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EIG Dispatch | July 24, 2015

July 24, 2015

HIGHLIGHTS

  • USCIS Releases Final Guidance on When to File an Amended or New H-1B Petition for Employees Changing Work Locations
  • Employees in Israel’s Ministry of Interior’s Population End Strike
  • Hungary Restricts Non-EU Workers
  • Changes to Singapore “Dependant Pass” Applications

USCIS Releases Final Guidance on When to File an Amended or New H-1B Petition for Employees Changing Work Locations

On July 21, 2015 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued final guidance for employers following the Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC decision from the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO).  Matter of Simeio was previously covered in Issue 87 of the Dispatch. USCIS had previously released draft guidance in May of this year.  In the decision the AAO upheld the revocation of an H-1B petition filed on behalf of an employee whose Labor Certification Application (LCA) was approved with a worksite that had been abandoned by the company. This decision affirms USCIS policy that requires H-1B petitioners to file an amended or new petition before placing an H-1B employee at a new place of employment not covered by an existing, approved H-1B petition.

When is an amended H-1B Petition required for an employee changing work locations?

  • An amended H-1B petition with a corresponding LCA is required when there are “material changes” to the terms and conditions of employment.
  • An employer should file an amended petition if the H-1B employee changed or is going to change his or her place of employment to a worksite location outside of the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) or an area of intended employment previously designated in the approved H-1B petition.
  • The amended petition is required regardless of whether or not a new LCA was already certified and posted at the new location.
  • Once the amended petition has been filed, the employee may start working at the new worksite.

Notably, for H-1B employees that moved to a new work location prior to April 9, 2015 the updated guidance extends the “Safe Harbor” period, when employers can file the necessary H-1B Amendment without repercussion, until January 15, 2016.  After this deadline employers, and employees not covered by an amended H-1B, will be out of compliance with DHS regulations and subject to adverse action.


Employees in Israel’s Ministry of Interior’s Population End Strike

A short lived strike by workers at Israel’s Population, Immigration and Border Authority ended on July 21, 2015.  The strike had briefly suspended immigration processes in the country. Although the agreement to end the strike included an agreement to add employees, it is unclear how many new positions will be created in the future.  Foreign nationals may continue to face potential delays in the issuance of visas, work permits, and other services.  The short-lived work stoppage follows a partial shutdown in services weeks ago where employees refused to issue biometrics passports or identity cards.


Hungary Restricts Non-EU Workers

Following the United Kingdom’s recent restrictive actions on foreign workers discussed in an earlier update, Hungary has restricted the number of work permits issued to non-European Union (EU) nationals. The restriction took effect on July 18th but further details are forthcoming. The decree aims to ensure that the number of non-EU workers does not exceed the number of monthly average job openings, determined by published workforce requests. The amount of non-EU work permits that may be granted has not yet been announced so the effect on businesses recruiting foreign workers in Hungary is still unclear.

EIG will continue to monitor the progress of the Hungarian decree and provide updates as they become available.


Changes to Singapore “Dependant Pass” Applications

Beginning on September 1, 2015, the criteria enabling a Singapore work pass holder to sponsor dependent family members will change. These changes include the following:

  • Work pass holders must meet a minimum fixed monthly salary of $5,000 SGD to sponsor the stay of their spouse/children on a Dependant Pass.
  • Work pass holders must meet minimum fixed monthly salary of $10,000 SGD to sponsor the stay of their parents or common law spouse on a Long Term Visit Pass.

These changes will only apply to new Dependant Pass or Long Term Visit Pass applications made on or after September 1, 2015. They will not apply to previously submitted applications or renewal applications, provided the primary work pass holder remains with his/her the same employer.


New Restrictions on UK Student Visas Announced

As part of the UK’s recent efforts to curtail immigration and battle visa fraud, the immigration minister announced that non-EU students at publicly-funded colleges are no longer permitted to work 10 hours per week. This restriction already exists at privately-funded colleges due to the concern of “bogus” colleges that are used not to educate foreign students but to give them backdoor access to the UK economy. The extension of the work restriction to publicly-funded colleges, which foreign students often attend before going on to UK universities, will take effect on August 3, 2015.

The new restrictions will also reduce the time a student visa can be valid for from three to two years and require students to return to their home countries to extend their student visas or change to a work visa. This change does not affect university students who are already allowed to work 20 hours a week during school and full-time during holidays as this restriction is only aimed at college students. There is concern that this new restriction will reduce the number of students going to UK schools, and limit the number of foreign students going to UK universities.