- Form I-9 Remains in Effect; USCIS Now Accepting Public Comment on Proposed Changes
- Israel’s Ministry of Interior Temporarily Ceased Operations Due to Labor Strike
- U.S. Visa Waiver Travelers Now Required to Carry e-Passport
- Belgium to Implement Newcomers’ Statement for Non-European Union Nationals
- France Introduces Significant Modifications to Resident and Work Permit Categories
- UPDATE: Canada Ministry of Immigration Releases Report Analyzing First Year of Express Entry Program
Form I-9 Remains in Effect; USCIS Now Accepting Public Comment on Proposed Changes
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the current Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, will remain in effect after the expiration date of March 31, 2016, which is listed on the Form. Employers and employees should continue to use the current March 8, 2013 edition until further notice from USCIS.
USCIS will not accept previous editions. USCIS is currently accepting public comment on changes to Form I-9. The updated form will contain assistance tools within the PDF document to minimize errors. Comments will be accepted until April 27, 2016.
Israel’s Ministry of Interior Temporarily Ceased Operations Due to Labor Strike
On April 5, 2016, the Israel’s Ministry of Interior temporarily ceased operations due to a labor strike directed by the Government Employees Labor Union. Immigration services were unavailable during the strike. On April 7, 2016, the Ministry of Interior employees returned to work. However, the two day closure may have caused delays in processing visas and work permits. Furthermore, foreign nationals should take note that Israeli government offices will be closed from April 22nd to April 30th for Passover, which may cause further delays in processing immigration visas.
U.S. Visa Waiver Travelers Now Required to Carry e-Passport
On December 1, 2015 the White House announced significant changes to the U.S Visa Waiver Program (VWP). These changes sought to enhance U.S. security, specifically requiring additional screening measures for individuals who have traveled to conflict zones. Effective as of April 1, 2016, travelers are required to have an electronic passport or “e-passport” when traveling to the United States, under the Visa Waiver Program, for a passport that was issued on or after October 26, 2006.
An e-passport contains an electronic chip embedded with the passport holder’s biographical information and also includes the passport holder’s name, date of birth, and a digital photograph. The e-passports are issued by the proper passport issuing authority in each country and can be identified by a designated symbol on the front of the physical passport. To view the symbol and additional information regarding the e-passport, please visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s website.
Belgium to Implement Newcomers’ Statement for Non-European Union Nationals
The Belgian government announced that non-European Union Nationals will be required to sign a Newcomers’ Statement (previewed here), pledging acceptance of Belgian laws, values, and integration into Belgian society. Government officials are currently drafting the Newcomers’ Statement, which is expected to be implemented within the next few months. The Statement applies to non-European Union nationals who plan to stay in the country for longer than three months. Non-European Union nationals who plan to stay in the country for less than three months or are students enrolled in classes will be exempt from signing the pledge. The Statement will include pledges to accept freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and freedom of sexual orientation.
France Introduces Significant Modifications to Resident and Work Permit Categories
On March 7, 2016 France announced important reforms to its immigration laws, which intend to simplify and expedite procedures. The new law, N°2016-274 of the Code of Entry and Residence of Aliens and the Right to Asylum, eliminates the work permit requirement for certain applicants and creates new immigration categories. The decree specifying the application of this new law will not be published before November 2016, thus the specific procedures to apply for the below mentioned categories will remain unknown for the time being. Some of the changes include:
- Exemption from work permit requirements for applicants seeking paid assignment in France for less than three months, for certain lines of business
- Creation of multi-year resident permit for foreigners who have resided in France for at least one year.
- Creation of the Talent Passport, a resident permit category that is valid for four years and issued during the first year of residence. This category removes the need for a work permit for various categories of foreign workers.
- Creation of the Seconded Employee ICT resident permit category, a multi-year resident permit that is valid for up to three years.
- Creation of the Seconded Mobile Employee ICT category for seconded employees. This category aims at supporting mobility in the EU.
- Creation of the Trainee ICT resident permit category.
EIG will continue to monitor these changes and will provide updates as they become available.
UPDATE: Canadian Ministry of Immigration Releases Report Analyzing First Year of Express Entry Program
As an update to our previous alerts, Canada’s Ministry of Immigration issued a comprehensive report on April 5, 2016, analyzing and assessing the impact of the Express Entry Program throughout 2015. The Express Entry Program is a point based ranking system for Permanent Residency launched in January 2015. Under the Express Entry Program, Canada has issued approximately 31,000 invitations to foreign nationals to apply for Permanent Residency, of which approximately 21,000 remain pending and 10,000 have been granted admission into Canada. The Ministry of Immigration also announced that, as of January 3, 2016, a total of 191,279 profiles were submitted, of which 63,937 applicants still remain in the pool of active candidates. The Federal Skills Worker program had the highest number of invitations to apply (43%) followed closely by Canadian Experience Class (36%). For more details about the 2015 Express Entry statistics, please visit the Government of Canada’s website.