal public benefits after their admission to the United States may be denied an extension of stay or change of status.
  • The rule is set to take effect on October 15, but will not apply to applications for adjustment, changes of status or extensions of stay filed before that date.

To view entire article, click here.

Weekly News Briefs

Australia: Changes to Health Policy Guidelines Expand Visa Eligibility of Foreign Nationals with Health Issues – Foreign nationals applying for an Australian temporary or permanent visa must undergo a health care costs assessment which evaluates the foreign nationals' expected health care costs based on the expected services a person with the same condition would receive; recent policy changes to how the assessment is calculated should expand the eligibility of foreign nationals with health issues to obtain temporary visas or permanent residence to Australia. Specifically, the threshold at which a foreign national's temporary visa or permanent residence will be denied if they exceed the financial threshold for "significant costs" was recently increased to AUD 49,000 from AUD 40,0000. Additionally, the method in which costs for a person applying for permanent residence are calculated has changed. Currently, costs of services are capped at those of a similar person during a 10-year period, which is assessed based on factors including the applicant's age, predictability of the disease and reduced life expectancy; previously, the costs were assessed over a "lifetime" cost assessment period. This should lower the overall costs, making the foreign national more likely to meet the financial threshold for "significant costs". MARN: 1798314

Australia: Global Talent Scheme to Become Permanent Program – In a press release, the Minister for Immigration, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Industry, Science and Technology announced that following a successful 12-month trial, the pilot Global Talent Scheme will become a permanent and ongoing program known as the Global Talent – Employer Sponsored Program (GTES). The GTES is for highly skilled, niche occupations and allows employers to sponsor overseas workers for positions that cannot be filled by Australian workers and through other standard visa programs. The GTES has two streams – one for accredited sponsors and the other for start-ups. Key features of the GTES include access to highly-skilled roles for trusted employers without restrictions to occupation lists; Temporary Skills Shortage visa validity of up to four years; and access to permanent residency pathway and priority processing arrangements, among other benefits. Before seeking to access the GTES, the employer must demonstrate that the position cannot be filled by an Australian worker and is unable to be facilitated through existing skilled visa programs. Fragomen worked with the Department of Home Affairs by providing input on the design of the pilot scheme as a member of an Industry Advisory Group that has been advising the Minister on the pilot scheme. Those interested in learning more about the benefits of the GTES can contact their Fragomen immigration professional or Fragomen's specialist Advisory and Compliance Practice at MARN: 1798314

China: Online Application System of Foreign Expert Bureau Experiencing Technical Issues – The Foreign Expert Bureau's online application system experienced a temporary outage which prevented work permit applications from being filed August 13-14. Though the system is functioning now, applicants may experience delays and technical issues as a result of the outage. Affected applicants should contact their immigration provider for support.

Colombia: Colombian Citizenship Will Be Granted to Some Children Born in Colombia To Venezuelan Parents – The Colombian president signed a resolution that will grant citizenship to those children born in Colombia to Venezuelan parents on or after August 19, 2015. The resolution will take effect on August 20, 2019 and will be valid for two years from the date the resolution is officially published. Currently, children born in Colombia to foreign nationals are not granted automatic citizenship by birth unless at least one parent is domiciled in Colombia. Additionally, although Venezuelan law automatically confers citizenship to children of Venezuelan nationals, Venezuelan nationals in Colombia are currently unable to register births or request Venezuelan passports for their children since all Venezuelan consulates in Colombia are closed due to the ongoing political situation. These documents are needed in order to prove their children's Venezuelan citizenship to a foreign government. As a result, the Colombian government is adopting this resolution to prevent such children from being stateless and to assure them fundamental rights in the country, including access to public health and education programs and child protection services.

Czech Republic: New Appointment System in New Delhi Released for Some Nationalities – Effective August 14, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in New Delhi has opened a new appointment scheduling system for Employee Card applicants from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka. Applicants should email a new email address ( to schedule their appointment. Significant appointment scheduling delays are likely on the new system due to the expected high volume of applications and the limit to 73 appointments per month. Applicants should discuss postponing work start dates with their employers and immigration providers accordingly.

Poland: 2019 Government Audit Results Announced – The Polish Audit Office (NIK) has published a report on the 2019 audit of the immigration offices in Poland. The main conclusions indicate that: average processing times have increased more than threefold over the last four years, from 64 to 206 days; immigration offices do not provide efficient, reliable and timely service; and the Polish government has no coherent migration policy. It is likely that the audit conclusions could bring legal changes to reduce immigration processing times and enhance the efficiency of the government offices adjudicating immigration applications.

Russia/Maldives: Mutual Visa Waiver with the Maldives Implemented – Effective immediately, Russian nationals are eligible for visa-free entry into the Maldives for stays of up to 90 days for business and tourism; the same policy also applies to nationals of the Maldives entering Russia. Nationals of Russia or the Maldives who seek to stay in the other country to perform work, study or obtain permanent residence will be required to apply for an appropriate visa or permit.

Russia: Relaxation of Visa Requirements for Artists, Scientists – Foreign nationals entering Russia for 30 days or less for artistic tours or based on the invitation of government culture institutions to participate in art, educational, scientific or pedagogical work can now enter Russia on a business visa valid for 30 days. This is expected to streamline the visa application process as these foreign nationals no longer need to apply for a work permit and their employers do not need to apply for a corporate employment permit, which was previously required.

Russia: Reminder: Penalties Enforced for Employers Hiring Foreign Nationals without Local Employment Contracts – As a reminder, employers who do not hold local employment contracts for their foreign nationals are subject to fines of up to RUB 1 million (USD 15,250) and possible suspension of activities for up to 90 days. Most employers without local contracts with their employees hire their workers through third-party staffing agencies. Employers should hire their foreign nationals directly under local contracts to avoid potential penalties. The Russian Ministry of Interior is more strictly enforcing penalties for companies that do not have local employment contracts for their employees following a resolution penalizing an employer for failing to sign a local contract and instead outsourcing its employees through third-party staffing agencies.

United Kingdom: Home Office Corrects Some Minimum Salaries – The Home Office has issued a correction to minimum occupational salary requirements for some job positions in the Tier 2 (General) category. The incorrect salary requirements were the result of an issue with the source data. Sponsors should ensure they use the updated salary levels listed on the addendum to the Home Office guidance. The impact is unlikely to be significant in most cases, as the corrected minimum occupational code for most roles remains lower than the GBP 30,000 minimum salary for the Tier 2 General category which must be met.

United Kingdom: Biometric Residence Permit Now Accepted as Proof of National Insurance Number – According to newly-issued guidance, the Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is now acceptable as a document that proves a foreign worker's National Insurance (NI) number. The NI Number is a social security number that must be recorded by sponsors and is now automatically printed on all foreign workers' BRP cards. This is expected to make the document maintenance process easier for employers of foreign nationals as they only need to maintain the BRP and not separate NI number documents.

United Kingdom: Changes to Tech Nation Application Process Forthcoming – Proposed to start from October 1, 2019, applicants for an endorsement by Tech Nation for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa will be required to provide three letters of recommendation, whereas currently only two are required. The format of the letters will remain the same. In addition, all fast track options will be closed starting October 1, 2019, except the Accelerator Participant fast track route, which will remain open. Foreign nationals who apply on or after October 1, 2019 will be subject to these changes, whereas applicants who submit their application before this date will have their applications processed under current rules. Foreign nationals who are in the process of gathering documentation to apply with two recommendation letters or intending to use one of the existing fast track routes should submit their applications prior to October 1, 2019. Updated legislation and policy guidance have not yet been released by the Home Office. Fragomen will follow with guidance when available.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions