- DOL Suspends PERM Denials Based Upon Non-Qualified Experience in Section H.14
- Global Trend Towards Recognizing Same-Sex Marriage
- Indonesia to Transition to Electronic KITAS Visas
- U.S. Consulate in Chennai Issues Emergency Message
DOL Suspends PERM Denials Based Upon Non-Qualified Experience in Section H.14
On December 7, 2016, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) DOL Liaison Committee met with the DOL’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) at the quarterly stakeholder meeting. An important issue discussed related to the recent denials of PERM Applications based on the alien worker’s alleged failure to satisfy the experience duration requirement for each special skill set forth in Section H.14.
At the meeting, OFLC Representatives informed the committee that PERM Application denials are now suspended for the aforementioned issue pending the DOL’s review of the Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) recent decision in In the Matter of Smartzip Analytics. In this case, BALCA reversed the DOL’s decision to deny a PERM based on the aforementioned issue, and ordered certification for the application. In its decision, BALCA explained that the PERM application cannot be denied on its face based on a failure to provide a duration requirement for special skills listed in Section H.14.
EIG will continue to monitor the DOL’s movement with respect to this issue, and will provide updates as developments occur.
Global Trend Towards Recognizing Same-Sex Marriage
EIG has noted a large trend in conservative countries transition towards recognizing marriage equality. Taiwan may become the first region in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage, possibly occurring as early as the beginning of the New Year. Current President, Tsai Ing-wen, has voiced her backing of the proposed same-sex marriage legislation. President Tsai Ing-wen’s party, the Democratic Progressive Party, currently holds a majority of the seats in the Legislative Yuan and is compassionate towards the rights of same-sex couples.
Italy and Israel have made concrete leaps forward in the effort to recognize same-sex marriage and provide qualified partners with immigration benefits.
Italy reformed Law n. 76/2016 to recognize same-sex partners that are legally registered in a civil union as Coniuge (Spouse). The initial decree was approved in October 2016, and it provided guidance on the procedures for civil union registration in accordance to marital archives and other decrees, thus incorporating new civil union norms into the existing legislation. The decree was expected to be issued on December 5, 2016, but has now been pushed back to March 2017. In the interim, Consulates and Prefectures have begun to accept and process citizenship applications for foreign nationals in a legally registered civil union with an Italian national. The requirements for citizenship has not changed. An application can be filed after 2 years (if residing in Italy) or 3 years (if residing abroad) from marriage/civil union. As same-sex parents have not been granted parenting rights in Italy, the time reduction due to children does not apply. Civil unions that were legally recognized in a foreign state can be registered with Italian authorities and will be considered valid.
Israel’s directive grants legally married same-sex partners with rights equal to those of heterosexual couples. The Ministry of Interior is expected to issue amended regulations that will provide same-sex partners with the right to become a resident after 6 months in Israel and a citizen after 4.5 years. While same-sex marriage will be recognized, Israel will not allowed same-sex marriage ceremonies to be conducted in Israel.
EIG will continue to monitor the advancement of these significant regulations.
Indonesia to Transition to Electronic KITAS Visas
Indonesia is moving towards an online system, which will allow applicants to receive their Kartu Izin Tinggal Terbatas (KITAS) stay permits by email, instead of immigration authorities issuing physical cards as previously administered. KITAS visa holders will need to print out the visa that has been sent to them by email (e-ITAS) and carry it with them at all times. This will not be an immediate transition as some offices will continue to provide paper cards while attempting to deplete their stock, but there is no clear timeline for completing the transition.
U.S. Consulate in Chennai Issues Emergency Message
In the wake of Tamil Nadus’ Honorable Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram’s passing, the United States Consulate in Chennai issued an emergency message alerting both U.S. citizens and Indian nationals of the consulate’s reduced staff and necessary safety measures that should be taken.
Given the death of Chief Minister Jayaram and the resulting political tensions, the consulate suspended appointments scheduled on December 5, 2016 and reduced its staff for the subsequent days. The consulate informed applicants via email and indicated that updates will be provided when service is restored. The consulate advised U.S. Citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance, remain aware of their surroundings, review and enhance their security plans and stay informed with local media. The consulate also reminded U.S. Citizens that peaceful events may turn violent and, thus, they should avoid demonstrations and exercise caution in areas of large gatherings, protests or demonstrations.
The consulate intended to resume normal services on December 8, however, for emergency and security purposes, U.S. citizens currently in Tamil Nadu are directed to contact the consulate at +91 44 2857 4000 or the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi at +91 11 2419 8000. EIG encourages U.S. citizens to stay informed with the State Department for any alerts, warnings or caution that may be issued. Finally, U.S. citizens are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler-Enrollment Program to receive emergency messages and to make it easier to locate them in case of an emergency.