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EIG Dispatch | January 20, 2017

January 20, 2017

HIGHLIGHTS

  • New Form I-9 Effective January 21, 2017
  • April 2017 Allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship Announced
  • Portugal Anticipates Strike from Immigration and Border Service Members
  • Vietnamese Authorities Provide Assignment Letter Guidance
  • New Visa-Free Entry Program in Belarus

New Form I-9 Effective January 21, 2017

As a reminder from our previous article, beginning January 21, 2017, U.S. employers must use the new version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.  The new form includes checks to make sure fields are completed correctly and in-depth instructions for the employee to reference. Please see here for more information on the new Form I-9.


April 2017 Allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship Announced

The United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has announced that sponsors may renew their allocation of Tier 2 General Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS).  Sponsors should keep in mind that the current allocations expire April 5, 2017.  Some allocations will be automatically renewed, while other sponsors will be informed by the UKVI three months prior to April 5, 2017, and monthly reminders thereafter.  Sponsors should not allow their allocations to expire as a CoS will not be assigned until a renewal request has been made and granted.  Please note that the processing time for a CoS is 18 weeks but may be expedited by paying an additional fee.


Portugal Anticipates Strike from Immigration and Border Service Members

Rotational strikes have been announced this month by Portugal’s Immigration and Border service members.  The strikes are regarding the change in rights and status of immigration service members as non-law enforcement workers.  The strikes will occur throughout various offices and government departments at various times and are anticipated to last approximately 6 months.  The immigration office will not cease to function as a result of the rotational nature of the strikes, but significant processing delays are expected for visa and residence permit appointments, processing and renewals.


Vietnamese Authorities Provide Assignment Letter Guidance

Following the issuance of Circular 40, which included guidance on the qualifications of foreign experts, intra-company transferee requirements, changes in work location, and updates to the Foreign Labour Use Report template, authorities in Vietnam have provided guidance on the requirements for assignment letters for intra-company transferees.  The assignment letters, among other evidence, are used as a way to demonstrate that the employee has worked at least 12 months for the company before the transfer to Vietnam.  Assignment letters must now come directly from the shareholders or owners of the Vietnamese company that is hosting the employee.  As a result, companies may no longer use assignment letters issued by their human resources department as previously allowed.


New Visa-Free Entry Program in Belarus

Starting in February 2017, nationals of 80 countries will be allowed to enter Belarus without a visa for a maximum period of 5 days.  To take advantage of this program, eligible travelers must enter Belarus through Minsk National Airport’s checkpoint.  Eligible travelers must possess a valid passport, show sufficient financial means to cover the period of stay, and have medical insurance with coverage of at least €10,000.  Additional requirements apply for nationals of Vietnam, Haiti, Gambia, Honduras, India, China, Lebanon, Namibia, and Samoa, who must show a valid Schengen Visa or a visa to a European Union country, proof of entry to that country, and an airline return ticket.  Please note that this program excludes travelers arriving from Russia.  See here for a full list of qualifying countries.