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EIG Dispatch – January 23, 2015

January 23, 2015

Highlights

  • EIG Preparing for H-1B Cap Season
  • One Stop Service Center in Bangkok Requires Certified Corporate Documents for Certain Applications
  • Three-Year Work Permits Now Available in Beijing
  • Dutch Court Rules that Japanese Nationals No Longer Need Work Permits

EIG Preparing for H-1B Cap Season

April 1, 2015 marks the first day U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 H-1B cap. The H-1B cap is open to foreign workers seeking employment in professional occupations requiring at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. With an annual H-1B visa cap of 85,000, including the 20,000 allocated to those qualifying with a U.S. master’s degree or higher, this year’s cap is expected to be met within the first week of filing. Last year, nearly 172,500 H-1B petitions were filed within a few days of April 1st, prompting USCIS to utilize a lottery system to select the H-1B petition to be adjudicated under the cap. EIG expects that USCIS will utilize the lottery system this year as well.

Here at EIG, preparation for H-1B cap season is well underway. With increasing demand for H-1B workers, EIG encourages employers to identify potential H-1B cap cases now and work with immigration counsel to ensure timely filing of cases.

EIG will continue to monitor developments with regard to the FY2016 H-1B cap and will provide updates as they become available.

One Stop Service Center in Bangkok Requires Certified Corporate Documents for Certain Applications

The Thailand Immigration Department’s One Stop Service Center (OSSC) in Bangkok now requires that applicants for Work Permits, Long Stay Visas, and Extensions submit corporate documents that have been certified by the relevant government agency. OSSC previously required only photocopies of corporate documents, however, evidence of fraudulent documentation prompted this rule change.

Due to the new regulation, increased delays in processing times are expected. Employers should prepare accordingly to obtain certified documents.

Three-Year Work Permits Now Available in Beijing  

The Beijing Labor Bureau recently announced that Chinese-foreign joint ventures, Chinese-foreign cooperative ventures, and wholly foreign-owned companies operating in China may sponsor employees working in Beijing for up to three years, an increase from the standard twelve-month validity period. The three-year work permit is available for initial and renewal applications.  Beijing authorities have not yet indicated whether residence permits will also be available for a three-year duration.

In order to qualify for the three-year work permit, the employment contract, the applicant’s passport, and the company’s business license or Industrial and Commercial Registration Certificate must all be valid for at least three years from the date of application.

Dutch Court Rules that Japanese Nationals No Longer Need Work Permits  

In a recent decision, the Dutch High Administrative Court in the Netherlands ruled that Japanese nationals no longer require Dutch employment authorization to work in the Netherlands. In reaching its decision, the Court considered the Treaty of Friendship, Establishment and Commerce signed in 1875 by the Netherlands and Switzerland allowing Swiss nationals to work without obtaining a Dutch work permit. The Court ruled that the same principles in the Swiss-Netherlands treaty should be applied to the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation signed in 1913 by the Netherlands and Japan. The Court’s decision will allow Japanese nationals to work in the Netherlands without a Dutch work permit. It will also invalidate several Dutch work and residence permit conditions, including the need for Japanese nationals to obtain Dutch resident permits in order to work. The Dutch Labor Authorities and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment have not yet responded to the Court’s ruling.