msi Immigration Global News Alerts – March 1st

AMERICAS

Argentina – Express Appointments System canceled

United States – Possible changes to impact H-4 visa holders

APAC

Thailand – SMART Visa introduction

EMEA

Italy – Stricter application of business visa activities

U.A.E. – Foreign Nationals exempted from Certificate of Good Conduct

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Argentina – Express Appointments System canceled by DNM

Effective 23 February 2018, the National Immigration Office (DNM) has canceled the express appointments system until further notice due to the high demand for MERCOSUR appointment requests. Delays in obtaining appointments for MERCOSUR temporary residence applications and change of criteria for MERCOSUR Permanent Residence will be inevitable. Regular appointments are now the only option for MERCOSUR nationals, with those appointments delayed by 6 months already. Further delays due to the canceling of the express system will be experienced, which will significantly impact work start dates.

Express appointments was introduced as a measure to combat delays with the limitation of quotas for MERCOSUR Residences. Various entities are now discussing alternate methods for appointments with the DNM to try to resolve the impending delays with the cancelation of the express appointments system.

 

United States – Possible changes to impact H-4 visa holders

Possible changes to current immigration law for certain employment authorized spouses of H-1B visa holders are causing concern for employers and sponsored employees. H-4 visa holders may soon find themselves ineligible to apply for work authorization or continue the existing wok authorization they have.

The Department of Homeland Security is considering the removal and/or phase out of approved employment authorization for H-4 visa holders. Nothing has happened yet, but it is expected that a new rule will be released in the near future, to take effect later in 2018. How the program will wind down is not clear at this stage, but employers are already considering alternate plans for their H-4 employment authorized employees (e.g. H-1B sponsorship) to combat the pending new rule.

 

Italy – Stricter application of business visa activities

A more strict application of the definition of business visitor activities is being implemented by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the past, the Ministry has had a more relaxed approach to approving business visas, but that has changed recently, with the definition of the following activities being more stringently applied with respect to short business visits to Italy:

  • to make contacts or conduct negotiations;
  • for learning purposes; or
  • to verify the use and functioning of capital goods purchased or sold under commercial and industrial cooperation agreements

Recent experience is showing that only those activities that fall within the defined business-related activities are being granted visa approval.

 

Thailand – SMART Visa introduced

Highly skilled foreign experts, executives, entrepreneurs and investors may apply for the newly introduced SMART Visa, as announced by the Thai Board of Investments. Applicants qualifications have to be endorsed by the designated agencies from the ten (10) targeted “S-Curve” industries, which include Agriculture & Biotechnology, Automation and Robotics, and Aviation & Logistics).

The SMART visa is broken down into different categories, including Talent, Investor, Executive, and Start-Up, each having specific eligibility criteria. As an example, a THB 20 million investment amount is required as eligibility for the Investor category (SMART ‘I’).

There are a number of benefits a SMART visa provides in comparison to normal visa holders, from reduced requirements by not having to apply for work or re-entry permits, to annual reporting to authorities as opposed to the typical 90 day period.

 

U.A.E. – Foreign Nationals exempted from Certificate of Good Conduct

The temporary exemption of the provision of a good conduct certificate for foreign nationals by the Dubai immigration authorities, is expected to improve job prospects for that population in the free zones of the emirate. As free zones fall out of the authority of UAE Labor Law, foreign nationals will not be required to produce the good conduct certificate in the processing of their employment visa.

The temporary exemption only applies to the employment visa process in Dubai, and does not cover other emirates, such as Amer and Tasheel. Job visa applicants outside of the free zones in Dubai, still need to produce a good conduct certificate.

The exemption is a temporary measure, and it is not known how long this measure will be in place. The requirement for a good conduct certificate will be reinstated at some point, according to the Dubai immigration authorities.

 

For more information on msi’s Immigration Services please contact us immigration@msiimmigration.com.

Information for this update has been provided by our global network of immigration partners. Given the nature of and speed at which online communications are developed, we will make every effort to maintain the accuracy of the information provided. However, materials contained in this alert are subject to change at any time without any notice.