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EIG Week in Review (Oct 10, 2014)

October 10, 2014

Highlights

  • November 2014 Visa Bulletin Brings Significant Retrogression for EB-2 India
  • New Reporting Requirement for Russian Employers of Highly Qualified Specialist Workers
  • Canada Extends CAN+ Program to Mexico and Brazil
  • Singaporean Long-Term Visit Passes Applications Under Greater Scrutiny for Unmarried Couples
  • BALCA Ruling Prompts DOL to Reconsider Select PERM Denials

November 2014 Visa Bulletin Brings Significant Retrogression for EB-2 India

As reported yesterday, the U.S. Department of State has released the November 2014 Visa Bulletin.  EB-2 India retrogressed significantly, falling from November 15, 2009 back to February 15, 2005.

The November 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 December 8, 2009.  This category has advanced by 23 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 February 15, 2005.  This category has retrogressed by 4 years, 2 months, 16 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 June 1, 2012.  This category has advanced by 8 months.
  • Persons in the EB-3 category and born in China are current if they have a priority date before the cut-off date of January 1, 2010. This category has advanced by 9 months.
  • 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 22, 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 June 1, 2012.  This category has advanced by 8 months.
  • 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, 2012.  This category has advanced by 8 months.

EB-4 and EB-5

  • All countries remain current.

The complete Visa Bulletin for November 2014 can be found at: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/law-and-policy/bulletin/2015/visa-bulletin-for-november-2014.html.

New Reporting Requirements for Russian Employers of Highly Qualified Specialist Employees

In addition to the recent implementation of citizenship reporting requirements, Russia’s Federal Migration Service is now requiring employers with operations in Russia to promptly report the salaries paid to highly qualified specialist (HQS) employees during the third quarter of 2014 (July 1, 2014 to September 30, 2014). The deadline for reporting salaries of HQS employees is October 30, 2014. Employers who do not comply with the reporting requirements could face substantial fines, chargeable against the company and its officials.

EIG will continue to monitor the reporting requirements and provide updates as additional information becomes available.

Canada Extends CAN+ Program to Mexico and Brazil

As an update to our previous alert, highlighting Canada’s implementation of the CAN+ Program for Indian nationals, Canada is now extending the program for certain visitors from Mexico and Brazil. Extension of the CAN+ Program to nationals from Mexico, India, and Brazil is part of an effort to increase business and tourist travel to the region, and expedited processing is available for applicants who have visited Canada or the U.S. in the past 10 years.

Travelers eligible for CAN+ can apply online rather than in person at Canadian visa application centers. The CAN+ program is designed to expedite processing times for eligible travelers who are applying for business, tourist, or student visas.  Eligible CAN+ program applicants can receive visas within five days of submitting an application.

Singaporean Long-Term Visit Pass Applications Under Greater Scrutiny for Unmarried Couples

The Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has recently been applying greater scrutiny when adjudicating Long-Term Visit Pass applications for partners of work pass holders. Recently, MOM has increasingly rejected applications supported only by work pass holders’ notarized declarations, which state their common-law relationship is recognized by their home country. There is an upward trend toward determining the declarations are insufficient evidence, but the reason for the outcome is unclear.  As of now, the MOM has not applied the same level of scrutiny to applications for stepchildren.

Unmarried partners of work pass holders applying for a Long-Term Visit Pass are encouraged to submit as much evidence as possible to demonstrate that their home country recognizes common-law relationships and marriages, and that the applicant’s relationship, in particular, is also recognized by that country.

BALCA Ruling Prompts Department of Labor to Reconsider Select PERM Denials

In a recent en banc ruling, the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) held that job advertisements conducted as “additional recruitment steps” for a PERM labor certification application do not need to meet advertising content requirements for “mandatory recruitment steps” under 20 CFR §656.17(f).  As a result of this decision, the Department of Labor (DOL) will reconsider previous denials that were based on erroneous interpretations of the advertisement requirements.  However, the DOL will only accept cases in which a timely notice of appeal or motion to reconsider was filed.