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EIG Dispatch | January 22, 2016

January 22, 2016

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Court Case Alert: U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Rule on Obama’s Immigration Executive Orders
  • France and Turkey Institute Increased Minimum Salary Requirements
  • Canada’s Electronic Travel Authorization Becomes Mandatory in March for Visa Exempt Travelers

Court Case Alert: U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Rule on Obama’s Immigration Executive Orders

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of United States v. Texas next Tuesday.  The case centers on President Obama’s November 2014 Executive Actions to defer millions of undocumented immigrants’ deportation who qualified for the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) or the expanded 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs.

The history of the case has seen the government’s arguments rebuffed by judges at various court levels.  When President Obama announced his Executive Actions in November 2014, Texas and 25 other states sought to block those Actions through litigation.  In February 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen issued a nationwide injunction, preventing the implementation of the programs.  He based the injunction on the failure of the administration to follow proper administrative procedures before announcing the programs.  The government then appealed the decision to the 5th Circuit Court, where the lower court’s ruling was upheld.  Now, the federal government has appealed, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision and reverse the 5th Circuit Court’s ruling.  The government argues that the states have no legal right to intrude in the prerogatives of the executive branch.

The case is likely to be heard in April and a decision is expected by the end of June, at the close of the Supreme Court’s current term.


France and Turkey Institute Increased Minimum Salary Requirements

FRANCE

On January 1, 2016, the French government increased the minimum legal salary (SMIC) from 1,457.52 Euros to 1,466.62 Euros per month.  This salary increase will benefit foreign nationals who are locally hired in France, as they must be paid comparable wages to French nationals working in the same position.  A change to the SMIC impacts minimum salary thresholds for some work permit types.  Specifically, the change affects intracompany transferees; previously, the minimum salary level for this type of work permit was set at SMIC x 1.5 but is now at least 2,199.93 Euros per month.

The SMIC increases on a yearly basis in France, so the salaries of applicants for upcoming transfers to France should be carefully reviewed in order to ensure compliance with French laws and regulations.

TURKEY

On January 1, 2016, the Turkish government increased their minimum legal salary to 1,647.00 Turkish liras (approximately $542.55 U.S. dollars) per month.  This salary increase benefits foreign workers whose salary must, at minimum, be equal to those of local employees working in the same position.   The requirements usually change every six months, but this minimum salary has been issued for a full year.  It is expected that the minimum salary will continue to increase in the following years, which will impact foreign workers seeking employment in Turkey.

Employers should closely review the salaries of their foreign employees and monitor any changes in monthly salary requirements in order to ensure compliance with Turkish laws.


Canada’s Electronic Travel Authorization Becomes Mandatory in March for Visa Exempt Travelers

Canada’s new Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) program is an online registration system for visa exempt travelers entering Canada by plane. These travelers must complete the eTA before entering Canada, which can be accessed online.  Once approved, the eTA is valid for five years or until the expiration date of the applicant’s passport, whichever comes first.  Although the program has been in effect since August 2015, the program will become mandatory on March 15, 2016 for all eligible travelers entering Canada.

The process to apply for an eTA involves providing personal and passport information through the online portal and paying the designated fee for each traveler, including children.  The eTA is typically approved within minutes but some situations may require more information from the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

Please note that the eTA requirements do not apply to U.S. citizens, those who hold valid visas to Canada, or any person entering via a land or sea port.