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EIG Week in Review (Oct 18, 2013)

October 22, 2013

Highlights

  • U.S. Government Reopens:  Updates Regarding Immigration Services and Operations
  • Changes to U.S.-China Visa Reciprocity
  • Malaysia Implements New Submission Process for i-Passes

U.S. Government Reopens: Updates Regarding Immigration Services and Operations 

The government shutdown is officially over and immigration filings (i.e., labor condition applications, prevailing wage determinations, and PERMs) can be filed again after a two and a half week stoppage.

As of 11:00 am EST, the Department of Labor’s iCERT system has been restored and as of 12:30 pm EST today, the on-line PERM system was restored as well. However, due to the long in-operation and the predicted high volume of users, the government warns that both systems may be slow. EIG has experienced glitches/delays with both online systems today.

Regarding H-1B, H-2A, and H-2B Petitions that could not be filed during the shutdown due to the inability to obtain a valid labor condition application, USCIS reports that they will consider the shutdown as an “extraordinary circumstance” and will excuse late filings provided the petitioner meets all other applicable requirements.

USCIS also reports that the E-Verify system has resumed operations and states that any employees who received a Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC)  and were unable to resolve the TNC due to the shutdown, will now have 12 federal business days after the date printed on the “Referral Letter” to contact the Social Security Administration or the Department of Homeland Security. Regarding creating cases, Employers have until November 5, 2013 to create an E-Verify case for all employees hired during the shutdown. Employers should select “Other” from the list of reasons of why the case is late and write “federal government shutdown.”

While there are governmental glitches as services resume, we at EIG are thrilled and thankful that the shutdown is over – and look forward to getting back to business as usual.


Changes to U.S.-China Visa Reciprocity

Recent changes to the visa reciprocity table between the U.S. and China have increased the validity for C-1, C1/D, and D visa to 60 months.  C visas are issued to foreign crew members of means of international transportation (e.g., aircraft, trains, and ships), to motor vehicle drivers engaged in cross-border transport activities, or to the accompanying family members of the crew members of the above-mentioned ships.  D visas are issued to individuals who intend to reside in China permanently.

For more information regarding visa reciprocity and fees, please visit http://travel.state.gov/visa/fees/fees_3732.html.


Malaysia Implements New Submission Process for i-Passes

Malaysia has implemented changes to the submission process for employment and dependant i-Passes with the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), a government-sponsored initiative aimed to facilitate a hi-tech business industry in Malaysia. These applications must now be submitted directly to the Immigration Unit of the MDeC instead of the Malaysian Immigration Department Headquarters (MYIDHQ), and the processing time will now be 30 to 60 days. At this time, no official guidance has been released regarding the updated procedures or requirements in light of this change.

The i-Pass is an identification card issued to foreign nationals that may be used in lieu of a passport for travel inside peninsular Malaysia. A passport is still required for travel to Sabah and Sarawak. Additionally, i-Pass holders are not required to complete an embarkation card when re-entering Malaysia. The i-Pass can only be applied for in connection with a new or renewal employment pass application but is not required to begin work, which is authorized once the foreign national has an employment pass inside his or her passport.