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EIG Week in Review (Sept 5, 2014)

September 5, 2014

Highlights

  • New Reporting Requirements for Russian Citizens Holding Dual Citizenship or Foreign Permanent Residency
  • U.S. Visa Fee Changes to Take Effect September 12, 2014
  • U.S. Department of Justice Resolves Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Catering Company
  • France Eliminates Medical Exam Requirement for Certain Visa Categories

New Reporting Requirements for Russian Citizens Holding Dual Citizenship or Foreign Permanent Residency

Pursuant to a recent law, Russian citizens will be required to notify the Russian Federal Migration Service if they obtain dual citizenship or permanent residency abroad.

What does this new law require?  On June 4th, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed Federation Law 142-FZ, requiring Russian citizens living within Russia’s borders to declare any foreign passports or residence permits that they possess by October 4, 2014.  Moving forward, any Russian citizen who obtains dual citizenship or residency must voluntarily report such information within 60 days.  This is a recent development and the reporting processes and procedures have not been fully detailed by the Russian authorities.

Who does the law affect?  The new law affects Russian citizens holding dual citizenship or permanent residency.  The law does not impact Russian citizens working pursuant to nonimmigrant temporary visas (i.e., individuals holding H-1B, L-1, O-1, status, etc.).

Are there any exceptions?  Yes.  There is an exemption for individuals residing permanently outside Russia if they obtain a (1) de-registration stamp in their Russian passport; or (2) have a document known as listok ubitia that officially confirms their permanent address abroad (address outside Russia).

What is required under this new law?  Impacted employees must report any foreign passports or residence permits to the Russian Federal Migration Services.

How do the employees declare their dual citizenship or permanent residency?  Employees may obtain notification forms from all District Offices of the Russian Federal Migration Service.  Embassies and Consulates are not authorized to process the applications.  Reporting can only be done in person at the Federal Migration Services Office or personally mailed from within Russia.  In addition, third parties are not authorized to submit the form on an individual’s behalf.  This means reporting can only be done from within Russia.

According to informal statements by Russian Federal Migration Services officials, Russians who live outside of Russia will not be required to report their status by October 4, 2014. Those with dual citizenship or foreign residency permits will have to report themselves within 60 days of their first return trip to Russia.  However, these statements are not officially reflected within the legislation, and we are awaiting further clarification from the government on reporting guidelines for individuals that have been residing abroad since August 4, 2014.

Are there penalties for failure to comply?  Yes. Failure to register may constitute a criminal offense punishable by a fine of up to 200,000 rubles ($5,500 USD) or up to 400 hours of compulsory work.

What does this mean for you and your employees?  We recommend that you advise all Russian citizen employees of the new notification requirements.  The law only impacts Russian citizens holding dual citizenship or permanent residency.  Any specific employee questions should be directed to EIG.

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

U.S. Department of Justice Resolves Immigration-Related Discrimination Claim Against Catering Company

On September 2, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a settlement agreement with Culinaire International, a restaurant and catering management company in Texas, regarding a claim that the company was discriminating based on citizenship in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Under the INA, employers are prohibited from placing additional documentary burdens on work-authorized employees during the employment eligibility verification process based on citizenship status.

After a DOJ investigation, it was determined that Culinaire International required lawful permanent resident employees to provide a new Permanent Resident Card when their prior cards expired, which violates I-9 and E-Verify laws.  However, pursuant to the settlement agreement, Culinaire International will revise its policies and will pay over $60,000 in civil penalties and compensatory damages. Acting Assistant Attorney General Molly Moran for the DOJ Civil Rights Division reminds employers they “cannot discriminate against workers by requiring them to produce more documents than necessary in the employment eligibility verification and reverification processes.”

For more information, employers may contact the Office of Special counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices (OSC) within the DOJ at  1-800-255-8155 (1-800-237-2515, TTY for hearing impaired) or by email at osccrt@usdoj.gov.

France Eliminates Medical Exam Requirement for Certain Visa Categories

Effective August 18, 2014, foreign nationals holding the following work permits are no longer required to obtain a medical exam after arriving in France:

  • Intracompany transfers and their family members
  • Skills and Talents and their family members
  • Family members of the European Union Blue Card holders (EU Blue Card holders are already exempt)
  • Scientists and Researchers and their family members
  • Artistic and Cultural visa holders and their family members

The medical exam exemptions should expedite processing times and ease the transition for foreign workers.

U.S. Visa Fee Changes to Take Effect September 12, 2014

Effective September 12, 2014, the U.S. Department of State will implement new application fees for Nonimmigrant and Immigrant Visa applications in certain visa categories.  The exception is the Immigrant Visa application processing fees paid domestically to the National Visa Center (NVC), which are effective as of the billing date.  H-1B and L-1 visa fees will not change.

Fees already paid that decrease on September 12, 2014 will not be refunded. If the fee was paid before September 12, 2014 and the fee increases, applicants will only be required to pay the difference if their visa interview is scheduled on or before December 11, 2014.  Applicants who have already paid a visa fee before September 12th, but who have a visa interview that is scheduled for December 12, 2014 or later, will be required to pay the difference between the old and new fee.  However, as noted, no refunds will be given for fee decreases already paid, regardless of the visa interview date.

Relevant fee changes are as follows:

Nonimmigrant Visa Processing Fees

Type of Visa Previous Fee New Fee Change
K visa – Fiancé of U.S. citizen $270 $205 – $65
E visa – Treaty Investor/Trader $240 $265 + $25
Border Crossing Card (under age 15) $15 $16 + $1

Immigrant Visa Processing Fees

Type of Visa Previous Fee New Fee Change
Immediate Relative and Family Preference Applications $230 $325 + $95
Employment-Based Applications $405 $345 –  $60
Other Immigrant Visa Applications $220 $205 –  $15
Determining Returning Resident Status $275 $180 –  $95
Waiver of Two-Year Residency Requirement $215 $120 –  $95
Affidavit of Support Review (reviewed domestically) $88 $120 + $32