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EIG Week in Review (Nov 14, 2014)

November 14, 2014

Highlights

  • UPDATE: President Obama Expected to Announce Executive Action on U.S. Immigration Reform

  • Processing Delays in Malaysia for Employment, Dependent, and Professional Visit Passes

  • Mercosur Visa to Colombia No Longer Available for Venezuelan Nationals

UPDATE: President Obama Expected to Announce Executive Action on U.S. Immigration Reform 

As an update to our previous report, President Obama could be announcing new action on immigration reform as early as next week, sources close to the White House revealed. Major news sources are reporting that the President may announce a plan to overhaul aspects of the immigration system in light of the lack of action by Congress. White House spokesman Shawn Turner declined to comment on any specific details regarding the actions the President might take. Instead, Turner merely stated that the President had not yet made a decision on a timeline to unveil his executive actions on immigration, but that “[the President] remains committed to taking action before the end of the year.”

Executive action on immigration is not unprecedented.  According to the American Immigration Council, the majority of U.S. presidents have exercised their executive power to grant some kind of temporary relief to immigrants.  For example, in 1987 and 1990, President Reagan and President Bush, respectively, granted certain protections from deportation to spouses and children of the immigrants under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

However, despite President Obama’s desire for action, Republicans oppose any executive action on immigration.  Speaker John Boehner warned that even if President Obama unilaterally acts on immigration reform there will be no chance for a reform bill to pass through the next Congress. Given the current standoff between Congress and the White House, President Obama’s expected executive action could be the only change to the immigration system, at least for the next two years.

Processing Delays in Malaysia for Employment, Dependent, and Professional Visit Passes 

All Employment Pass, Dependent Pass, and Professional Visit Pass renewal applications must be filed using the Malaysian Department of Immigration’s Expatriate Service Division’s online portal. The new electronic filing procedures, implemented on October 1, 2014, are causing processing delays ranging from four to eight weeks, which is a huge increase in waiting time, as the previous processing time was five to seven days. Employers intending to renew any of the particular passes should take these delays into consideration and file a renewal application well in advance of the foreign national’s expiration date.

Mercosur Visa to Colombia No Longer Available for Venezuelan Nationals 

As of November 10, 2014, Colombia has suspended the issuance of Mercosur visas for Venezuelan nationals due to Venezuela’s failure to create a reciprocal visa program for Colombian nationals. The Mercosur visa is a specific visa available to the citizens of countries belonging to the Mercosur trading bloc. With a Mercosur visa, nationals of Mercosur countries (including Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru) can obtain residence permits for work or study without employer sponsorship, valid for up to two years. In addition, Mercosur visa holders can apply for permanent residency after two years in Colombia, contrary to the TP-4 work visa that requires employer sponsorship and five years before applying for permanent residency.  Though the Mercosur visa is no longer available for Venezuelan Nationals wishing to immigrate to Columbia, Venezuelan nationals can still apply for the regular TP-4 visa to work and immigrate to Colombia, however the process will take longer than the Mercosur visa.