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EIG Week in Review (Oct 17, 2014)

October 17, 2014

Highlights

  • New Indian Employment Visa Requirements for U.S. Applications
  • Philippines Bureau of Immigration Introduces Alien Registration Project
  • Eased Visa Requirements for Certain Chinese and Indian Nationals Traveling to the Philippines, the UK, and Ireland

New Indian Employment Visa Requirements for U.S. Applications

As reported earlier this year, Cox & Kings Global Services Pvt. Ltd. (CKGS) recently took over responsibility for all Indian visa support services in the United States, which were previously processed by BLS International Ltd.  In accordance with CKGS’s new role, effective immediately, all foreign nationals applying for an Indian Employment Visa in the U.S. must include a signed checklist and declaration form with their application. The checklist identifies all documents, supporting evidence, and steps required of the visa applicant. The declaration states the applicant will abide by the terms of the visa issued and will not extend the in-country stay or change its purpose upon arrival.

In addition, the Indian sponsoring entity must provide its Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) identification number in support of the applicant’s Employment Visa application. The EPFO number will allow the Indian government to verify that the sponsor complies with future social security payment requirements on behalf of the foreign national. If the EPFO number is not provided on an application, it is the consular officer’s discretion to grant the Employment Visa, unless the sponsor is subject to certain exceptions.

Philippines Bureau of Immigration Introduces Alien Registration Project

The Philippines Bureau of Immigration (BI) has introduced a voluntary program called the Alien Registration Project to register all foreign nationals, capture their biometric data, and issue them a special security registration number. The program will directly impact many foreign nationals and Special Work Permit applicants, who will now be required to appear in person at the time of their application.

The program will eventually become mandatory; therefore, all foreign nationals should plan to register with a Bureau office, attend a biometrics appointment, and apply for an Alien Certificate of Registration Identity Card (ARC I-Card) moving forward.  Foreign nationals may also voluntarily register under the Alien Registration Project.

Eased Visa Requirements for Certain Chinese and Indian Nationals Traveling to the Philippines, the UK, and Ireland

The Philippines recently granted visa waivers to Chinese nationals with a valid American, Australian, Canadian, Japanese, or Schengen visa. Eligible Chinese nationals may enter the Philippines without a visa for seven days, which may be extended by 14 days, for a maximum duration of 21 days.  To be eligible for visa-free entry, Chinese and Indian nationals must also have a return airline ticket, a passport, valid for six months beyond their intended stay, and have no negative record with the Philippines Bureau of Immigration.  This new policy expands the existing structure, as Indian nationals have enjoyed the benefits of the same visa-free entry program since 2012.

In addition, Chinese and Indian nationals will soon be able to visit the United Kingdom and Ireland using a single visa when travelling on certain short stay and visitor visas rather than acquiring separate visas for each country. To be eligible for the British-Irish visa scheme, applicants must apply at a UK or Irish visa application center from within India or China.  Additionally, the visa holder must have already previously traveled to the country that issued the visa.