EIG Dispatch | March 17, 2017


  • Federal Judge in Hawaii Puts President Trump’s Revised Travel Ban on Hold
  • UPDATE: United Kingdom Passes Brexit Triggering Legislation
  • Canada Introduces New Streamlined Work Permit Program for Highly-Skilled Workers
  • Processing Times Increased for Long-Term Passes in Singapore
  • Irish Government Offices Closed for St. Patrick’s Day

Federal Judge in Hawaii Puts President Trump’s Revised Travel Ban on Hold

On March 15th, Hawaii Federal District Court Judge Derrick Watson granted a request to immediately halt implementation of President Trump’s latest Executive Order (EO), which bans nationals from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen from entering the U.S., in addition to other measures. Judge Watson’s Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) was issued just hours before the EO was scheduled to go into effect on March 16.  The effect of the TRO is nationwide, meaning that EO cannot be enforced temporarily anywhere in the United States. The TRO will remain in place unless reversed by a higher court.

Judge Watson considered Constitutional claims asserted by the State of Hawaii on behalf of its citizens and individual claims made by Dr. Ismail Elshikh. The State and Dr. Elshikh asked for an immediate halt of Sections 2 and 6 of the EO, which respectively ban the entry of nationals of six predominantly Muslim countries and suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days. Judge Watson, in a 43-page decision, found that the State and Dr. Elshikh had met the requirements for obtaining a TRO, which requires establishing “a strong likelihood of success” on the claims asserted, namely that the revised EO primarily promotes religious discrimination and outweighs the Justice Department’s concerns regarding national security.

On March 16, 2017, a ruling similar to the Hawaii court’s TRO was issued in Maryland District Court by Judge Theodore Chuang. Similarly, Judge Chuang issued a temporary halt on Section 2 of the EO, banning entry of nationals from the six affected countries, but Judge Chuang declined to rule on Section 6 of the EO which suspends the U.S.’s Refugee Admissions program.

Please see here for additional EIG coverage of Judge Watson’s TRO.  EIG will continue to follow any developments closely and will provide updates as information becomes available.

UPDATE: United Kingdom Passes Brexit Triggering Legislation

On March 16th, following months of debate, the UK ‘Notification of Withdrawal’ Bill became law, after passing Parliament on Monday. This bill allows Prime Minister Theresa May to officially initiate Britain’s formal exit (“Brexit”) from the European Union (EU), a preliminary step also referred to as “triggering article 50”. Prior to full Parliamentary ratification, the British House of Lords withdrew its amendment to the bill that, if included, would have added provisions protecting the rights of EU nationals to stay in the UK after Brexit. The timing of the bill’s approval is consistent with Prime Minister May’s 2016 pledge that the UK would trigger article 50 and initiate Brexit negotiations as early as March 31, 2017.

The passage of this bill and the formal Notification of Withdrawal are preliminary steps that will have no immediate effect on the status of EU nationals.

Once article 50 is triggered, exit negotiations will begin, and they are expected to take at least two years, with some government officials predicting negotiations may last up to 10 years.  Over the course of this period, the terms of Brexit, including changes to the UK immigration system, will be debated and negotiated. Until exit negotiations are concluded, the U.K. will remain in the EU, subject to all related binding laws and policies, including rights of EU citizens to live in the UK.

Parliament will still have the ability to debate and vote on the rights of EU nationals in the UK after Brexit. Any changes to the immigration system affecting EU nationals will be done with Parliament’s approval over the course of the negotiation period.

EIG will continue to provide updates on the progress of Brexit negotiations.

Canada Introduces New Streamlined Work Permit Program for Highly-Skilled Workers

The Government of Canada recently introduced the Global Talent Stream, a new streamlined program part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.  The Global Talent Stream will establish a two-week standard for processing of work permit applications for highly skilled workers. For eligible high-demand occupations, including positions within Canada’s high-growth technology sector, the new program will provide expedited processing times with work permit applications expected to be processed within 10 business days. This Global Talent Stream program is scheduled for initial roll-out in June 2017 and a list of the occupations eligible for the program will be made available in advance.

The Global Talent Stream is part of Canada’s Global Skills Strategy aimed at facilitating Canadian employers’ access to highly-skilled foreign workers, helping innovative companies grow, and creating jobs.

Processing Times Increased for Long-Term Passes in Singapore

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) recently implemented additional measures to verify documents, qualifications, and other information submitted in connection with applications for various Singapore immigration benefits. These additional measures will affect the processing of new applications and renewals of Employment Passes (EPs), S Passes, Dependents’ Passes (DPs), and Long-Term Visit Passes (LTVPs). As a result, standard processing times for these types of passes are increasing to 3 weeks, from the previous norms of 7-10 business days.

Moving forward foreign nationals and their employers should anticipate longer wait periods for work authorization and other long-term passes.

Irish Government Offices Closed for St. Patrick’s Day

The Irish government offices, including U.S. Embassy in Ireland are closed on March 17, 2017 for St. Patrick’s Day, suspending visa and work permit processing during the holiday. Irish Consulates may also close or limit their hours. Individuals and companies applying for visas and work permits should factor the holiday into their plans, anticipating slight delays when offices reopen.

Ireland has been officially celebrating St. Patrick’s Day since 1903.