United States

US House Discharge Petition Could Lead to DACA-Related Solution

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers has sought an unconventional route to address the status of undocumented individuals who came to the United States as children (“DREAMers”): seeking the required majority of members of the House of Representatives to sign a “discharge petition” that would bring four different immigration proposals for debate and voting to the House floor as soon as June 25, 2018. Should the petition gain the required signatures in the House and the chamber approve a bill reflecting one or more immigration proposals, the bill must then be approved by the Senate and signed by President Trump. 

President Trump has suggested that he will likely veto any proposal that does not align with the White House Framework. The Framework includes a 10-12-year path to citizenship for the 700,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) recipients, as well as other DACA-eligible immigrants, under revised criteria that could benefit an estimated 1.8 million individuals. 

Should the House effort produce an approved bill, the Senate could take up the bill or pass its own measure. A veto threat from the president could bring Senate action to a grinding halt, and the November midterm elections will likely play a role as well.


Brazil and United Arab Emirates Sign Visa Waiver Agreement

On June 2, 2018, the governments of Brazil and United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) signed an agreement allowing Brazilian and Emirati citizens to benefit from a visa waiver program allowing visa-free travel between the two countries. The authorized period of stay is for up to 90 days in a one-year period for business or tourism purposes only. Under the visa-waiver program, business visitors may conduct limited business activities. 



Legislation Being Drafted for Adoption of EU Directive 2011/98/EU

The Belgian government is actively taking steps to adopt EU Directive 2011/98/EU, which requires EU-member states to provide a single application procedure for a single permit for third-country (non-EU) nationals to reside and work in the territory of a member state, and on a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a member state. Once implemented, the simplified application process would require only one application to obtain a combined work and residence permit for long-term assignments of more than 90 days. 

The directive was issued on December 13, 2011, with an original deadline of December 25, 2013 to implement the change. The new procedure is not anticipated to be implemented before October 2018.

European Union

European Court of Justice Rules That Same-Sex Spouses Have Freedom of Residence

The Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) has ruled that spouses of the same sex are covered under the EU law providing for freedom of residence to EU citizens and their families. In a June 5, 2018 press release, the ECJ explains that “[a]lthough the Member States have the freedom whether or not to authorize marriage between persons of the same sex, they may not obstruct the freedom of residence of an EU citizen by refusing to grant his same-sex spouse, a national of a country that is not an EU Member State, a derived right of residence in their territory.”

The ECJ’s judgment arises from a case brought by a Romanian national who was unsuccessful in securing residency rights in Romania (which does not legally recognize same-sex marriage) for his same-sex spouse, a US citizen whom he had married in Brussels. The residency request was based on an EU directive guaranteeing the freedom of movement and residence to EU citizens and their families; this EU directive allows the non-EU “spouse” of an EU citizen to join his or her EU spouse in the member state in which the EU spouse is living. The couple brought an action before the Romanian courts, which then asked the ECJ to decide whether a same-sex spouse may be regarded as the “spouse” of an EU citizen under the freedom of movement directive. In its June 5 press release, the ECJ states that “in the directive on the exercise of freedom of movement the term ‘spouse,’ which refers to a person joined to another person by the bonds of marriage, is gender-neutral and may therefore cover the same-sex spouse of an EU citizen.”

United Kingdom

UK Home Office to Begin Offering Start-up Visa

In response to feedback provided by the Migration Advisory Committee, the tech sector, and other stakeholders, the UK Home Office recently announced that it will begin to offer a new “start-up” visa to certain people who want to start a business in the United Kingdom beginning in spring 2019. This program will replace the current Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa scheme. Unlike the Tier 1 visa, which was exclusively for graduates, the start-up visa will be made available to a wider pool of talented entrepreneurs. To qualify, applicants must obtain an endorsement from a university or approved business sponsor. Additional details about eligibility criteria and application procedures are forthcoming. 

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