Worldwide: Weekly Immigration Update: October 4-10, 2019

Last Updated: November 6 2019
Article by Fragomen  

In immigration news this week:

  • United States: The Department of Homeland Security's public charge regulation is set to take effect October 15, though a number of U.S. states and advocacy groups are challenging the rule. The State Department has put forth a similar public charge regulation that will also take effect on October 15 and will apply to visa applicants at U.S. consulates abroad. Starting November 3, foreign nationals applying for immigrant visas at U.S. consulates abroad must prove that they will have unsubsidized health insurance within 30 days of their entry to the United States or the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical expenses.
  • Austria: The Austrian government is expected to implement a new fine and penalty scheme for employers of posted workers who violate record keeping requirements, following the European Court of Justice's finding that the current scheme violates the principle of proportionality under European Union law.
  • Thailand: Changes to the Work Permit process are expected to streamline the processing time of Work Permit applications at the One-Stop Service Center (OSSC).

These items and other news from Brazil, France, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.

Important Updates in Immigration This Week

United States, October 10, 2019State Department Issues Public Charge Regulation to Align with DHS Rule

  • The State Department's new rule will impose a higher standard on both nonimmigrant and immigrant visa applicants to establish they are not likely to become a public charge of the U.S. government.
  • The rule is set to take effect Tuesday, October 15. It is unclear how the agency will fully implement the regulation as new forms have not yet been issued in connection with the change.
  • Public charge review of visa applicants abroad will largely align with the new Department of Homeland Security public charge rule, also set to take effect October 15.

To view entire article, click here.

United States, October 8, 2019Presidential Proclamation Imposes Health Insurance Requirement on Immigrant Visa Applicants

  • Starting November 3, applicants for immigrant visas will be required to show that they will have unsubsidized health insurance within 30 days of entry to the United States or the financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical expenses, according to a presidential proclamation.
  • Unmarried children of U.S. citizens, parents of adult U.S. citizens, and foreign nationals who obtain an immigrant visa before November 3 are among those exempt from the requirement.
  • Applicants for nonimmigrant visas are not subject to the proclamation.

To view entire article, click here.

United States, October 8, 2019Public Charge Rule Is Set To Take Effect October 15, But Faces Legal Challenges

  • DHS's new public charge regulation is set to take effect Tuesday, October 15, though a number of U.S. states and advocacy groups are challenging the rule.
  • Unless the regulation is blocked by a federal court, starting October 15, adjustment of status applicants will be required to provide financial and credit documentation, in addition to the personal information and documentation already required under current rules.
  • Nonimmigrants seeking an extension of stay or a change of status will be required to disclose certain public benefits they receive or are certified to receive on or after October 15.

To view entire article, click here.

Thailand, October 8, 2019Changes Result in Faster Processing of Work Permit Applications

  • Pre-Work Permit Approval applications for Thailand may now be filed at the One-Stop Service Center (OSSC) instead of the Employment Department, which shortens the processing of such applications from 10 to two business days.
  • Also, the in-country processing of the Work Permit at the OSSC now takes one to two business days instead of the usual three to five business days. Filing the application early in the morning may mean that the Work Permit booklet can be issued in the afternoon of the same day.

To view entire article, click here.

Austria, October 7, 2019New Posted Workers' Fine Arrangement Forthcoming

  • According to a recent European Court of Justice holding, sanctions imposed in Austria on sending and receiving employers for posted worker record keeping violations are not proportionate and are therefore in violation of European Union law. As a result, the Austrian government must revise its related sanctions.
  • Due to the decision, Austrian authorities can no longer apply the disproportionate sanctions for record maintenance violations, and employers who paid fines under the current sanction regime may be able to claim monetary damages from the Austrian government.

To view entire article, click here.

Brexit News and Related News Briefs This Week

United Kingdom: Technical Brexit Reports Released; No Changes to Previous Advice – The UK government has officially released its No-Deal Readiness Report highlighting how it is preparing for a no-deal Brexit on Exit Day (October 31, 2019). The technical report reiterates the United Kingdom's existing plans for European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals and their family members who enter the United Kingdom before and after Exit Day. In addition, the Home Secretary released a separate letter last week confirming that if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal on October 31, free movement under European Union law will end that day, but much of the free movement framework will remain in place until Parliament passes legislation to end it. This provides clarity for EEA and Swiss nationals who enter the United Kingdom up until 11:00pm on October 31. These nationals will be able to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme until December 31, 2020 in the event of a no-deal Brexit, but will need to provide evidence, such as a used travel ticket, to confirm they arrived in the United Kingdom on or before October 31. Note that non-EEA family members of EEA nationals must ensure they have a UK biometric residence permit or an EEA Family Permit in order to enter the United Kingdom after Brexit. The new details do not change Fragomen's existing Brexit advice and are technical clarifications.

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

Brazil: Validity of In-Country Residence for Investment Purposes Expanded – The Brazilian Ministry of Justice has expanded the residence validity for foreign nationals changing status in country from visitor to resident-for-investment-purposes (or other specific cases as authorized by Brazilian legislation) to an indefinite period. Previously, foreign nationals changing status in country from visitor to resident-for-investment were granted residence for an initial period of one year. The residence validity period for foreign nationals changing status in country from visitor to diplomatic, official, or courtesy residence remains one year.

France: Ministry Developing Online Civil Status Registry – The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs is developing a centralized electronic register of civil status documents for French nationals. The new system is expected to modernize the management of civil registration processes and ensure security for online documents. When the system is rolled out, it will allow individuals to obtain and register civil status changes online. Currently, French nationals living abroad must complete these steps at a consular post, whereas those living in France must visit a town hall. The authorities anticipate that foreign nationals will be able to receive online documents between October-December 2020; create and update electronic documents between January-June 2021; and register civil status changes online between July-December 2021.

Philippines: New Documents Required for Alien Employment Permit Applications – The Department of Labor and Employment-National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) now require that a Board Resolution or Secretary's Certificate designating an authorized signatory be submitted to support Alien Employment Permit (AEP) applications filed in the region. Companies whose authorized signatory is either the company president or corporate secretary are exempt from this requirement. Companies with other signatories will need to prepare a Board Resolution or Secretary's Certificate prior to filing their AEP applications, which can delay the process by a few weeks, subject to the companies' internal policy. This new requirement will affect AEP applications filed after September 2, 2019. The NCR or Metropolitan Manila region covers 16 cities including the City of Manila, Quezon City, Makati, Mandaluyong, Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Pasay, Pasig and Taguig, among others.

United States: White House Announces Nomination of Poland to Visa Waiver Program – The Department of State has nominated Poland for entry into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), the White House announced. Only after the Department of Homeland Security assesses and approves Poland's entry into the program will Poland be designated a VWP country. If Poland is approved, it will be the 39th country to participate in the VWP.

The VWP permits eligible citizens of designated countries to travel to the United States for up to 90 days for business or pleasure without first having to obtain a visitor visa at a U.S. consulate. In order to use the VWP, travelers must obtain Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) clearance.

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.

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