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EIG Week in Review (July 11, 2014)

July 25, 2014

Highlights

  • Malaysia to Become Member of U.S. Visa Waiver Program
  • August 2014 Visa Bulletin Released
  • Canadian CAN+ Program Now Available for Indian Nationals
  • Taiwan Proposes Amendments to Employment Immigration Laws

Malaysia to Become Member of U.S. Visa Waiver Program

After a series of successful negotiations between President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Najib Razak, and the Minister of Home Affairs Ahmad Hamidi, Malaysians traveling to the United States as tourists or businessmen will soon be eligible to enter visa-free for up to ninety days.   Within the next eighteen months, the Visa Waiver Program for Malaysians will likely be implemented in three phases.  First, only Malaysian government officers will be admitted visa-free.  Second, Malaysian businessmen will be included, and third, all Malaysian civilians will be eligible to travel pursuant to the Visa Waiver Program.

The State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs has requested that Malaysia appoint a coordinator to supervise the transitions, which is scheduled to occur soon.  As part of the initial phase this month, Malaysia’s immigration officials plan to implement an Advanced Passengers Screening System that will control access to airport entry points.

Malaysia marks the 38th country to join the Visa Waiver Program, following Chile, who joined in March 2014.

August 2014 Visa Bulletin Released

As reported earlier this week, the U.S. Department of State released the August 2014 Visa Bulletin, which brought significant advancement for EB-3 China.  Specifically, the August 2014 Visa Bulletin can be summarized as follows:

EB-1

  • All countries remain current.

EB-2

  • Persons in the EB-2 category and born in China are current if they have a priority date before the cut-off date of October 8, 2009.  This category has advanced by 3 months, 7 days.
  • Persons in the EB-2 category and born in India are current if they have a priority date before the cut-off date of January 22, 2009.  This category has advanced by 4 months, 21 days.
  • The worldwide quota, Mexico, and the Philippines remain current.

EB-3

  • Persons in the EB-3 category and falling into the worldwide quota are current if they have a priority date before the cut-off date of April 1, 2011.  This category remains unchanged.
  • Persons in the EB-3 category and born in China are current if they have a priority date before the cut-off date of November 1, 2008. This category has advanced by 2 years, 1 month.
  • Persons in the EB-3 category and born in India are current if they have a priority date before the cut-off date of November 8, 2003.  This category has advanced by 7 days.
  • Persons in the EB-3 category and born in Mexico are current if they have a priority date before the cut-off date of April 1, 2011.  This category remains unchanged.
  • Persons in the EB-3 category and born in the Philippines are current if they have a priority date before the cut-off date of June 1, 2010. This category has advanced by 1 year, 5 months.

EB-4 and EB-5

  • All countries remain current.

The complete Visa Bulletin for August 2014 can be found at: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/law-and-policy/bulletin/2014/visa-bulletin-for-august-2014.html.

Canadian CAN+ Program Now Available for Indian Nationals

Canada has officially expanded its CAN+ visa processing program to Indian nationals.  The CAN+ program, effective immediately, will allow Indian citizens, who have traveled to Canada or the United States within the last 10 years, to apply for visas with less paperwork than is normally required to obtain a Canadian visa.

The CAN+ program is designed to expedite processing time for Indian nationals who are applying for business, tourist, or student visas.  Eligible CAN+ program applicants will receive visas within five days after submitting an application.  The CAN+ program may also improve overall visa processing times for all Indian nationals.

Taiwan Proposes Amendments to Employment Immigration Laws

Pending final legislative approval, Taiwan’s Cabinet amended the nation’s work permit laws to the benefit of foreign researchers and students. The proposed amendments include:

  • Foreigners lecturing in or conducting academic research at a Taiwanese university will no longer be required to obtain a permit for periods of over six months.
  • Foreign students can obtain a part-time job permit by applying directly to the Ministry of Labor on their own behalf.
  • Foreign religious professionals will now solely require a religious activities visa from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In addition to the above changes, the proposed legislation also ramps up penalties for the brokerage of illegal foreign workers, including significant monetary fines and the possibility of imprisonment for up to 5 years.

Before taking effect, the draft amendment to the Employment Services Act requires final approval by the Legislative Yuan.