- Federal Judge in Hawaii Blocks Travel Ban Indefinitely – Extending Prior Order
- Update on the Pending H-4 EAD Lawsuit
- Georgian Citizens Can Now Travel in the Schengen Zone Without a Visa
- Luxembourg Revises and Expands Immigration Permit System
Federal Judge in Hawaii Blocks Travel Ban Indefinitely – Extending Prior Order
On Wednesday, Hawaii U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson indefinitely halted President Trump’s revised travel ban. This decision is an extension of the Judge’s temporary restraining order issued on March 15th. President Trump’s revised travel ban sought to prevent citizens of six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US. In issuing this order indefinitely suspending the travel ban, Judge Watson reiterated his same reasoning for the initial temporary order and went on to note that Hawaii has shown the state’s tourism industries and universities would suffer monetarily if the revised travel ban were allowed to take effect.
Following the order’s announcement, the Justice Department issued a statement indicating that it will continue to defend the executive order and will likely appeal Judge Watson’s ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which previously ruled against the President’s initial travel ban. Other cases challenging the ban are in progress elsewhere in the U.S.
As it stands, President Trump’s revised travel ban has been blocked indefinitely nationwide.
EIG will continue to monitor the travel ban litigation and executive orders, providing updates as information becomes available.
Update on the Pending H-4 Lawsuit
Since May 26, 2015, certain H-4 dependent spouses have been eligible for work permits (EADs). Shortly after the H-4 EAD regulation were announced, a lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, by Save Jobs USA (“the Plaintiffs”), an unincorporated group of American tech workers who claim to have lost their jobs to individuals in H-1B and H-4 visa status. The Plaintiffs, represented by attorneys from anti-legal immigration organizations in Washington D.C., sought to have the H-4 EAD regulation overturned. The case remained pending when President Trump took office in January.
On February 1, 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice asked for and were granted a 60-day pause to allow the new administration “adequate time to consider the issues.” The 60-day period ends Monday, April 3rd.
Given the new administration’s policy stance on both illegal and legal immigration, the Washington Post is speculating that Attorney General Jeff Sessions may attempt to settle the lawsuit with Save Jobs USA, which could overturn the current H-4 EAD regulation (effective immediately). A settlement could circumvent the 6-9 month notice and comment period for a new regulation that would otherwise be required to change the current H-4 EAD regulation.
Once the Attorney General’s office releases their official response to the Plaintiff’s appeal (as early as Monday), we will provide a detailed analysis on how its position will affect the current H-4 EAD regulation and H-4 EAD holders.
Georgian Citizens Can Now Travel to Schengen Zone Without a Visa
Effective March 28, 2017, Georgian citizens with a biometric passport can travel without a visa for short stays up to 90 days to European Union (EU) Member States (except Ireland and the UK) as well as the four Schengen associated countries (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland).
Biometric passports have been issued in Georgia since 2010. Biometric passports contain technological features not available in ordinary passports (including an electronic microchip, electronic photo and fingerprints of a holder). A Georgian citizen can obtain a biometric passport by applying to any territorial office of the Public Service development agency, branch of the Public Service Hall, or a Community Centre.
This announcement comes after years of discussion between the Georgian government and the European Union, and after the implementation of a multi-step Visa Liberalization Action Plan.
The EU is also pursuing a Visa Liberalization Plan with Ukraine. In May 2015, Ukraine achieved the second phase of the four-step process required for the Visa Liberalization Action Plan. It is unknown when the process will be fully completed for Ukraine.
Luxembourg Revises and Expands Immigration Permit System
Luxembourg has revised its immigration laws, adding new residence permit categories including a new Intra-Company Transfer category (ICT). The changes took effect on March 24, 2017. While the new ICT Permit extends the duration of stay in ICT status, it places stricter rules for the previous experience requirement.
Under the new ICT permit rules, three-year permits are available for executives, managers, and experts transferred to positions in Luxembourg, while trainees are eligible for one-year permits. ICT Permit holders may also have qualifying dependents join them. In addition, Luxembourg ICT permit holders are now eligible to work in other EU countries for companies within the same corporate entity for up to 90 days in a 180-day period. Similarly, ICT work permit holders issued by other EU countries will have reciprocal work authorization in Luxembourg, and are eligible to work for the Luxembourg branches of their companies for up to 90 days in a 180-day period. Processing times are expected to range between six to eight weeks.
The new law has also reduced the requirements for obtaining a Blue Card and extended the validity of initial Blue Cards from two years to four years. The validity of the Blue Cards issued by Luxembourg authorities has also been extended – from two years to four years. In addition, the new law allows residency permit holders to apply for dependent status for family immediately. Under the previous rules, many third-country nationals granted residency permits had to wait a year before their dependents were eligible to join them in Luxembourg.