Worldwide: Weekly Immigration Update: October 25-31, 2019

Last Updated: November 4 2019
Article by Fragomen  

In immigration news this week:

  • United States: Effective December 2, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is increasing the Form I-907 premium processing fee to $1,440, from $1,410. The State Department has updated its guidelines for adjudication of blanket L visa applications, instructing consular officers that blanket L visa applicants must demonstrate that their case is clearly approvable by "clear and convincing evidence." Under a U.S.-El Salvador agreement, work authorization for Salvadoran Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries will be extended through January 4, 2021. Fiscal year 2021 Diversity Visa lottery entrants have until November 5 at noon EST to register online at the State Department's official lottery website.
  • Australia: On November 16, the Australian government will implement several expansions to the regional migration program, including adding 2,000 spots to the program, adding a second Temporary Graduate Visa for regional international students, creating two new temporary regional visas, and expanding the definition of 'Regional Australia' to include Perth and the Gold Coast.
  • Germany: Employers can now prorate allowances—funds employers pay in addition to the salary—for all work permit types based on the number of days an employee spent in country.
  • Indonesia: A new Ministry of Manpower regulation expands and consolidates the lists of permitted job titles available to foreign workers, including those that were not included under previous individual decrees.
  • Saudi Arabia: Foreign nationals are unable to obtain short-term work authorization through a Work Visit Visa at this time, as the immigration authorities unexpectedly replaced Work Visit and Commercial Visit Visas with a uniform Visit Visa for Business.
  • China: Effective December 1, nationals of 53 countries who are already eligible under the 144-hour transit visa exemption will be eligible to enter through more ports of entry.

In Brexit news this week, on October 29, UK Parliament decided that a general election will be held on December 12, 2019. This follows this week's agreement between UK and EU government representatives to further postpone the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union until January 31, 2020.

These items and other news from Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Israel, Kuwait, Malawi, Namibia, Norway, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, and the United Kingdom follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, October 31, 2019

State Department Clarifies Standard of Review for Blanket L Visa Applications

  • In new instructions to consular officers, the State Department reminds officers to require that blanket L visa applicants show their eligibility by "clear and convincing evidence" and directs officers to deny applications where questions about the applicant's eligibility cannot be resolved quickly.
  • Though blanket L visa applications have long been subject to a heightened standard of review, the new State Department guidance to consular officers could result in even greater scrutiny and higher rates of application denials.

To view entire article, click here.

Australia, October 31, 2019

Regional Visa Policy Expansion Ahead

On November 16, 2019, the Australian government will be implementing several expansions to the regional migration program including:

  • Adding 2,000 spots added to the program;
  • Expanding the definition of 'Regional Australia' to also include Perth and the Gold Coast;
  • Creating two new temporary regional visas; and
  • Improving Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visas for international students studying in regional areas.

To view entire article, click here.

Germany, October 31, 2019

Allowance Prorating Policy Expanded

  • Effective immediately, employers can prorate allowances for all work permit types based on the number of days an employee spent in Germany.
  • This should reduce costs for allowances since the previous policy required employers to pay an allowance throughout the whole duration of the assignment.

To view entire article, click here.

Thailand, October 31, 2019

Additional Documents Required to Renew and Extend Long-Term Visas

  • Immigration authorities at both the One Stop Service Center and the Immigration Bureau in Chaengwattana are requesting additional documentation to support long-term visa extensions and renewals.
  • Employers should ensure that they provide their foreign national employees with the required corporate documents as foreign nationals who do not provide these additional documents will have their applications denied.

To view entire article, click here.

United States, October 31, 2019

USCIS Clarifies That Premium Processing Fee Will Increase on December 2

  • The Form I-907 premium processing fee will increase to $1,440, from $1,410, on December 2.
  • Applications postmarked on or after the effective date of the change must include the higher fee.
  • USCIS originally announced a November 29 start date for the new fee, but has since issued a correction.

To view entire article, click here.

United States, October 30, 2019

Reminder: FY 2021 Diversity Visa Lottery Registration Ends November 5

  • Entrants have until Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at noon EST to register online at the State Department's official lottery website.
  • Lottery applications must conform to the State Department's strict requirements.

To view entire article, click here.

China, October 30, 2019

Transit Visa Exemption Policy to be Further Expanded

  • China will be expanding its 144-hour transit visa exemption policy to more ports and areas on December 1, 2019.
  • Under the policy, nationals of 53 countries who are already eligible under the transit visa exemption will be eligible for entry to more areas through more ports of entry.

To view entire article, click here.

Singapore, October 29, 2019

Stricter Educational Verification Requirements for Some Applicants

  • The Ministry of Manpower in Singapore has implemented stricter documentary requirements for foreign nationals applying for initial and renewal Employment Passes, S Passes and Training Employment Passes, which now require the verification of educational certificates in some cases.
  • Since the verification process may take up to a month, or longer in some cases, affected employers and applicants are advised to factor this extra time into their work authorization timeline for new and renewal applications.

To view entire article, click here.

United States, October 28, 2019

U.S.- El Salvador Agreement Results in 12-Month Extension of TPS Work Authorization

  • Work authorization for Salvadoran Temporary Protected Status beneficiaries will be extended through January 4, 2021 under the bilateral agreement.
  • The Administration has also agreed to provide Salvadoran TPS holders with at least 365 days to repatriate after the conclusion of lawsuits challenging its decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador and other countries.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is expected to provide further information on the work authorization extension.

To view entire article, click here.

Colombia, October 28, 2019

Degree Validation Process Streamlined

  • The Colombian Ministry of Education has published a resolution that reduces processing times and simplifies requirements for foreign nationals applying for validation of their foreign university degrees.
  • Foreign nationals with validated university degrees or degrees from accredited institutions will also benefit from new exemptions from administrative requirements.
  • Affected applicants should benefit from the elimination of administrative hurdles involved in obtaining documents from universities or institutions, and significantly reduced document gathering and government processing timeframes.

To view entire article, click here.

Indonesia, October 28, 2019

More Permissible Job Titles for Foreign Workers

  • The Indonesian Ministry of Manpower has issued a regulation expanding and consolidating the job titles available to foreign workers.
  • Employers should review the new regulation to ensure that their current and prospective foreign workers' job titles are in line with the lists.

To view entire article, click here.

Czech Republic, October 28, 2019

Consular Quotas Take Effect Alongside Changes to Streamline Immigration Processes

  • The Czech Republic has introduced an annual quota for business visas and Employee Cards from visa-required countries.
  • Although this change may reduce consular processing times, applicants will face longer overall waiting times once the quota is filled.
  • The law also streamlines application fee payments, simplifies the change of employer process and makes student/researcher permits more attractive, among other changes.

To view entire article, click here.

Saudi Arabia, October 28, 2019

Suspension on Work Visit Visas Restricts Foreign Nationals Seeking Short-term Work Authorization

  • Immigration authorities in Saudi Arabia have unexpectedly replaced Work Visit and Commercial Visit Visas with a uniform Visit Visa for Business, which states "not permitted to work" on the visa sticker.
  • As a result, foreign nationals are unable to obtain short-term work authorization in Saudi Arabia at this time, as the only method for doing so was through a Work Visit Visa.
  • It is unclear what, if any, impact there is for current Work Visit Visas holders whose visa was issued before the regulation came into effect.
  • Fragomen is discussing the impact of the change and potential solutions for short-term work with Saudi consular authorities and relevant ministries to determine, among other issues, which activities are permissible and prohibited under the uniform Visit Visa for Business.

To view entire article, click here.

Brexit News and Related News Briefs This Week

European Union/United Kingdom, October 28, 2019

Brexit Date Moved to January 31, 2020; United Kingdom Will Not Hold General Election

  • UK and EU government representatives agreed to further postpone the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union until January 31, 2020.
  • This could change if both the United Kingdom and the European Union ratify the Withdrawal Agreement before then. In that case, the United Kingdom would leave the European Union the first day of the following month.
  • During the extension, the United Kingdom will remain a member of the European Union and UK nationals will continue to benefit from the rights provided to EU nationals, meaning they will not need work permits to work in EU countries.
  • As a result of the extension, the UK Parliament has again rejected the Prime Minister's request for a general election on December 12, 2019.
  • Last week, the UK introduced legislation before Parliament to regulate entry to and stay in the United Kingdom for European Economic Area nationals which would go into effect in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The legislation specified that it would come into force on October 31, 2019, however this is highly unlikely since Brexit has been postponed.

To view entire article, click here.

Norway: Open-Ended Transition if No-Deal Brexit – Norwegian authorities have introduced an open-ended transition period for UK nationals and their family members in case of a no-deal Brexit. Under the new rules, UK national workers, self-employed persons and their family members maintain their current residence and work rights until the authorities introduce alternative measures.

United Kingdom: General Election to be Held December 12 – On October 29, UK Parliament decided that a general election will be held on December 12, 2019. This follows this week's agreement between UK and EU government representatives to further postpone the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union until January 31, 2020, and the rejection of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's most recent push for an early election, which he has been advocating for weeks. On the day of the election, the public will choose 650 constituents as members of Parliament.

Many other EU countries have published contingency plans for UK nationals in case of a no-deal Brexit, with more expected soon. Fragomen will provide updates on the situation as they become available.

Please contact a Fragomen immigration professional for assistance in planning contingency arrangements in a single project. For more information, please visit Fragomen's dedicated Brexit site, which contains news, FAQs, and analysis/commentary in the form of blogs, videos, webcasts and events.

Other Weekly News Briefs

Austria: Maximum Penalties Set for Employers Failing to Maintain Records – The Austrian Supreme Administrative Court has ruled that the recent European Court of Justice ruling regarding fines for employers who fail to maintain wage-related records must be interpreted to mean that the Austrian authorities may not impose minimum sentences or substitute custodial sentences related to these offences. As a result, employers in Austria who fail to maintain wage documents can be fined up to EUR 20,000, regardless of how many employees are affected; and up to EUR 50,000 for repeat offenses. It is expected that the Austrian legislator will soon change the law to allow for higher penalties. Fragomen will report updates to this law as they occur.

Belgium: Certain Residence Permit Holders May Qualify for Reimbursement of Government Fees – Following a Belgian court ruling which found certain government fees for initial residence registration in Belgium to be disproportionate, certain applicants who paid these fees may be eligible for reimbursements. Specifically, individuals who applied for residence authorization between March 2, 2015 and June 26, 2016 are eligible for a full reimbursement and individuals who applied between March 1, 2017 and January 2, 2019 are eligible for a partial reimbursement. All other applicants who applied in other timeframes are not eligible for reimbursements. Affected individuals are advised to consult with an immigration professional on their eligibility for reimbursement.

Canada: Value Test Forthcoming for Immigrants in Quebec – Starting January 1, 2020, immigrants and their accompanying family members seeking to settle in Quebec will be required to pass a provincial values test. Immigrants will need to take the test before or after they apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate to prove they have learned "democratic values and Quebec values". The Quebec Selection Certificate is the first step toward permanent residency for immigrants seeking to live in the province. Those who score less than 75% can re-take the test after two weeks. Those who fail it again can either take a course in Quebec or take the test a third time while forfeiting the opportunity to take the course. The test will not apply to immigrants seeking entry to Quebec as refugees or through family reunification.

Chile: Immigration Department Open but Delays Expected – Although Chile's Immigration Department in Santiago is currently open and functioning as usual, ongoing civil unrest continues to cause road closures and irregular operating hours for some governmental agencies, notary offices, banks, etc. Foreign nationals and employers can expect processing delays for immigration related applications until the situation normalizes. Fragomen continues to work with affected clients with case-by-case advice.

Egypt: Extended State of Emergency May Delay Residence Permit Processing – A state of emergency, which has been in place in Egypt since June 2018, was recently extended for an additional three months, through January 26, 2020. As a result, foreign nationals seeking employment and residency in Egypt should expect extensive security screening that may delay their immigration process. The security clearance is the first stage of the application process for work and residence permits.

Israel: Strike at Israeli Consulates Worldwide – Worldwide Israeli consular services are suspended as employees of all Israeli consular posts are on an indefinite strike. Applicants with consular applications should expect processing delays during and after the strike and should contact their immigration professional for case-by-case advice.

Kuwait: Visitor Visa Holders Can Now Change Status In Country – Effective immediately, foreign nationals holding Kuwaiti visitor visas are now able to change their immigration status in country and obtain residence permits without having to first exit Kuwait. Previously, foreign nationals who held visitor visas, including visas for tourism and those issued for dependents of Kuwaiti residents, were required to exit Kuwait and obtain a consular visa before returning to Kuwait to obtain residence status. The new rule will significantly reduce the time and cost to obtain residence status for foreign nationals on visitor visas in Kuwait. At this time, it is not yet clear if foreign nationals seeking employment in Kuwait are also allowed to change status in country. Fragomen will report on these details when they become available.

Malawi: E-Visa Program Launching – Effective November 1, 2019, foreign nationals traveling to Malawi for business and tourist purposes can obtain a visa through a new e-visa portal. The portal will allow applicants to submit the application, upload the required documents and pay government fees. Thereafter, applicants will be able to access their account and print their visa within three business days. The e-visa program is meant to make the issuance of business visas for Malawi more efficient as the process previously took seven to 10 business days to complete. Malawi is the 22nd African country out of 49 to implement an online portal for business visa applications.

Namibia: Visa-on-Arrival Now Available at Walvis Bay – Namibia has expanded its visa-on-arrival pilot project to include the seaport entry in Walvis Bay. Namibia previously expanded its visa-on-arrival program to include several new countries through a pilot project at Hosea Kutako International Airport. The Katimo Mulilo border post will be added to the pilot program at the end of November 2019, and more entry points are expected to be added in the first quarter of 2020. The visa-on-arrival is available for stays of up to 90 days for tourism or business activities.

Namibia: Committee Established to Streamline Visa Process – Due to growing demands for short-term employment visas in the Erongo Region of Namibia, the Ministry of Home Affairs has established an Immigration Selection Board Committee to adjudicate applications in this area. The Erongo Region is made up of Arandis, Daures, Karibib, Omaruru, Swakopmund, Walvisa Bay Rural and Walvis Bay Urban. The committee is expected to process work visas faster than the current seven to 28 calendar days, though it has not published the expected processing times. Fragomen will provide an update when more information is available.

Russia/Antigua and Barbuda: Reciprocal Visa Waiver Implemented – Effective immediately, nationals of Antigua and Barbuda are eligible for visa-free entry for tourist and business stays up to 90 days within a 180-day period to Russia and vice versa (though it is not clear if Russian nationals can perform business activities in Antigua and Barbuda). Travelers should check with their immigration professional for case-by-case advice.

Russia: New Address Registration Forms and Grounds for Refusal Confirmed – Foreign nationals completing address registration in Russia must now use new forms, according to a new regulation that eliminates the previously-used forms. The forms have new fields, including a confirmation that the foreign national has the right to use the premises. A related regulation also lists the grounds under which registration document can be refused by authorities, including failure to meet the requirements of the form, an expired identification document, and unreadable or corrected text on the form.

Russia: New Law Under Review Regarding Property Ownership and Registration – A new bill under review by the Duma would grant rights to foreign nationals who own property in Russia to register themselves and their family members under the address of the property. Currently, only highly qualified specialists and permanent residence permit holders have this right. The law would also allow the inviting party to send address registration notifications through a government internet portal ( instead of by mail; and would require inviting parties registering temporary residence permit and permanent residence permit holders to register the foreign national's address within seven business days from the date of arrival. Most importantly, the new bill would allow the inviting party for foreign nationals who live abroad who sign a lease with a Russian citizen to obtain a power of attorney to complete the responsibilities they would need to perform for the foreign national. Currently, landlords and inviting parties cannot complete registration with a power of attorney; a personal appearance is required or rights to complete registration must be granted to the foreign national. Fragomen will issue an update when these bills pass.

Russia: Bill to Introduce New Work Visa Category for Innovative Development Zone Workers – A bill is under review with the Duma that would introduce a new category of foreign workers – workers of special innovative socio-economic development zones in the Far Eastern Federal District and free port Vladivostok who are hired in relation to an investment agreement. The bill would allow foreign nationals seeking to enter Russia to conduct negotiations related to investment agreements with residents of the special innovative socio-economic development zones in the Far Eastern Federal District and free port Vladivostok to be eligible for expedited processing of work or business visas, with favorable terms such as longer validity periods and multiple-entry options, depending on the terms of the investment agreement. Fragomen will issue an update when the bill passes.

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