2 October 2015
Mayer Brown’s Global Directions is a summary of recent immigration and mobility trends arising in key jurisdictions around the globe. This high-level overview alerts recipients to select changes in law and practice that may affect their global mobility programs.
US Permanent Residency Cases Impacted By New Visa Bulletin and Revisions to the October Visa Bulletin
- As part of President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, the Department of State’s Office of Consular Affairs has modified the monthly Visa Bulletin, which signals when applications can be filed by foreign nationals in the final phase of their permanent residency process.
- Published on September 9, 2015, the Visa Bulletin now features two charts for both family and employment-based preference categories. The first chart, “Application Final Action Dates,” lists the date on which a visa will be available for issuance in each preference category. The second chart, “Date for Filing of Visa Applications,” is new and lists the date immigrants may file their application for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status. For a full discussion of this change, please see our legal update, “Revised US Procedures for Determining Eligibility to Apply for Adjustment of Status and Immigrant Visas Announced.”
- On September 25, 2015, the Department of State then revised the “Date for Filing of Visa Applications” chart for several preference categories in the October Visa Bulletin. Most notably, the filing dates for EB-2 India were pushed back (retrogressed) by two years while EB-2 China and EB‑2 Philippines retrogressed by one and three years, respectively, negatively affecting thousands of prospective applicants who were planning to file this month.
Statutory Cap Reached for Permanent Residency Cases in the Employment-Based Preference Categories for FY 2015
- On September 24, 2015, US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that the cap for immigrant visas in the employment-based preference categories had been reached and that no further immigrant petitions would be processed for the remainder FY 2015.
- However, processing of immigrant visas in the employment-based category resumed on October 1, 2015, the start of the new federal fiscal year.
Australia: Work and Holiday Visa (Subclass 462) Available to PRC Nationals
- Effective September 21, 2015, Australia established a Work and Holiday visa (subclass 462) for nationals of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Five thousand such visas will be available annually for PRC nationals between the ages of 18 and 31 with functional English skills and either tertiary education or at least two years of undergraduate education.
- The visas will grant a 12-month duration of stay and provide work authorization with some restriction—the visa holder may not work for the same employer for more than six months. In addition, visa holders may engage in study for up to four months of the 12-month period.
- Individual applicants may only receive this visa once in their lifetime.
China (PRC): New Mainland Travel Document for Taiwanese
- Effective September 21, 2015, the mainland travel permit (known as Tai Bao Zheng) used by Taiwanese residing in Shanghai was replaced by the new Electronic-Taobao card (E-Taobao). The new card is valid for a period of five years. Currently valid Tai Bao Zheng travel permits will continue to be accepted for travel to the PRC.
Philippines: New Exclusions to the Alien Employment Permit
- Effective August 2015, the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment has updated the categories of foreign nationals who are excluded from securing an employment permit. The categories that are now excluded are:
- Members of a company’s governing board with voting rights only;
- Corporate officers as defined under the Corporation Code of the Philippines;
- Consultants who do not have an employer in the Philippines;
- Intra-company transfers who are managers, executives, or specialists and have been employed with a related foreign company for at least one year prior to their assignment to the Philippines; and
- Contractual service providers who are managers, executives, or specialists and who are employed by a foreign service supplier that has no commercial presence in the Philippines.
Czech Republic: Changes to Extensions of Employee Cards for Foreign Nationals
- Effective August 17, 2015, foreign nationals awaiting a Ministry of Interior decision on the extension of their Employee Cards may remain in country while their applications are pending. During this time period, it is understood that a foreign national’s current employment card may expire. As long as the foreign national has filed for an extension within 15 days of the card’s expiration, the applicant may remain in the country.
- If a foreign national’s application for an extension is ultimately denied, the applicant must exit the country immediately if the current card has expired or when the current card expires, whichever is later.
Spain: EU Intra-Company Transfer Directive Implemented
- In September 2015, Spain became the first country to implement the 2014 European Union Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Directive. Other EU member countries have until November 2016 to implement the Directive.
- The Directive provides greater flexibility for employers of non-EU citizens (referred to as third-country nationals) who may be required to work in multiple locations within the EU. The Directive allows ICT permit holders to work not only at any affiliated entity within the country issuing the permit but also, under certain circumstances, at affiliated entities in other EU member countries.
- Generally, EU member countries that did not grant the ICT permit will allow ICT permit holders to engage in short-term work, defined as less than 90 days in any 180 day period. Long-term work, more than 90 days, will generally require the permit holder to obtain a secondary permit from the country where the long-term work will be performed.