United States: H-4 Employment Authorization Rule Implemented and H-1B Premium Processing for Certain Case Types Suspended
- Effective May 26, 2015, H-4 dependent spouses may apply for employment authorization if their H-1B spouses have an approved I-140 Immigrant Petition or an H-1B visa extension approved under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000. Previously, no spouses holding H-4 visa status were eligible for employment authorization.
- In anticipation of a large number of H-4 employment authorization applications being filed, US Citizenship and Immigration Services has suspended premium processing for all H-1B extension petitions until July 27, 2015. Such applications may only be filed via regularprocessing during this interim period.
- The new H-4 rule is taking effect as scheduled, after a federal judge declined to issue a preliminary injunction on May 24, 2015, requested as part of a lawsuit challenging the legality of the new rule.
- For more information on the H-4 employment authorization rule and the impact on H-1B premium processing, please see our legal update, “Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses and Its Impact on H 1B Premium Processing.”
Australia: Increase in Visa Application Charges Announced
- Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection has announced the following increases in Visa Application Charges (VAC) beginning July 1, 2015. These increases affect visa categories commonly used by employers sponsoring foreign national workers for employment authorization in Australia, such as the Temporary Long Stay Business (Subclass 457).
- A 2.3 percent increase for Permanent Migration Skill, Skills Graduate, Temporary Long Stay Business (Subclass 457), Visitor and Student visa streams;
- A 5 percent increase for Temporary Resident Short Term Business and Entertainment visas, Working Holiday visas, Resident Return and Retirement Investor visas and Contributory Parent visas;
- A 10 percent increase for “Other Family” and non-contributory Parent visas; and
- A 50 percent increase for the Significant Investor Visa stream.
- No changes have been made to the VAC for Electronic Travel Authorities, eVisitor and Refugee and Humanitarian visas.
Malaysia: Malaysia Expatriate Talent Service Center to Open
- Becoming operational in June 2015, the new Malaysia Expatriate Talent Service Center (MYXpats Center) will process and issue Employment Passes, which provide work authorization to foreign-national employees in Malaysia. The MYXpats Center will also process related passes for foreign nationals including the Dependent Pass and the Long-Term Social Visit Pass.
- The MYXpats Center aims to process Employment Pass applications within five business days. Prior to submission of an application, employers must register with the Expatriate Services Division and receive registration approval.
Turkey: Update on Changes to Residence Permit Appointments
- As of May 18, 2015, the online appointment scheduler for initial residence permit appointments has moved from the national police website to the Migration Directorate. All appointments scheduled under the old system prior to May 18 must now be re-scheduled using the new system. No priority is being given to previously booked appointments.
- Scheduling an appointment under the new system now requires substantially more information. The application must be completed and submitted in full; a clear, color biometric photo must be provided; and information on dependent education, medical insurance coverage, and the legally registered residential address in Turkey (information not previously required) must be provided.
- Once an initial appointment is scheduled, it does not appear that the appointment can be rescheduled until after the original date has passed.
- Residence Permit renewal applications continue to be processed without the requirement of an appointment.
Israel: Updates to Short Employment Authorization and Work Visas for NGO Employees
- Effective mid-May, requests to change the validity dates of approved Work Permits issued under the Short Employment Authorization (SEA) program now require the submission of a new application complete with full government fees. Under the previous process, such a request needed only to be accompanied by an updated flight ticket to support the change in dates.
- The government ministries announced updates to visa requirements for international aid workers. Specifically, to qualify for the B-1 work visa, international aid workers must work in Israel at least seven days per month for at least 15 hours per week and maintain a residence in the country. Moreover, the workers’ non-governmental organization (NGO) must be registered with the Ministry of Welfare as a “recognized NGO body” before submitting any work permit applications.
Qatar: Changes to Visa Conversion Rules
- Business, arrival and tourist visas can no longer be converted to work visas by foreign nationals while in Qatar. If work visas are issued while the foreign nationals are in-country on business, tourist or arrival visas, they must first exit Qatar and then re-enter with the issued work visa.
- The following visa conversions continue to be permitted while the foreign national is in Qatar: from one work visa to another work visa based on a change in employer-sponsor, and from arrival visas either to family visit visas or to family visas.