EIG Dispatch | December 12, 2017

US Headlines: Oral Arguments Heard on Third Travel Ban / The Case Against the First Travel Ban Progresses

Global Headlines: Ireland Introduces New Immigration Registration Cards / New Blue Card Regulations in Luxembourg / Higher Salary Thresholds Announced for the Netherlands / US Pulls Out of the UN Global Compact on Migration

Feature Story: 2017: Lessons Learned From a Year of Changes

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US Headlines

Oral Arguments Heard on Third Travel Ban. The 4th Circuit heard oral arguments on December 8 for Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project. The argument focused on to what extent the President has the right to rely on the grounds of protecting the national interest to restrict foreign aliens abroad. We will provide further updates as the case develops.

The Case Against the First Travel Ban Progresses. The 9th Circuit heard oral arguments on December 6 regarding the emergency stay of the first Travel Ban. Back in February, Hawaii was one of the first states to file a lawsuit against the ban. Although the first Travel Ban never went into effect, the legal case against it, State of Hawaii v. Trump, has continued. Hawaii argues that the Travel Ban inhibits well established and diverse family and economic institutions within the state.

Global Headlines

Ireland Introduces New Immigration Registration Cards. With effect from December 11, 2017, the ‘GNIB card’ has been replaced by the new Irish Residence Permit (IRP). The IRP has exactly the same legal status as the GNIB card. The same rules and responsibilities apply. For example, the holder is still required to carry the IRP at all times and present it to an immigration officer or the police if requested. Current GNIB cardholders are not required to apply for an IRP until their existing GNIB card is due to expire. Current GNIB cards remain valid for the time specified on the card.

New Blue Card Regulations in Luxembourg. Effective immediately, Luxembourg has implemented lower Blue Card salary minimums for certain groups of professionals in IT related fields. Professionals in these categories such as developers, system analysts, programmers, designers, administrators, and mathematicians now qualify for a Blue Card with a lower annual salary threshold of 59,198.40 euros gross per annum, nearly 15,000 less than the previously mandated amount. The payroll must still remain in Luxembourg.

Higher Salary Thresholds Announced for the Netherlands. Companies planning on sending employees to the Netherlands in 2018 should be aware of changes to the minimum budget salaries required in the new year. Starting January 1, 2018, the minimum gross monthly wages will be as follows:

  • Highly skilled migrants aged 30 and older: € 4,404.
  • Highly skilled migrants aged 29 and younger: € 3,229.
  • Individuals who graduated in the Netherlands: € 2,314.
  • EU Blue Card: € 5,160.

New applications that do not meet the new wage levels will be automatically rejected. 

US Pulls Out of the UN Global Compact on Migration. On Sunday, December 3 President Trump announced that the U.S. will no longer participate with the UN Global Compact on Migration (GCM). The General Assembly created the GCM plan in 2016 with the intention of creating a more human global strategy on migration. The plan calls for a non-binding political declaration which pledges to uphold the rights of refugees, help them resettle, and ensure they have access to education and jobs.  

The Trump Administration, led by UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, maintained its position, declaring that the GCM “contains numerous provisions that are inconsistent with US immigration and refugee policies,” and that “our decisions on immigration policies must always be made by Americans and Americans alone.”

Feature Story: 2017: Lessons Learned From a Year of Changes 

As 2017 comes to a close, we reflect back on the immigration changes of the past 12 months. Three travel bans, the suspension of premium processing, repeal of DACA, and interviews for all employment-based green card applications, to name just a few. While immigration rules and policy are never static and are intended to change and evolve, this past year brought change at an unprecedented pace. With rumblings of new policy positions to come, things are unlikely to slow down in 2018.

To a great extent, these fluctuations are outside of our control. However, we can control the way in which we respond to and anticipate such change. What did we learn from the blitz of immigration changes in 2017?

Communication is key. Within this environment of constant change, the need for communication has never been greater. EIG strives to be first to break important policy developments. Constant change creates an environment of uncertainty, and with that, often a sense of anxiety. Recognizing that both foreign nationals as well as employers are looking for answers when a change occurs, EIG works to not only provide timely updates, but also clear analyses throughout our Dispatch articles, GloMo Alerts, direct emails, webinars and, of course, by phone.

Plan ahead to the extent possible. This general rule applies across the board. For foreign nationals, this means planning travel, visa stamping and petition filings well in advance. If you’re traveling and require visa stamping, schedule your visa interview for the beginning of your trip in case of delays due to administrative processing. For employers, plan new hire petition filings well in advance, allowing for sufficient time to gather the additional supporting documents and details that may now be required.

Err on the side of overdocumentation (to your attorney). Let your attorney help you decide what information should be included in immigration filings. This year has taught us that more detail and information is being required for approval of petitions than what historically was required. For employers, this means providing detailed job descriptions and detailed job requirements. For employees, this means providing detailed CVs, college transcripts and copies of all degrees. Where the degree is not a perfect fit for the role, be prepared to provide experience letters that may be used to demonstrate qualification for the offered role. 

Keep calm, and carry on. We look forward to working with you. Additional change is likely to come. This past year has taught us to remain steady while the ground shifts around us. 


Ian Gaines, Paralegal

Olesya O. Sidorkina, Attorney

Katie Desmond, Managing Attorney

Editors: Jeff DeCruz, Christina Holtz, and Theresa Meehan