EIG Dispatch | October 31, 2017

US Headlines: USCIS will no Longer Give Deference to Previously Approved Petitions / Appeal Filed in F-1 OPT Lawsuit Dismissal

Global Headlines: Singapore Employment and S Pass Holders Must Notify MOM of Changes / Canada Implements Change of Dependent Definition / Australia Employer Obligations, Training Benchmark Update

Feature Story: When is it More than a Meeting? Tips for Business Travelers

Upcoming Events

October 31- Happy Halloween

October 31- All Saint’s Day, government and business offices in some countries are closed.

November 1- All Saint’s Day, government and business offices in some countries closed.

November 2- Holiday Travel Under the Trump Administration Webinar at 3 PM EDT/NOON PDT. Register here.

Erickson in the News

Jerry Erickson, EIG’s president and owner, is quoted in Bloomberg BNA about the potentially serious consequences of driving under the influence for temporary foreign workers and the businesses that employ them. You can read Jerry’s take here.

Traveling Soon?

Holiday Travel Under the Trump Administration on Nov. 2 at 3 PM EDT/ Noon PDT. EIG attorneys share travel tips in this week’s webinar, “Holiday Travel Under Trump Administration’s Immigration Policies.” Register here.

US Headlines

USCIS will no longer give deference to previously approved extensions. On Monday October 23, USCIS announced an update to its policy guidance that it will no longer give deference to previously approved petitions when reviewing extension requests. The legal burden of proof for visa approvals has not changed, as USCIS has always had the authority to re-examine every petition on its merits. USCIS officers will now review extensions without deference to the previous approval, which may increase adjudication timelines and Requests for Evidence on visa petitions.

Washtech appeals dismissal of its lawsuit against the F-1 OPT program.  The Washington Alliance of Technology (Washtech), a technology union has appealed the DC court’s decision to dismiss its lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security in its third attempt at challenging the F-1 OPT program, which allows certain foreign national students to gain employment related to their field of study.

Global Headlines

Singapore Employment and S Pass Holders Must Notify MOM of ChangesCurrently, all Employment Pass and S Pass holders must update the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and employers of any changes to residential addresses and contact information within 14 days of the change. Changes in personal particulars such as passport number, name or marital status must also be reported. As of Friday, November 17, 2017, Pass holders will be required to update employers and MOM of any changes to address or mobile number within 5 days of the change.

Canada Implements Change of Dependent Definition. In an effort to encourage immigrant family unity, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has changed the definition of dependent children from “under 19” years of age to “under 22” years of age. The change in definition will apply to all applications received by IRCC on or after October 24, 2017. IRCC may also make exceptions for sponsors whose applications were submitted on or after May 3, 2017 and who had children aged 19, 20, or 21 at the time of the application.

Australia Employer Obligations, Training Benchmark Update. Employers sponsoring foreign national workers in Australia must contribute to the professional training of local Australian workers. In March 2018, the existing training benchmarks that ensure the fulfillment of employer obligations will be replaced by the Skilling Australians Fund (“the Fund”). The Fund will be subsidized by employer training levy payments and will be determined by company turnover. This new process is expected to create a streamlined process for employers to be compliant with training requirements but will result in increased immigration expenses.

Feature Story: When is it More than a Meeting? Tips for Business Travelers

A common question that arises for business travelers is whether their intended activities in a foreign country are permissible on a business visitor visa, or whether a work permit is required for their trip.

The following activities are generally permissible as a business visitor:

  • Business meetings with colleagues
  • Attending training sessions or conferences
  • Consultations or business meeting with clients
  • Negotiations with current or prospective clients
  • Fact-finding missions
  • Knowledge transfer sessions

Although countries vary slightly, work permits are usually required when a traveler performs hands-on work such as:

  • Building and developing products
  • Providing technical hands-on assistance
  • Designing infrastructure
  • Testing and building use cases
  • Fixing or troubleshooting software

Tips for Frequent Travelers

  • Frequency of travel: Frequent trips to the same country increases the risk of being questioned about the purpose of the business trip.
  • Schengen Area- 90 day limit: A traveler is limited to 90 days cumulatively within a 6 month period as visitor for business or tourism purposes.
  • Duration is a factor: Although not as important as the scope of activities, length of a trip can be a factor. EIG recommends business trips be limited to four to six weeks per trip. Longer business trips of six to eight weeks should be accompanied by a detailed travel schedule broken down into weekly increments.
  • Visa and entry requirements change: Some countries have implemented electronic travel authorizations even for visitors who do not require a visa. Make sure to check the travel requirements for the destination country before planning a business trip.

Most importantly, Compliance is key!

Remember, it is important for business travelers to inform their Global Mobility and Immigration departments well in advance of any planned trip. We can only help if we know your plans.