Weekly Immigration Update: July 28–August 4, 2022 – Fragomen

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August 4, 2022

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In immigration news this week:
These items and other news from Canada, the European Union, Hong Kong, Ireland, Mauritius, Mexico, New Zealand, Qatar, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.
Mexico, August 3, 2022
Brazilian Nationals No Longer Eligible for Visitor e-Visas
To view entire article, click here.
 
Canada, August 3, 2022
Former International Students and Permanent Residence Applicants Eligible for New Work and Residency Benefits
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has implemented the following policies to welcome foreign post-university graduates and address labor shortages in Canada:
To view entire article, click here.
 
Netherlands, August 2, 2022
Visa-Exempt Highly Skilled Migrants May Temporarily Begin Work Without Endorsement Stickers
To view entire article, click here.
 
Hong Kong SAR, August 2, 2022
New Passport Mobile Application Stations Forthcoming
To view entire article, click here.
 
New Zealand, August 2, 2022
New Active Investor Visa Forthcoming
To view entire article, click here.
 
Russia, August 1, 2022
Temporary Residence Permit for Students Forthcoming
To view entire article, click here.
 
United States, July 29, 2022
DHS Extends and Redesignates Syria for Temporary Protected States
To view entire article, click here.
 
Ireland, July 29, 2022
Bill Modernising Employment Permit System Forthcoming
The Irish government has announced that it will implement a new law that will streamline and improve the Employment Permit system and process. Key changes are expected to include (among others):
The bill is expected to be published from September-November 2022.
To view entire article, click here.
 
Colombia, July 28, 2022
New Immigration Law Introduces Digital Nomad and Other Visas, Visa Process Changes, Among Other Changes
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a new immigration law which introduces the following key changes effective October 22, 2022:
Until October 21, 2022, the existing visa categories, requirements, processes, and processing times remain unchanged.
To view entire article, click here.
 
Israel, July 28, 2022
Visa Nationals Now Eligible for Hi-Tech Visas
To view entire article, click here.
Canada: Relaxed Educational Requirements for Certain Express Entry Permanent Residence Applicants – The government of Canada has relaxed educational requirements for permanent residence applicants under the Express Entry system. Applicants who earned a Canadian degree, diploma or certificate and completed any part of the program of study or training between March 2020 and August 2022, are now eligible for Canadian educational credential points on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) even if they completed the program entirely through distance learning, from outside Canada or through part-time studies. Previously, distance learning or part-time studies could result in lower points on the CRS score. To be invited to apply for permanent residence in Canada, the Canadian government uses the CRS points-based system to score and rank applicants in the Express Entry pool. The number of points granted to an applicant is based on experience, education and language skills, among others. Affected foreign nationals who have already created and submitted their Express Entry profile may need to update it. 
European Union: Updates on Mobility-Related LegislationAs an update, the Entry/Exit System (EES) is expected to be operational by the end of May 2023, previously estimated Q1-Q2 2022. The EES is a new EU database that would track entries and exits; information from travel documents; and fingerprints and photographs of all non-EU nationals staying in the Schengen area for less than 90 days. Additionally, the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is scheduled to become fully operational by November 2023, previously estimated May 2023. Under ETIAS, visa-exempt nationals would be required to register online before travelling to the European Union, similar to the U.S. ESTA and Canadian eTA systems. A proposal to limit temporary border checks within the Schengen area is still undergoing legislative review, which could take several years.
Mauritius: Stricter Residence and Citizenship Eligibility Rules for Foreign Spouses – Mauritius has implemented a law aimed at tightening residency and citizenship eligibility rules for foreign spouses of Mauritian citizens. The new rules allow the issuance of temporary residence to a foreign national married to a Mauritian citizen outside the country if they are married according to Mauritius civil law; introduce checks on the authenticity of such marriages by relevant authorities; and introduce a four-year spousal permit to be preceded by a two-year temporary permit for spouses of Mauritian citizens, among other changes. These foreign spouses will be eligible for citizenship after six years. 
New Zealand/United Kingdom: Youth Mobility Program Improvements Forthcoming – The New Zealand and UK governments announced enhancements to their reciprocal Working Holiday and Youth Mobility Schemes that would take effect no later than 2024. Applicants age 18-35 would be eligible for both schemes, up from 18-30; under both schemes, permits would be issued for up to three years, up from 23 months for New Zealand-issued working holidays and 24 months for UK-issued youth mobility; and under both schemes, visa holders would be work authorized for the full visa duration. Further details are expected to be published closer to the effective date of the changes.
Qatar: Degree Attestation Process Amended – Effectively immediately, Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) no longer requires affected applicants to submit a University Verification Letter (UVL) as a supporting attestation document for the following degrees issued outside of Qatar: high school diploma, bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD. Applicants are only required to submit legalized academic degrees and official transcripts; both documents require attestation at the Qatari embassy in the country of degree issuance and by the Qatar MOFA. Note that neither MOFA nor Qatari embassies recognize academic degrees obtained through distance learning or open university (institutions that use distance education technologies and provide open access and admission to all within the country or region).
Russia: Further Medical Exam Rule Changes – As a continuation of the changing rules regarding medical exams in Russia, a new law relaxes the medical exam requirement for Highly Qualified Specialists, who are now required to undergo a repeated exam only when applying for a work permit extension (no longer on a yearly basis). Additionally, foreign nationals who entered Russia before December 29, 2021 for non-work-related purposes for more than 90 calendar days, or for work, must undergo a medical exam, fingerprinting and photographing by January 10, 2023. Lastly, visa-exempt foreign nationals who change their purpose of stay to “work” must undergo a medical exam, fingerprinting and photographing. Those who require a work patent must undergo these procedures upon applying for a work patent and those who have the right to work without a work permit or patent must do so within 30 calendar days of their labor agreement signing. In either case, applicants must undergo these procedures no later than 90 days from entry into Russia.
Russia: Streamlined Permanent Residence Processes – Citizens of Ukraine (including those permanently resident in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions), Kazakhstan or Moldova can apply for a permanent residence permit without first obtaining a temporary residence permit, according to a new law. Additionally, Ukrainian citizens (including those permanently resident in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions) are exempt from the requirement of passing tests on the Russian language, history and basics of legal knowledge, when applying for temporary or permanent residence. Lastly, effective January 10, 2023, foreign investors will be able to apply for a permanent residence permit without a temporary residence permit, if they meet certain criteria not yet established by the Russian government.
Russia: Extensions of Temporary Stay/Change of Purpose of Stay Now Possible – According to a new law, foreign nationals can now extend their temporary residence or permanent residence permit if they are a native speaker of the Russian language. Foreign nationals will need to apply for an extension and submit documents to the government proving their proficiency. Additionally, citizens of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine can now change the purpose of their stay to “work purposes” without having to leave and re-enter Russia. They will need to file documents with the local migration office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and undergo a medical exam, fingerprinting and photographing.
Russia: Health Insurance Requirement Changes for Foreign Workers – Effective January 1, 2023, most foreign workers (except Highly Qualified Specialists without residence permits) will become eligible for new health insurance options including mandatory health insurance, a paid medical services contract, or ‘voluntary’ medical insurance. As a result, most foreign workers effectively will not need to obtain ‘voluntary’ health insurance, as is the current requirement. ‘Voluntary’ health insurance will only be required for highly qualified specialists without residence permits. 
South Africa: Additional Occupations Added to Critical Skills List – The Minister of Home Affairs updated its Critical Skills List by adding 31 healthcare occupations eligible for work visas and permanent residency. The current critical skills list took effect on February 2, 2022, after an extensive public consultation process.
South Africa: Transit Visa Requirement for Bangladesh and Pakistan Passport Holders Implemented – Effective August 1, 2022, Bangladesh and Pakistan passport holders intending to transit through South Africa to any other country must apply for a transit visa at a South African consular post or on the South African eVisa system.
United StatesJuly 2022 DOL PERM and PWD Processing Times – As of July 31, 2022, the Department of Labor (DOL) was conducting analyst review for PERM applications filed in December 2021 or earlier, and processing audited cases with priority dates of October 2021 or earlier. DOL is working on standard reconsideration requests that were filed in March 2022 or earlier. DOL is issuing prevailing wage determinations (PWDs) for PERM prevailing wage requests filed in January 2022 (OES) and December 2021 (non-OES) and H-1B prevailing wage requests filed in January 2022 (OES) and December 2021 (non-OES). The agency has been processing H-1B and PERM redeterminations requested in April 2022 and PERM Center Director reviews requested in May 2022. These reports are available on the DOL FLAG page.
This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.   

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